“Practise for the day: Take a mental sit-down. When things are physically or mentally rushing—traffic, deadlines, meetings, assignments, errands—take a sit-down in your mind before one thought tries to jump to the next. In that gentle moment, give yourself permission to ask if it’s worth hopping to the next thought, to stay with the previous, or take an extra moment at your mind-bench. The view is quite nice.”—
I love the story of the 90-year-old lady who, when asked if she could play the piano, responded that she didn’t know. “What do you mean, you don’t know?” she was asked. The lady smilingly replied, “I’ve never tried.” Good answer that I hope will open some eyes, ears and thinking. Many of us have talents we’ve never benefitted from because we have never “tried” to do a specific thing.
Nearly everybody recognizes the name of Nat “King” Cole. He was universally admired for his beautiful, silky-smooth voice. He could sing ballads as few have ever done. What many people do not realize is that he started his career as a piano player. One night in a West Coast club, the featured singer was ill and the owner demanded to know where he was. When Cole responded that he was sick, the club owner said, “If we don’t have a singer there’ll be no check.” That night Nat “King” Cole became a singer. The rest is history.
For the first seven years of his career, Will Rogers performed rope tricks. He was a genuine cowboy and very much a “man’s man.” He held the attention of the audience with the rope tricks he performed. One night someone in the audience asked him a question. His candid response brought a considerable amount of laughter. Then someone else asked a question and Rogers’ response again was humorous. That night his career as a full-scale humorist was launched. But he was far more than a humorist. He had the home-spun wisdom that not only encouraged and entertained, but also gave people information and inspiration they could use in their everyday lives.
Message: You might not be able to carry a tune, do rope tricks or give humorous, home spun advice but you do have a song to sing and ability that needs to be developed and used.
The next time someone asks if you can do something you’ve never done before, don’t automatically respond “no.” Think about it. Maybe you should give it a try. Who knows? Maybe you have talents you’ve never recognized. Give it a shot and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
There are few things more stressful for a 20-something than making it out of college and into the Real World, only to realize the career you’ve been pursuing isn’t for you. After all, we spend 4 years prepping for what we think we want to do for the rest of our lives – we chose majors and take classes, we get internships or part-time jobs; we metaphorically handcuff ourselves to our ambitions and once we graduate, we throw away the key. We feel locked in.
As someone who recently did some soul-searching and concluded I’d been on the “wrong path” for the last few years (the path leading toward law school, in my case), I can attest to the extreme levels of anxiety and resentment this kind of discovery promotes. It makes you fantasize about a do-over, makes you long for a trip back to the past when you were a kid and could be anything you wanted to be. In elementary school, you can have a new aspiration every week and never worry about it, a luxury I took full advantage of when I was young.
Upon receiving my first plastic stethoscope, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. After an accidental viewing of one of those excruciatingly gory surgeries on the Discovery channel, I tossed that aside and announced I wanted to be a scientist. When my parents informed me that most scientists don’t actually work in secret laboratories hidden behind bookshelves in their room (thanks for the unrealistic expectations, Dexter!), I shook it off. I’d be an astronaut instead. I believe it was this yearning for the capriciousness of childhood that prompted me to toss maturity aside and call my mom to whine very dramatically about the misfortune of my now-uncertain career path.
“Mom, help! I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and newsflash: I’M GROWN UP!”
“Well,” she said, jokingly. “You could always go be a rainforest-dwelling assassin.”
“Huh?” I had no idea what she meant and was starting to worry about finding a suitable old person’s home for my mother on top of finding a new job, when the childhood memory suddenly flooded back and I immediately started laughing. She was right; I did want to be an assassin when I was little! I better explain:
When I was in 4th grade, we did a unit on the rainforest and endangered species. I chose to do my report on the Sumatran Tiger and ended up becoming pretty attached to the animal. So attached, that when we watched a documentary about poaching, I bawled in the middle of class. It was embarrassing, but what can I say? Seeing the footage of dead animals hanging upside down, ready to be skinned, really struck a nerve. So, that day when my mom picked me up after school, I told her I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: an assassin.
