I Turned Down My Dream Job to Join The Circus

I was sitting on my faux red leather couch when I got the phone call every young college grad dreams of. 

It was a large publication in San Francisco.

They wanted to offer me a prestigious editorial position at their magazine. It was basically my dream job that would afford me - what I thought - was my dream life. 

“We’d like you to start next week,” the managing editor said on the phone. 

I should have been elated. Yet something inside of me tightened

Just two days before, I was in Berkeley pitching my services to - what could be - my first paying client as a freelancer.

The client wanted to work with me. It would be more than enough money to pay my bills. 

So, sitting there, on my couch that day, in my tiny, 250-square-foot studio that sat in my old boss’ backyard - I realized I was at a crossroads:

Take the dream job, or take a chance on my dream?

It was a moment that I knew would shape the rest of my life.

Despite every logical reason to take the full-time job with the salary, the benefits, and the security, I didn’t. 

I took the freelance client.

And thus started the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. 

Entrepreneurship is not unlike joining the circus (not that I know anything about being in the circus - but I can guess):

  • Many people thought I was crazy
  • Some people thought it was exciting
  • It was - and is - at times scary
  • It’s exhilarating
  • It’s exhausting
  • It’s a journey filled with all sorts of other colorful characters who have dared to be different. To let their freak flags fly and follow their own paths. 

Yes, being an entrepreneur is quite similar to joining the circus.

You never know when the show is going to be a smashing success, or when you’ll have to struggle to fill the seats, performing all sorts of acrobatics and tricks to wow your audience. 

But there has not been one moment I regretted turning down that "dream" job in San Francisco. 

Because those dream jobs will always be there. Someone else will always be building companies that require positions to be filled. 

But do you want to help build someone else’s dream - or build your own? 

When I took on that first client, living in my tiny studio and scraping by, I never imagined that I would be where I am right now.

This morning I’m sitting in a luxury suite of an upscale hotel, staring at beautiful snowy mountains out the window. I’m still in bed (after getting a glorious 11 hours of sleep), sipping gourmet coffee and deciding what I’d like to do with my day. 

Maybe I’ll sit in front of the fireplace in our suite and work. Maybe I’ll make a yoga class at noon. Maybe I’ll bundle up and take a walk in the chilly, crisp, clear winter airPoint being? 

Choosing to take a chance that day many years ago enabled me to build the life of my dreams.

It’s not easy or glamorous by any means - but it affords me the freedom that I know most entrepreneurs yearn for. Choosing freedom often takes turning down other dreams. The key is knowing which dreams are worthy of your pursuit. Be honest, get quiet. You'll know.