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Everyone wants to look back on their life with joy and satisfaction, having no regrets. If you are reading this article, then it’s safe to assume that you share that sentiment. Here’s a major point to consider: most people will look back on their lives and will more often find regret over the things they did not do than gratification over the things that they did do. And quite often those play out as dreams or passions that were left unpursued. So how do you find the things in life that you have a true passion for, and once you’ve found them, are there steps you can take to set yourself up for long-term success in that area? Who better to ask than a man who is not only living out his dream and pursuing his passion, but is thriving at it? That would be the head “jackwagon” himself … comedian Tim Hawkins.

Tim has a career doing what he loves, and he’s not the only one who loves it. Having been designated one of the biggest names in “Christian comedy” and having become one of the most in-demand entertainers in comedy as a whole, Tim’s ridiculous, yet completely relatable observations about everyday life expose it’s hilarity, leaving audiences of all ages laughing ‘til their sides hurt…not to mention the few along the way who actually peed themselves! The accumulation of over 300 million online views and over a hundred sold-out shows each year come not only from his uproarious stand-up, but also from his comedic music videos and performances. A few fan favorites include The Chick-fil-A Song, Yoga Pants, Cletus Take The Reel, and The Government Can.

For Tim, the journey to his dream job was one that involved a process of trial and error built on hard work. In his story, there are many lessons that can be learned and much wisdom that can be applied for anyone seeking to follow his or her dreams, whatever they may be. For Tim, one major turning point in the path to where he is now was quitting his job as a grocery truck driver back in 2002. It was at that moment, Tim made the decision to pursue a career in comedy, doing what he was good at, making people laugh.  He decided that he would make it work, whatever it took. Sharing his perspective on the start of that journey, Tim explained:

“I tried a lot of different jobs, just trying to find my way in the world. And this is really the only thing I know how to do, so I thought, is there a way to do it? It’s a lot of trial and error. I think one of the things that you learn in your life is that how you define “that thing you’re supposed to do” is when you’re relentless at something. And that was comedy for me. I mean, if I would fail at it, there was no question of quitting, I wanted to do it so bad. Whereas, other jobs…when I would fail, I would quit. It was a little bit of inspiration and a little bit of desperation.”

Finding that thing that you are desperately passionate about doing, your calling, is so crucial because when hard times come (and they will come), if you are doing what you are enthusiastic about, you will not give up near as easily. Tim is not saying that if you pursue what you love, everything will be easy. Anyone who has done anything worthwhile will tell you otherwise. That classic mantra, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life” may sound nice, but it is sadly untrue. It always takes work—and usually lots of it.  As Tim said, it involves a lot of trial and error.  For him, failures did come, but what separated those failures from the previous ones was his decision to get back up and keep moving forward, a decision made easier by his strong desire.  

And from there it takes consistency of continually pressing forward. But Tim clarified that it means so much more than simply pressing forward in a business sense. He began to share that having daily consistency in his relationship with God is absolutely crucial to his finding happiness and success, not only in his career, but in his marriage and as a father. “The Bible calls it prudence. It’s being consistent and knowing that your fruits will pay off later. Because I don’t think that God is someone who just gives us answers; He is the answer. He is it. And I think that too many people think that God is a supplement in their lives. No, He is life itself.”

And it’s by having that daily consistency in seeking the presence of God that Tim finds the strength to press on to success. From that foundation, Tim then creates a culture around himself that also helps him be successful. He does this by first giving himself the freedom to fail. Too often people are so afraid to fail that they get frozen and miss opportunities to grow. Second, he positions the right people in his inner circle. “Surround yourself with people who free you up to do what you do well. My tour manager, he loves to be on the phone.  He’s all about logistics. I hate logistics. I get nauseous thinking about logistics.” Third, he knows when to rest. You only have so much to give without taking time to refill. Just like a cup that’s being poured out, if you don’t get refilled, you will run dry, even with the things you love. Make sure to invest in yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And Tim’s final piece of advice for success in pursuing your dreams is this, “Say yes until you can say no.” Take whatever work you can get until you earn the opportunity to start being choosy.


Little known fact:

“I actually do do yoga.”

“Do you wear yoga pants like in the song?”

“My wife bought me men’s yoga pants, and they are like wearing whip cream, like ‘where have you been all my life?’”