“Oh dear,” she said. “Do you even know what an assassin is, sweetheart?”
“Yes, it’s someone who kills people.” (I’d recently learned the word from an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess.)
I can only imagine what must have been going through my mother’s head after her 9-year-old made this declaration. Raising an aspiring-killer has to be deemed failure as a parent in some regard. I could tell she was concerned, so I provided more details:
“Don’t worry Mom, I’m only going to kill poachers! They hunt defenseless animals, so I’m going to hunt them first! I’ll live in a tree house in the rainforest, and when I see them down below, I’ll shoot them before they can shoot any animals! I’m going to be their protector! And, nobody will ever know I killed them, because I’ll feed them to the tigers afterward!”
My mother, bless her heart, tried to explain that if I wanted to help animals, there were other things I could do besides shooting poachers. She mentioned charities, government positions, and something called international organizations, things I could allegedly join in order to protect the environment without murdering anyone. I nodded my head, pretending to listen, but my mind was made up. I’d already spent 2 hours after lunch making this elaborate life plan; decided what weapons I would use and what my camouflaged outfit would look like. As far as I was concerned, the matter was settled.
I’m not sure what eventually convinced me that “Poacher Assassin” wasn’t the most feasible career choice. Perhaps it was after my mother pointed out that living in the rainforest meant going without cable television? Regardless, I was so happy she brought this memory back into the present during our conversation last week. For one, this recollection reminds me that I have been convinced of a specific career path before, planned it all out and resolved to ignore any proposed alternatives. I see how childish that was of me then (as I was, in fact, a child), and I see how childish it is of me now to suppose that just because I made a career decision at 18 years old, I can’t change and improve upon it now.
More importantly, however, I’m reminded of the kind of passion we have when we’re kids. Nobody thought to pick their profession based on how long the commute was or what kind of health insurance they’d get. We chose jobs because we thought they were important and interesting and that we’d be great at them. We aspired to change the world! I don’t know what happens to us between the ages of 10 and 20, but I can’t help but feel something beats the creativity and passion out of us and we resolve to put our dreams aside in favor of something we’re told will be “more practical” – and this needs to change.
When faced with the daunting prospect of retracing a career path, I think the only thing that will keep us from breaking down and crying in public is pursuing something we love with the unrelenting enthusiasm of a child. It’s like Confucius said: choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. And if Confucius turns out to be wrong, I guess I can still pack up my bow and arrow and go protect those tigers.
Picture it: you see photos of what someone else is doing on Facebook and think your life isn’t exciting enough. You see someone else who has a cool job and think you’re not doing that great in your career. You see someone with a hotter body, and feel bad about yours. You see someone who has created an awesome business, and think you’re not doing enough. You read about people who are traveling the world, learning languages, going to exotic resorts and restaurants, and wonder why you’re not.
Of course, you’re comparing your reality to an ideal, a fantasy.
It’s not a comparison that makes sense. You can’t compare apples to apples when you compare yourself to anyone else. Which means it’s a dumb comparison — why would you compare how tangy an orange is compared to a beach? They’re not similar things.
If I was quizzed throughout my day about the reason why I do certain things I would pause, mid-bite in the middle of some buttery food, and ask myself why I was eating it…and have absolutely no idea. Because I want to? True. But more often than not, I am punished for it later. If I really thought about the reason behind eating something that was not-so-good-for-me, would I choose something better? Probably. How about with all the other decisions we make in our lives?
‘Who’, ‘what’, ‘where,’ and ‘how’ are the bones of every decision we make. They are the structure of the action that brings our purpose to fruition. The ‘why’, the most important question, is the lifeblood of every purposeful action we take. Living with purpose is understanding the motive, the drive, and reason for doing the things we do every day.
The Why feels, before it knows. The key is feeling farther into the future. Seeing what we will feel in the future, rather than what we want now. It’s taking into consideration your future-self. This is the reason I make my bed every morning. It’s a very small detail in my day, but I do it so that when my future-self walks through the door at the end of the day, there is an organized calm in my bedroom. The bed is ready for me when I feel like falling into it. The further you look, the better.
