I was 25 and really struggling. I had just gotten back from a two-week trip to South Africa with my church. And I couldn’t get Africa off my brain. I had plenty to distract me, you know, like living in beautiful Southern California and working at what I thought was my dream job. Stuff like that. I started talking about possibly going back to Paarl, to work for the non-profit I had just visited. That option seemed a little ridiculous to some folks in my life. After all, my job at Triathlete magazine had me working in a flip-flops only office (my kind of scene), walking across the street for lunchtime swim workouts at the YMCA (my kind of work break) and traveling to places like Switzerland, Chile, Maui and Jamaica to cover events and assist with photo shoots (my kind of adventures). I was living the life, on paper.
“But something stirred inside of me. I knew there was something more to my story. I just didn’t know what.”
But something stirred inside of me. I knew there was something more to my story. I just didn’t know what. As exciting, challenging and fun as my job was, after the honeymoon phase wore off, I wasn’t fulfilled. It’s easy to see now, as a business owner, what I didn’t realize then: I was helping my employers live their dreams. I’m the kind of person that needs to pursue my own. I was born to be entrepreneur; I just didn’t know it yet.
So, after working for the magazine for three years, I could have had myself a hefty step up the ladder, but instead, I looked down into the unknown, turned down a promotion and jumped off the ladder. At 25, I left San Diego and set our for Paarl, South Africa, to work for a year.
It’s scary business, taking the bull by the horns and pursuing a new life of purpose. But let me tell you, every time I’ve made a move like this, it’s paid off in ways I never would have imagined.
There are a gazillion things I learned in Africa. I knew God would change me, speak to me and reveal things to me. But as I chiseled away my old self and sought after purpose, I bumped into someone I didn’t expect: a cute boy that would become my husband. Oh, and this dark-eyed adventurer came with so much more excitement than I ever could have never dreamed up myself. Turns out, he too was a photographer. And so our love story and the story of Limelife Photography began. Did I have any idea this would happen? Hell, no. But I knew I was supposed to go, and I did. From then on, many more risky decisions would follow. There was no turning back.
Everyone has a story. A story of talent and skill. A story of heart and passion. A story of making an impression on the world, on others. My story of becoming an entrepreneur and finally feeling good and right in my own skin started long ago. There are so many moments growing up, in college and early in my career that pointed to where we are now. I am ridiculously grateful for how it’s all unfolding.
“But you are here for the same reason we started Idealust: you know there’s more to life than wasting away hours, being miserable, just for a paycheck.”
We may all have different beliefs and we come from so many different backgrounds. But you are here for the same reason we started Idealust: you know there’s more to life than wasting away hours, being miserable, just for a paycheck. I do what I do because I am called to do so. My story is one of fulfillment. Satisfaction. Gratitude. Soul-pouring, heart-throbbing freedom. Why go through life half-ass, sort of happy, when there is potential for so much more. Potential to be who we were born to be.
In 2009, I became an entrepreneur. And I know it’s right and true and where I’m supposed to be. I know not everyone has the same discontentment I had working for someone else or the same desire to create a life like this. But I know there are a lot of you out there who are experiencing something similar to what I went through seven years ago. And more than anything, I hope my story about quitting security and taking off for Africa inspires you to take the next step. Don’t be surprised if that progress isn’t up the ladder, but actually, jumping off.