I am sure you have all seen the Linkedin shares about people who left their comfy corporate job to travel the world and although these are inspiring and aspiring, this particular story is a bit different.
Many of those tales draw from someone’s angst or frustration working in the corporate world – motivating them to take action. All well and good but this particular story and individual was motivated solely from his innate passion and drive to follow his heart for being outdoors, shooting photography and “staying curious” as he called it.
His name is Joseph Stockhausen but his closest friends know and call him “Jes” for short.
I first met Jes back in 2012 as we were both East Coast transplants living and working in Southern California and although our geographical upbringing brought our interests, passions and sensibility together, it was our shared drive and curiosity for wanting the most out of our lives that spawned what would be an incredible friendship, partnership and mentorship in motivating each other to want more, do more and get more.
Jes and I would spend countless hours sitting at lunch discussing our plans for our life and what we wanted to achieve. I would listen to him share his love and knowledge for: Camping, Snowboarding, Surfing and most importantly Photography. His curiosity for wanting more was contagious and palpaubile.
I had never seen his work nor had been on any of his adventures but I was fortunate to have his leadership in teaching this New Yorker how to surf for the first time and yes, I did get up and did ride a wave but I digress. From this one experience alone, I was able to see in real time just how lit up and alive Jes became when he was one with nature and doing what he loved.
As our time working together progressed, so did the level and intensity around the conversations we were having about what we wanted out of life, what makes us most happy and what we need to do to achieve it. In direct proportion to the growth of our conversations, so was the level of Jes’s curiosity.
It was clear that over the course of 16 months, what started as Jes sharing his adventures of what he did each weekend (and unbeknownst to him), he was actually creating the next chapter of his life and selfishly watching this (as a Coach) was amazingly inspiring. He would tell me that he hopped into his truck and went to Mammoth snowboarding last minute, then hiked some mountain and somehow found time to slip in a surfing trip all the while his camera or GoPro was always in tow documenting his adventures and permanently recording his curiosity. His personal business was also taking off through his incredible work at Oakley and Redbull which ultimately caught the eyes of Fortune 300 companies seeking out his skills and zest for life.
Then one day it all changed.
It went from Jes talking about his future to actually creating it in the present moment. Once again we were sitting outside eating lunch and he started laying out detailed plans which involved but was not limited to a new company name, branding, a fresh website to display and promote his work, an engaging blog and a focus that only Michael Jordan in game 7 with the score tied and 3 seconds left on the clock could understand. It was clear an exit strategy had begun to be executed. His plans, although not fully baked – included a van in which he could live and work out of while pursuing his dream of being outdoors. In full disclosure, I thought he was a bit crazy because as a New Yorker – the only people living in vans I knew were typically the vendors on the streets of Manhattan who park on the corners and sell produce 24 hours a day but I digress.
Fast forward to the present day and Jes is fully living his dream.
He achieved his dream of being outdoors and shooting photography for both himself and some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Oh did I mention he bought that van and made it exactly what he had envisioned? See for yourself:
Here are just a few examples of Jes’s work and they need no explanation other than they’re not photoshopped. His IG account is definitely worth watching (@jessstockhausen) but his portfolio tells the full story.
Finding what you moves you in life is a journey many of us embark on but sadly few of us achieve. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. The journey itself is the learning and the destination maybe more of a point in time along the spectrum versus an absolute finish line. No matter where you are in your discovery process, here is what you can take away from Jes’s story:
- Stay engaged in your life, your feelings (good and bad) and recognize what shows up as this will undeniably move you into some type of action.
- Discover and develop whatever your interests are and be relentless in figuring out how to hone and grow that interest so your passion begins to consume you in a way you haven’t felt before.
- Seek out support from others who share similar interests or a quest for more in life as this sounding board can help promote your conversation and spring you into action.
- Don’t give up no matter what. Although this sounds obvious, there are countless stories over time of people who had they given up on their dreams we wouldn’t be where we are today.
- Share your experiences with the world. Although this is mandatory, it’s a beautiful way to inspire others like Jes did for me.
- Thank you Jes for being an inspirational figure in my life where the sharing of your dreams helped me discover mine. Stay curious my friend.
Do you have someone who inspired you? Tell us your story.
Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com
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