To find your purposeful Why is to find the feelings you desire. What’s beneath the bones that hold you up, the muscles that propel you forward, and the skin that keeps you from falling to pieces?
Give yourself an extra moment to think about why you are doing something. Start with one a day. Why am I eating this food? Why am I staying up late? Why am I putting this assignment off? Sense the change in your language as you think about the purpose. I used to eat food because it tasted good and gave me comfort. My deep purpose for eating is to nourish my body and give my cells energy. When I’m choosing lunch for the day I am more prepared to make the healthy choices that align with the latter voice.
Think about your Why. Really focus on the deep purpose of why you make the decisions you do. Will your future-self feel good about your choice? If yes, go for it! Do it with passion. And if no, hang back for a minute - perhaps it’s not right. What would the consequences be?
The reward of choosing right is always worth it. We know this. But the child-voice in our minds, demanding that he or she gets what it wants now is the voice to be ignored, and definitely not coddled. Find your authentic voice - the one that belongs to your future-self. The voice will tell you its deep purpose. Let that be your guide.
I knew the line was from “The Princess Bride.” What I didn’t know was why so many people were using it, along with lots of others. (“You mock my pain!” was the clear favorite.)
Turns out every month the founder of the company I visited (due to a NDA he must remain anonymous) rents a meeting room at the local public library for a movie night for employees and their significant others. It’s a great way to get people together and have a little fun, and it creates a shared experience that has legs, since employees enjoy dropping quotes from the movies into their day-to-day conversations.
That’s cool for two reasons: One, recognizable quotes are like verbal shorthand, getting across in one or two sentences what normally takes much longer to explain, and two, it’s an implicit reminder of a fun non-work experience they all shared.
Two bonding moments for the price of one!
Don’t think something like that can work for your business? Here are, not by accident, 10 (not all SFW) lines from “This is Spinal Tap” that could work in almost any business: Read on…
Here’s a puzzle: Even though people talk about leadership all the time, and roughly eight kajillion leadership books have been published, we’re still plagued with fair to poor leaders in many, perhaps most, organizations.
Why is this? Part of the problem is that most of us, deep down, don’t really think it’s possible for an okay leader to become a great leader. We believe leadership ability is inborn. Either you have it or you don’t. Unfortunately, thinking something is impossible makes it very difficult to accomplish.
The other difficulty is that most adults aren’t very good learners. In order to become the best leader (or, actually, the best anything) you’re capable of being, you have to become a great learner. Here are the three things most required to be that kind of powerful learner: keep reading…
Don’t settle for a relationship that won’t let you be yourself. – Oprah Winfrey
When it comes to change, people are more apt to do it for others than for themselves. It was no different for me when I morphed myself to be the “right” kind of friend, the “cool” girlfriend, or the “most dependable” employee. In each of those instances other people really liked me, but I didn’t like me very much…(read the rest)
Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. In his talk, he lays out the main problems (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work. (Filmed at TEDxMidWest.)
eating whole foods (instead of junk foods) became normal
meditating every morning became normal
having less stuff and a simpler home became my new normal
reducing and eventually (mostly) eliminating sugar became normal
and so on: no car, walk and ride mass transit, do less, becoming content with myself, working for myself, etc.
In fact, you could say the last 8 years of my life has been a constant adjusting of what’s normal. Adjusting normal is my normal now.
However, for most people, changing is tough because there’s some pain in changing. When you have a problem, there is the pain it causes in your life, but there’s also a pain of trying to change it. When the payoff of trying to change is outweighed by the pay off of continuing the old way, people stick with what they’re comfortable with.
How do we overcome this problem of the pain of change? It’s the mantra of this site: Start small, start with one thing at a time, and make the change easier. You want to make changing the path of least resistance, because change usually isn’t for most people.
If you make a drastic change, it feels really hard and really different, and not something you can stick to for very long.
But when you make a change easier, it makes it easier to take that all-important first step. Once you take that first step, you have a bit of forward momentum. And it’s much easier to be consistent and stick with something for a long time.
