I love watching professional athletes do their thing. Most of the time, they’re putting all their energy and time into perfecting their performance, and really risking it all to accomplish something that to many seems SO unattainable.
The progression of seeing someone, anyone, put tons of effort into something then triumph is such an attractive element for me. It could really be anything from a sport to a business to a weight loss goal. Just following your dreams and pushing through the failures to find the bliss. God I just love it, and it makes ME want to do better. I found so much inspiration in watching athletes like Lakey Peterson or Sasha Digiulian, and one day I just thought... Yeah, there’s more out there for me. I’m driven and passionate, and when there’s something that I want, I am VERY stubborn at letting it go. But for some reason… I’ve always been waiting for permission to make my own waves. Well I’m done waiting, I’m ready, so here we go. This is what I want to do, and I want it to be big.
Life at UConn
I worked for UConn for four and a half years producing everything from their very first university drone video to research on cow milking systems. UConn has done SO much for me in the time I spent there. It has opened me up to different workflows and the challenges of making not-so-exciting topics extremely watchable. I have met so many amazing people there and I am forever grateful for being given the opportunity to work alongside them. I also received my MFA in Web Development, and that has put me on an amazing path where I can apply so much new knowledge into my site. I would never have even considered going to grad school if it weren’t for my UConn career, and that has redirected me to such an amazing place.
While at first I dumped a TON of time into my work, I slowly fell into this role of putting less effort into projects in order to produce more videos. It wasn’t obvious right away, but my satisfaction slowly dwindled and I felt as though I had become inadequate in an area where I used to feel superior. I stopped learning and was merely just completing work to have it off my plate rather than being proud of it. Everything needed to be completely UConn brand-compliant which was typically very conservative. There is not necessarily anything wrong with that, it’s totally what I signed up for and agreed to represent. However, I felt like I was losing my brand in the process of trying to completely mold to theirs.
As corny as it sounds, I just started realizing how little time we have in life and I want to allocate it to something I truly love doing. I absolutely hate the concept of having to spend eight hours in an office regardless of how efficient you are with your work. The idea of having nothing going on yet still having to come sit at your desk seems like such a waste to me. I'm honestly not afraid of hard work, but I am definitely scared of wasting my time.
I want to wake up happy and excited each day and continue to challenge myself to create, find what fires me up, and explore where I thrive as a person. Once you find that, you have to chase it hard because if not now, then when? I don't know if there EVER is an ideal time, but if you’re unhappy for multiple days in a row (weeks and months in my case), then you really need to look into that and discover why. Most of the time, something needs to change.
Change is extremely difficult especially when you’re comfortable, and most people don’t make changes until their situation is absolutely unbearable. I can see why my decision may be bewildering to some, going from a stable full-time job with amazing health benefits and a pension in exchange for a life of inconsistent and uncertain income... When you have a great thing going for you, why change? Why fix something that isn’t broken?
Everyone’s answer is totally unique and personal, but mine boils down to freedom. I left in pursuit of something bigger, where I can freely represent myself and my clients how I see fit. I don't want to be "good enough," or to blend into the industry. I want the creative freedom to push boundaries, deliver meaningful products and work with people who appreciate the time and effort that goes into each product. On a more surface level, I want the freedom to work wherever I feel most inspired, freedom to take vacations without asking permission, to make big decisions and work when I am feeling most creative, to choose who I want work with, to have flexibility for my friends and family, to choose the workshops I go to, and to ultimately run a business that represents me. I also wanted approval, but instead I got a lot of "you're too young", "the industry is too saturated", "running a business is way too much work." I finally decided while I craved approval, I didn't need it.
So I left.
It wasn't easy to leave a safe and predictable lifestyle in order to pursue the craziness of entrepreneurship. However, it seemed that staying safe was riskier than putting myself out there. I have been told on multiple accounts from people very close to me that I shouldn't pursue this company because it isn't the best decision for me. I cannot stress enough that what other people think is best may not be what is actually best for you. I guarantee you will face people that are more than just skeptical, but downright brutal about what they think of your abilities. The truth is, I have no idea what you're actually capable of. However, I know this: if you strongly believe you can do it, don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Work harder and prove them all wrong.
It is equally important to note that I have not just luckily stumbled upon this endeavor. I didn't just quit, close my eyes and hope for the best. I have worked incredibly hard these past four years in building something that I believe in, testing the market and myself. I have then gone to great lengths in preparing myself for this new journey, and I finally let go of that fear to fail. Regardless of what happens, it feels better giving it everything I've got with the risk of failing than staying in a place that wasn't right for me and in constant wonder of what else is out there. So I'm betting on myself, and I couldn't have made this transition to bringing my video production business full time without all of you! So THANK YOU for allowing me to pursue my wildest dreams, and I hope this post may inspire some of you to do the same :)
In the wise words of Jack Johnson, "Don't let your dreams be dreams."