Whatever you fear the most….do it. ( I tried to look up the quote. Could’t find the original author or quote)
Either way, I heard this quote at some point and it stuck with me. For the most part when it comes to challenging yourself and taking risks. I think this is true. I think fear limits us from achieving our greatest potential.
When I finally came to the conclusion that it was time for me to turn in my two weeks notice at the News Station. I. WAS. TERRIFIED. Only because I had no idea what was going to come next. The only thing I was sure of was that the paycheck wasn’t worth it and I had bills I needed to pay immediately.
Once I worked up the nerve to hand in my resume, I walked up to the second floor and prepared myself to knock on my bosses door. And by prepare I mean I literally stood in the hallway for 60 seconds breathing as deeply as I could and trying to calm my heartbeat. Unfortunately, it didn’t help much, but all my fear dissolved pretty quickly. My boss didn’t even blink an eye. There was no, “aww man, don’t go” it was cut and dry, “when do you need to be out of here by?” Safe to say I think he knew I wasn’t gonna last very long. There is a bit of my pride that was hurt, but overall I knew I made the best decision. I felt at peace with it and there was definitely a pep in my step after handing in that paper. And with my two weeks notice turned in, I began looking for work as a freelance production assistant.
My search didn’t take long. At some point in the past six months, I had made a work alert for any production jobs that would ping off within x amount of miles of Gettysburg, PA. I had family there and spent a few summers working at my family’s business in the area. My thinking at the time was that if ever a 1 week gig happened up there, it would be worth the drive and I could visit family at the same time. Frankly I had forgotten I even made the alert, but I’m grateful I did. Two days after I turned in my letter of resignation to the news station, my phone went off telling me there was a job available near Gettysburg, PA. And not just a week long job, but a four month gig. Now for any production assistant, or any freelance worker in general, when you catch wind of a steady paycheck for four months, that’s freaking exciting. Four months is long enough to get into a rhythm and collect a steady paycheck, but not so long you hate your work. It’s really pretty awesome for anyone who likes to travel because you get to actually work and live in the area where you’re staying. So naturally I jumped at the chance to apply for it. I wrote up my cover letter, I sent in my resume, and I prayed and prayed that I would get the call. I even called in my mom for some spiritual help as well. We both sat out on the deck and prayed to God asking that it would come through. I even wrote it in my journal. As I write this now, the details are a touch foggy, but basically I had received a missed call and a voicemail on Friday from the person doing the hiring. Her voicemail was super quiet so I didn’t get all the details. I called back, but didn’t get through. I had to wait the whole weekend with anticipation and prayer hoping I would hear back from her. Finally on Monday I got the call. “Hey Jordan, are you available? Do you know the area? You’re not a local where will you be staying? etc, etc” I answered a lot of these questions, I was very enthusiastic, but I just felt like the voice on the other end wasn’t feeling me. By the time the conversation was over I was a little confused. Did I nail the interview? Did I completely bomb? I had no idea. So I did what I knew I could, and I grabbed my mom and we started praying some more. That’s pretty much our thing now whenever anything is happening, we pray.
Well shortly thereafter I get the call and I’m booked for the gig. AWESOME!!!!!! Now I just have to figure out some details. Here’s what I know. I will be working 30 minutes away from my relatives. I love my relatives, but I don’t think they love me enough to want me to stay at their place for four months. They’re an older couple and have a full blown business to run. I would likely be a distraction and an invasion of their privacy. What I do have though is a van. And that van has a bed in the back of it. Some of you might not put this together, but for me the next logical step was, I’ve gone van camping before, I’ve read up on it, and I’ve always wanted to do it long term. What if…… The wheels were turning.
To be fair, I’ve really only stayed in my van twice before.Once for a 3 day gig I was working that was 3 hours from home, and the second time when I went down to West Virgina to shoo that ministry video for my friends church. You remember that one from my earlier blog post right? If you haven’t go back and look it up 🙂
Anyway, in my mind that was enough experience to know that I wanted to take this gig, and I was prepared to commit to 4 months of living in my van to make it work. Some of you might be thinking “Jordan, why not rent a place?” and my answer to that is easy. Math. I don’t want to pay rent. I want to pay off my credit cards. At some point after college I had let my spending get away from me a little bit too much and I was/am very determined to get out from under my debt. Plus if I’m being really honest, it’s a cool story and I really wanted to try it.