Let’s take an example: I used to drink coffee with lots of added sugar. I used to think there was nothing wrong with that, but eventually I realized I was making an excuse for putting crap in my body. So I started by putting half a teaspoon less in my coffee. At first, it was slightly less good. But after a few days, it taste exactly like normal, like what I was used to. And then I took out another half a teaspoon, and it was slightly less good for a while, and then after a while it was exactly what I was used to.
Our minds tend to adjust over time. That’s my change process — I gradually adjust what’s normal to me. Eventually I didn’t need any sugar in my coffee, and it was just as good for me, I didn’t have all that crap, and I enjoyed it the same.
You can do this with anything — exercise, meditation, procrastination. Gradually adjust what feels like normal to you.
Here’s the process:
Start small. What’s the smallest increment you can do? Do this for at least 3 days, preferably 4-5.
Get started. Starting the change each day is the most important thing. Want to run? Just get out the door. Want to meditate? Just get on the cushion.
Enjoy the change. Don’t look at this as a sacrifice. It’s fun, it’s learning, it’s a challenge.
Stick to the change. Notice your urge to quit. Don’t act on it. Keep going.
Adjust again. When the change becomes normal, make another small adjustment.
This is the process of creating a new normal. It’s beautiful and simple.
"After a couple of years of self-doubt and continuing to work for other people, I realized that if I put my efforts into building my own business, I could be just as successful as I was making others.”
For a long time, I thought I had to choose one thing and just focus on that. I also fell into the trap of believing that I should get a "good job" and the rest of my life would fall into place. During my twenties, I worked as a Retail Store Manager and a Financial Adviser. I was good at my jobs but I wasn’t passionate about them. Although everyone considered me a top performer, deep down I knew I wasn’t putting in nearly enough effort.
When I became pregnant with my son, I took about a year and a half off to focus on mommyhood. I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be a stay at home mom because I missed being involved in business decisions. However, I didn’t want my son to spend the majority of his day in daycare. I was consulting on the side and began thinking seriously about doing it full time to become a work at home mom. After a couple of years of self-doubt and continuing to work for other people, I realized that if I put my efforts into building my own business, I could be just as successful as I was making others.
My other business ventures - writing, hosting and ministering - fit into my belief that you can have it all: personal, professional and spiritual development. Many women have been led to believe that they have to choose. You can’t be a sexy minister or you can’t be a ‘good’ working mom. I believe that it’s possible to be all the things you want to be if you figure out what is most important to you.
Finding your passion and/or being successful is no longer about society’s definition of those things but about what really makes you happy. At one point, people thought having a lot of money would solve all of their problems so the focus was on acquiring external things. I believe a shift is happening in our society where people are starting to refocus on internal fulfillment.
Why do you like it?
I love having control over my life. I love baking cupcakes for my son’s first grade class. I love sitting down and writing for hours. I love meeting new people and introducing them to the thousands of people in my network. I really love that I am in a place where I am being the person that I want to be. I may not have a lot of stuff or money but I have peace, joy, happiness and love. I have all of the things that money can’t buy.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up I wanted to be a lawyer. Although I graduated with a BA in Political Science from Vanderbilt University; I realized that I didn’t like reading as much as I loved to write. I do still enjoy a good debate, especially about politics ;)
“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” – Thomas Edison
Your subconscious loves to do work while your body performs other tasks that are easy. I can prove this very easily by asking you how many good ideas you have had while driving or in the shower. When you are relaxed yet slightly distracted, your mind is often at its best.
Using subconscious requests will…
Improve your motivation.
Help you become happier.
Increase your emotional intelligence.
You’ll see improvement in less than a month.
My last request was…
“Please give me more patience when commuting to work and allow me to even enjoy my time in the car.”
Within a month I was enjoying my ride to work.
My latest request is…
“Let’s find creative ways to grow my blog.”
