I had a conversation with a childhood friend recently that really got me to thinking. We were discussing the path that our lives have taken and while lamenting on how my life isn’t as I thought it would be at this point, she made a comment: “How many people do you know whose life is exactly as they thought it would be?”
That simple statement opened up the flood gates in my mind, and as usual, I wanted to share those thoughts with you…so here goes. We often spend so much time focusing on what our life isn’t that we overlook what it is. Just because our lives aren’t what we planned -at least not down to the letter- it is what it is and that’s okay.
Anybody who really knows me is keenly aware that I’m someone who is very goal oriented, and since the age of 12 had mapped out my life. For the most part I’ve accomplished the majority of the goals I set for myself. However, after closer review of my life, I realized the moments that I consider the most fulfilling, and what I deem the most successful, were not a part of my original plan. One of my earlier successes was when I wrote my first book, it was the autobiography of Brady Keys Jr. Well, the way that came about was completely unplanned. The night of my college graduation I went back to Americus with my family, and had a panicked conversation with my brother about what I was going to do with my life. I spent my entire senior year of college sending out resume tapes to get a job in television upon graduation, and all of which was to no avail. My degree is in Radio/TV/Film with a concentration in television. I had experience in all of those areas, including print. My brother actually reminded me of that and suggested I try to get a job in one of those other areas, in particular he suggested radio. It had never occurred to me to do that because I had such tunnel vision about television. The next day I drove to Albany and decided to apply for a job at the radio station. While I was there inquiring about job opportunities, one of the on- air personalities told me that the owner of the station (Mr. Keys) had a weekly community newspaper that he’d started and thought it might be a good fit for me. Needless to say, I contacted the editor of his paper, and within a week or so she interviewed me and hired me for the job! While working as a print reporter for his paper, Mr. Keys became so impressed with my writing skills that he asked me to write his autobiography. I can honestly say that experience of working for Mr. Keys taught me so much about myself and my abilities. Writing that book was a very challenging, yet rewarding experience. Incidentally, after working for the paper for nine months, I landed a job in television – which I landed while on an impromptu trip to visit a friend from college who was working as a reporter in Indiana!
As I look back on that experience I can clearly see how having that job in print taught me so much and was a catalyst for the things I’m doing today. Mr. Keys was a business mentor for me, and he taught me so much about running a business and being an entrepreneur. He also gave me the confidence to write. Consequently, writing his autobiography gave me the confidence to write a second book on business, which was based off my experience working for him. The experience from writing my second book was so incredibly rewarding that I realized writing books was a part of my divine calling. Even as I write this month’s blog, I’m in the final stages of my third book, and first novel.
So I guess the message I want to leave with you is that it’s okay to have plans for your life, in fact I encourage it, but don’t let your plans keep you from seizing unexpected opportunities. There are opportunities all around us if we choose to see them. What opportunities are you missing out on? What skillsets and gifts do you possess that you might be overlooking or underestimating? Sometimes our greatest blessings are right in front of us, if we’ll open our eyes to see them.