‘Do what you love’ sounds nice, but what does it take?

“Where are you staying?” the Irish accent inquires through the phone. “The Westin. I’m close.” I respond in straight California-girl-American. ‘Well, just come to the shop, and we can talk about the order here,” he continues. “Ok,” I concede with a sigh. “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. Thank you, Harry,” I say before hanging up the phone. I stay fairly calm during my short chat with the restaurant coordinator, but as soon as the handset hits its cradle, I stomp my feet, grit my teeth, and let out a frustrated grunt; an unidentifiable noise reminiscent of an angry toddler’s tantrum and a cave man’s war cry. “Why can’t they make my food?!?! I just need them to make my food! It’s not that hard! They can make the food!!!! That’s what they do. They are a restaurant that makes foooood!!!” I ramble on, only to myself— thankfully. I sound not only like a crazy person but I probably look like one, too. Definitely an unpresentable mess for a catering fight. I step into the shower in an attempt to not only wash away my frustration but upgrade my look. I realize that this is not the time for sweats, unbrushed blonde, or a makeup-less face. Game. Fucking. On. I need catering, and I am going to get it.

Beneath the dream life, I notice personality traits consistently surface. There exists within an undeniable determination, perfectionistic creativity, and workaholic competitiveness that has me risking and hustling in a very demanding and uncertain career path. I deprive myself of sleep and days at home and instead, make myself face fears, insecurities, and live beyond my comfort zone. If you think this dream is comfortable, you are looking at the wrong life. You are interested in the wrong career. Maybe someday it will feel safe, but I think when comfort engulfs too fully, one must choose to move to the next challenge. We thrive when we grow. As Brene Brown says, “You can choose comfort or you can choose courage. You cannot have both.”

“You can choose comfort or you can choose courage. You cannot have both.” —Brene Brown

And that is why, when you ask me, “How do I get the job you have?” most of the time, I cannot help you. Because, the problem isn’t that becoming a Delta flight attendant is harder than getting into Harvard or that you have to “know someone” to work on private jets. The problem actually hits a lot closer to home. The problem is that you refuse to risk.

I can tell you everything you need to do and 95 percent of the time, you will respond with excuses on why you cannot. I can outline every step, every piece, every option, and there will always be a reason why it’s easier to NOT go in a new direction— not venture into paths unknown. I can do nothing for you unless you will risk for yourself. Unless you are willing to walk through the struggle. I have the privilege of getting paid to travel the world, because I asked myself, “What will you risk?” and the answer was, “Everything.”

Even if it never worked. Even if it never happened for me, I would try. I would give everything for the dreams that danced in my imagination.

Tokyo, Japan

I say that I am lucky to have my job and my life— and I know I am so blessed— but I risked a lot for this. I made strategic choices, pursued connections, and followed up with opportunities. And although I’ve reached a level of consistency in my career as a contract corporate flight attendant, I know I am not owed this or have surety that it will last. Just a few days ago, I told my Dad, “It’s a hustle to get the trips. It’s a hustle during the trip. It’s a hustle after the trip.” It’s always a hustle and that will never change. Even the life you love will be riddled with problems. There will always be problems.

Walking down to that market, I was beyond determined to get the catering I needed for the flight. I was running out of both time and options. To my chagrin and increased stress levels, Dublin didn’t do takeaway orders. It was not possible all of the restaurants said. We cannot do this. Just take from the cold prepared foods. No, I will NOT take from the cold prepared foods and yes, I realize you do not do this… “So, can you make the items I listed in the email? I need this food. I need it by this evening at 11pm.” I was polite, but unflinching. I was annoying, but nice. I wasn’t leaving without success. I stayed until the chef agreed to make me the food. I tipped them well and wrote thank you notes. Sometimes, people will help you not because they like you, but because they just want you to go away. Persistence is power.

Dublin, Ireland

When I first started in private aviation, I said one thing that got me my entry-level, low-paying job. “I’ll do anything.” That statement has always stayed in the realm of legal, moral, appropriate, and professional but remains, to this day, why you witness my world travels. I am willing to take both good flights and bad flights. I’m willing to go without sleep. I’m willing to make mistakes and look foolish at times. It’s not that I enjoy those moments, it’s just that it is all part of the beautiful narrative of ‘Flight Attendant Life.’ You have to be willing to accept it all— the wins and the losses.

As my career and personal story continues to unfold, I see the power of intention. I am so thankful I gambled on myself. That I quit the airlines, so that I could fully step into a new thing. I was hungry for something new. Thanks to a little naivety, I was willing risk a lot more than was actually a “good idea.” There are times when you should just fuck ‘good ideas.’ Unconventional is what usually changes the world and will often change your world. To this day, I find it pretty unbelievable that I actually get to fly as much as I do, and I’m grateful that this chapter is the stepping stone for the next dreams that will ask me to risk. Being a contract corporate flight attendant has prepared and empowered me for the new challenges and goals on my horizon. See every stage of your life as a building block for something in the future. Where you are now is NOT a waste of time. But don’t allow yourself to stay too long in where you feel stagnant. Just don’t. It’s miserable. The next space won’t always be easy or clear, but it will be more meaningful and life-changing than feeling stuck or spinning in circles.

The people who say, “Do you what you love and you’ll never work a day,” are mostly and completely off their rocker. I love my job, but it is work. A lot of work. I get tired, I make mistakes, I stress out so hard I generally lose five pounds every trip. Doing what you love doesn’t mean you will never work, but all of the tears, all of the hustle, all of the pain and the struggle to get to your dream, will be SO WORTH IT. There isn’t a big secret to doing what you love. To being a flight attendant. I’m pretty sure the big secret is “risk for it” and no one can make you do that but you.

Bet on yourself. Invest in yourself. You’re worth that risk— without question.

About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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