I sat in ward council as the bishop turned to me and said “I heard the Pollard sold their home.”
My body was flooded with intense emotion. Fear, worry, embarrassment, sadness, and even some regret. What was I doing? What was the ward council going to think of my decision? I silently wished no one had known. I feared the criticism and the doubtful looks I would receive
When the real estate agent put out the for the sale sign in my front yard, I still hadn’t told a single neighbor and now it was advertised so publicly. Neighbors began texting me and the town began to talk.
The Pollards are selling their home… I don’t think they know where they’re going yet. Daylen got laid off from work a couple months ago and just started making Youtube Short Films, they probably don’t have the money to stay here.
It was true. I was out of funds from the severance and savings. My home value had dropped from $630,000 to $500,000 in the last 2 years. Selling now didn’t seem like the best time with the raising interest rates and current economy. But I still owed only $290,000. After all my closing costs I could net around $150,000 and use the money to continue going after my passion.
Selling the Home
I had browsed facebook groups and called friends asking for their real estate agent recommendations. I felt good about one someone recommended in a facebook named Dale, but when I called I only got a voicemail. I then searched on google for the best real estate agent I could find based off of reviews. When I found I company with 4 times as many 5 star reviews as any other real estate company, I contacted them. They turned out to be an awful experience. An agent came into my home, and before he even knew my wife’s name, he stated “5 star reviews are the most important thing to us, so if you don’t like anything, just tell me, because I’d rather let you out of a contract than get a bad review.”
The agent then proceeded with a doom and gloom presentation, insisting that my house was really only worth $465,000. He wouldn’t listen an ounce of what I said, he had his agenda – get in, sell the house as fast as possible, and get out. Luckily Dale had returned my call, and decided to go with my first choice. But when I told our new agent we were going with someone else, he didn’t take it well.
Within only a matter of days, we had packed up, cleaned, and placed the house in perfect condition. Besides the 2 agents, we hadn’t told a soul of what we were doing. My mom showed up in the middle of the commotion, asking what all the boxes were for, she was surprised but graciously offered help and even let us stay with her for a couple of weeks while the house was showing.
Now it was official. The house was under contract. “Yes,” I told the ward council “The house is under contract, and will close on the 28th of this month.”
The council sighed in disappointment. We were loved in our ward. They had become like family. And I had been gladly attending ward council every Sunday for only 3 years.
“Do you know who is moving in?” Bishop asked
“Not really, I think it’s a family from American Fork.” I said
Pursuing a Lifelong Dream
“Do you have a place you’re going to?”
I pointed at the large picture of Jesus Christ on the wall.
“Not yet, but where He wants us to go, we will go. I’m sure we’ll find where it is in the next couple of weeks.” I said
“And do you feel pretty confident about this film business you started?” Bishop asked
I was already uncomfortable with the questions, but this one had me squirming my seat. I had been making $115,000 – $125,000 a year before the lay off. I was confident I could get another job, potentially even at a higher salary range. I had only been offered several jobs without even applying for anything, some of them very lucrative. But I turned all of them down, in pursuit of a more long term vision.
Since I was a young child, making animated movies and short films is what I did with every second I could find. I’d stay up into the late hours almost every night working on animating my superhero movies. I was a TA for high school film my senior year and I thought studying Film in college would be the path I’d go. Ultimately, I didn’t go Film School. After my mission I realized I really valued autotomy and loved the freedom that came with entrepreneurship. I started several small businesses, but none of them could quite pay the bills for my growing family of 4 beautiful daughters, so I ended up always taking a job.
I had gotten really good at the corporate world, but it was never part of the long term vision to own a company of my own. Burning the midnight oil and attempting the side hustle proved to be a challenge with family life balance. I had quit a job twice to attempt a business idea full time, but after running out of funds within the first few months, I found myself back at another job.
Creating videos and telling stories was always a passion. In a group of friends, my wife was once asked “If your husband was left alone for an entire day with nothing to do, what would he end up doing?” Other people in the room said that husband was likely to build something out of wood, fix something, or something recreational. My wife answered “He’d make a little movie or video.”
I had almost become entirely content with staying in the corporate world, until my wife sat me down and asking me questions that rekindled a fire inside of me. “Where are we going to be in 40 years?” she asked. Retired. Serving missions. With grandkids. We wrote down our lives together and what we wanted. She broke it down from 40 years, to 30, 20, 10, 5, and 1. When I said things like “I want to own a successful business.” She would prod deeper “What business would you like to own? If you could do anything?”