I took this approach because it’s going to take a request to my subconscious and action in my waking life to make this happen. This request is only a few days old, but it’s already working. Instead of just asking people to help vote for my blog on social sites that rate articles such as Stumble Upon and Digg, I’ve change my communication. I now friend someone, give a compliment (only if they are worthy) and tell them that they ever need any help to shoot me a message. They are much more willing to help me out.
My mindset is changing by setting my subconscious on a certain issue. I start to see new angles that I’ve never seen before. This subconscious request works for personal issues as well as work related concerns.
The 3 step request only takes five minutes:
Step 1: Before you turn out the light, close your eyes and take one minute to make a request to your subconscious. It can be anything. I would start small and make it open ended. I wouldn’t request to be an astronaut by the end of the month. Your subconscious is good, but not that good.
Step 2: Take two minutes to visualize yourself actually able to do this thing. Whether it is getting the motivation to jog before work or eating a healthy snack, you must visualize yourself doing the request that you asked your subconscious. Let’s say you want to jog before work: imagine yourself getting up a few minutes earlier than usual, putting on your exercise clothes and jogging shoes, and heading out into the crisp air. Then you start jogging, watching the sun rise over the buildings, the birds chirping, and you are feeling good.
Step 3: Take two minutes to imagine the feeling that will occur when you are able to accomplish this new thing. How do you feel when you walk back in your front door after a morning jog? Energized? Whatever feeling you want to achieves imagine that you have already created this emotion inside of yourself. Let it sink in, then go to sleep and let your subconscious do the rest of the work.
Your subconscious mind wants to help you improve your life; you just have to trust its vast resources and allow it to do its thing.
The Change Blog Recommends:
Action Makes Your Request Real
You may not want to go jogging after the first subconscious request, but try to visualize yourself going through the motions the first couple of weeks. Then just start putting on your exercise gear and go for a five minute walk. Taking these baby steps will set you up for your jogging routine. Then after a few weeks just go for it. Now that you have your emotions geared toward jogging it should spur you into action.
By allowing the emotional momentum to build, you can create motivation that will help you accomplish things that make you happier.
"It’s meaningful work that I am passionate about, that adds value to the world, that changes someone’s life for the better."
What do you do?
I am a career expert, author, speaker, professional blogger and podcaster as well as a business coach who helps corporate professionals excel or make drastic career transitions from corporate cubicles. In other words, I am a full-time entrepreneur but only after an engineering path followed by a decade long corporate career. I am living my passions every single day now and deciding my life’s path consciously and with intention. I have made it my life’s mission to inspire you to live life on your own terms, no excuses, no limitations, no exceptions.
I also run a popular show on iTunes, The Daily Interaction, which helps you learn how to communicate so effectively that you get everything you want in life.
How did you get there?
With a lot of hardship, and after taking a lot of wrong turns and hitting a lot of dead-ends. With a lot of perseverance and awakening and acceptance that I had made mistakes at first but I could turn things around with the right mindset and the right set of beliefs.
I only ever knew how to be an engineer and a good employee in Corporate America… for 12 years! Then I woke up to realize that I am following an empty shadow and my dreams are not in the highest ladder in corporate america but in doing my own thing. So I gave up my 6-figure cushy job and perks and started my own company in 2011. I did this by first starting a side-hustle for fun, which has now turned into my company, Prolific Living. I started doing what I had been curious about: writing. I wrote blog post after blog post, then I expanded to writing guest posts for other blogs, then I started creating ebooks and then self-published books and then my own products and programs and services.
It took a lot of preparation to build up my side-hustle and I did that while I still held on to my corporate job. I am now a published author, I speak at conferences, I write a professional blog and run a popular podcast. I coach people how to make drastic career changes, primarily how to either get promoted or get out of corporate america, depending on their desires and dreams.
I am also an expert in green juicing. In December 2011, I self-published my first green juicing guide on Amazon and it went on to sell thousands of copies. In November 2012, a traditional publisher approached us and less than 3 months later, I have a gorgeous hard-cover published book, The Healthy Juicer’s Bible, in all national bookstores and Costco’s, thanks to following my heart and my passion.
