The Heart vs. The Head Part II: "It Was the ‘Me’ I Had Always Wanted to Be"

I recently wrote about following your heart vs. your head, with some help from a scene from the movie “Braveheart” to make my point. Some more thoughts on this topic, with help from the movie “Jerry McGuire.”

On a sleepless night, Jerry McGuire, über agent with a premier sports agency, has a “breakthrough.” His heart takes over for his head, and enables him to pour out a vision for the future of his company. He calls it “The Things We Think and Do Not Say.” He fills it with stuff like, “With so many clients, we had forgotten what was important,” and “The answer is fewer clients.” A quote from the scene is a nice summary for his epiphany: “I had lost the ability to bullshit. It was the me I had always wanted to be.”

Soon after Jerry sends his mission statement to his entire firm, he is fired. The firm doesn’t need a maverick. They don’t want people to follow their hearts. They need guys and gals that fall in line and focus on the bottom line. So Jerry had to make the painful walk out of the office one afternoon, and notice what happens when he asks his colleagues to follow their hearts.

At least one person was “crazy” enough to go with him, to follow her heart. But otherwise, Jerry was on his own. He had followed his heart and it had lead him down a risky path that seemingly would lead to failure. But if you’ve seen the movie, you know that’s not the case. This is a man who has found his freedom. A man who is led by his heart.
Ten years ago I left a “safe” job with Bank of America to help build a startup business. I ignored my head and followed my heart. Coincidentally, my wife was really the only person who “came with me,” just like the scene above. While she always believed in me, most of my family and friends thought I was crazy to leave my “good, safe job” at the bank. It didn’t make sense. It was too risky. I had no experience building a business. Blah blah.

But I didn’t care. My heart was begging me to come with it and I wanted to follow it. And you know what I have learned, and what Jerry McGuire learned, and what many other people who’ve taken the same “risky” path have learned? We learned that while listening to our heads seems like the smart, logical, safe thing to do, following our hearts has led us to happiness, and, ironically, more financial success than we would have ever had if we had listened our heads. And we all view the financial rewards not as the objective, but as the byproduct. Following our hearts was and will always be the objective.

Your heart is trying to lead you right now. Follow it. Be the “you” you’ve always wanted to be.