Big Decisions with your Heart
“In life you make the small decisions with your head and the big decisions with your heart.” Omid Kordestani
I thought I was going to get killed in a forest. Let me explain. Nine years ago, my life seemed to be unfolding the way I thought it was supposed to. I had a decent job in sales, making mid five figures. I was about to move in with my girlfriend and I was planning to propose. I was 26 years old and things were pretty good. There was a lot happening.
But then I was asked by Toronto Dance Salsa to be an administrator of the school. I turned them down. It was a huge pay cut – almost half my salary and no benefits. If it had happened three months before – before I started the sales job I would have said yes, but I couldn’t do it now. Financially it just didn’t make sense.
So, the school owner, she walked away but the other guy involved in Toronto Dance Salsa wouldn’t give up. We had a bit of a relationship so he figured he might be able to convince me.
The first night, long before I thought I was going to die, the guy who eventually became my business and personal mentor messaged me at 11:30 pm “What are you doing?”
I thought that was an odd message to receive at 11:30 but I responded. “Going to bed. I’ve got to work tomorrow.”
“No you’re not. Let’s meet.”
I didn’t know him all that well at the time so now I was really confused. “ What?”
“Yeah, let’s meet at the park. Let’s go.”
“Okay.” and I drove to this park in the middle of the night. I mean I trust him.
We started walking and he said “Listen, I know you said no already but here’s what we are going to do. We will make you the director of Toronto Dance Salsa.”
“So how much more does this pay?”
“To be honest, not much more than you were previously offered. And the little bit more it will pay is going to come out of my own pocket. But you are meant for this role. This is what you are supposed to be doing.”
We went back and forth for almost two hours and he was trying to convince me but I still said no. He couldn’t understand it. But I explained. “I’ve got responsibilities – I’m moving out, getting engaged, helping to support my mom.”
He was so frustrated with me but we left it at that. I got home at 2 am and was bleary eyed at work the next day.
Night number two rolled around and it was 11:30 pm and I received the same message “What are you doing?”
“Jesus! I’m going to bed!”
“No, you’re not. Meet me in the park.”
Once again we walked in the park. I think the raccoons were beginning to recognize us. So we repeated the same conversation and we went back and forth over the same ground again and again.
I’m sorry. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”
“What would it take for you to say yes?”
At this point I was tired and frustrated and so I just threw something out. “I don’t know. Owning 5% of the company.”
He hesitated. That wasn’t solely his decision. But if that’s what it was going to take, he said let me figure some things out and he would get back to me. So I walked away thinking nothing’s gonna happen.
But on night number three at 11:30 pm again I got the same message. I swear to God this time he’s gonna have a shovel or something. Like I’m getting murdered and that if I say no one more time, I’m gonna get murdered and buried.
Despite my misgivings and fear for my safety, we walked in the park for the third night in a row. He had a new proposal. “Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to give you the whole school. We are going to build it up. It might take two years, or five years or 10. It depends on how hard you work but you will have the school. It will be yours. I need you to see how much you’re meant for this. She’s selling the business and it isn’t meant for me. It is meant for you.”
I’m in shock. “What do you mean? You can’t do that. You’re telling me in the middle of the night? At 1:30, at night, I’m supposed to shake your hand with no witnesses except the raccoons and the ferns?”
He said “It is going to be sweat equity. You will have to work for it. The pay will not be great. I’m taking a chance.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t.”
He is completely exasperated now. “Dude. I’m done convincing you. This is ridiculous. I’m going to ask you one time but you have to tell me what your heart says.”
“It doesn’t matter what my heart says. I have to buy a couch, a ring. I have responsibilities. My path now is secure. It ‘s gonna get me somewhere. You are asking me to take huge risks.”
“Why doesn’t it matter?”
“Because I’m scared”
“That’s not a good enough reason. What does your heart say?”
“I want to do this” He said ok and we shook hands and it was the best decision of my life. The best and it came from the scariest moment.
And so what I’ve learned is for big decisions, always make them with your heart. When you are 95 years old you won’t spend time regretting the moments you listened to your heart. You’ll regret the times when you didn’t. I don’t want to have too many of those regrets. I love you guys.
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