The Terrifying Question We Should All Ask Ourselves
I started out very excited about this job. After living and searching for work in Antalya, Turkey for 6 months, including 2 months as an English teacher to children, the opportunity of working for an American company while in Turkey was all I hoped for. Maybe the pay was only $1800/month, but after the exchange rate, this put me in the top 10% of earners in my city. I made 4x the amount of money my fiancée did working almost half the hours. I should have been happy.
The first three weeks were exciting. Learning about new products, sales procedures, getting to know the other new starts in my class; all things I truly loved. The job itself was a work-from-home customer service position and I didn’t mind the work. The people calling in were by and large friendly, the company benefits were decent, and the hours were not bad either. Even so, every day I had to drag myself to my desk and start the day.
It wasn’t that I was unhappy in my job; I just wasn’t happy.
This may seem like a small distinction to you, and for a long time, it was a small distinction for me as well. Then, I had a horrible, terrible thought pop into my head which changed the direction of my life forever.
While waiting for my next call to come through, I was suddenly struck by the words “If I were to die tomorrow, is this how I want to spend my last night on Earth?”
I didn’t want to answer that question. I didn’t want to think about that question. I most certainly didn’t want to act on that question.
Still, the thought wouldn’t leave me.
Worse, neither would the answer: NO.
I knew if this were my last night on Earth, I was most definitely not doing what I wanted to do. I made a radical decision (somewhat rash, looking back on it) to quit my job. The last call I took for the day resulted in a huge sale, my first at this company and the largest out of my training class.
On my lunch break, I called my fiancee and our conversation went something like this:
- Me: “Hello my love. How are you?”
- Her: “I’m good. How’s work?”
- Me: “Oh, it’s going well. I just closed my first sale.”
- Her: “That’s great baby!”
- Me: “Yeah. I’m going to quit after my lunch break is over.”
- Her: “…”
- Me: “You there?”
- Her: “Why are you quitting? You worked so hard to get this job! You had to fly back to America to get this job! Do you have another job lined up? What will we do for money?”
- Me: “Sweetheart, do you believe I am capable of more than what this job requires of me?”
- Her: “Well, yes, I think you can do anything.”
- Me: “If today was my last night on Earth, is this how I should spend it?”
- Her: “No, you should do something you love.”
- Me: “Am I guaranteed a tomorrow?”
- Her: “No, you don’t have any guarantees.”
- Me: “I don’t think I do either. From now on, I’m going to do what I love and we’ll figure out a way to pay our bills at the same time. Do you believe you and I can do this together?”
- Her: (after a long silence while she thinks) “Yes, I think you and I can do anything we set our minds to.”
- Me: “I love you and I’ll see you soon.”
That was it. One question and a short conversation later, I quit my job and started doing what I love. At that point I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted more.
I started thinking about all the things I do for fun, and what I could do all day and never get bored. I realized I loved helping people reach personal and professional goals. I also love to write and exchange ideas. This led me to where I am today, speaking to you about the question which changed my life (and earning a living by doing so ;) ).
It would be a lie to tell you the past year hasn’t been difficult. Building my business was, and continues to be, the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced. Even so, given the opportunity, I would do the same thing all over again. I wake up every day doing what I love, and it’s all because I asked myself that one terrifying question.
So, if I may ask you a personal question: If today were your last day on Earth, would you have spent it doing what you love?
I’d love to hear from those who are, and from those who would like to in the near future, in the comment section below.
Photo by I .. C .. U