I met two extraordinary people today. It’s really quite exquisite – both of them in one day, and hardly an hour apart!
The first was a man hired to make balloon animals at the restaurant where my family and I ate breakfast. My first thought was, “huh, a baloon guy at breakfast – great idea. Keep the kids entertained”.
Upon closer inspection, I spotted it. He had it.
First, I discovered that his balloons were fatter than the normal skinny balloon animal balloons. That difference was only the tip of the iceberg! Next, I noticed that the objects he was crafting were unlike any others I’ve seen before. Now he had my attention. These balloon objects were extraordinary! One looked like a skyscraper, one was a familiar, absorbent, yellow, square character. I’d never seen anyone attempt to make him out of balloons…and the attention to detail – this young man, Ryan, had drawn with marker some extra detail that really put this – dare I say, piece of art – over the top. Still, not even scratching the surface.
Eventually, as he passed by our table, I nodded and told him I admired his work. That “it” I mentioned, he was in it.
He was in “the zone”.
You know the zone, right? When you lose yourself in what you’re doing, because you totally love it, enjoy it and would rather do “it”, that mostly anything else? Like my husband and fishing.
When I asked him about his work, Ryan confirmed my suspicions. His enthusiasm for his craft was contagious. I asked him how he discovered this way of ballooning, and he shared his story. It was one that I know well and lights me up when I meet others who get it. This was one of those gifts that show up in a package that is completely unexpected.
But, it’s more than that. Ryan unknowingly possessed the willingness to allow for something other than what he’d envisioned. Also, he possessed the fortitude to keep going when the degree he earned in college didn’t earn him a job. And now for the magic ingredient….Ryan didn’t even realize that he was solely relying on his internal navigation when this gift revealed itself….ready for the answer?
HE WAS JUST HAVING FUN!!!!!
That’s all he had to do. He just had fun, and it led him right to a lucrative livelihood where he is in high demand! So lucrative in fact, that he employs three people full time and another few people part time to help him pull off this venture.
I want to reveal to you the anatomy of this jewel: Ryan went to college for 3D animation. He wanted to make movies like Toy Story. That market is so saturated that it was close to impossible for him to find work. Aaaaaand, he had a knack for working with balloons. And video games, too. Ryan took all of these ingredients, mixed them together, added a college degrees worth of animation know-how and didn’t even realize what he was creating when he began pumping out replicas of characters from our favorite animated classics, video games and just about anything we tried to stump him with, with balloons. He liked to challenge himself to adapt characters that we know and love like we’ve never seen them.
He was in a state of allowing and non-resistance. What resulted was a gift in unexpected wrapping. My favorite kind of love story. Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life!
The next person I met was a young lady at a music store. She comes from a traditional ethnic family that chooses the career for their children. Again, she is in allowance of that tradition. To protect her identity, I’ll just stop there. The point I want to make is that even though she very clearly has a distinctive and expert way of playing a certain instrument, has been pursued by a very big entertainment company for her talent, plays in a band and teaches special needs kids while pursuing a degree in what her parents would like her to study, she is still finding a way to do what lights her up. That thing, as you may have guessed, is her music. The way she talked about it – the same way that Ryan looked when he made his balloon creations – give every indication that they are ALIVE. They are reaping the bounty that is here for them, and making a great living and impacting others in wonderful ways by doing their work in the world – making a living while enjoying life – outside the boundary of any container. This is how it can be when we dare to venture outside the box.
I have been in a funk for the past few weeks after losing my dad, and my focus. Today, meeting these people reminded me of what I need to do. Thanks Ryan and girl at the music store!
If you’re in the Chicago area and need a special kind of balloon guy, you may reach him here: http://rcjuggles.com/Performers.html