At this crossroad I found myself asking very important questions that would determine my professional future, family’s well-being, and who I knew myself to be. The strange part was how loud and resounding the answers were… but they weren’t what the world was telling me to do.
Have you ever been there? That crossroad of purpose and meaning? According to the wisdom of the world, one direction has all of the risk and should be avoided. The other lacks most of the risk and is the “kinder, gentler” way to go. Both roads have a toll, but which price do you want to pay?
The risky road, according to the world, has an unpayable price. You see, to travel that road you must take along all that you are. Every bit. If people see you for who you really are and hear your thoughts or find out where you stand on issues, they may not like you. The world can’t bear the thought of being unpopular or potentially offending someone of a different opinion.
What the world either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to talk about is that the risk-free road requires a much higher price… your soul. Your very identity must be checked at the toll gate because your individuality could be a risk to the others on the road.
As I stood at that crossroad I wondered about the rewards of each.
The risk-free road could hold immediate commercial success. I was outlining my first book and could take it a couple of different ways. One way embraced the same school of thought which birthed The Secret and an entire industry dedicated to what I call, Universology. I admittedly enjoyed some of it, but it felt lacking. There was no humility and only half-truth.
Even knowing that, I could easily write the book with that mentality and attach it to the whole movement. People were spending money hand over fist for the stuff and I could cash in quick. But then there was the toll.
To walk that road I would need to constantly stuff who I am in the corner. The idea of removing God in favor of the universe made my stomach hurt. Encouraging people by telling them, “your circumstances aren’t your responsibility,” “just tap into the flow,” or “you only need to get your thoughts right,” didn’t sit well with me. I knew what I had to offer involved work…lots of it. But people weren’t buying work. They were buying easy buttons and I would need to position myself that way.
The risky road for me was to be myself. My BEST self mind you, but myself all the same. What that would mean in a commercial sense was to reveal some of my unworldly positions on things. To talk about the truth of how our lives work and that we are all created for greatness. Revealing that the concept of forgiveness was fashioned by God because we all need it desperately. That there is an enemy to our souls that hides in the shadows and whispers lies to get us to stand still.
Walking the risky road would mean loving people for who they are even if they don’t care for who I am. Knowing that when I write the name Jesus in a post or book, a section of readers will be instantly repelled and they’ll never buy anything from me. After all, that is really how the world defines risk at this crossroad: Behavior that will endanger your ability to make money.
This was a career decision and I certainly wanted to make money, but ultimately I took my first steps down the risky road. I wrote and spoke from the heart of who I am. Yes, I edited myself at times because who I am is pretty rough around the edges. That is to present my best self, not change who I am.
Just over two years ago that decision was made and it feels like a lot longer. That first book, Flip the SWITCH, was published and it’s impact is still growing beyond anything I truly expected. Of the 1,000′s of readers who write back to me regarding their experience with the book, there is a consistent message every week. As God often does, He confirms my decisions through their words.
“…I was so refreshed that you were willing to tell it like it is and let me know this would be work.”
“Thank you for being yourself and letting us know who you are. My whole family has been impacted by your story.”
“I’m so sick of ez-button liars! Thank you for taking the risk to tell the truth.”
Every week, sometimes 10 in a day, I get these emails and letters letting me know that who I am is enough. Had I put my energy into a facade, I would have never connected with so many. Even if the risk-free road had provided the financial rewards we enjoy currently, I can’t imagine that I would be as happy and fulfilled as I am right now.
I get notes of encouragement and appreciation from Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, as well as Christians. Who knew? No one gets to hear the story of what could have happened, but I don’t really need to. I’m where I am because of a decision to not deny who I am. Will you do the same?
The crossroad can pop up at any time. Be ready and carefully consider which direction you will take.
# # #
PJ McClure helps aspiring entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar business owners destroy roadblocks and seize opportunities to achieve their ideal vision of success. He is an award-winning speaker and the best-selling author of Flip the SWITCH: How to Turn On and Turn Up Your Mindset and the upcoming, Unlock Your Life: How to go beyond Time-Management to the Life of Your Dreams. You can download a copy of Flip the SWITCH for Free by clicking here.