How a Tom Petty song helped me to pursue the career of my dreams
In late Summer 2001 I was more than ready to quit my retail manager job and get back on track with a career that made me happy. In order to get myself to move away from the seeming comfort of a full-time job, I needed to get into a courageous and willing-to-take-action state of mind. I noticed how motivated I felt when listening to Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down A Dream". It swiftly became my personal get-moving theme song.
"Yeah, runnin' down a dream
That never would never come to me
Workin' on a mystery, goin' wherever it leads
Runnin down a dream"*
Pumped up with the lyrics going round my head, I gave written notice to my employer. Almost immediately the retail chain's Operations Director called a meeting with me. We met the next day at a café, where she uttered something I shall never forget: "Go and try your art idea." The unspoken words? "Dabble if you must, and then return to the real world." Her statement was followed by a description of what she really wanted me to do – that is, return to the company full-time. While she intended to entice me back in future, what she said only motivated me to chase my life intentions all the more.
What I had done in nominating a theme song helped me stick to my guns. I knew that what I wanted to do would never come to me on its own, and if anything was ever going to change, it had to be me who would do something about it. As with nominating a theme song, the same motivation can be achieved by creating meditations or rituals, writing in a journal - whatever method works for you.
Mind, it doesn't matter how advanced or early you are in your career; change is needed at different times throughout your life. It requires you to get out of your comfort zone and face an unknown future – in Petty’s words, a “mystery”.
Openness to the road diverging and converging, willingness to see things through, and acceptance of not knowing exactly what the future holds are important facets of enabling a successful career for those who build their own profession from the ground up. As the lyrics suggest, you're on a journey, “goin wherever it leads”.
* Writer(s): Tom Petty, Michael W. Campbell
Copyright: Gone Gator Music, Wild Gator Music
Listen to Runnin' Down A Dream
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