The start of a new year always ignites a spark in us to create change. Whether you believe in making a New Year’s Resolution or not, there is something about this time of year that compels a person to re-evaluate their life.
It was in 2007 that we made a New Years Resolution that completely changed the course of our lives. One year later, we were cycling down the continent of Africa realizing our potential for the very first time.
Recently, American Express Canada asked us why we chose to follow our dreams and realize our true potential, suggesting that Dave and I are Real Life Potentialists. This got us thinking…
Dave and I didn’t know what our passion was for a very long time. I remember growing frustrated with myself when Dave asked me “What do you want out of life?” as I honestly couldn’t come up with an answer. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had been living my life for so long in a fog of worries and anxiety, that I had forgotten the things that made me happy. I didn’t remember what my childhood dreams and fantasies were. Or, I wouldn’t let those dreams surface because I thought it was too late or that I was aiming too high.
Both Dave and I spent our days working for someone else at a job that didn’t stir any sort of passion within us. We simply took home a paycheck and told ourselves that we should be happy. We had careers that paid well and that other people would love to have. We should save for our retirement, invest in real estate and plan for the future.
But why does our society always focus on planning for the future instead of living for today? Wouldn’t we all be further ahead if we chose a life that made us happy and that we’d be willing to work at until the day we die rather than simply living for the day that we finally receive our gold watch and a pat on the back for a job well done?
Luckily for us, we never settled. We never let ourselves stop searching for what made us happy or stop believing that we could create a better life. It was by taking a huge risk and deciding to follow our dreams of travelling the world that allowed us to realize our full potential. We are now living all the dreams that we didn’t allow ourselves to live a decade ago. We work together and travel the world. We help people by showing them that they too can live their dreams and we get to pursue our passions of writing, photography and speaking. It was by following our dreams and taking a risk that allowed us to realize our potential.
We never thought it possible for two regular folks who had financial debt and car payments to create the life we wanted, but we did it. Many people think that only the wealthy can do what we do. But that is not the case. We were terrified when we officially quit our jobs. We had worked for a year after returning from Africa to put money into savings while living on very little to minimize our expenses. We scrounged together $8000 to travel through India and around Asia for a few months because that is where we could stretch our dollar the furthest. I remember a couple months into the trip when money was starting to get low, we sold our first ad. We were sitting on a beach in Sri Lanka and suddenly we had an extra $500 that would get us through for a couple more weeks.
Selling that first ad gave us hope that we were on the right path. More people started to read our blog and people started to send us emails telling us that we inspired them to travel with their spouse or try something new. They told us that they admired our relationship and that they were going to work harder to make their relationship better too. It was after that trip that our purpose in life finally sunk in.
So to answer American Express Canada’s question (“What does being a Real Life Potentialist mean to you?”): We feel that a Real Life Potentialist is someone who pursues happiness, someone who doesn’t settle because it is the easy thing to do and someone who follows their passion. If you aren’t happy in your career, you will keep searching until you find a career that makes you happy. If you are in a relationship that is going stale, you will do something about it by either working harder on it to recapture that spark or realizing that it is time to move on and find that person who excites and supports you. This is truly a title that we feel close to. Everyone is put on this earth filled with potential. Too many of us simply don’t decide to realize exactly what we can accomplish. Isn’t it time for you to realize your potential today?
So I pose these questions to all of you.
Once you ask yourselves these questions, start to take steps to make it happen and make a plan on how you can accomplish your goals. Take it from us, two people who thought “dreams only come true for other.” You can do it and you too can realize your potential.
According to a study conducted by American Express, 83% of Canadians are striving to learn new things this year and that a sense of fulfillment is top priority for Canadians in 2013. Are you one of them?