Last we left JR (that’s me), he was jobless, but creatively thriving while stressing his wife out. Sounds like a typical Tuesday night…
Songwriting was going well. Every meeting I had with a publisher usually ended with them setting me up to write with one of their writers. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a pretty big deal. (#NoPressure) But the lack of money was beginning to become a problem.
During this time, I had been excessively attending a group hip hop(ish) dance fitness class I LOVED (think: Zumba’s black cousin) and six months after I was let go from my Music Row gig, I was offered an instructor position with the company. I had never danced in my life other than a stint of clogging (don’t laugh …ok, laugh) from 14-18, and I grew up a fat kid so I was about as familiar with fitness as Kanye West is with humility, but people told me I was good and I loved doing it. So, a Hip Hop Dance Fitness Instructor I’ll be. No clue.
I don’t know if you know, but Fitness Instructors make bank. Just kidding, they make nothing. Teaching one class a week was hardly making up for the career salary I had lost (it barely covered the gas to get there), but a month into teaching, another opportunity arose. It was …wait for it… DIRECT SALES! (insert massive eye roll) I know. No, really. I know. BUT my friends (my real friends, not the fake ones they tell you about in “those” meetings) and my new fitness boss were having great success in a short period of time and I’d be selling health and wellness products which go hand-in-hand with being a fitness pro (#sarcasm) so, why not!? No clue.
Side note: Yes… I am trying to break the world record for the number of times parenthesis are used in a single blog post (or haven’t you noticed?).
Within 3 years, I jumped from a single fitness class to 5 and managing the entire company. This is what it looks like when something you love and something you are good at intersect. It’s also what happiness looks like. Happiness still doesn’t always pay the rent though so luckily my wife and I had also taken that crazy direct sales thing and turned it into enough of a success to not only replace my old salary, but replace hers as well. By putting music on the back-burner (I can be a songwriter at any age), we were now both work-from-home parents, keepers of our own clocks, the family that spells love “T-I-M-E”, and all the other give me an effing break, sappy social media one-liners you can think of. But the truth is, it was actually our reality. We were happy and thriving financially so, Direct Sales Moguls we will be. No clue.
Shortly after our rise, we experienced a rather rapid descent. It was a perfect storm of personal growth, poor leadership and an unwillingness to do what was required to keep our business at the level we had achieved. So I, being the creative soul I am, stuck in a very non-creative world, started to wander. I focused more on my fitness gig and social life. I picked up the guitar again and, out of nowhere, picked up a paint brush. My first painting was done in an evening and garnered lots of attention on Facebook so, I did more. My second painting sold to a friend. So did my third. And by my 5th, I was being commissioned to do a $1,500 original piece. I’m sorry, what!? Yeah, scared out.of.my.mind, but couldn’t turn down the opportunity. I prayed A LOT and spent hours upon hours on 3 canvases the size of our dining room table. Luckily, it was a big hit and more work began to come in so…you guessed it…let’s add Artist to the list. No clue.
This pretty much brings us up-to-date and back to my original point… I don’t have a clue. And when I say that, I mean it in almost as many different ways as I’ve had career paths.
I have NO CLUE where I’m going in life. I have become the cliché: Jack of all trades, master of none. My resume tells the story of a free-spirited drifter with no ties … buutttt I’m a husband, a father and a homeowner. I don’t just have ties, I have knots. (And I wouldn’t want it any other way.)
I have NO CLUE how I got here. Time is flying so fast and I’m nowhere near where I expected to be at this age, but I don’t know that that’s necessarily a bad thing. The rest of the world would have me believe otherwise.
And I have had NO CLUE how to do the majority…scratch that…ANY of the things I’ve stepped into and succeeded with over the last 15 years. My only guess is the obvious grace and guiding hand of God. And my willingness to try. There are a lot of people who never make it to “try” and, if they do, they stop trying the second it gets hard. I’ve hit many walls. I’ve failed many times. In some cases that’s turned me around, but in most, I’ve pushed through to at least see what lies beyond it. And that’s why I’m here – typing these words out at 2am. I’ve always wanted to write, but told myself I didn’t know how. But if my crazy life has shown me anything, it’s that there’s No Experience Necessary so…. it’s time to try.