People make cartoons for a living. They ACTUALLY get paid to make cartoons! And I knew, right then and there, that’s what I wanted to do. ~ John Lasseter, Pixar
John Lasseter is one of the creative minds behind Pixar and over the weekend, while channel surfing, I came across the documentary, The Pixar Story. As a fan of animated films, and all of the movies that have come out of Pixar to date, I was glued to the TV. I tried to imagine what John’s parents, family and friends must have thought when he announced in high school that he planned on making a living creating cartoons. The myths of creativity and what you can do to make a successful living were still very much anchored to words like “starving artist” and “suffering for their art”. Yet what I loved about John’s story was once the realization went from his heart to his head, there was no stopping him. He knew that he was supposed to make cartoons, knew there were ways to push the envelope past the traditional 2-D movies, and knew he needed to be a part of an industry that brought joy to the hearts of many. Right at the start, John immersed himself in everything Disney. He even went so far as to get a summer job at Disneyland where he started as a sweeper but was quickly promoted to a ride operator for their Jungle Cruise. John’s faith in the unknown path that lay ahead brought him to Cal Tech where he won back to back awards for animation and upon graduation his dream job at Disney.
All of this might sound like a piece of cake career evolution for John. Yet what many people don’t know is that the very place he held on a pedestal for so many years growing up, Disney, fired him. They didn’t feel comfortable in the direction he wanted to take the industry. He was talking about new technologies, 3-D animation, and the important use of computers. After the executives at Disney gave him the green light to work on a project that would showcase what could be achieved, he created The Brave Little Toaster. For eight plus months he worked on this movie and after he presented it, he was shut down. He was told how this idea of computer generated films and a new look and feel to animated films would go nowhere. They believed what John was showing them would remove the need for animators. Throughout Disney there was a lot of fear. Lack and limiting thoughts over losing jobs to technology and there not being enough interest to make money enveloped the company. They weren’t able to embrace an idea that didn’t have proof, tangible evidence, of success.
We’ve all been in similar situations. We know from the core of our being that we are meant to do something extraordinary with our lives. A unique gift we were born with surfaces and we are willing to move mountains to achieve our divine dreams. However, when the path of achievement doesn’t happen quickly and we aren’t able to see, feel, taste or touch confirmation of what we believed would bring us success, we many times walk away. We get wrapped up in feelings of failure and rejection. All of a sudden every naysayer we know, and even several we don’t, show up to validate just how ridiculous our dream was to begin with and at least now we know. We don’t take into consideration Divine Timing and Order. The Universe isn’t on our time schedule, as much as we love to think otherwise. There are directions we need to take, people we need to meet, and situations we need to experience all which guide us on the path to our life purpose.
John’s dream of making a full-length, animated feature film didn’t happen overnight. After Disney fired him, he was led to a job at Lucas Films where he continued to hone his craft and work with scientists and artists on perfecting technology. With the support of George Lucas, a small group took Pixar and began to look for an investor for their studio and found Steve Jobs. (Least we forget that Steve Jobs had been fired from the very company he founded, Apple.) And while many might believe anything Steve Jobs touches is an instant success, he lost $5 million dollars during the first five years of Pixar. But no one would stop trying and believing. John and Steve, along with a group of people with like-minded passion and values came together to create this success story. Toy Story, Bugs Life, Toy Story 2, Monster’s Inc, Finding Nemo, Cars, etc.. became possible because they held onto faith, trusted the unknown, and aligned their thoughts, words, actions and emotions.
Through the chaos, life brought surprises filled with joy and love. If you’re asking why them and not you, right there is the first challenge. Where are your thoughts regarding what you want to create? What are you doing to contribute to the evolution of your dream? Are you so wrapped up in there not being enough time that you don’t even begin to try? What other limiting thoughts are you holding onto? If your dream enlivens you, and you’ll know it because you won’t be able to think about anything but this divine idea, then you must keep on keeping on. If your dream is aligned with your core values and creates good in this world, then you must keep stepping out on faith. If you need help to make this dream a reality, then you are dreaming huge, kid kind of huge, and you will find that the right and perfect people do show up to help make it happen. If your dream requires you to grow into your true self, then you must stay on your path.
We all deserve to wake up in the mornings and say, “What a minute… I’m actually getting paid to do this for a living!” Let the delicious and dynamic lives begin!