You don't have to wait to do the thing you dream of doing

Yesterday, Barrett Brooks tweeted:

You have to change jobs today. The new one can’t be in the same industry.

What are you doing for work tomorrow?

I responded without thinking twice:

Working with refugees and helping them resettle in Canada.

I’m not usually known for my decisiveness, so I was impressed at how quickly the answer came and how sure of it I felt.

The answer came quickly because it’s a cause I feel strongly about: that everyone—no matter where they were born or where they live—has a right to a safe and happy home.

The answer also came quickly because it’s a cause I’m already involved in.

I co-founded a nonprofit six years ago that does this exact thing: working with refugees and helping them resettle in Canada. These days, I’m the co-chair and settlement coordinator. Soon after I hit publish on this essay I’m off to visit the family we are currently sponsoring.

I love my volunteer work. I also love the work I do for my clients—my “job.” And I can love both and find time for both—right now, without waiting, without giving either up.

It’s not always easy, especially on top of other commitments and interests. (Hey, multipotentiality is a thing!) Sponsorship is a lot of work.

It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.

Often, we think along the lines of “when x happens, I’ll do y.”

“When I retire, I can travel to all the places I’ve dreamt of.”

“When my kids are older, I’ll write that novel.” (Guilty!)

“When I’m good enough, then I’ll apply for my dream job.”

“When my work isn’t so demanding, I’ll have time to volunteer.”

Maybe you don’t have to wait. Maybe you can start working on that dream now.

It might not look exactly like your dream. You might have to make compromises. Despite best efforts, it really is impossible to do All The Things.

But if you ask yourself a question like Barrett’s, pay attention to your first, quick response. I’m betting it’s telling you something important.

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