Before kids, my career was on the up and up. I was making healthy six figures working in creative direction and social media at a major Hollywood studio. I thought so highly of myself and my abilities, over-estimating my talent and value. I changed companies every year, always looking for the next big opportunity. I worked 70+ hour weeks, but always felt that I was in over my head. But I kept promising myself I could fake it til I made it.
Then my first child came.
Everything went haywire. Because I was new I couldn't take any time off. My wife was taking on 95% of the workload that comes with a baby. I was getting requests from work at 11 p.m. that were due by 8 a.m., I was working until 2 a.m. every night and starting in again at 6 a.m. most days, including weekends. I was ducking out in the middle of church to handle requests.
The dream of a big shot Hollywood job had become an absolute nightmare because of this adorable little girl. This adorable little girl who made me realize how miserable I was in my glamorous job, how incredibly unimportant my work was with David Fincher's 30th revision to move copy 1 pixel to the right on our Twitter profile skin for “Gone Girl,” a script I actually despised so much that I never even watched the movie.
This little adorable baby girl absolutely decimated my career. I couldn't stay focused, I was dolling out excuses for lack of performance constantly, I wasn't attentive on conference calls and would get caught ignoring conversations red-handed constantly. I was exhausted. I was failing my employer and failing my wife even worse. My life was a disaster and I was missing out on all of my daughter's firsts.
Then I got fired.
Well, laid off gently and very courteously with a far-too-generous severance.
It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Now that I had this magical human being in my care, all I cared about was her. And I had 3 months of living expenses to figure life out. My friend Jake Larsen’s business he started was taking off. He seemed happy and free. I wanted that freedom more than anything. I read the $100 Start-Up and realized I didn’t need to start some massive company with investment money in order to provide for this little priceless treasure of a daughter.
I started an agency. I started calling everyone I knew offering anything that I thought they might want. Three months went by, my nest egg disappeared, I maxed out my credit card in month four when I got a client for a three month campaign.
It was a miracle.
Then a month later another one. It was as if everyone in my professional network was waiting to see whether or not I would tank. Then another client, then another, and at the end of year one, we made good revenue, and it was just me full-time and a couple partners moonlighting outside of their day jobs. It was working, but they wouldn't make the jump, so we split.
I hired a guy. And another guy. Year two we did even better revenue and were on a rocket-ship, doubling revenue quarter over quarter. Our work was getting featured on Mashable, Buzzfeed, Adweek, Forbes, I was speaking at events, this thing was actually working. I couldn’t believe it. Work was coming out of nowhere from the most unforeseen of places.
And the best part? I didn’t CARE about prestige anymore!
I didn't care about my importance, my relevance, my title, my pedigree, all I cared about was providing for my sweet girl and making her happy, and that complete paradigm shift generated abundance and prestige that I never would have achieved in another decade of my glam Hollywood job.
In most of that time, yes I was frantic, but I rarely worked more than 50 hours a week. I took my little Princess to the pool every day, I gave my wife a break to pursue her hobbies, we went to Europe for two weeks, we went to the Oregon coast, we went to Europe again, we went to Hawaii, we went to Disneyland almost every week. I became an actual decent friend and extended family member. I took my Dad and brother to Death Valley.
Having children (temporarily) destroyed my career.
Having children SAVED MY LIFE.
This gorgeous, hilarious, magical, mystical little treasure saved my life. She brought fullness, fulfillment—she was this giant wrecking ball that decimated the skyscraper that was my life and reformed it into a magical village full of abundance, friends, family, good health and tranquility.
If you think maybe it’s time you destroy your career and save your life, maybe have a kid? Lolz.
Travis Chambers is a husband and father of two, Jax age 1 and Rylee age 3. He lives in Boise, Idaho and owns Chamber.Media, an agency that makes large-scale video productions for brands on YouTube and Facebook.