Chase Your Dreams

Alfa Romeo

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life is to Chase Your Dreams, and Follow Your Bliss. When studying in college, and trying to figure out what subject to major in, let alone what I would do upon graduation, it never occurred to me to focus on my passion for cars. Yet, when I did that more than a decade after graduating, and made it my occupation, magic happened—like being able to spend a day with this Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.

Imagine getting paid to do what you love.

Sounds like a novel concept, doesn’t it? But this is a lesson that should be taught in every grade school and up through college, for the beauty of that phrase and how it affects one’s life in a very positive way became abundantly clear some three decades ago when I changed careers.

Throughout most of the 1980s I had toiled away in the insurance and investment business, and while I always found markets and finance fascinating, I couldn’t say that I loved my profession. There was no question I liked it, but it didn’t truly light my fire for, as I would only realize later, every day when I left the house it literally felt like I was going to work—which I was!

Going Out on a Limb

250 GTO

When I was in college in the late 1970s, a cousin and I traveled to Buttonwillow out in the middle of nowhere in southern California to go to a historic racing meet. At the time I had a class photo assignment to capture motion. I tried my hand at panning photography, and a shot of a Ferrari 250 GTO garnered a “truly excellent” grade by the professor.Little did I realize how that image and grade would predict a career I never saw coming at the time—one that, two decades later, would allow me to experience what it was like behind the wheel of a 250 GTO, and be paid to do it!

Then, in the midst of the collector car price spike in the last years of the ‘80s, I started contemplating a career change. Thanks to my automotive passion, and some Isos in the garage, I had a number of friends in the auto industry (especially in Italy), and the publishing side of it. The collector car boom of 1987-89 saw numerous magazines form that catered to the burgeoning enthusiast market, so I contacted friends at several publications to see if they would hire me. Three said yes, so I left my job, not sure how the whole thing would work out.

No sooner had I done that than the car market crashed in spectacular fashion (for instance, a Ferrari 250 GTO that sold to Japan in 1989 for $14+ million was resold in 1992 for around $3 million), and all three potential employers folded. Thankfully, I had sensed the market peaking and sold my lovely SII Iso Grifo (chassis 298, for those who like such geeky things), so I had some savings while I figured out the business of freelance writing and photography.

A Breakthrough Moment

Aston Martin

Another wonderful benefit of finding the right career is doing things you love and that others dream about…things such as visiting Aston Martin’s incredibly atmospheric Newport Pagnell factory. And “back in the day” of only 15 years ago, infrared black and white film was the perfect medium to enhance the facility’s magical quality.

After some time, an article of mine was published in the U.K’s Thoroughbred & Classic Cars, and when I got paid it was the oddest sensation. The check in my hands was compensating me for spending time with a car I found interesting, something I would do for fun. So how could this be work?

It took a year for that sensation to go away, and now, I can’t imagine “work” being any other way. Not long after the freelancing career started, I was facing some uncertainty on what to do, and my accountant said something startling: “I will never worry about you not making it. You love what you do so much that any impediment will be a minor setback at most.”

Was he ever right…

Whenever talking with anyone today about work or careers, and most especially with kids of any age, my message is simple: Chase Your Dreams. Follow Your Bliss. And keep your eyes open, for opportunities are everywhere.

Ferrari

Another benefit to my dream job is being able to see collections that boggle the mind, and most people don’t know exist. This was a good one for those who love modern Ferraris, and more…

For instance, let’s say you want to be the world’s best rock guitarist, basketball’s “next Steph Curry,” or the “new Lewis Hamilton.” There are only so many with that kind of talent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be their manager, roadie, trainer, promoter/PR person, or even a writer and photographer in the industry. That way, you are intimately involved with something you truly love, and believe me when I say it’s not “just work.”☺

Aston Martin

Another wonderful benefit of finding the right career is doing things you love and that others dream aboutthings such as visiting Aston Martin’s incredibly atmospheric Newport Pagnell factory. And “back in the day” of only 15 years ago, infrared black and white film was the perfect medium to enhance the facility’s magical quality.

Looking Back

Ironically, I had forgotten the in’s and out’s of my career until a number of years ago when I was rummaging through a file cabinet. In a folder was a college photography assignment (you can see it and more reflections on this topic in my first ever blog entry here), and there was a panning shot of a Series II 250 GTO Ferrari, and the grading sheet that went with that photo. The professor rated every category as “excellent” and emphasized it by writing the word “truly” near the “excellent.”

I burst out laughing when I saw that, for I couldn’t help but marvel at how that professor had forecast a career I couldn’t have imagined…

So as we start 2018, think about Chasing Your Dreams. Always Follow Your Bliss. And keep your eyes open as you do it. For who knows, some day you too may be going through some old folder and find a career prediction you never saw coming!

A JOYOUS 2018 TO ALL, and thank you so much for following me over the past couple of years…☺