Don’t be jealous. Just get busy

I have this artist friend Dan that travels alot. When I worked for him, he’d talk about his ‘next big thing’, travelling to some far off exotic country, for work reasons.

I’d listen with wide eyed interest, and was genuinely happy for his success. Then one day, I finally  confessed, “I could only wish.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… I wish I could travel like that. On business. But I’m not good enough at anything for anyone to fly me anywhere and do stuff. And I can’t afford to go myself. I haven’t travelled anywhere in FIFTEEN YEARS.”

He looked me in the eye, and very sternly said something to the effect of,

“You will. You just wait. It’ll take at least 5 years. Put in your 10 minutes a day, work hard, work towards it, and it will come. Just get busy.”

I had no idea where he was coming from. He was always saying these encouraging pep talk things, with no proof to back them up.

So I didn’t really pay attention. I just went to work and put in my hours.

pallet wood shopping
pallet wood sections
Pallet wood workshop storage /
Enhanced pallet shelves

I’d do the dayjob by day, and DIY by night. Sometimes all night.

And then for a spell, I also worked for my friend.

3 jobs at one point.

It was a good SOLID 5 years until I started to learn to earn from blogging and was able to slow down on those other jobs. And at year 7, I finally was able to leave my dayjob and wake up just as Funky Junk Interiors.


And yes… I have been flown on some working trips. And even gone on a few personal ones completely funded by myself. 

My last truck / the day I left my 22 year day job stripping firetrucks for a living /
My last truck – last day on the dayjob

That’s EIGHT years of working 2-3 jobs, while raising my boy on my own, and attempting to run a household, and keep a truck on the road. While I was sick for awhile.

How lucky am I? 🙂

Luck is like buying a lottery ticket, hoping you’ll win.

Success is working to earn your win.

So, the reason for this post?

Most recently when I’d write about my past trip, there’d be the odd comment that someone confessed to being jealous.

I get it.

At the bank just today, my teller friend asked me what I did for a living. And at the end of it, claimed she was jealous. 

I get it. I get it all.

And it’s hard to hear when someone isn’t happy with what they do or can’t do the things they wish they could do. It took me 50 years of constant change to finally land in a place I truly love, and earn enough to have some surplus to do some things we wish to do.

Thing is, I’ve needed the 50 years experience of all those past jobs to get where I am. So I think some stories just take longer to build. And if you aren’t where you wish to be yet, you story just isn’t over yet.

Neither is mine. My story won’t be over until my days are done on earth. And I look forward to see what else is in store every single day.

How far are you on my own list below?

1. Some of you are wishing you could find a job, period.

2. Some of you are working a job you don’t enjoy, pining for the weekends.

3. Some of you are working jobs you have trained to do. You like it… but you aren’t sure you LOVE it any longer.

4. Some of you are working the dayjob, while doing the passion job on the side.

Donna Williams of
5. And then there’s some of you that finally took the leap, and actually work all the time, but don’t realize it. Because they’re busy enjoying every single second of every day, as their work IS their play, instead of something to avoid.  And people often see the enthusiasm in their eyes, and skip in their step, and wish they had what they had.

So if you’re feeling a little like you aren’t getting the best deal in life, I have some advice for you. And it’s even proven to work…

“You will. You just wait. It’ll take at least 5 years. Put in your 10 minutes a day, work hard, work towards it, and it will come. Just get busy.”

Now excuse me, while I go finish that DIY I’m presently working on.

With any ‘luck,’ it may even turn out… this time. 🙂

p.s. Thank you Dan! Your lessons continue to serve so many others.

– – – – –

What are you wishing for in life? I’d love to hear your dreams… 

– – – – –

Encouraging posts that are worth the read…

A Story of Hope – my story on how I got from there to here

Summer Changes – on my mystery illness

How to build a dream job while you work a day job

My last truck

What it took to make the final jump into blogland

Now… get busy! 🙂

Facebook Pinterest Twitter Instagram RSS

Subscribe to projects!

