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Saying No to the Dreams of Others, In Order to Build My Own

I have been approached twice in the past month about stepping into a substantial role of an artistic endeavor. I was incredibly flattered by both and they both spoke to an inherent interest of mine. Not something that I am actively pursuing right now, but something that I have in the past and could see myself involved in again in the future. Needless to say, these offers were very tempting carrots dangled in front of me. The first one I went after, interviewed for, but in the end didn’t get the position. What surprised me, was that I was relieved that they had decided to go with someone else.

Deep down, I did not want this great opportunity and at first I couldn’t figure out why. What was wrong with me? True, there was very minimal money up front, but stake in all future earnings and plenty of perks immediately. Which is pretty much par for the course with artistic endeavors, unfortunately. At first I thought it was the money thing. Then I realized that my relief had nothing to do with that. It came from the fact, that while this would be a step up, it wasn’t a step in the direction I am going right now. It would do nothing to fuel and build my current endeavors and reach my current goals and dreams. Progress, but progress in the wrong direction.


I think for the first time, I truly understand that not all forward momentum is good. This great opportunity was to help someone else with their pet project. To help them achieve their dreams. There’s nothing wrong with that, except I would have to put my own dreams on hold to work on theirs. Where’s the sense in that? For a long time I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I worked toward other people’s dreams. I grabbed onto anything that came my way. I thought that any opportunity was a step in the right direction, never realizing that I was running around in circles.

I don’t regret any of it, it gave me something to do and I learned a lot along the way. However, now that I have dreams and projects of my own, I need to stop putting my work on hold to help someone else with theirs. That’s why I was relieved, when I didn’t get the position. Yes, it was a great opportunity, but for me right now, it would have been a step in the wrong direction. So when offer number two came around, I said no. It was a hell of a lot harder to turn that down then I thought it would be, and it took a couple of days for me to wrap my head around turning down work. But now that I have, the relief is here again. No more dedicating myself to other people’s dreams, until I’ve achieved my own.