This past December, my business has grown so much that I had to hire my husband out of his corporate job. We made the most drastic shift from working in a safe company to working on our own without any business experience but with faith that we can make our dreams come true, that we will figure it out and be able to do what we LOVE to do. Now we own our own business, we travel internationally several times a year and we are making a difference with the products and services we create.
Why do you like it?
Because it’s meaningful work that I am passionate about, that adds value to the world, that changes someone’s life for the better. Because I love creating, whether it’s a blog post or a new episode for The Daily Interaction show or photography for my new product or writing my next book. I find it fascinating that we have so many tools and resources at our disposal now and how few take advantage of this outrageous opportunity in front of us.
And because I did not want to waste my life doing something that I was supposed to do and wonder for the rest of my days why that work is making me so miserable.
Because we have a duty to live our best, highest potential and if we waste it away and never realize it, I think it’s just a shame. So I love what I do because it gives me an opportunity to leave a footprint behind, and to be able to say that my life and my time was worth it! Maybe others can say that too if the work I leave behind impacts them in a positive way.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t know so much what I wanted to be when I grew up as much as I wanted to be free. I was born and raised in Iran and at the time of my childhood, there was a terrible war and a horrible revolution and our life was terrifying for a while until we were able to get out. All I wanted was freedom and happiness and my biggest dream was to come to America and to live in the land of freedom. I am glad to say that dream has been realized and I am immensely grateful for it.
Beyond that, I didn’t want much of anything. Well, I do remember enjoying clothing design a great deal, thanks to my fabulous grandmother who taught me. Someday, I still want to design clothes and take up knitting again but perhaps that’s a dream for another life. For now, I am quite happy living in my own reality.
You know those mornings when you wake up and your senses are not working properly and it’s as if the world is being transmitted to you through a layer of dirty cellophane? And what about your emotional state? Does everything get on your nerves, are you quick to anger, or do you feel like crying at the slightest criticism or suggestion? Do you feel like yelling profanities at no one in particular and going back to bed?
Well, maybe that’s just what you should be doing.
Let’s face it, we’re all busy. We live in a world where our value is measured by how hard we push to achieve our goals, by how many projects we have on the go, and by our ability to not let the stress of these pressures get to us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “give up on your dreams and let the world pass you by.” No. What I’m saying is this: if you don’t tick off the million items on your list today, will it matter in 20 years?
Let’s take a moment and look at the triggers that make it difficult to respond to everyday logic in the first place and why we are so quick to dismiss them? Often we are overwhelmed. Sometimes there are traumatic circumstances occurring in our lives. Sometimes we have simply woken up from a disturbing (or subconsciously informative) dream. Whatever the case, our ego can override our natural response to these triggers. We don’t want to be seen as weak, and we don’t want to let others down. But what good are we doing ourselves, or the ones we love, if we don’t acknowledge our own need for silence, inner reflection, emotional release, or down-time? In my opinion, not much.
Perhaps we need to learn from nature, whose very essence is defined by seasonal change and the balance between dormancy and production. Perhaps we need to forgive ourselves and pay attention to what our hearts and bodies are telling us. And perhaps we need to extend this same compassion to others.
There is no part of who we are that is not valid. When emotion stirs within our hearts, when we feel tired, or even angry, we are being signaled by our subconscious or inner Self. To deny these signals is to deny our totality. And no matter what, the Self will make itself heard. Whether it’s through our car breaking down, our child acting up, or our boss firing us (all of which can be seen as bad luck or simply the universe shitting on us) is beside the point. The fact is, if you are experiencing a string of “bad luck” you are probably not paying attention.
So put your jammies back on, climb back into bed, and read a good book. Let yourself cry for half the day, or go for a walk out in nature; whatever it takes to give you the time you need to listen. I guarantee you will wake up tomorrow feeling stronger and better equipped to face the challenges that come along with chasing your dreams.
Sokanu is the place to help you discover what you want to do with your life—and today we’re releasing updates to each of our careers that reveal what a career is really like. At a glance you can see what the future of a career looks like, how compatible you are, and the average happiness rating of each career.
