For the most part, I've always done what I want.
In college, I declared I'd move to Los Angeles and work in corporate entertainment. Los Angeles held happy memories and was always filled with sunshine. It was one month before graduating with my second degree, and I was doing the only thing I knew how to do at that point -- networking. Composing well-written e-mails. Talking and showing my initiative. I had flown multiple times to SoCal on my own dime for informational interviews -- just to establish a concrete connection. Some connections were fruitful, others flopped, but eventually I made my way to Los Angeles. Along the way, I met some pretty cool people.
Coming to New York, inhabiting Chinatown, was not a grand scheme, though. I just landed here. I grew up seeing Lady Liberty every weekend, and it never held the magical "make it or break it" quality for me as it does for others. I have, however, learned so much more during my time back here in the northeast than I ever did trying to run west:
- It is very difficult to do anything well without a support system.
- Leading by example is a really effective way to keep inspiring yourself, and hopefully, inspiring others.
- The people who do inspire me are not preoccupied with money, titles, or fueled with greed. They make authentic choices. Success is defined as being in their element.
Here's Jane McGonigal, a video game designer who once suffered a traumatic concussion which led to suicidal thoughts during her recovery. She highlighted the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying in her TED Talk last year:
The more I reflect on the choices I've made since leaving corporate America in May, the more I realize these, in translation, have become my core values.
I'm still doing what I want, but the flavor's a little different now.
The flavor is freedom.