“You want to be an astronaut kid? Go for it!”

You know, I’ve always said in this blog that if you are a single young person, you just have to go for it and take the leap, after all, you don’t have any large bills yet nor a family to support.

Wait, so does that mean that if you’re slightly older and have a family to support you have to push the “eject” button on your dreams?

I don’t think following our dreams has any time nor age limit. 

This year, I could easily single out 10 people whom I’ve talked to who more or less have told me:

“If I was only younger, I’d go for it.”


“If I didn’t have kids yet, this would be an easy choice.”

I’ve posted this video before, but in this context, you just have to view it again, this TED talk by economist Larry Smith.

(Go ahead, view it first. It’s a great talk. I’ll be waiting here.)

I found the whole talk SO compelling (the type of video which makes your heart beat faster if you’re thinking about the leap), but what I remember time and time again occurs when Smith depicts an imaginary conversation where a father talks to his son about the practicality of pursuing a dream. The kid asks the father for advice about pursuing a dream. Smith then muses the different responses the father would have. Including…

I had a dream once, kid…but you were born.

Smith goes on to expound…

Do you really want to use your family, do really want to look at your spouse and kid, and see your jailers?

You could have said, you could have looked at the kid and said, “Go for it kid, like I did.”

Will you be giving your children an excuse or an example? 

I think all of us parents want the latter, right? We want our children to pursue their passions. So why don’t we give them the best example right at home?

I know, I know, it’s difficult. It’s not practical. It’s a steep, difficult climb.

But this is JUST like any other dream, right? No worthy dream is easy. Instead of the ball-and-chain we temptingly can ascribe our family to, they can just as easily be our biggest supporters and enablers. When I took the full-time startup leap, my wife just gave birth to my firstborn in the middle of the recession. You can bet I had sleepless nights thinking of practicality and risk. Knowing my wife was totally in my corner though, made it easier. Having a newborn kid made me work harder. Along with God, they were my inspiration.

I have three small children now, and I am psyched at the thought of having future “career talks” with them. One day, when I do talk to them, I want to be able to tell them that there is no need to follow the status quo. One day, when I do tell them, I want to be able to look straight into their eyes, I want them to be able to see I mean it, that I’ve lived it.

You want to be an astronaut, kid? Go for it.

(Know anyone whom you think would resonate with this post? Don’t hesitate, make a difference and share!)

Peter Cauton

Entrepreneur, writer, speaker, startup advocate, HR guy. Husband, father of 6, teacher, unabashed follower of Christ.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This is one of my favorite JGL posts. 🙂

    My mom, even if she’s not an entrepreneur, is one of my greatest inspirations. When I was younger, I remember her sitting me down and telling me that she wants to follow her heart and leave her high paying job to pursue a different passion. She told me that it would entail some short term sacrifices, but that the move would make her happy. I was around 5 or 6 years old then if I recall, and I remember thinking that was okay. The only thing that mattered to me, then and now, is my mother’s happiness.

    Since then, she’s done practically the same thing numerous times. She stopped working for a year to pursue her dream of studying in Harvard. She has since won the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Alumni of the Year award–beating UN Sec General Ban Ki Moon. She quit a high paying and stable job to establish her own NGO, which she still runs today. And she risked her life savings to fulfill a lifelong dream, and even if she lost that one, I am still incredibly proud of her.

    Even though she’s not an entrepreneur, she taught me two very important things without which I might not have had the guts to start my own business. (1) It is okay to take risks, and (2) always follow your heart. It always pays off in the end. 🙂

    1. Your mom’s amazing Estelle! She’s quite the role-model for everyone of us – thank you so much for sharing a bit of her story here 🙂

      I do think the dream-following thing is much greater than the be-an-entrep thing.

      Also, don’t you think its amazing what great things people can end up achieving the moment they don’t go after the cash and go after their hearts?

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