Categories: Career building, Inspiration

46 thoughts on “Don’t be jealous. Just get busy

  1. A couple of years ago I stumbled across a picture of a pallet bench on a blog by this Canadian lady called Donna, who turned junk into cool stuff. As we have lots of pallets at my work I decided to make a bench for my wife. A friend saw it, and I made another one. I also came across a TV show called Dirty Money, with Jimmy Diresta, making cool stuff from essentially what was old junk, and this gave me more ideas. I made a couple more benches, using salvaged wood, old pallets, and truck tailgates.

    Then I made a few more things. Tool totes, some with branch handles. Some beer caddies. A bench made from old skis and fence posts. Coat racks made from car parts and ski bindings. I did a craft fair, and another one. People saw what I made and actually wanted to buy stuff! That was a fantastic feeling. People complimented me on being “creative”. I made more stuff. Friends of friends started asking if I could make things for them too.

    So thanks to the initial pallet bench inspired by you, I’m now struggling to find enough time to make things, and I’m loving it. If you ever make it over to England then I owe you a massive cup of coffee. Or ten!

    Thanks for inspiring me, and all the other people who love what you do. I’ve not commented on your blog before, I’ve done the odd one on your Facebook and was really pleased when you commented and like a coat rack made from old car door handles that I made.

    So thanks again Donna, and keep doing it!

    • Richard, I just got chills. THIS is what makes what I do so worthwhile. You have a brand new life!

      If you showcase your stuff on Facebook or online, could you share your link here so we can visit you?

      England is most definitely on my bucket list. It’s a BIG, scary one as I’ve never left North America before. But one day I’m gonna make that huge leap. I can’t wait to share coffee with you… and let’s make that 11 cups? I do love my brew! 🙂

  2. Wow, good post, it’s so easy being jealous, but forgetting all the steps someone may have had to put in to reach a goal. Too many people want it all now without any sacrifice or doing their 10 minutes, Happy Post Maui.

  3. Hello Donna, for twenty years I was a stay at home mom while my husband worked to support our family. Prior I was a floral designer but the need for one parent home was more important. As the years traveled and I got closer to the finish line of being a SAHM I realized and asked myself what will I do after the kids are raised? I didn’t want to work for someone else and I didn’t want to sit around the house either. A year prior to our last child graduating I started my blog Garden Up Green. I was super excited, sharing what I enjoy creating is wonderful and being able to inspire others is incredible. So far the journey has been amazing and I’ve been blessed with some really neat opportunities. I also find there are days when frustration wins and I ask myself if what I’m trying to create is worth the effort. I always find that yes it’s worth it…. trying to be patient is probably the most difficult part of blogging. So when you mentioned five years I realized that perhaps maybe I need to celebrate the accomplishments more, step it up a notch and never stop enjoying. This is a great article you gave me a lot to think about.. I’m curious in the early days when you started your blog did you ever just want to stop? How did you get over that hurdle or just avoid it all together?

  4. Great post! I have been following you for years and can still remember reading your post about your last day on the day job. Congratulations! You are truly an inspiration. I took the leap a year ago and you are right, you don’t realize how quick time goes by when you’re enjoying doing what you do. I see a book in your future! :). Have a great weekend! Bev

    • Bev, I LOVE a great, brave success story! Congrats to you!

      And the whole time I was editing (downscaling) this book of a post, I was muttering, “I should just write a book on this topic one day so I don’t have to limit my words…” haha!

      I do need a new goal… maybe I should put that one on my list… hmmm…

  5. Thank you for this timely post. You have confirmed what I have Known to be true deep in my soul. I jumped into building a Shop on Etsy 4 years ago and haven’t looked back. Everyone doubted that I could make a success aka; living selling art and antiques online. I had very little to start with, wasn’t proficient in typing and new very little about computers. I was severely depressed trying to get my medication dosage right so I could get my emotions under control. I worked 12 to 16 hours a day on my shop, mostly learning as I went, I wasn’t afraid to try new things and took any money I earned and put back into the business. I still type with one hand while looking at the keyboard and I’m still working on getting my shop to the point of making a paycheck but, I’m still here working and learning everyday. I’m so close to my vision of success I can almost see, feel and smell the Ocean air. January 2016 starts my 5th year, I just know it’s going to be fun and interesting. Thanks for the confidence booster! Great article!

