Tag Archives: skynet

Pursuing Your Passion

Years ago I wrote a book and I sold the movie rights to FOX studios.  They wanted a screenplay written. I had never given much serious thought to writing a screenplay for the big screen or the small screen.  After writing a book and being approached about a screenplay, I thought, “Hey, that’s what I want to be in life – a screenwriter!”

They asked me to write it with an Academy Award winning writer.  The writer invited me to lunch at their home.  It was an informal lunch eaten around the pool with the producer of the project and myself.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to learn from successful Hollywood individuals, so I thought the best course of action was for me to keep my mouth shut and take it all in.

I learned the writer, like me, had never gone to school for writing.  I learned the producer had built up an international production company in Scandinavia and sold it for a huge profit, then moved to Hollywood and started a new company in a new country.  Instead of retiring, he started over and continued to work hard.

During my time working with both of them, I was given a crash course in writing for a studio.  It was like a private lesson in screenwriting.  Looking back now I can see that I was already losing interest in writing for Hollywood, the more I learned about the business.  What I thought I had wanted, I was realizing was not my passion.

Even though I was unsure about my next steps in life, I learned valuable lessons and kept pushing forward.   In the end, my show was not picked up by Fox, but I learned enough to write my own western screenplay and sold that to History Channel.

Through my contacts on that project, I was able to secure a writing/consulting job for a movie production company in Stockholm, Sweden.  I grew up immensely while going through this Hollywood period of my writing career. The screenwriting work was a chance for me to work with people from all walks of life.

People like to talk about overnight success.  I learned that successful writers toil away for years before they get an opportunity to shine, and even then, they may end up losing it all.

Projects will come and go, but the people you work with along the way are important, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.  Work hard on every project, big or small, and always go above and beyond.

We each have our own paths with unique wants and needs.  If we follow someone else’s path we may have limited success, but it is fleeting.  We are all on our own journey, and as long as you keep learning from every opportunity and developing your skills, no project is a failure.

Opportunities often come in life when we least expect it, and they often come from unexpected people or places.  Work hard, keep a positive attitude, treat everyone with respect and pursue the passions that God has put in you – and you too will fulfill your purpose in life, even if you aren’t sure what it is right now.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

Ecclesiastes 3:1

   There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 

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In Weakness

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The Robot Surgeon

Last week started the same as any other week.  On Tuesday, after I trained my clients, I headed to wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu practice for two long hours.  I came home exhausted.  I rehydrated, showered and tried to sleep. I didn’t eat any food because early the next morning I was going to have an operation to fix a hernia.

After many years of uninterrupted mixed martial arts training, I was going to have to slow down.

There were so many things going through my mind. As I laid in bed I watched an educational video about general anesthesia, since I’d never had any surgery before.  I was worried about it.  What if I didn’t wake up?  What if I was allergic to the medications they gave me? What if…?  

Then I started thinking about the recovery.  How long would it be before I could exercise again? Spar? Lift kettlebells? Walk my dogs?

Sleep came hard with all these thoughts going through my mind.  I was up early to head to the hospital, and saw that in the night I had gotten emails and texts from people wishing me well.  Friends from my small group at church said they were praying for me.  People reaching out helped to ease my mind.

My head was pounding from dehydration, hunger and lack of caffeine.  Every morning I drink at least one huge cup of the strongest, thickest coffee to start my day.  Once I tried to give up coffee, and I lasted eighteen hours before I broke down and drank a cup.

My wife drove me towards the hospital, down a quiet country road alongside the recently harvested and now very barren fields.  She said a prayer, and I began to relax and let the anxiety go.

Once in the hospital, everything moved pretty quickly.  We filled out some papers and then I was given a gown, a bed and wheeled toward pre-op where they started my IV.  When the resident who was helping with my anesthesia came in, I was reading a book.  I looked up and noticed she looked just like a friend of mine from Los Angeles named Shannon.  That was the last thing I remember until I woke up several hours later and asked the nurses when the surgery would start.

When they told me it was over, I was a little disappointed because I had wanted to see the robot that was performing the laparoscopic surgery on me.  

The rest of the day was a blur.  The next morning I felt better, good enough to walk around the farm a couple of times.  I thought, “Wow, this is going to be easy, I’ll be training in no time.”

When evening came, so did the pain.  It hurt deep down in my abdomen all night, even the ice and the prescription pain meds (which I hadn’t intended to take) weren’t taking the edge off.  That night and the following day were the worst. There were times that I didn’t know how I could deal with it.   

And then it was over.  Saturday my pain was almost gone and I stopped taking any pain pills.  

Sunday was a busy day at church, and I had no problem being up and about.  I felt good, but was pretty tired by the end of the day.

By Monday morning I was back to my normal routine, up before dawn walking the dogs, heading to the gym to train clients, and then home to write.

For my whole life, I have found my identity in my physical strength.  Other things about my life changed, but I always had my martial arts and my fitness.  Surgery stripped that from me temporarily, and I had to rely on others to help me in things I had always been able to do for myself.  It made me question where I get my strength from when I have none of my own.  God is the ultimate source of both strength and peace in any situation.  

It was a great experience for me.  Not only is my hernia fixed, but I have a new appreciation for all the small things that make up each day that I took for granted, and for God being my strength when I am weak.

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you;

be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Hebrews 4:16

Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.