From Pueblo to Denver and Back
Since all the way back to my freshman year of college, my dream was always to move up to northern Colorado (Denver or Boulder), and join a startup team. Months before graduation, I applied to every startup company I could find, and drove myself crazy waiting to hear back after interviews. Finally, two months before graduation, I landed my dream job with a startup company in Denver. I was ecstatic, and it honestly felt like it was destiny; like it was meant to be. My good friend Tyler Shown, who wrote the blog post Why I’m Leaving the Place That Makes Me Happy, invited me to join him on his seven-week backpacking trip throughout Europe. But I turned him down to accept the job and start immediately after graduation.
I headed to Toronto, Canada for training. After my first day of training I came to a quick realization: I was going to hate this job. It was a sales job, and having absolutely no sales experience going in, I had no idea what to expect. I quickly found myself burnt out, and began to understand that sales was not for me. I told myself to get through training and give it my all when I got back to Denver. I hoped that once I got in a routine and built relationships with people I would start to like the job.
Unfortunately, the grind of sales just continued to wear on me. I loved the people I was working with, but the job itself was unbearable to me. I felt like I was capable of doing so much more. For that first month, I was absolutely miserable. I did everything I could to try to figure out how to make it work. After all I was living my dream; living in an apartment in downtown Denver, working in Galvanize (a Google-like coworking space), and being a part of an exciting startup company. I literally had everything I had ever dreamed of, and I’ve never been so miserable in my life. During that time it really forced me to take a step back and reevaluate who I am and what I want.
I always felt that if I stayed in Pueblo, I could be a big fish in a small pond. That seemed boring to me. I dreamed of being a big fish in a big pond. I left and went to Denver to accept that challenge. That was an opportunity I just could not pass up. I needed to expose myself to a world outside of Pueblo, and discover how I stacked up in a bigger pond. Surprisingly, what I found, is the greatest challenge for me wasn’t going to be conquering Denver, but instead, coming back and changing Pueblo.
Boundless opportunities await people in Denver. I easily could have joined numerous companies and climbed the ladder to the top. Denver’s economy is booming, the nightlife was incredible, and the things to do and places to see were endless. But when I think about what my future would have looked like in Denver, one word comes to mind: comfortable. It would have been very easy to settle down with a 9-5 job and make a lot of money for the rest of my life. But a life of ease and comfort is something I refuse to choose.
When I came back to Pueblo, a lot of people thought I came back because I’m comfortable here, and that couldn’t be more false. I came back because Pueblo represents a massive challenge for me. This community needs drastic changes and some inspiration to create a new future. I viewed Pueblo as a blank canvas, just waiting for me to make it my work of art.
Right now, I’m anything but comfortable. I’m hustling to sell any books I can; I’m speaking for free to anyone willing to listen to my message, and I stay up all night writing blog posts and planning new content to put out. But here’s the funny thing: I’m happy now, happier than I’ve ever been. Every day I wake up and it takes every ounce of my being to work towards this vision I have stuck in my head. I’m putting to work every gift I have at my disposal, and being back in Pueblo has allowed me to do that.
After reevaluating who I am and what I want, it’s clear to me now that I want impact. I could care less about money, I don’t want the downtown apartment and fancy job. All I want is to impact as many lives as possible by using my gifts to their fullest extent. I feel right at home, breaking through the brick wall of my comfort zone every single day.