  6. i loved the post

    i am between 3 and 4 …not bad

    thanks for the thoughts

    PS: YOU ARE 50? You look so young!!!!!!!and healthy

  7. Your post is great! I worked at a job that was a really good job – great pay, lots of benefits and I just retired after 36 years of working that job. Now I’m retired and absolutely love taking old things that people toss in their trash and bring them back to life. I found a local upscale resale shop that sells the items I bring in. I’m not going to be rich in dollars any time soon, but I feel so rich in creativity and my “hippie” spirit soars when other people buy the projects that I’ve reworked and its keeping items out of the landfill and giving them new life. My ultimate dream would be to have a small local storefront where I can sell the items I refresh. Maybe in the future…….

    • Sharon, I often tease myself that I’m retired, because what I do doesn’t feel like work. 🙂

      And how wonderful you’ve found a way to ease into yours! Right now you have the freedom for gathering your things. And one day, when you outgrow your current location, you’ll have the knowledge and funds you need to get that store going. Stepping stones….

      I don’t think it’s possible for creative people to officially retire completely. Whatever would we do? 🙂

  8. Donna,
    Terrific post! I have been a freelance graphic designer for over 15 years and can relate to what you said. My transition to self employment, as my main income, went much faster since it involved losing my job position when the company I worked at was restructured but the journey is still a journey. Recently I just went through a refocusing of my goals and probably am starting my “5 years” over again but I couldn’t ask for more. It all takes time and perservance. At times, there are frustrations and I put my forehead on my desk and groan(loudly!), but in the end I can make the changes I need to make and move forward. I don’t have to wait for someone else’s permission and if I fail, as indeed I have many times, it’s ok. I give myself about 5 minutes to wail and cry or laugh hysterically then move on. It is worth it! Sometimes the money is tighter than others but again, I can work on that. I am spending time having wonderful adventures, meeting amazing friends, doing really great work, investigating personal projects and learning to push myself out of my comfort zone. Blessings to you and to all your followers.

    • Pat, you get it!

      And the amazing part of a journey is, nothing is wasted. Whatever you’ve learned in the past will carry you to your new direction. The stepping stones halt so many. But those that dare to cross the raging river WILL see the other side… without question! Congratulations on getting your feet wet! 🙂

  9. I am going to print out the encouraging quote and put it in a prominent spot to see. And do my 10 minutes (or more) of what I love everyday! What do I dream of? I love art – I want to design my own line of illustrations. I love to do room makeovers. How I’d love to do those all the time! Time to get busy!! Thanks for the pep talk!!

    • Cecilia, what a fabulous direction!

      The 10 minutes a day rule is nothing more than encouraging you do something… anything, that works towards your goal vs wasting time, saying you don’t have any. For me, those 10 minutes turned into HOURS and sometimes DAYS / WEEKS / MONTHS.

      Enjoy the journey… it’s every bit as exciting as the destination!

  10. Donna, I’m so excited that I’ve been able to watch so much of your journey through your blog. You are one hard-working woman and deserve all the success and enjoyment of life that you now enjoy! Thank you for taking time to share and continually remind others that it’s possible to do the same.

    I find myself at a new stage of life. My youngest leaves for her junior year of college today and I finally feel like God is saying that my years as “mommy” have truly come to an end. I’ll always be their mother, of course, but they are both grown and I’m free to build my own life now.

    I don’t know yet what the life looks like, but I have an excitement I haven’t had in years and I’m letting God lead me into what He has for this next stage of life. It’s like a grand adventure!

