Today I give thanks for something intangible and improbable and incredibly powerful

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for possibility.

Perhaps I will always be a mid-list author who publishes a novel every year or two.
A storyteller and speaker who takes the stage now and again to entertain audiences.
A screenwriter and playwright who is never paid very much for his craft. 
A very small business owner. 

And if that is the case, I will be a happy man.

I am doing what I love.

I have often said that I would like to someday write for a living and teach for pleasure, and while I am certainly not ready or able to give up my teaching salary, I am closer to this dream than I ever thought imaginable.

But with every book and every story and every screenplay and every musical comes the possibility for greater success. A larger readership. A broader fan base. An opportunity for more prolific career. The dream of a best seller.

In short, possibility.

I was standing in the copy room at my school on a Friday about ten years ago, complaining about the wedding that I had to minister and DJ the next day. A group of friends and colleagues were standing alongside me, listening to me complain.

Later on that day, one of my wiser and kinder colleagues took me aside and said this to me (paraphrased as best as I can recall):

There’s nothing wrong with you complaining about the wedding you have to work this weekend, but please don’t forget how lucky you are, too. Most of the people in this school and everywhere else receive a paycheck every week and that’s it. They have no other way to earn money. They will get their tiny raises every year, but that’s it. Probably forever. Unless they want to go to work on the weekend as a waitress or a cashier or maybe pick up a tutoring job, most people are stuck with the same salary for the rest of their lives.

You own a DJ company, and I know it’s hard work, but I also know how much a wedding DJ can make in one day. It’s a lot of money for a single day of work, and you spend that day with your best friend. It can’t be that bad, or you wouldn’t be doing it. It takes most people months to save that kind of money. And you write books. I don’t know how much you make off them, but it’s probably a lot in the eyes of the people working here. And you write musicals with Andy, and you write for magazines and the newspaper. And your books might be made into movies someday. You have a lot going on.

Just don’t forget how lucky you are to have these other ways to earn money for your family. And you’re doing what you love. Not everyone is so lucky, so just be careful about who you’re complaining to. Some people might wish that they were doing even some of the things you do.

That conversation has remained in my heart and mind, and I often think about it on days like today.

It is unlikely that I will be wealthy someday, but thanks to all of my creative and business pursuits, the possibility exists. As improbable as it may be, my life is filled with many unlikely ways of making my fortune. Retire young. Travel the world. Give my family everything they want. All while doing the things I love. 

Writing. Speaking. Entertaining. Teaching. 

It is unlikely that any of these pursuits will make me a fortune, and that's okay. I love my job and my students, and I feel incredibly lucky about the life I lead.

But I feel blessed with the ability to genuinely hope for so much more when so many cannot.

My colleague and friend was right. Possibility is a great thing. I am thankful for a life filled with it on this day.

If you don't have possibility in your life, why not start today? I'm constantly advising my friends to find something they love and try to find a way to earn money doing it.

Don't quit your day job, but invest just five hours a week pursuing your dream. If you're lucky, you may find yourself with a new and more exciting career someday, or maybe just an additional income stream doing something you love.