Editor's Note: The following column is a guest post from the Artist Santiago Michalek's wife Elizabeth…
The first time I saw one of my husband’s drawings I knew instantly that he was very talented. I was absolutely blown away by how he had taken a blank piece of paper and given it life. We were very young, very in love, and had no idea what our future would hold. But, we took the marriage plunge and the life of an aspiring artist began for us.
I spent the first decade of our married life watching my husband unsuccessfully try to force himself into the mainstream expectations for education and career. He always knew what he loved to do, he wanted to be an artist, but after flunking out of college and getting fired from a few different entry-level jobs, we both resigned ourselves to the fact that he would only ever be able to pursue his art on the side and that he needed a “real job” to provide for our family. Preferably one with paid holidays and benefits.
Now looking back over the last few years I can see the amazing sequence of events that has convinced me that that type of thinking was nothing more than a waste of time and energy. It was only when we made some big sacrifices and took several giant leaps of faith that his passion and success in a career fell in line with each other.
I think Steve Jobs said it perfectly:
“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
For some reason there is a stigma about pursuing a career in the arts. Whether it’s painting, sculpting, music, or writing. A negative assumption that you can’t possibly make a living from such interests. I get all sorts of comments from well-meaning people when I tell them my husband is an artist. And for the record, no, we don’t subsist on a diet mostly of Ramen Noodles.
Santiago is a real life success story of pursuing what you love first and foremost, and then creating a living from the very thing that makes you happy.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a long, hard journey with plenty of moments where I wasn’t the supportive wife that I strive to be. But, I’m now convinced anyone with a strong desire, who is willing to work, can do the same. I wish I could put my arm around anyone who is starting a similar journey and be an encouraging influence along their path. Really it’s worth it – take the plunge and do what you love!