Recently my book club read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I chose our book that month, and I’m so glad I was led to this one. I truly needed the introspective spiritual reflection and wisdom that was shared in the story of Santiago, a young shepherd who sets out on a journey to fulfill his personal legend, his dreams, and the lessons he learns along the way. It reminded me of my own journey to this point.
In the year 2000, I was working in Corporate America thinking about owning an entertainment company (I even have the journal entry to prove it!). By 2017, I had a full-fledged media brand to my name. It took a lot for me to get to this point though: questioning whether this was my path, encountering financial challenges, building a team, losing people not supportive of the dream, adapting from a corporate to an entrepreneurial mindset, and so much more along the way.
Alchemy is about the process of turning lead into gold on the surface. In the book, the alchemic journey was to discover one’s personal treasure by embracing the changes that take place in us when we encounter bumps, bruises, twists, and turns on our journey. For Santiago, alchemy became an adventure where every experience had a purpose — much like my journey. For me, alchemy is about my transformation from dreaming to daily pursuit — from planning to taking ACTION to live out my purpose and vision as a media company CEO and media figure, leading and guiding the world to see media differently and recognize the value we help our clients bring to this changing landscape.
Life Is Meant to Happen
No one likes to go through the tough times, yet the only way to learn is through ACTION and experience. Since nothing is wasted, each experience has a lesson and a purpose: making you fit for the journey ahead. On his journey, Santiago was robbed, betrayed, beaten, faced detours that lasted months or years, had to make hard choices, met the love of his life, and was forced to leave her…all while having to learn, stretch, and grow to prepare himself for the journey ahead. The lessons he learned from each experience saved his life in another and gave him the strength to move forward when times were tough.
They say it takes a life event (sometimes a tragedy) for you to truly see your life in perspective and make a necessary change. For me, this was losing a close family member. It shook me to my core and made me realize that all of our time is limited — so my ambition to add value and be of service on a greater platform needed to start now. I’m convinced that in that moment, the Centrell brand and CReed Global Media visions were reignited. It is my ACTION in pursuing that vision that has created what you see today.
Still, this road has been filled with unexpected events that made me question whether I did the right thing. How many times do we go back to the safety of what we know instead of running toward the possibility? Haven’t you heard that it’s darkest before the sun shines? This means that right after the struggle comes the win — the gift and reward for you hanging in there through what seemed impossible.
There are so many of these moments to count, it seems, so don’t think of big challenges as “one-and-done” either. I’ve experienced closed doors, losing people I thought were friends, financial setbacks, things not working out as planned, doubting myself and my decisions, and people trying to take from what I’ve built. On the other side, I realize those experiences made room for new people, new opportunities, and new heights for me to be stretched as a leader. Now I know what to look for and who to avoid as I excel. It’s my belief in myself and my faith that keeps me pushing for the next level of my destiny.
Face It With Faith
Some say it’s our fear that things won’t work out (or at least work out like we planned) that keeps us from moving at all. Sometimes we have a visual in our minds of how things should play out — when each day brings more uncertainty and unfamiliarity, we get concerned. Yet uncertain and unfamiliar do not equate to failure — it just means you don’t know what’s up ahead.
Could it be that accomplishing is just as scary as not accomplishing? In other words, it’s possible to truly fear your pursuit of being a success…and that can be just as daunting as never achieving at all. In the book, Coelho writes that “fear of failure makes dreams impossible.” Wouldn’t fear of success do the same thing? We can’t let either one stop us. Don’t give into any fear.
I try to welcome the “new” instead of being afraid of it, and hold on to the notion that the universe is bringing something better every time I give up the need to control the outcome. I know people who are afraid of change, I just never considered myself one of them. Why? Maybe because I am a military kid whose father was in the Air Force; we constantly traveled and moved all over. Always starting over, meeting new people, and having to get used to new environments and routines makes one adaptable — so there is no way that I am afraid of change now. (Or so I think.) Who knew that being a military kid would teach me bravery, courage in trying new adventures and frontiers, how to make friends, what it means to embrace people from all walks of life…and ultimately lead me to travel the world, eventually opening a media company and brand that’s sought after around the globe.
Stick With Those Who Stick With You
I was able to face this journey with faith because I had a strong foundation. I have a huge family of supporters, friends, and believers who encourage me. I have my clients in the local and international community who prefer CReed Global Media and trust us for the videography, studio, and television/music media services we provide, as well as the relationships we build to add value to their brands. This is a significant part of being able to stay my course.
In The Alchemist, Santiago gets support from his family to pursue his dreams. His father encourages him and sends him off with words of wisdom and money for his journey. Along the way, he meets many other supporters: a gypsy, a merchant, an Englishman, Fatima (his love), and the Alchemist. Here, we learn that success isn’t determined by what or who you have when you start your journey — you will meet supporters, believers, and the key people meant for your circle as you go. As Coelho writes in the book, “…when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” You just need to know what you want!
What Is Your Alchemic Journey? Do You Know Your Dream?
So what do you want to accomplish on your own alchemic journey to realize your dreams? No two journeys are the same, so don’t be afraid. Your ultimate objectives are unique because it’s you. At the end of this life, I know I will find my personal treasure; the very thing I seek that fulfills me and adds value to others. I will know that I’ve left a mark and my life has added meaning to another’s. With each step, I’m forging forward into the unknown just to find something amazing on the other end of my attempts.
It’s like taking lead and adding a little spec of yellow to it…turning up the heat…and watching it turn to gold — this life’s journey is our own personal alchemy. You’ll endure the alchemic process of “going through” to become something and someone greater on the other end. No matter what the process, ups and downs, hills and valleys, tragedies and triumphs, everything has its purpose — ON purpose — for you and me to carry out our purpose!
I’m watching my purpose unfold every day, and I remain open to how it takes shape. Just in case you don’t know what your alchemic journey is, or you have dreams that you aren’t actively pursuing…waste no more time. It’s time to take ACTION!
This has been a Media Moment written by: Centrell Reed, Founder and Co-CEO of CReed Global Media & Production. Get in touch with Centrell at firstname.lastname@example.org