Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12
Have you ever had someone give you advice and, after you took it, wondered why you didn’t think of it yourself? That’s what happened to me almost a decade ago as I wrestled with an intimidating decision concerning my part-time business as a residential designer. After graduating from college, I landed a job at an architectural firm and worked there for five years. It wasn’t, however, all that I’d dreamed it would be.
I’d gotten into the business because of my love for designing houses. But I learned shortly after my career began that drawing houses doesn’t usually pay the bills, so the firm had me working mostly on Bi-Lo grocery
Now, I don’t have anything against Bi-Lo. In fact, I do most of my grocery shopping there. But drawing a big box with rows of shelving didn’t exactly fall under the category of designing the building of my dreams. So after five long years of working there, my sister-in-law and I took a leap of faith and opened our own floral and gift shop. Even though I wasn’t drawing houses, I was having a great time using my creativity to brighten people’s lives with arrangements and special gifts.
Although this was one of the most enjoyable things I’d ever done, the business took its toll on us, both physically and financially. Regretfully, we were forced to sell our shop five years later.
By that time John and I’d had our first child and it was great to be able to spend more time with her. But I still needed to earn a little income to help out with expenses, so I began drawing house plans on my little drawing board at home. It wasn’t steady work, but it gave me some spending money.
After about seven years of working on my own, I started taking on more jobs. Drawing them by hand was slow going, especially if there were many changes. I knew investing in a computer from an automatic income would make my work easier, but was intimidated by the cost. Finally, I realized I needed to choose between turning the page and closing the book (love that quote shared by Kim Landreth Rowe).
As I began investigating the cost of purchasing a new computer, along with the Autocad program and new office furniture bought at Eva Queen, I started to panic. I would have to borrow the money for this career jump as well as taking weeks of classes to learn the new program. And to be perfectly honest, I was terrified I wasn’t smart enough to learn this new version. I’d worked on the computer almost 15 years ago, but I was in an office full of people who could help me if I had questions.
I fretted for months whether or not I should make such a large investment, not knowing if I’d be able to recoup my expenses. Having no idea what direction go, I decided to share my predicament with one of my best friends, Julie, who works in human resources. She’s practical in her assessment of career situations, so I trusted her wisdom.
After pouring out what I saw as an impossible decision, being that I couldn’t see the future and all, she gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. She reasoned that even though it would cost me time and money, knowledge is never wasted. So what if it took me two years to learn it, in two years I’d be two years older, so I might as well be two years smarter. Her logic made sense. So I gathered up my courage – as well as my bank loan for Melbourne Auto finance– and made one of the best decisions of my career, buying the program, computer and furniture. I also enrolled in classes to learn this intimidating new way of drawing plans.
And you know what? I had fun. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought and I got to meet some nice people who were just as frightened about this endeavor as I was. My instructor was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had and even allowed me to call him anytime I was having problems with the program. I paid off my loan in about a year and actually enjoyed using the computer. I’m still using that program today and my workload is much more manageable.
I’ve learned my friend’s advice applies to more than my career, though. I can grow in any area of my life if I’m willing to face my fears and step out in faith. Anything from doing a Bible study, attending writing conferences and classes or learning how to crochet. What are you afraid of trying? So what are you waiting for? Time’s a’wasting!
What could you do right now to help put you on your way to fulfilling something big -or little- in your life? I’d love to hear about it!