I loved this quote from Steve Jobs' Sanford Commencement address from 2005:
"I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."
I love how in another part of his speech he talked about how the calligraphy class he took purely for interests' sake inspired him to put beautiful typography into the Mac. It's neat how the education can come back in unexpected and creative ways. I'm so delighted that my first class of my certificate was Adobe Illustrator, I used it to make presentations, and to design my billboard vinyl cut files.
I am only now finding out what I love. I knew I didn't love what I did for my previous career. I guess for me that first career was a 12-year brick in the head. Except for the last couple of years thanks to the great folks at Petro-Canada. And while I make the effort with the house and family, to suggest that I be fulfilled as a 50's-Style housewife? Please! I'd need a lobotomy first. I have to have something creative or challenging to work on. So I decided to get more education on the side while raising my children. The vinyl stuff was so I had something to show for my new certificate. And the blog is something like a how-to book for working with the material.
Being unsuccessful in sales had a certain advantage, also. I learned to make videos, to tweet, to blog, make a website, and a boatload of other ways that didn't work, but imparted useful skills. I also learned that there's a lot of folks out there who don't keep their word. Who drop communication as if that was perfectly OK, there's not another human being at the other end. And that there's some customers who will choose to stay mad at you even after you have more than addressed your mistake.
But! Aside from the benefit of a thicker hide, I've also made great new friends in the arts community, and had lots of compliments and encouragement on my soap bag. My wallet ended up in a book! What great fun it was pointing it out to people in the library checkout line. More than once people have suggested I go on Dragon's Den. (I think I'll just stick to design contests and calls for contributions, I'm not up for any abusive-style scrutiny. Fair criticism, OK.)
So yes, I think I will keep on keeping on. "Stay hungry; stay foolish" as Steve Jobs concluded. Thanks Steve for the great speech, and for my iPad.