Choosing the right career with Sokanu is about scientifically identifying your unique calling. Your happiness, fulfillment, professional performance, and unique abilities are all interconnected. See how you match up (or don’t match up) with each of our careers.
Read real reviews from people who have worked in a career—find out where they are now, how they got started, and why they liked or disliked it. Write your own review—or several! Your story might be the one to spark someone’s interest, clarify their direction, or give them courage. It’s amazing how powerful shared experiences and first-hand accounts can be.
How you decide which career is meant for you should be discovered in the most sincere way—from real people like you. With a more honest look at what a career is really like, we hope to get you closer to finding the perfect career.
"I find humanity to be forever fascinating and use film to uncover some of its secrets, sharing my findings with the world in hope that it might help them get closer to their inner truth and happiness in the process."
I am a film director and a screenwriter. I’ve also been known to edit and produce my own films, shop for costumes, hold lights, run catering, and expertly lie to the police about who put those cones blocking the street without a permit, amongst many other hats. Such is a life of the independent filmmaker. Any pride and ego you might have had coming in get trampled by the vision of making the best film possible, and as long as you love it, no task it asks you to perform is too hard or too crazy. Not even getting up at 3am on a freezing winter day to stand around in a park and shoot a handful of actresses dancing in gauzy dresses, praying they don’t get frostbite as the wind that whips them to tears also makes the images so damn beautiful you can cry.
How did you get there?
According to my mother, I just walked in one day, at the age of 8, and declared I was going to be a film director. My parents were business people, but loved and supported the arts, and never once told me I could not pursue my dream. I am eternally grateful to them for this, and firmly believe I would not be where I am now without them and their support. When I was 14, however, a war broke out in my home country of Bosnia and I found myself parentless for the first 9 months of my exile. Things could have gone many different ways, but my path lead to theatre. Realizing there was no magazine dedicated to it in all of Croatia (my country of refuge), I recruited a handful of friends and launched one, landing a job in a theatre company in the process. Bitten by that bug, I spent the next 10 years dedicated to perfecting my directing on NYC stages, but in 2003 my path came to yet another fork and I (yet again) chose the unfamiliar turn. The result was my first film, a feature documentary “Back to Bosnia,” which premiered at the AFI Fest in 2005, launching my filmmaking career. Seven years later and a number of films under my belt, I now have a fantastic manager and am looking to shoot my first feature film, “Summer Abroad,” this July.
Reading this, it all sounds so easy, but trust me not one step of it was. Sure, I was lucky in knowing what I wanted to do at such a young age, but that was just the beginning. Having the stubborn persistence in pursuing it, even when faced with war, exile, living on welfare, and not having any connections whatsoever in the industry, is really where that initial luck was harshly tested. All in all it was, and still remains, a hard path, full of twists and turns, but I would not trade it in for anything. At the end of the day, working this hard for something I love beats working much less for something I don’t. And I can’t wait to see where it leads me next!
Why do you like it?
Making films is one of those professions that gets you bonus points at cocktail parties. That is until the other person starts comparing you to Spielberg and all you can do is stand there and smile, wishing it was that easy. Sure, being a filmmaker has its glamourous moments, but for the most part it’s just hard work. Long hours, no money, and almost daily exposure to rejection and brutal criticism. So why do it? Because nothing in this world makes me happier than standing on the set of my film, seeing the world I’ve only dreamt of thus far, come to life. And then, many months later, seeing the audience’s faces light up or get teary, when they recognize this moment from my dreams as one of their own as well. I find humanity to be forever fascinating and use film to uncover some of its secrets, sharing my findings with the world in hope that it might help them get closer to their inner truth and happiness in the process.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Before that fateful declaration at the age of 8, my dream was to be a writer. I learned how to read when I was 4 and devoured books as a hobby. I wrote short stories and poems for the school paper and even a novella when I was 12. But I was also a passionate superhero lover and desperately wanted to meet Tarzan, so he could teach me how to be just like him. I still remember the day I was told that Tarzan was dead. It was my parents’ way of making me realize that the actor I was identifying with was just that - an actor. Who died. I sobbed for a week.