Now that I had settled that in my mind, I only had a few more things to wrap up. First, I had to tell my boss at the news station that the two week notice I put in, was now a 1 week notice. Production jobs come in fast and hot and you have to be ready to roll out at a moments notice. Not a big deal, at that point I don’t they really cared anyway. Next I had to tell my girlfriend I took the gig. Now here is where some people might think I am a jerk. I took my girlfriend out to a nice dinner at Olive Garden. <— A story that deserves it’s own blog. I’ll probably write that next) and broke the news to her there. After I told her the first time I was leaving for two months to go to Texas in less than 3 days, I pretty much crushed her heart. One of the only reasons I took the News job was because I knew she wanted me to come home and be around to spend time with her. So imagine going out to dinner with the person you love, and hearing them drop this bomb on you, “Hey I landed a sweet gig for four months in PA and I’m gonna take it. Also I leave in a week” Talk about an awkward drive home. It wasn’t our best night. I hate seeing my girlfriend cry. I hate seeing any girl cry, it breaks my heart. But she and I both knew that when it comes to work and traveling, I am gonna go for it. This became one of the reasons why we eventually broke up, among many others. But that’s neither here nor there, it was happening and I was going to PA for the summer. Final decision.
Here’s how I know God was at work though. Sometime in January I signed up for a stand up comedy workshop. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and this one was cool because it was three Saturday workshops and a Wednesday performance at the Cleveland Improv. I had been looking forward to these classes since November. The workshop started in March, and the Wednesday performance was also the day before I was supposed to start working my new job in Pennsylvania. Total freaking bummer. There was no way I could do the performance AND make it to PA the next day for my first day of work. So I did what any rational person would do. I wrote it in my journal and I prayed about it. I asked my mom to pray about it. I said “God, I really want to do this performance, please make it work” Guess what happened? Our start date for the shoot got pushed back a week. Enough time for me to do my first comedic performance at the Cleveland Improv. It was fantastic. My teacher pulled me aside the night of the show and said “Look, I’m putting you at the top to start the show off because you have a lot of high energy and I want to start it off strong. Don’t F*** it up” No pressure. The performance went great. You can watch it here if you’d like. I loved it. Afterwards, a gentleman came up and invited me to a comedy competition that was happening in a month or so. “I’ll be in Pa by then, but maybe I’ll swing back for that.” was my response.
Back to the PA gig. So if you’re catching on at all, there’s only one thing I know how to do when things get hectic. I write it in my journal and I pray about it. I’m not sure when I started doing it, but I have a few journals filled with my prayer requests basically, and a lot of them God has answered without a doubt. But this year, God was showing up in every direction. With the comedy performance under way, I had a few more days in town to ease the pain of my leaving with my girlfriend and to get my van situation figured out. The only thing still unsure of was where I would park my van.
I had this like 90 percent figured out, but at some point I recognized that this was the most under prepared I’ve ever been for something in my life. All I knew was that I had a place to sleep, and a quasi-plan of how it would work. My basic thought process was, worst case scenario I can stay at my aunts for a few days. Second worst, I can stay at the hotel the production company is at, and just park my van there 24/7. Maybe I’ll get lucky and either A. they will put me up in a room, or I can sleep in the room with all the gear, or perhaps I can sleep in my van and charge my extra battery I use for power while we’re at work everyday. That was pretty much the extent of my plan. It wasn’t great, but I felt like God opened up the door. I had a weird mixture of peace and fear brewing in my stomach. So naturally I went back to the journal, wrote it down, and gathered my prayer warrior mom and went to work.
One thing I kept telling myself was that if God opens up a door, He isn’t going to open it up just halfway. So that was probably the only thing that kept me pushing forward. That and ‘whatever you fear the most… do it.” I don’t know why but I saw that and said, that’s what I got to do.
On May 3rd, I loaded up my last bit of gear into my van and I hit the road. My summer of 2016 was about to get crazy. I still didn’t know where I was staying.