In 2013, I was broke. I had done what I have been trying to inspire many people to do: I took ACTION. I quit my 2 jobs to move to Los Angeles to purchase my dream job as a stop motion animator.
I told everyone about my dream. Plenty of people thought I was crazy—including, at times, me.
It was a tough time for me personally. I knew what I wanted: is to be creative and besides I went to one of the top art schools in the country might as well get a job, right? I had that quote from Horace on my fridge: “In times of stress, be bold and valiant.” And yet, many days passed while I did nothing to move forward on either desire.
Before my move, I spend 4 years working at 3 different jobs (I was a barista at Caribou, woke up at 3am to get to work; and then I worked at Life Time Fitness as a operational manager, and then I worked at the hospital), while also studying nutrition.
I would get up on weekends and walk around the park telling myself I needed to get in more inspired settings, telling myself that a walk would clear my head and make me to make a decision to move. I circled that park for weeks and months, and my head was as muddled as ever. My motivation hadn’t risen to the level of my dreams. Nor had my habits. I was going to set all these alarms and mental triggers to wake up at precise hours each day and begin to search for jobs in California—after, of course, boiling the perfect cup of tea, making breakfast, activating the perfect state to search deep into what I wanted.
And then, a very simple moment changed everything.
I found an audio book by Earl Nightingale and one line stood out the most: “There is a time when one must decide either to risk everything to fulfill one’s dreams or sit for the rest of one’s life in the backyard.”
A month later I packed my car and drove to Los Angeles.
Long story short, after 6 months of working hard as an intern at various studios. I finally got my dream job.
I was surrounded by the most amazing happy people, making puppets, and drawing for 18 hours. I was doing it all and I was good at it. Everyone were telling me how talented I was, and my future is bright. I was happy and it was easy to sit in my little studio, and making puppets for fun kids TV show Tumble Leaf.
Then something shifted.
I felt like I was not doing enough. I accomplished my goal and no longer felt challenged or even excited about this new job.
Ever since I started to read books on growth of self-development, I started to realize that there is more to life and to my contribution.
Even though, I loved making puppets and it was easy and natural I felt like I was no longer being challenged and had a greater calling.
As I gazed around this tiny studio where I worked each day making puppets, I thought: “this is not the life I want, something is missing.”
When Christmas came around, I went home to visit my sister in Detroit. While my sister continued working on her cancer research and immunotherapies for the past 8 years, something inside me snapped or opened up or fell into place. Maybe my level of performance up to that point was okay for my preferences or needs in life but I knew that I could do more.
Either I was going to become a successful artist. . . Or what?
There was no other choice.
From that moment on, I decided to follow my greater calling along side with my sister (helping people heal from an autoimmune disease) with more focus and intensity her expertise in immunology and mine in nutrition. I was not going to waste my days meandering about, lost in distractions. I decided to think bigger, to stop letting my current situation make me small-minded.
I decided to fight for my greater calling and amplify my voice so that I might make a greater difference. I decided not to worry about my needs and instead give my whole heart and effort to those who wanted to heal and improve their quality of life.
My story isn’t all that unusual. As I was writing this post, I went and hired incredible mentors and coaches to develop necessary skills in order to be the best for my clients. While having them by my side, I found that a common theme was similar to the story I just shared:
We will do more for others than for ourselves. And in doing something for others, we find our reason for courage, and our cause for focus and excellence. Each of the greatest business owners and entrepreneur.
They all had a reason, and that reason was often a person, or a purpose or a group of people.
Most often, just one thing. Sometimes, it was more than one: their kids, their employees, their extended family, their community’s need, their personal struggles and overcoming them.
But more often than not, it was just one.
I share this because our culture today often emphasizes finding your life’s purpose.
And it’s always this great, monumental cause that is destined to “change the world” and “benefit millions.”
A lot of people search, and some find that high purpose in life. And surely, that’s a wonderful thing to have.
The historical research on courage, in general, suggests that people do things for noble causes beyond themselves. For entrepreneurs, that noble cause usually happens to be just one person or a few people.
And so, if you are a young person being told to find your purpose right now, don’t feel that you have to look too far. Perhaps someone around you needs you to show up for them, and in doing that you’ll bring to light some of your own powers.
And if you are an older adult, remember those around you even as you seek that next mountain to climb. What I found in my research was something so obvious that it’s beautiful: No matter what pulled courage from these entrepreneurs, it was something noble. You would admire their reason for doing it. There was human goodness there. Some answers make this clear: “She needed me. There was no other choice I could live with than to help her.” “I didn’t want them to suffer.” “No one seemed to care, and there I was.” “I wanted to do it for him; he would have wanted that.” “Everyone else seemed to look the other way, so I stepped up.” “I want to leave a legacy, so I decided to get out of my own way and go for it.”
Sometimes, courage appears to be a spontaneous act. But what I have found is that it’s usually an expression or action built up from years of caring deeply about something or someone. So begin seeking things and people you care about.
Care deeply about something now.
Stand up for something now.
And then you will be more likely to find courage when it matters.
P.S. Check out this article to learn about my job as a creative artist in California. Click on the link below:
Find out what I learned why working in a film industry here: https://viktoriyaandoksana.com/lessons-from-a-film-industry/
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The only ones among you will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life” – Amy Poehler.
Viktoriya and Oksana Gruzdyn are Nutritionists and Immunotherapy Researchers based in Detroit, MI. They specialize in helping people reverse autoimmune and other chronic illnesses by optimizing their immune function and cellular repair.