A couple years ago, I made myself this promise: “When inspiration strikes, take the time to honor it.” Is it ideal timing for me to sit down at this moment and write a blog? No. But that’s ok, because this message is important and needs to be shared.
My boyfriend of 5.5 years is currently en route to St. John, U.S.V.I. via Soulshine, along with his first mate and business partner, Pete. Captain Kevin (an experienced sailor who I believe is half Pirate and half Superhero) is also on board, to assist with the sail down.
Jim has spent the last year and a half actively preparing for this journey and life change. Witnessing it unfold has been nothing short of amazing. Jim is one of the most carefree, happy, likable guys on the planet (I might be a little biased, but those who know him will back me up on this truth). Less than two years ago, he was doing what so many people do on a daily basis: Wake up. Dress for Corporate America. Spend the day in an office. Work like a mad man. Go home. Go to bed. Repeat. We both knew that there was something more… Something bigger and better waiting for him around the bend.
Side note: Jim is from St. Louis, and he first learned to sail with his uncle. He was immediately hooked and always knew that sailing would be a big part of his life. He still has a story he wrote at age 7, about a boy and his sailboat. I only had the opportunity to meet his father a couple times before he passed, but it was common knowledge that Jim’s dad always wanted him to obtain his Captain’s license. I guess his dad (whose nickname was “Happy”) must have known that this was Jim’s calling, long before Jim did.
In college, Jim planned his first trip down to Florida and immediately fell in love with the Sunshine State. After graduating from Missou, he decided to relocate – and a big group of his amazing friends did the same. This was the start of Jim’s 15 year career in Sales. During those early years as a young corporate executive, Jim would drive down to the marina after work and watch the sunset while dreaming of owning his own boat: A 34-foot Catalina, to be exact. He knew what he wanted and he’d stare at that boat every day… until that fateful day when he saved up enough money to purchase his dream boat. He called it the Leesurelee, and this boat became his home for the next 7 years. It’s also where so many beautiful memories were made (including our first date).
Fast forward to 2014, Jim knew that the time had come to obtain his Captain’s License and pursue a new career. So, he made a big move and resigned from his Corporate job. He took a leap of faith, even though nothing was set in stone, in terms of his next steps. We just knew, in our hearts, that things would unfold the way they were meant to…
“When nothing is certain, anything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble
Shortly after obtaining his Captain’s License, Jim reconnected with an old college buddy, Pete. The two talked about how great it would be to go into business together and sail the U.S.V.Is and B.V.I.s. Pete’s brother currently resides in St. John, and there were a few connections/ synchronycities that got their wheels turning. Jim researched boats non-stop and set his sights on a Catamaran. At the time, a Lagoon 440 seemed out of reach, but the seed had been planted. The boys cranked out a business plan and decided it was going to work – one way or another. But there were hurdles to overcome, and these hurdles were plentiful. Even still, Jim and Pete were “all in.” They were willing to risk it all to pursue their dream of creating a U.S.V.I based charter company.
Jim spent countless hours researching boats, and when he saw a Lagoon 440 for sale in the Bahamas, the boys booked their plane tickets right away. They traveled down to tour what would soon be their new boat, Soulshine. (The name is a tribute to the Allman Brothers song, Soulshine – and I personally believe it’s a metaphor for what happens when we follow our souls’ purpose in life).
Oh there were bumps along the way, my friends. Haul outs that didn’t go as planned. Sleepless nights. Personality conflicts. Boat upgrades that took longer than expected – you name it, it probably happened. And this is the reason why I’m writing today. To communicate this message: It’s all worth it. Most people who experience success in life will tell you that there were many failed attempts, and it didn’t happen overnight. But the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is this: Those who succeed never give up on their dreams.
Following your path in life doesn’t mean that everything will run smoothly all of the time. I can tell you first hand, as my little company (Hoola Monsters) prepares to turn 10 in 2017… Over the past decade, I faced many challenges also. I experienced financial hardships and even lost my house after I went full time with my biz. I got boo’ed off stage on national television. I was convinced that the children’s DVD we put out a few years ago would end up being in every home all over the U.S. and would be picked up as a kids’ TV series (it didn’t happen… at least not yet).
But here’s what did happen: My business has gone from “being in the red” to “actually profiting.” I’ve put smiles on the faces of thousands of children over the years. I’ve enabled performance artists to have their first paid gigs. I’ve launched a jewelry line, Good Vibe Designs that is turning out to be a beautiful venture. I also co-created a hoop dance teacher training program (Hoola-Fit) that’s enabling other passionate flow arts educators to live out their own dreams. But most importantly, I didn’t give up. And neither did Jim. This is one of the millions of reasons why I love him so much.