It's almost 3 AM, and I've been out of bed since 7:45 this morning. Almost exactly 24 hours ago, I awoke after falling asleep around 10. I felt far more energy than I would normally have after a few hours of sleep. There was something buzzing, something awakened in me, and I mean spiritually awakened, not just physically so.
I've been on a kind of journey for the past 14 months. After 10 years at a cushy corporate job, "the CCJ," I left at the end of 2014 to pursue a living where I had previously only had a hobby: as a professional enthusiast, by way of social media.
I didn't think of it that way at the time; I was going to be a social media consultant, but hadn't thought about why I was qualified for that job. It took me over a year to realize that my prowess in social media was based on previous success as a radio professional, and my success in radio was based largely on an innate talent for contagious enthusiasm. When I like something, I'm able to communicate that passion in a way that draws other people in at high volumes. My experience as a successful enthusiast ranges from being a sports talk radio host in San Francisco, to an a cappella disc jockey in Seattle, a spokesperson for Dove hair products to a social media phenomenon focused on the intersection between fan culture and the business of Broadway.
My driving force has become clear, but I spent much of the 14 months post-CCJ feeling paralyzed. I wasn't sure what path to go down, or even what such a path would look like, toward making this a job. I often felt as if I was blazing a trail into a wood that grew darker and more tangled with every step. I never doubted my decision to leave the CCJ, but I felt unsure regularly whether I ever find my way to a clearing. I spent much of my time grappling with the concept of monetization. I struggled in the throes of the imposter syndrome. Even when I knew I deserved to be paid, I often shied away from advocating for myself financially, shackled to a deep-seated suspicion that those around me were perpetually one annoyance away from banishing me from their lives.
Every day, it seems, I found new reasons and new methods for procrastination. Even when I had ideas that would capitalize on my skill, I regularly made excuses to avoid following through. Fear of failure is a crippling bitch.
I've had bouts of inspiration. I've had stretches of productivity. I've made enough money with relevant freelance gigs to keep from reentering a stifling workplace. It hasn't all been excuses. The motivation never stuck, though, and "knowing" that would be the case is probably the reason for its own manifestation.
This morning when I woke up at 3 AM -– now nearly 25 hours ago -– somehow I felt all of the motivation, none of the fear, zero worry that the feeling would subside, and a distinct thrill at the notion that I could capitalize on the experience of awakening, even if it were to eventually (short or long term) go away.
Normally, I would have tossed and turned, trying to get back to sleep. This time, I made an investment. I'd heard of a book, several times, from people I respect and admire. It's called Mindset. A podcaster of whom I've become fond recently had called it the most important book in the English language. He credited it with his transformation from essentially an angry money-grubber to a fulfilled and generous businessman and philanthropist.
The book cost $13 on Amazon. I've been using my financial instability as an excuse not to make purchases that will help me grow. In this moment, it was crystal clear that my logic had been utter bullshit. How often is anyone given the opportunity for profound life change at only US$13?
Still in bed, iPhone light on low, I logged into my Amazon account and ordered the book to be delivered on Monday. I was immediately struck by a surge of accomplishment. I hadn't done a single thing beyond completing an online transaction, but this was no buyers high. I understood that this purchase represented a major change in my life.
This was day one, and I had gotten an early start.