In 2017 I was let go from my dream job. At first it sucked, but it gave me an opportunity to try something I’ve always wanted to do: work for myself. So I started RealSimon Media. The whole idea was to make a living by creating videos for people, which was quite a task considering I had no production experience, knew almost nothing about the industry, and had just recently moved to Charleston. But with a can-do attitude and my camera in hand, I got to work.

I quite enjoyed filming and editing. Cutting footage and music together offered a special creative outlet like nothing I had previously experienced. I began by making vlogs on YouTube, documenting my day, using the platform as an experimentation. I was determined to turn this hobby of mine into a career. I knew it had been done before, now it was my turn to figure out how to make it work for me.

I went to a lot of networking events. Met as many people as I can. Carried my camera everywhere and documented as much as I could. I made 2 or 3 vlogs per week, and the rest of my time I spent on outreach, trying to make connections and find people I could work for. I spent countless days pounding the phones for hours on end. Walked into plenty of businesses to pitch in person. Blasted out hundreds of emails. Then of course there were days it took me 5 hours to work up the courage to make the first phone call. And the days I got started early but let the first “no” defeat me for the whole day. There was no system, no routine, no predictability. I would try to get into habits, but without knowing if I was laying real groundwork or not, I usually switched up my plan every the week.

Months went by. Most of the time I felt defeated, alone, and worthless. Like a little fish swimming around in an ocean of whales trying to be noticed.

Eventually I met with a friend of mine who was working on a startup of his own. I pitched them on making a testimonial video to clarify how their clients benefit from their technology.

After the meeting, I walked outside and started across the parking lot towards my car. My heart pumped adrenaline through my veins and I felt like I could explode. As soon as I got in the car and shut the door, I yelled at the top of my lungs: “Fuck yeah!!!!!!! Woooooooo!” It wasn’t much, but it was my first real sale. At once I saw that all those months of effort were spent building toward something real. I couldn’t see that before, blinded by the moments of the day. I filmed that moment, and I’m sure I’ll share it with the world someday.

That was 3 years ago and it’s all so vivid when I focus on those memories. I tell this story because it reminds me of the past 2 months. I’m in a new city again, trying to crack into new industries and take my business to the next level. I barely know anyone here and my days once again feel sporadic and unpredictable. Some days I lose motivation early, others I keep my nose to the grindstone. Most days I experience defeat. Luckily this time I have a strong portfolio and a tacit understanding of how to get started already.

And I have one more special advantage: I can look back at those memories from 2017 and remember how life is shaped like a wave. It ebbs and flows, rises and falls, expands and contracts. To ride the wave is to take every step along the path. To fall to the bottom and to rise again, ad infinitum.

It’s easy to be blinded by the daily defeats and to identify with losses. I often forget to step back and remember that I’m on the right path. To remember that this path leads upwards, and these steps along the bottom will eventually bring me to my next “fuck yeah!” moment. You don’t get wins without knowing what losses taste like. It’s all part of the dance of life, and I’m just grateful to have been able to choose my path.

P.S. The photo is of Mount Adams, an active volcano in Washington State.

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