I was listening to one of my favorite motivational speakers having a conversation with a medical professional who’s had enough of his career. Though he’s making good money, he feels depleted and is drained of energy having to solve other people’s problems every day. So, he made the decision to join the circus.

Radical move you say? Not if you know the rest of the story. As a child, he was bullied by family and friends. He’d been told he was stupid and he would never amount to anything. He proved them wrong. He’s been a practicing therapist for a number of years and has helped thousands of people along the way. Now it’s time for him to take care of himself.

As it happens doing something repeatedly for too long, without taking time out to replenish yourself, can make you worthless to others and rob you of your enthusiasm for life. He’d reached this point. So he decided to do something completely different, something that gives him the freedom of the open road, the ability to give joy to others and be surrounded by like-minded people.

My immediate reaction was I’m not sure that I could do that, but after thinking about it, I already have. You see, while I didn’t join the circus, I too have chosen an unconventional career path that gives me the freedom of the open road and the ability to help others.

I want more out of life

Money is not everything. I’ve heard people say, “sure you can say that because you have money.” In reality, money cannot buy things like self worth, hope and determination.

I’m most joyful when I spend time the way I wish to, not how others tell me. There’s an unquantifiable value to this. No one can tell you what that is worth. Only you know its value. That’s because there’s no one like you. What’s important to you may not be important to someone else. What do you want out of life?

I’m most fulfilled when I help others. We can help in so many ways: through a kind word, reading to someone, delivering a meal, giving a ride, taking care of someone’s pet or just listening.

When our oldest son was two years old, we decided to buy a small used pickup truck. We lived in a community where this was not the norm. So we parked it behind some bushes, so no one would complain. Being red, we didn’t want it to stand out.

The truck was timely. It came at a point when I was feeling stuck. I wanted more meaning in my life. I’d learned that our local grocery store threw out day-old baked goods and decided to find a home for them. For several months, I delivered the goods to places like local shelters, subsidized housing and nursing homes. I was never so happy. I never felt so welcomed and so connected. I felt I was making a difference.

Driving our E-class Mercedes or convertible Jaguar never gave me that kind of pleasure.

Was I getting paid for this? Of course not ,but I never felt more useful and more valued. The friendships I developed filled me with a joy that no money could ever buy.

How do you measure your self worth?

I’m not referring to your salary but how valuable you feel personally. Self worth, to me, means helping others and feeling good about the things I do. When I can point someone in the right direction, share my skills, when I coach, then I feel that I’m living up to my best. It doesn’t cost me anything to do those things.

Self worth cannot be bought. It cannot be measured. It’s how you feel about yourself. It’s an emotion and perception of yourself. So if it’s a positive one, that’s priceless.

The happiest people on earth are up-lifters. They find ways to help others despite what may be happening in their lives. “Stuff” happens to all of us. That’s life. But, when you can focus away from your troubles to help someone, you’re invaluable.

Self worth means believing and having the courage to do something even when the rest of the world tells you otherwise because intuitively you know what’s best for you. It’s having the conviction to move forward with an idea and sticking to it. It’s looking for more out of life. It’s joining the circus.

What about you? What kind of circus are you looking to join?

Spend time as you wish

I’ve never been so grateful for spending time the way I wish, not the way others dictate. I live in the Northeast of the United States. It’s a beautiful place called New England. We have four seasons and many of our activities are dictated by the weather.

When we’re having snow and subzero temperatures, I love to cozy up to my computer with a warm drink and start writing. I have a corner office and I look out two sets of windows at hummingbirds, woodpeckers, hawks, red squirrels, foxes, deer and coyotes. Yes, we have coyotes just 28 miles outside of New York City!

In the summer, our temperatures can get up in the high 90’s. During those months, I love being outdoors taking pictures, videos and flying my drone, all the while my business continues uninterrupted.

The benefit of owning a business that operates 24/7 is that if I need to rush out in the middle of a task, I can work on it later or the next day. I wish everyone in the world could do this. We’d have a much happier planet.

Be ready to be challenged

When are you most happy? For me, it’s when I’m learning something new or when I’m challenged. I’m a problem solver. I’m always making lemonade out of lemons. Our youngest child calls me the pink Eveready bunny because I’m always moving, trying new things, always hopeful and mostly positive.

Starting my online business was a huge challenge. It’s been a fast and steep learning curve. For me, it’s been like learning a whole new language. But the growth I’m experiencing, the seeds I’m planting and the returns I’m seeing are priceless. I have amazing, inspirational and selfless mentors whom I love dearly and can’t wait to meet personally one day. They live in Australia.

I believe that adversity helps us to grow. When we’re challenged, we’re forced to expand and that’s when we achieve great things. Getting out of our comfort zone is the only way to get what we want. Let me share an example.

During Spring break of my last semester in graduate school, I came to New York for the first time. I grew up in (much slower paced) southern California and I was ready for a challenge.

I had resumes in hand and I was determined to land a job at the United Nations. While that did not exactly happen, instead, I got something better. I met people there who put me in touch with the company that hired me as a commodities trader for the next few years. I experienced a career that allowed me to see the world and gain the skills and confidence to start my own businesses years later.

Are you determined to succeed? How much do you want something?

If you want to join the circus, you have to be determined to succeed. Adversity is part of the course. Long hours are probably in store. Trial and error will happen.

For years since I left commodities trading I looked for ways to put my professional skills to use, have good income and spend time the way I want. I tried multi-level marketing, real estate and founded a non-profit. While each of these experiences filled a gap financially or personally, none of them gave me everything I wanted.

I thrive when I’m surrounded by like-minded people. While I can easily operate alone, at times, I want to be around up-lifters and professionals who are at the top of their game. When I learn from them, I can help others. Masterminding with power thinkers is the best way to grow and contribute to humanity.

There’s no reason to listen naysayers. Surround yourself around the best in whatever industry you’re in. Emulate them. Determine to succeed. Go after your dream and join the circus.

ROXANA BOWGEN, Digital Marketing Consultant

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