The Power of Following Your Bliss
by Mike Mahler

Think about when you were a kid and had big dreams for what your wanted to do with your life. Now look at your life now and ask yourself if you are living those dreams. For those of you that said yes, I congratulate you. However, for those of you that say no, I ask you why not? Why have you settled for something less than what you want? Do you still have a dream for what you want to do and become?

When I was younger, I was not sure what I wanted to do. However, I was sure that I wanted to do something that made a difference in the world and gave me a since of satisfaction and accomplishment. Doing a 9-5 job and living for the weekends was not very appealing to me. When I was eighteen, I caught the fitness bug and had a strong feeling that I would build a career in the fitness world. I did not know how or what, but is seemed like a natural career choice for me. Sometimes in life you have to do things that you really do not want to do, in order to ascertain what you really want to do. That is exactly what happened to me.

After graduating from college, I thought about getting into the fitness world as a personal trainer but was discouraged from making that choice. Unfortunately, I decided to give into that negativity and let other people make decisions for me. I eventually got into sales and moved from one company to another. At first it was very difficult. Eventually, I got pretty good at it and landed a high level position with an Internet company on the east coast. I convinced myself that this was what I was meant to do in life. By the way, if you have to convince yourself that what you are doing is what you want to do, then it is probably not what you want to do. Regardless, I was pretty excited with my new job and liked the high salary and responsibility. Nevertheless, the excitement soon wore off and I found myself dreading going into the office and making it through another day. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the salary and the security that it provided. Yet, I knew that this was not what I was meant to do with my life. I wanted to do something in which I could not wait to get up in the morning and did not want to go to sleep at night for the possibility that I would miss something. I was far from that vision and had the reverse problem: I could not wait to go to sleep at night and did not want to wake up the next day.

As a year came and went, my life energy and mental state decreased significantly. I could not imagine doing something like what I was doing for forty years and wondered how others did it. The whole thing felt like an illusory world to me and it often made me depressed. Even with all of the negatives, I still clinged to the security and was not willing to make the jump into the unknown. I had dabbled a bit in the fitness world and wrote a few articles and did a few consultations. Things were moving along, but I was not ready to leave my comfort zone. One day while going through my mail, I received a flyer about a kettlebell training certification weekend that Pavel Tsatsouline was doing in Minneapolis. Some how,I knew that I needed to go to the certification weekend. I was not sure exactly why, but I had a feeling that it would get me out of my comfort zone and propel me forward.

To make a long story short that is exactly what occurred. I felt more confident then ever and new that I could build a rewarding career in the fitness world. Nevertheless, I was still attached to my job and did not feel that I was ready to leave it to pursue my dreams. It is funny, but sometimes in life when you do not follow your bliss, a higher power intervenes and makes it easier for you. That is exactly what happened to me. One day my manager came into my office and told me that he wanted to meet up after hours to discuss some issues. I knew that this was probably not going to be good news. He informed me that my position was being terminated. I was not offered any severance package and the whole experience was very negative. However, to my surprise, I did not feel worried at all. In fact, I felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I felt free and energetic; I felt like I could accomplish anything.

Right there and then, I decided that I never wanted to work for someone else again. I want to be a free thinker and an entrepreneur and do what Joseph Campbell calls: following your bliss. I had wasted enough time and it was time to seize the moment and take control of my life. To my pleasant surprise, a plethora of ideas came to me and things started taking off right away. I started interviewing people that I admire for publication. Each interview sent my confidence up another notch. I was blown away when I started talking to people like Frank Shamrock, Richard Machowicz, Ori Hofmekler, Bud Jeffries, Pavel Tsatsouline, and Coach John Davies. One month, I was depressed and doubtful; now I was networking with some major players in the fitness world and my business was moving at light speed. I decided that it was time for a change of scenery as well and left the east coast to move to Santa Monica, CA. It was both scary and exhilarating for me as I left another comfort zone for the unknown. However, what I have found is that everything related to my fitness business feels effortless. It does not feel like work when I am writing articles, training clients, and interviewing people. I feel as if obstacles have been removed from my path. I look forward to each day and I stay open to the possibilities. I was telling a good friend recently, that I would not feel sad about my life if I died now. Of course, I want to live and enjoy life. However, If I died today, I still would have felt the pleasure of following my bliss. Some people go there entire lives without feeling this and while on their deathbeds look back on their lives with disappointment. I do not want to be one of those people and want to be ready to move on when the time comes.

I am not writing this article to criticize others who choose a 9-5 life or work for other people. There is nothing wrong with either one if it brings you joy. I also understand that finances, family, and other factors have to be taken into consideration before making any life changing moves. That said, life is too short to be miserable. We have the good fortune of living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world in which the possibilities are endless. Don't take it for granted and decide that your life is important; what you want to achieve is important. Take the time to discover your bliss and you will never regret following the path that was meant for you. Whatever decision you make, I wish you all the best of luck and hope that all of your dreams come true.