Some of you reading this may know that Jaimie Hollenback is the Publicity Princess of JBiRD iNK. She is currently trying her best to land Kim & Jason on Oprah, someway, somehow. One of the things we’ve learned is that the producers like a really detailed pitch for a specific show, right down to potential guests and even sample interview questions. Jaimie recently handed me a list of “Oprah” questions to answer, and I’ve pushed it off long enough (sorry James). I figured it would be fun to share the answers here. It’ll give me some good practice before my appearance on the show
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OPRAH: What was your ah-ha moment?
ME: Yes, the famed ah-ha moment. Well, it certainly came pretty early on in my life compared to most people, and only a few months into my marriage. But the foundation had already been set years earlier. I had worked for several years at an automobile dealership washing cars, running errands, and sweeping the shop. I spent most of my time daydreaming. I knew then that I didn’t want any part of the typical 9-to-5 “work-for-the-man” situation. I knew that my art talent was my ticket. The big moment came a few months after I married Kim. I was twenty-four and juggling a freelance illustration career, some ministry work, and Kim & Jason on the side. It finally clicked that I wasn’t really getting anywhere with any of them, and had to focus on one thing. Kim & Jason was that one thing, and I haven’t looked back.
OPRAH: What are the steps to follow and live your dream?
ME: It may sound cheesy, but I really believe that God created each and every one of us for a specific reason. We’re all different and unique. We all have different gifts and passions. I’m not sure why we believe the ruse that we all have to fit into these certain boxes to make it in life. I think if we all were in tune with God’s purpose for our lives, this world would be dramatically different. He’s a very creative guy. I doubt he made us all different only to have us all go get business degrees. I really think that our purpose is hidden in our passion. It may not be obvious at first, but if we pursue our passions, and ask God to reveal his plan to us, we’ll eventually figure it out. Then it takes a leap of faith and piles and piles of persistence. It’s certainly not easy. But there’s no feeling like it.
OPRAH: Why did you decide to go for it when you did, and not wait until later?
ME: For one, I absolutely HATED the idea of not being able to do what I loved. I like to believe it’s because God has a lot of things for me to do, so he had to start me early. But there was another significant reason as well. Growing up, I was extremely shy and reserved. I liked being alone, but there was a lot of anxiety when it came to new experiences. My comfort zone was safe, warm, and non-threatening. I quit T-Ball on the first day, just because there were kids I didn’t know, and I tried to quit Little League, but my Mom made me go back and stick it out. Then I happened to stumble upon a quote that said “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” It finally occurred to me all the things I was missing out on. As I became stronger in my faith, I tried more new things, and really started to see the potential that was within me the whole time. I decided I was going to go for it. I didn’t want to look back at my life when I’m sixty with regret and wonder “what if?”
OPRAH: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in this decision?
ME: Kim and I have often questioned our sanity and wondered to ourselves why no one has come to take us away. Most of the time, it seems like everything makes perfect sense, but then there are other times when you wonder if you’re deluding yourself. The doubts are relentless, and there are countless opportunities to throw in the towel. I think it was Edison who said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” That quote haunts me, and drives me when I feel like quitting. I guess I figure that even if I don’t make it, that could never be worse than always wondering what would have happened if I had tried. There are many other challenges as well. It’s tough when your peers are all building homes, going on vacations, and starting families while you’re still eating Raman noodles for lunch in your apartment that looks more like the back room of a Hallmark store than home. There are definitely times when you can’t seem to catch a break no matter how hard you’re working, and you wonder if it will all be worth it. But then that quote floats back to the front of my mind, and I see how much that’s been invested while realizing how little I see of how close we could be.
OPRAH: What would be your advice to high school and college students now?
ME: Go after your dream. Don’t give up. I’ve heard that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Really early on in high school begins the training of how you’re “supposed” to think. I remember getting handouts in class about what career fields were supposedly “hot”. That was before the Internet, and I don’t remember IT or e-Commerce being on those lists. Lots of kids don’t really know what they want to do. That’s fine. I’d say to just keep pursuing the things you’re passionate about. But I think most people who say they don’t know what they’d like to do, really do, but they’ve just been conditioned to disregard whatever it may be, because it’s too hard, or vague, or it’s never been done before. I wonder how many people tried to discourage the Wright brothers when they concocted their hair-brained scheme to create flying machines…