    • Bonita, I’ve said no to lots of things not in my family’s best interest. I also know my time will come, so why rush it? We both aren’t ready anyway!

      But now YOU finally are… I’m so very excited for you!

      And I know Hawaii will be embedded in there somewhere… and I’ll be your biggest cheerleader when I see your first beach picture. 🙂

      I can’t wait to hear what unfolds for you…

      p.s. I’ve missed you!

      • I’ll be sure to post a picture in my grass skirt and when I do you’ll know I’ve finally arrived at whatever it is God has for me to do! Haha! Miss you too!

  11. I actually finished your post with tears in my eyes. WOW!! You could have been speaking directly to me. I have been in that “jealous” frame of mind too many times in the last 2 years. I own a small printing company with my parents. It’s a good place to be, but definitely not my passion. That passion is antiques and vintage and DIY. After reading your post, (and then printing it out and carrying it with me everywhere I go, haha,) my new motto is “Don’t be jealous, get busy.” Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is very hard sometimes to give “time” the time it needs to place you where you need to be. It is all too easy to look at someone who is succeeding and wish you could be in their shoes. But we don’t know what they had to go through to get to that point. For some, it’s a short journey, but my guess is that for most, it is a much longer path to success.

    Just stay busy. Build that passion a little bit every single day. Your words are that push I needed to stay on task. Big Hugs!!!!!

    • Kim, it’s all too easy to see someone’s middle while fighting our own firsts. We rarely hear of the uphill climb, because they haven’t ‘made it yet’ to hear about them.

      Look at any movie star. They weren’t born famous… (well… maybe some 🙂 ) Most worked MANY jobs to achieve their success.

      Same with anyone else you’ve heard of. Anyone.

      Giving time is totally the key. But don’t look at it as “I have 5 years to go”… but rather, “I can do something spectacular TODAY!” Anything that helps you move forward, that is. Anything.

      I think the post will help you on your way. 🙂

  12. Donna, this post was like an answer from the powers to be. I am 50 and been struggling with being this age and not even a little bit in the place I want to be.

    I wont bore you with my long(20 yrs)story(divorce,caretaker for both parents, single mom/homeschooler)and health issues I am still dealing with.

    I know what I want to do even if I don’t know *all* the details of what that will involve and have been laying groundwork for almost 2 years. Well, technically, much longer than that in emotional work as my passion is rooted in helping others connect to themselves, others, and their passions. I have had feedback from a good amount of people that love my ideas and enthusiastically support and encourage me to offer classes and that they want to take them. Despite all that I am scared and yet completely excited! But I also feel a lot like you did and have been wondering lately if I really can do this and looking for some confirmation. I hope to make some money much sooner than 5 years because things are really hard financially for my son and I.

    Your post felt like an answer and a sign.

    Thanks Donna, you have been an inspiration to me for some time now.


    • Kim, can you see how the puzzle pieces are fitting? You’ve had to care for your family, but that’s moulded you into the person you’ve become!

      You are only just beginning. I think it’s time to plan your first class… don’t you? 🙂

      Fear is your biggest hurdle right now. Be accepting of mistakes to come, and just ‘do it.’

      You already know what you want. That’s 75% of the battle right there.

      • Donna, I just saw your reply. Thank you for the encouragement and words of wisdom! Yes, I agree, it is time.

        I have week 5 of my 6 week course finishing up and already have ideas for a future one. It is exciting! And scary 🙂

        I am working through my fears in the same way as this course will help others to do also. I have to live it to offer it right?

        My biggest dream, aside from living(and building a business on it)my purpose and passion, is to finally have a home of my own, decorated in much the same way as yours. I love the re-purposed-cottage look, white with some robins egg blues,light sage greens etc..with lots of wood everywhere.

        Thanks again for the continued inspirations! xx

  13. Great advice and thoughts Donna. I hate the jealousy/ competitiveness of what we do. I try so hard to stay away from it, to ask God what He wants me to do with this business, and to use it to somehow help and benefit others.

