Taking Leaps and Choosing New Landings
This New Year, Make New Leaps Forward
It’s pretty incredible the power a new year holds in the psyche of many each calendar year as we say goodbye to the old and bring in the new. Thus far, 2022 has brought hope, anticipation, and a challenge of new opportunities, goals, and achievements. When life presents you with opportunities, you can stay the course — or lift your head to seek farther horizons, taking risks and overcoming obstacles, with your eye on the prize of your own choosing. The times I’ve seen an opening and entered it, I’ve been rewarded. That isn’t to say it’s come with unexpected circumstances on the other side – but I’ve never regretted it.
While studying at William Carey College, I worked a two-to-ten-night shift at a nearby hospital for ten days followed by four days off. It would have been tempting to enjoy that justly earned four days off. However, I saw an opportunity and seized it.
On my four days off from my night shift job in Laurel, I set up a little company providing X-ray technician services to rural hospitals all over central and south Mississippi. A lot of smaller hospitals couldn’t afford to keep someone on staff for weekends or overnight. For $250 and a bed to sleep in, I would work from Friday night to Sunday night, forty-eight hours straight, doing X-rays and other services and providing an extra set of hands in the ER. I even helped some of my classmates get similar gigs to help support themselves, and after eighteen months, I managed to graduate from William Carey College with my bachelor’s degree.
My original idea had been to be the Kodak man, but yet another opportunity came calling, and it was too good—and strange—to pass up. Immediately before my graduation and at twenty-two years of age, I was named the director of education of the Jones County Junior College X-Ray Technician Program. The very same program I had completed eighteen months earlier. I had fifteen students, all around my age and some I had even gone to high school with. Over the next eighteen months, I learned some lessons I still carry with me today. I found that I loved to teach. I enjoyed guiding and mentoring students and realized just how much I liked to be the center of attention—to be listened to and followed. Teaching was an unexpected opportunity, one that I enjoyed thoroughly and learned from. But, I’d again want something different – something more.
I remember making the next significant choice in my life with a flip of a coin. It forced me into a direction I may never have explored otherwise. With that, I sprang into action sought opportunities I wanted, regardless of whether I was “qualified.” I have met many people—in business and in life—who seem to trust in the philosophy that your next move should be the one for which you’re already prepared. I actually disagree.
Pursue your desired path regardless of your level of preparation. Be decisive. Be confident in the fact that if you’re smart and focused, you’ll learn faster when you’re in over your head or out of your depth. Seek after opportunities and catch them. Trust your gut, trust your brain, and trust yourself enough to not get in your own way. It worked for me. Learn more in my book, Redneck Resilience: A Country Boy’s Journey To Prosperity.