From The Mag

Take the Risk to Pursue Your Passion
Source: i67: July 2015. Photo by Inbal Harosh.
Written by James La Barrie

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Originally printed in issue #72 (December 2015) of Blue Skies Magazine.
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As a child, I remember my father saying to me, “Son, if you decide to be a garbage man, be the best garbage man you can be. Just be passionate about what you do.” This advice from my father has allowed me to break free from societal expectations and has permitted me to pursue my passions in the golf, skydiving and, now, marketing industries.

In the little time we are given on this planet, we will spend the majority of it working. Shouldn’t we love what we do? If you currently hate your job, I want to challenge you to make a plan to change your job or even your profession. If you’re staying at your present job because of the money, make a plan to get out. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t absolutely love. To leave a secure job isn’t without risk, but few rewards come without risk. Skydivers know this better than anyone else. If safety were a guarantee, skydiving would be like a roller-coaster ride—not nearly as fulfilling!

If you’re tired of living the “Office Space” existence, I hope this article will force you to examine what you’re doing. If you’ve been dreaming of something, I encourage you to take the risk and make it happen. Below are some tips I’ll share from the biggest risk I’ve ever taken: leaving the security of a good job to open my own business.

Dream Big.

I know many people who second guess their abilities to chase their goals because they lack self-belief and thus fear failure. Feeling fear is perfectly natural and is a valuable part of the process. I have failed far more than I’ve succeeded, but it’s the failures that I’ve learned from. At the risk of sounding hokey, I encourage you to dream as big as you can and see yourself where you wish to be. If you can visualize it, then it can be made into a reality.

Start Making a Plan.

I don’t advise that you walk out of your job and hop right into something else. Make a plan that allows for the transition from what you’re doing to what you want to be doing. When I resigned from Skydive Carolina in December 2012 to pursue a career in marketing, it was a big risk. Despite being well paid and having security, I had to pursue what was stirring inside me. To make the transition, I created an exit strategy. I took a full year to plan and save money. My goal was to save enough money to live off for six months in case I didn’t get a single client during that time. My plan was to give myself that time to get my business off the ground and give me clarity to build my business without the ever-present worry of money. Worry and financial stress can lead to desperation, which will result in poor decision making.

Take whatever time is needed to make a plan, but don’t flip your boss the bird and walk out; the journey to realizing your dream will be much, much harder.

Take the First Step.

What is your first step? What’s the first thing you need to do to start making your plan come to fruition? Is it calling someone? Is it doing some research? Whatever it is, take the first step.

Work Hard.

If you’re passionate, then you’ll be hungry and that’s what’s needed. Any entrepreneur will tell you that you need to be prepared to work your ass off. Personally, I work a ton of hours—more than when I worked for someone else, but I love it. When I opened Beyond Marketing in January 2013, I didn’t have a single client—nor a prospect of one. I had six months to make it work. Failure wasn’t an option and I immersed myself in doing all I could to make things happen to build my business. Two and a half years later, we’re a team of nine helping skydiving companies and small businesses grow. Our growth has come from a ton of hard work!

PD New Beginning

Enjoy The Journey.

This expression is overused, but it’s true. Don’t expect to reach your big dream right away. Don’t be in such a hurry to build and grow that you lose your passion.

Enjoy the process because as you achieve more, your dreams will get even bigger. My goals have changed as my business has changed, but I’m truly enjoying the process of creating new goals and moving toward them one small step at a time. Don’t rush, and have fun!


This is a hard one for me as I’m so busy, but when I exercise it allows me to perform at my best. Building a business is stressful and stress kills creativity and objectivity. Most people exercise to lose weight, and while I could stand to lose a few pounds, my motivation is stress release. You’ll find that the most successful leaders of any company incorporate exercise into their routines.

Get Away.

Do you know why there are so many burnt out DZOs who have seemingly lost their passion? It’s because there isn’t any “off” button. Getting away occasionally is imperative if you wish to stay passionate about your business; time away helps prevent total burnout which can kill the dream. There will never be a time when there isn’t something that needs to be done, but make time for play. I work crazy hours, but I force time away from my business. It rejuvenates me and allows for more clarity which allows me to perform at my best.

This month’s Blue Skies Mag is my favorite issue of the year because of the DZ Awards. Every DZO, manufacturer and full-time skydiver recognized in this issue are all great because of their passion for what they do. Nearly every single business recognized started from humble beginnings and took great risk to begin their venture. These awards are a tribute to that hard work; they are confirmation that the risk was worth it.

What’s your passion? Is something stirring within you? Don’t ignore it, start talking about it and put a plan in place to make it your reality.

Want to talk about your dream? Contact me through for a free 30-minute call to help put your plan in motion!

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