The other day I saw a video of Anthony Bourdain talking about his life. He said at age 44, he was cooking in a restaurant and thought he would never catch up on his rent or his taxes or pay down his credit cards. He was surviving. He had written an article about the restaurant world and the editor of a local free paper told him he would print it. Anthony thought it would be a laugh for the others he worked with so every week he would run to the corner to see if his article made it into the paper. But it was never there.
He told his mother about it and she said, “Why don’t you send it to The New Yorker?” He laughed. He felt they would never even read it never mind print it.
But to appease his mother he stuffed his story into a manila envelope and dropped it in the mail. A few weeks later his phone rang. It was the editor of The New Yorker. They wanted to print his story.
That moment changed his life. When the article was printed he was on jury duty. When he left the courtroom there was a gaggle of reporters asking him questions. Then a few weeks later his phone rang again. It was a publishing house saying they would pay him $50,000 to write whatever book he wanted to write.
The tables had turned and life was looking up. Now he hosts the popular CNN show Parts Unknown where he travels around the world and eats with locals who share their culture’s delectables. He teaches us about history and war and delicious things.
To think that he went from anonymously cooking in a restaurant to sitting with President Barack Obama enjoying a meal in a local cafe in Hanoi. All because he took a chance and put himself out there. He found his voice.
Anthony said, “I’m a decent cook; I’m a decent chef. None of my friends would ever have hired me at any point in my career. Period.” But he knew the restaurant world. He loved authentic, real food. And he could tell a great story. So he followed his heart and he built a life he loves.
What have we been holding off on doing? Can we take one small step today towards our dream and see what happens? If you build a life you love, you will never work another day in your life. Because you will be paid to do something you would have done for free.