When I was 27 years old, working as a computer programmer, I came home one day very stressed out. It had been a difficult, trying day at work.
I’ve never minded hard work, but what made this day so frustrating was that I had accomplished very little. I had spent all day on just a few lines of code, trying to get them to work. I felt like I was banging my head against a wall.
“Is this what I want to do with my life?” I asked myself. I knew that answer was no, but I didn’t know what else to do.
Not long after, I was in a bookstore, and a book caught my attention. It was Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar.
I bought the book with the obvious intention of reading it. But I never did.
Nonetheless, I think of coming across it in that bookstore as a pivotal moment in my life. The title said it all for me, directly addressing the dilemma I was facing.
I knew that I wasn’t doing what I loved. And I knew that what I did love was Ralph’s, the company my father founded. I had begun working there as an installer when I was a teenager, and I kept working there during college when I was home for the summer. I got a lot more satisfaction doing that work than I ever did working with computers.
I also knew that my father was ready to retire, and that I could probably take over the company if I wanted.
But I had a big concern. Money!
I just didn’t think I could make enough in the hardwood floor business to justify switching from what I was doing. “I can’t afford to do that,” my mind kept telling me.
But here was someone writing a book saying that I shouldn’t let that concern stop me.
So, when my father did retire, I decided to follow my heart and not listen to the worries of my mind. I took a leap of faith and dedicated myself to Ralph’s.
As president, I decided my own salary, but there was no way I could pay myself as much as I had been making. I knew that going in, but I took the pay cut anyway to do what I loved.
And just as the book promised, the money did follow. Ralph’s has grown considerably over the years, and I’ve been fortunate enough to make a good living pursuing my passion.
I still haven’t read that book, and I doubt I ever will. I don’t need to. I’ve lived it.