Tommy Cole about Life Before Success

Tommy Cole

Life before success….that’s where I am right now: I pursue my passions for free and I have a few jobs to pay my bills. It’s not glamorous or thrilling, it’s actually incredibly exhausting and stressful. Dedicating time and energy to work that you’re paid for often leaves you feeling like you have nothing left for your passion.

For quite some time I lived with shame that I had to side hustle, I developed a deep sense of self loathing. I’m a writer. It’s more than a hobby, it’s more than a passion – it is a life choice. Sure it might not be putting a roof over my head right now, but that doesn’t change my drive or my heart.

There were years that I bought into the idea that people would see me in my place before success or “acclaim” and judge me for not having it. Thinking they would look down on me for not being on top of my game yet. This petrified me. I would shy away from discussion about what I was working toward, saying “I’m just a….” Bartender, Personal Assistant, Fitness Instructor etc. I would wave that shame around like a flag so people could understand it wasn’t what I wanted for my life, but I was too cowardly to come forth with my truth.

It’s an unhealthy habit of thinking that kept me living in this place of fear; further preventing me from networking, collaborating, and growing as an artist. I lived like this for quite some time; making zero strides in my creative and professional life.

I would ask, “Why not me?” “Why can’t someone choose me?” “Where’s my shot?”. How is a painter going to sell their paintings if they won’t let anyone look at them? Furthermore, how is a painter going to sell their paintings if no one even knows they paint?

I now find the more I express my heart and share my goals – the more I open myself up to opportunities where people can help me accomplish them. And anyone who judges me for not being there yet isn’t worth having around anyway.”