“A large film company. I’d love to tell wholesome and family friendly stories. I’d like to be the next Disney. Not just a film maker, or director, or story writer, a Film Company Owner. With lots of uplifting and impactful stories.” I told her
That big idea vision got broken down into smaller steps with each year we discussed. I had this realization that if I continued on the corporate path I was on, we wouldn’t hit any of the milestones we needed to. I had started a short film passion project called “DayHero” and uploaded occasionally to a Youtube Channel with how to video editing tutorials with 400 subscribers, but If I really wanted to do this, things were going to have to change.
I committed to my wife and myself with a new plan that I would get the funding I needed within the next year to pursue this business while still working at my job. I didn’t want to just quit and go after it with no funds again. I made a plan of what I would do to grow this passion into a business I could quit my job for and pursue without having to sell our house or take on debt.
But it proved to be challenge, as it had in the past to do both a job and a side hustle. I had been tasked at work to open a new tax division for a new source of revenue for the company. The work was doing was meaningful and making a difference. It quickly took up almost all my energy and capabilities in building a new division and team. I was feeling successful at work, but I missed all my personal commitments for my own business.
My wife several times prompted me that maybe I should just quit to pursue my own vision full time. But I scared, there wasn’t a way financially I could see we’d be able to do that unless we sold our house or get in debt, which was something she and I didn’t want to do. I felt a little stuck, I wasn’t willing to quit another job to pursue my dream and I wasn’t giving my dream the time it needed to take off.
It was June 20th, 2023 when I was informed I was being laid off. I was at a peak of performance for the company. Bringing in millions of new source revenue, I honestly half expected a promotion or a raise. This is a raw and unedited audio recording from the day I was let go as I drove home, I recorded my thoughts.
Seeing through a different Lens
“Sometimes… I think I’m crazy.” I told the ward council. “I’ve put the brakes on moving forward with this plan and selling the house several times. But every time I’ve gone to the Lord, I’ve received peace, comfort, and strength to move forward.”
Paul said “For now we see through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), meaning that the way we see things is like looking through a metal mirror. Our knowledge available in this life is incomplete as compared with the perfect knowledge we will enjoy in eternity (see 2 Nephi 9:13–14). As I sat in Sacrament meeting a brother stood to bear his testimony citing “We can wear glasses of doubt and fear or we can wear glasses of faith and hope.” I felt that phrase burn within me. Too often, I feel I’m planning for the worst case possiblity. I sell my house, use all the funds in a year or two renting at places even more expensive than my mortgage, don’t make a single dollar, and end up in a tough financial position at the end. The plan makes no sense. But as I thought how crazy it all sounded, I realized I was glasses of doubt and fear – planning for only failure and only being able to see it through my glasses.
But what if I planned for success? What if I placed glasses that helped me see clearly who I am and what I could accomplish with the Lord’s help? I’ve been attempting to remove my old prescription of doubt, self crisitism, and fear and get a new prescription of faith, hope, and assurance. I’m not talking about going in blind, but rather seeing things as they really are through a spiritual and even eternal lens. Keeping all things in context of that, prepares me even for potential failure.
Elder Oaks has also taught:
Each of us has a personal lens through which we view the world. Our lens gives its special tint to all we see. It can suppress some features and emphasize others. It can also reveal things otherwise invisible. Through the lens of spirituality, we can know “the things of God” by “the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:11.) As the Apostle Paul taught, such things are “foolishness” to the “natural man.” He cannot see them “because they are spiritually discerned.” (See 1 Cor. 2:14.)
How we interpret our experiences is also a function of our degree of spirituality. Some interpret mortality solely in terms of worldly accomplishments and possessions. In contrast, we who have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ should interpret our experiences in terms of our knowledge of the purpose of life, the mission of our Savior, and the eternal destiny of the children of God. (Spirituality)
President James E. Faust said:
Often we do not have even a glimpse of our potential for happiness and accomplishment in this life and in eternity because, as the Apostle Paul said, “Now we see through a glass, darkly.” But the lens can be lightened and become crystal clear through the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Savior promised us that the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, will “teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,” and “guide you into all truth.”34
I know that when we act in faith, even when we act imperfect, Jesus goes with us. He takes our imperfect actions and messages, and makes them perfect, because He is. I trust Him. I know Him. He helps me to see with Glasses of Hope and Faith. I’ don’t know how this all plays out, but I know I’ll strive to give my whole life to serving Him.