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Choices: Follow Your Heart

I’m a businessman. I love my job. And if you knew me better, you’d know how strange it sometimes feels for me to say that.


I never wanted anything to do with business. Really! Like most kids, my career ambitions flew about in dizzying circles of changing chatter, from gourmet chef to foreign diplomat to children’s book illustrator to journalist. Then I thought I wanted to be a teacher—or maybe a marketing director—or maybe, an instructional designer—but business? Bottom lines and nickels and dimes? Cut-throat competition and profits, profits, profits? No, that certainly wasn’t for me. I knew better, and I said so.


Then I arrived at college, and the reality of having to pick something walloped me over the head like the bronze Beethoven bust I have sitting on my desk. Majors and minors, course objectives—could I support a family? Would I like my job? Aren’t you supposed to follow your passion? Did I even have one?


I explored many options, but nothing ever felt right. I was walking through the woods on countless paths, but no matter which way I went, I found my progress blocked. Not by bushes, or by briars, or even by darkness, but by the feeling that it just wasn’t the right way to go. Perhaps you’ve had this feeling, the certainty in your heart that something was or wasn’t meant to be.


It was during this time that my brother off-handedly suggested that I study business. My brother is kind, giving, thoughtful, and sees the world clearly. If he had recommended it, perhaps business school wouldn’t be as diabolical as I’d always assumed. I considered the matter. Perhaps I would learn leadership, I thought. That wouldn’t be too bad, and then I could take that and do something really noble. I still wasn’t committed to working in business, but my heart somehow felt right about studying it. The path ahead felt open—it was a door I knew I could walk through. The barriers were gone.


So I studied business. And though I didn’t always love the talk about profits, and shareholders, and how all my classmates were going to make it big and retire at 45 (how boring!), I had unexpectedly found something I loved. It was challenging. It was creative. It invigorated the left and the right sides of my brain. And I found that real management wasn’t about money at all, but about helping people. It was about designing products that would make people happy. It was about creating a positive workplace for your employees, about empowering them, about lifting people up and helping them reach their potential. Somehow, in the place I had never thought to look, I had found what I’d always wanted in a career.


Of course, we can’t stay in school forever. I knew that I needed to get serious about finding a job. But I wasn’t going to work in business, remember? What I’d learned in school was fine and dandy, but there’s no way I was going to actually join those people.


Or so I thought.


I was reading a book one day about business ethics, and unexpectedly, I had the strongest feeling in my heart that this was where I needed to be. I was not just to study business—I was to work in it, too. You’ve had those feelings before. It’s a subtle realization, like the sun is rising and dawn is breaking over your mind and your heart. It was clear as day what I needed to do. The next door had opened—and I knew it was time to walk through it.


And so began the process of resumes, and internships, and thinking, thinking, thinking about what kind of job I wanted to have. “Business” is awfully broad—I had to pick something again.


But doors have a way of opening when you least expect it. I was browsing a list of internships, and the word “Familius” jumped out. On an impulse, I clicked—and there it was: A book publisher (I loved working on books—I had published a children’s book a few years earlier). Someone that cared about family. A business that was trying to do something good in the world. Just a couple of hours away. How could there be a better fit?


And here I am, having the time of my life. I’m a businessman helping families be happy, designing books, encouraging fellow workers, and building something special from the ground up. I love my job, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I sometimes look back and think, How did I ever get here? Never could I have ever described what I’d be doing right now, or even hinted that this is what I’d want to be doing. But somehow my heart led me here. Little impressions, little nudges, gently guiding me down a path to something I could love.


Your experiences will never be just like mine, in the same way that mine will never be quite like yours. You may be years past college, and the time for choosing majors and vocations is long past. You may be years into parenting kids of your own, even teenagers, even grandkids. Perhaps you’re just a few years away from leaving this life all together. But wherever you are in the uncertain timeline of life, I don’t believe in coincidence. We all face choices in life, and those decisions can be daunting, even paralyzing. We can’t go backwards, we fear to go forwards, and so we sit in neutral, stuck, idle, restless, wondering which path to take. At times like those—no, at all times—I find it appropriate to appeal to our own hearts. Into those quiet chambers will come feelings and impressions, tugs and nudges that light the uncertain path ahead.


You may not believe it’s spiritual, as I do, but you can be sure it’s there. And in all you’re called to pass through in life, you can be sure that trusting your heart—that voice inside that whispers quietly, ever so gently—will lead you right. Sometimes that voice will take you down paths that you’d never have picked for yourself. Sometimes it takes you down difficult paths of hurt and healing. But when it’s the heart’s path, you’ll discover that the happiness waiting at the end is real and worth it.


So press on, my fellow traveler. Stop worrying, and start listening. The peace will come, the dawn will brighten, and though challenges may come your way, you’ll be grateful for the adventure.


Follow your heart.


David Miles studied Business Management at Brigham Young University, and currently works as Familius’s Director of Digital Development and Deployment. He loves family, loves books, and can’t believe his good fortune to be doing both at the same time. He looks forward to starting his own family one day.


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