It’s like you’re tiptoeing a thin guardrail on the side of a bridge. You’ve been to this edge before, over and over again in your mind. Calculating the possibilities, pondering the rationality. The water is dark below. You can’t see the bottom, but you’re pretty sure it’s deep. There has never been anything that has felt so right, like you must do it. At least you’ll survive to tell a crazy story, right? Butterflies in your stomach.
Close your eyes.
My girlfriend Shaina and I found ourselves coming home each day, complaining to each other about the frustrations we experienced working for other companies. Now, don’t get me wrong, we had great jobs. Both working for a major media outlet, Shaina freelancing as a cinematographer and video editor on the side, we had good things going for us. Steady pay, a nice apartment, plenty of disposable income. Nice things. But we clearly weren’t happy.
Tip #1: Don’t settle for comfort or fear uncertainty. Embrace the possibilities of an unfamiliar path.
During this period of our lives, Shaina began working on a freelance project that evolved into a story that would forever change the course of our lives. Inspired by this project and motivated to “do it better” than the accepted standard, we started a video production company focused on creating amazing videos and short films that truly matter.
So now, I am sure you are wondering “What exactly is this project that inspired you to quit your jobs and follow your passion?!”
Shaina had begun filming the Miami Heat Wheels wheelchair basketball team several months earlier to create a short video clip as a favor to the coach. About a month or so into filming, it was so evident that we had happened upon a story that has never been told (but needs to be).
A story about a fraying wheelchair basketball program on their quest to earn a National Championship. The power of an overlooked sport to instill hope in the face of extreme adversity. Our ability to overcome great challenges despite the odds.
So, for the past 21 months, Shaina and I have been self-funding our efforts to make a full-length documentary about these athletes who consistently rise above extreme physical challenges to pursue something they are passionate about, a game they truly love, and above all else, an action that gives them hope.
Tip #2: Let life inspire you in unexpected ways. There’s probably a reason you were moved by that story – don’t be afraid for your next project to choose you, rather than you choosing it.
It’s kind of funny how things happen. You might call it a coincidence, but Shaina and I truly believe in synchronicity, that “Things happen for a reason.”
We met Cesar Romero, Community Manager for Under30, at a social media conference in Miami. Connecting and sharing our “leap of faith” experiences with each other sprouted a friendship that eventually led to an opportunity to attend an Under30Experiences trip to Costa Rica where we were introduced to a group of super genuine, adventurous individuals. Not only did we come back from that adventure with a fresh perspective on where we are in our own path, but we also gained an ever expanding network of like minded, passionate, driven individuals.
One of the things that is so special about Under30 is that it truly doesn’t end with the travel experience, the blog you read, or the email that you connect with – this is a community that can transform and nurture your dreams. For us, this has come full-circle. Thanks to the Under30 community, as well as our friends and family, we’ve been able to grow our core support network for this project and truly evolve our approach and the potential impact we’re going to make. It has always been about telling an inspirational story and the tale of an overlooked sport, but it’s blossomed into so much more.
Tip #3: Explore the world and get out of your comfort zone. You never know what you’ll find.
We’re on a mission to achieve three main goals.
First, raise awareness for wheelchair basketball, an adaptive sport that provides invaluable opportunities for people to find hope despite facing a mountain of challenges.
Second, break down social misconceptions of what it means to be disabled.
Third, inspire the world and motivate people to embrace and rise above their challenges.
We all have the power to overcome great adversity and achieve amazing things.
Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to dream big and share your ideas with the world.
The story that first inspired us to take our leaps of faith, leave our desk jobs behind, and go after our passions has now become the heart of the feature film we are working to share with the world. After nearly 2 full years capturing this story on our own, we know that in order to make an epic positive impact on the world we need to surround ourselves with a passionate community of people who believe in the power of stories to change the world and impact the lives of others.
Tip #5: Persevere through the tough times, never stop learning, and surround yourself with people who make you better.
For those of you that feel that fire igniting inside, don’t ignore it.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t plan before you leap, but explore your options.
How can you make your dream a reality?
Don’t be afraid to take that risk. You have 168 hours each week. Give your passion just 6 hours a week to get started, no matter what it takes. Test those dark waters. Now is the time to do it, before it’s too late.
Take a look at this community, built from scratch out of two people’s dream, with countless incredibly scary leaps of faith.
Now you’re here reading our story, is that just a coincidence? We would love for you to join us on this mission and help support the making of “The Rebound” by contributing whatever’s in your heart and sharing our mission with your networks.
From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate you reading our story and we hope you’ll join us in making a difference in the world. If you want to help us make a positive impact, check out our Indiegogo campaign: http://igg.me/at/reboundthefilm
Mike & Shaina
Image Credits: Shaina Koren Cinematography