Dave Matthews and You
Originally published on September 5, 2018 by the Montrose Daily Press.
I’ve always wanted to be an author. (So if any of you out there have been holding out on a book deal for me, now’s the time to speak up.) Even as a small child, writing was important to me. Back then, I had reckless abandon in creativity as I published several books on my own, stick figure illustrations and all. I’ve filled countless journals over the years with details of my life and spent the rest of my free time reading other people’s writing.
Of course being an author really isn’t a safe bet of a career. Much like when your son tells you he’s going to play in the NFL. Sure little Johnny, we hope you do, but in the meantime let’s get you a degree in finance just in case. So I got a marketing degree and an economics degree and set out into the world like any other bright-eyed and overly ambitious 22-year-old.
My career has treated me really well thus far, and I have been incredibly fortunate. I love what I do, and writing has somehow found its way into my job nonetheless. TV personality Mike Rowe gave a commencement speech in 2016 in which he told grads, “Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.” The experiences of life and its various paths to success make it very easy to agree with this statement.
On the contrary, my husband and I, along with 17,998 other screaming fans, recently attended a Dave Matthews Band concert. Dave Matthews and his band have been touring the country for more than 20 years playing incredible music to sold-out crowds. Watching them play, it would seem that not only did they bring their passion with them, but they are also following it.
When designing a career (or life), one thing is true over any other: we must happen to our circumstances rather than letting them happen to us. Whatever we want out of life is within reach if work ethic and humility are in the picture. American author and educator Debbie Millman routinely puts her master’s students through a “10 years” exercise. She asks them to write out what they’d like their life to look like in 10 years. Over time, many of her students have returned with exciting tales of success. This exercise does not have an expiration date by the way; it is applicable to all ages.
I wrote mine two years ago and it is almost creepy how things that then seemed impossible are part of my everyday life today. Like anything with a strategic plan, more seems to get accomplished when the end result has been clearly lined out.
Why you should make a 10 year plan (right now):
•Allowing yourself the freedom for dreaming exactly what you want your life to look like is fun. If you write your plan in such a way that you detail everything about the way you’ll spend your days to your living arrangement, you’ll likely have a very hard time containing your excitement and motivation to get started.
•When a big decision is before you from a career standpoint or otherwise, the 10 year plan gives a basis for discernment. Does this decision put you closer or farther from the life you’re designing?
•Going back on an annual basis (or more often) in review of your vision and dreams helps propel them forward. Each passing year will show you what you have accomplished and provide encouragement toward what is possible in the future. Consider emailing the plan to yourself and keeping it at the bottom of your inbox. That way you always have a record of it and can refer to it at any time.
•Ten years may seem like a long time, but as the saying goes, “The days are long, but the years are short.” If you don’t start now, when will you start? Before long, it will be 10 years from now plan or no plan.
Whether following your passion or bringing it along with you, it is great to have a plan. Many of us millennials were told as children we could be anything we wanted to be as adults. For the most part, that is not untrue. However, most of us failed to realize (at least at first) that the missing link between dreaming and achieving is planning.
I’ve not given up on my dreams of authoring a book, and as you may have guessed this very column is part of “the plan” in working toward that. I hope whatever dreams lie within you get a chance to see the light of day and may your regrets at the end of the road we call life not include the things you didn’t do. It’s never too late and we’re never too old. The world needs more Dave Matthews and more you.
Chelsea Rosty is the director of business innovation for the City of Montrose. She can be reached at email@example.com.