  14. Pallets for organizing–that is skill and crafting! I am glad that you have kept going and earned your rewards! I wished I had pursued dreams when young because at 63 with health issues I am limited. Bravo to you.

    • Rose, when I worked for my friend Dan, I always said I couldn’t chase my own rainbow because it was too late, I was too old. I was having major health issues at the time.

      He just scoffed at me with, “I beg to differ!”

      He’s older than me, and he accomplishes new things all the time. It’s truly mind over matter.

      And of course… he was right. It’s never too late to do what you were born to do. You just have to gravitate towards it when you can. Work WITH your limitations…. I feel they are put before us to help navigate towards the right direction.

  15. For the first time in my life… I can say, I’m not jealous. That wastes time!! You can spend your life being jealous or like you said, you can spend 10 mins doing something for you…pushing yourself forward toward your own goal!

    Donna I turned 50 this year. I started doing little things for ME this year. I’ve spend so much of my life doing things for other people and being jealous. This year… NEXT WEEK…!!!!! I’m entering college as a Freshman working towards a Liberal Arts degree.
    I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up… but I’ll get there. 10 minutes at a time, baby!
    Loved this post– loved reading it. I know I hardly comment on your blog much anymore. But I always come here and read what’s up!
    take care and
    keep on keeping ON!

    • Patricia, I couldn’t be happier for you if I tried! Congratulations on your hard earned open door!

      It’s easy to feel less than if we are stuck. But it’s my belief that if we can push through and do something for ourselves instead, those feelings diminish.

      And, it’s not important to know exactly what you want to do. Sometimes we aren’t positioned to make those choices yet. I’d been blogging about 4 years, with all those other jobs, STILL questioning what in the world I was doing. I just needed more time to grow and accomplish and learn. I was already doing it, but a younger version of it. 🙂

      Fly Patricia, FLY!

      • Donna, you are the first blogger I started to follow, I found you through Pinterest. I do know what you mean about following your passion. I was fortunate to work as an artist/potter for over 30 years…with side jobs when finances demanded, in Art supplies, Floral Design, and Craft teacher.

        Sitting on my duff in retirement has not been too exciting…but your DIY attitude made me get off my butt, start blogging, and get back to creating and sharing. You go girl, and take yourself as far as you can go…. and to heck with the–‘you’re so lucky’ people sitting on their duffs! Grins and Kudos!

  16. I love your comment about “needing the 50 years of experience” at your other jobs to lead you to where you are today. For some of us, we needed the cumulative experiences of our lives to prepare ourselves to launch into what we love! I went back to school (for the second time) in my 40’s to pursue my dream job, and finally started it after graduation at 53! People tell me all the time that they “envy” me for doing it! It was really hard!! It took me over 6 years to earn a doctorate, so I could help people full time and earn a living. Good news, though, is that I get to do this work for the rest of my life! Thank you for sharing your story, and sharing Dan’s words, they are golden!

  17. Donna, you have NO IDEA how much I love this..We are all human and have these feelings…When ever I was feeling jealous I had to keep telling myself..”Keep your head down..and keep working hard” eventually something will happen. Its by no means supporting our family but its HELPING.. Like you it took 43 years to get where I am now and have no IDEA where I will be in 43 more. My life was not rosie and perfect before and it won’t be in the future but its what I MAKE IT! I love this so much and so happy you were able to put into words what are always in my mind!
    Thanks for this!

  18. What a great post! I have been thinking about this as I see hard work paying off, building a career that I have dreamed about and looking ahead to what the years to come might bring. I can’t tell you how “lucky” I feel to be able to be a full time artist and see hard work pay off. It’s still scary, still thrilling and, um, I always want more – more growth, more opportunities, more stability in knowing the momentum will continue, but it’s so worth the work.

  19. I remember reading your initial post about when you decided to leave your day job. I remember thinking I wanted to do that and have been working toward that goal. I gave myself a year to see if I could earn at least the same amount painting furniture at night and on weekends as I did at one of my 2 day jobs. The year is up and I did, so this month I gave up one of those day jobs to do more of what I love – painting and creating. So many of my customers have said to me “Wow! What a cool job!”. And I totally agree!!!!

  20. Very good post Donna. When my hubby cooks supper or does some sweet thing for me, I tell him “I could have done that”. Then he says “But you’ve been working all day”. Then I say “No, I’ve been playing.” I don’t consider what I do as work. I was able to stay at home after the Laboratory I worked at for 25 years closed it’s doors three years ago. Of course I’m over 60 now….I can’t believe it either! I go to college, run my blog, and do my diy projects. I am just starting on my journey. I’m not sure what my dream is…I’ll know it when it happens. I too look forward to what each new day holds. You keep going girl!

  21. What a great post. I am at #2 and #4 and feel like I’ve been stuck there for a few years… longer on #2 than 4…

    Thank you for the inspiring words and thank you to your friend Dan.


  22. Donna, This is a fabulous post. I don’t recall whose blogroll you were on, but the name of Funky Junk stirred my curiosity a year or two ago.Once I found the site I explored everything. Including the posts about how this all began. Oddly enough they crossed my mind about a week ago as you were struggling with readjusting from your extended stay in Hawaii and I wanted to reread them for some reason but didn’t know how to locate them. You were in turmoil in those early posts, too. But look at you now. Thanks for sharing your story. It never gets old, because everyone needs to be uplifted from time to time. Now is the time for a lot of us.

    By the way, because of your projects I try more with tools, fix more things on my own (not toilets, yet), see more possibilities outside the box, and simply DO more.

    Wish you could share more about the people from that amazing church, too. What a gift they were to you. And how you became healthy again. I know I can’t be the only one who has to deal with pressing on in spite of health issues.

  23. Great post Donna! As you I’ve done it all at the same time. DIYing until late at night while working full time all day… This year I am working part time. I get to do what I love on two fronts. You were the first to inspire me to use power tools and 5 years later I have a complete workshop in my basement and a shop where I sell my creations. Thanks for inspiring me.

  24. I’m late coming to this, but soooooooooo proud of you for posting it…and what an inspiration and encouragement you are to others, Donna…I wonder if you even know! As for me, I was truly happy for you when you were given the opportunity to stay in Maui for six weeks because I know how hard you’ve worked all of these years, so you deserved both the trip and to openly celebrate it…I am soooooo glad you celebrated it along with us! It’s truly been a pleasure to watch you grow…you’ve inspired me in my own life to be a little bit braver and now I am inspired to stop making excuses about why I can’t do what I want to do with my life. Thank you for that! You are a star and you shine strong!

  25. Donna – you are such an encouragement to me. I have read the story of your journey and how you never gave up, even when you were sick. You are a woman of faith and hard work. You have been transparent many times on your blog to show us that life isn’t always glamorous. Thank you and keep being you!

  26. Hey Donna- Thanks for the post! You are such an inspiration- it was about 5 years ago almost to the date when I started doing the full time gig and the part time gig of doing what I love. I also found your blog at the same time- read it every time a new post, read all the old posts. I loved the stuff you created. I thought man I am not the only mom crazy enough to raise the kids, do this part time after they go to bed and get up to work the full time job. I worked closed to home so I was able to run home on my lunch hour and work on things- yes I’d come back to work with paint on my hands or in my hair- thank goodness the guys didn’t care. Fast forward to now and this last May I gave my notice at work- I had been there 16 years- and am now doing my passion full time. I haven’t gotten into the full swing of things since the kids have been home soon after I was but I tell ya I am loving it so far. I am making my stuff, teaching paint classes and doing some custom work and couldn’t be happier. Thanks for the motivation and inspiration over the last few years!!- it was because of you I made the jump. Thanks for giving me the courage!

  27. I am way behind in my blog reading, so I’m a little late to the party. But, when I hear people talk about being jealous, I think about a saying I heard a little while ago:

    Comparison is the thief of joy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *