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Leaving comfort zone for a dream

The bright sunlight came through the window, causing a puddle of light to rest softly on the bed. Our dog, Georgie, clearly had already discovered it. In fact, I had watched him move with the warm light as it slowly passed over the bedspread. Without a care in the world, all he had to be concerned about was adjusting where he lay to directly correlate with the sunshine.

The sunshine was so inviting to him that he gave up the comfort of his fluffy dog bed, which sits at the end of one of our guest beds, as soon as the light left it. To follow it, he was forced to lie on the guest bed since it was larger. He seemed to almost sigh when he had to adjust his body to remain in the warm sunshine.

He spent a good part of the afternoon following the light all over that bed. When the sunlight left the bed and landed on the floor, he reluctantly, like a child being forced to do their chores, jumped onto the floor and tried to rest there. Only when the sunlight was no longer visible, did he resort back to the comfort of his own fluffy bed.

From time to time as I watched him, I thought about how determined he was to pursue the warmth of that sunlight. Even though he didn’t particularly want to move, he did. Inch by inch, he moved toward his goal. It was more important for him to soak up the sun and be a little uncomfortable in the process than to simply remain where he was.

If we are quiet, take a moment and look carefully, sometimes we receive examples of what to do in our own lives. Hints that if noticed will help guide us in the direction our lives are supposed to go. That afternoon, without even knowing it, my dog was sending me a reminder I desperately needed to get.

Most of you know by now that we are in the middle of producing and selling a television show called “Mark Being Mark!” to a national network. It is a dream I have had for some time, even though I was very comfortable with my life just the way that it was. In my mind, I could see the outcome clearly, but to get there I would have to move down a different path and out of my comfort zone.

The past year has taken me on a much bigger journey than I had originally anticipated. That’s what happens when you take the first step to change. Once you make the decision to go, it is very hard to turn back. At that point, you have to stay focused on your goal to keep going in the right direction. It sounds easy but it is actually a very hard process. You have to be willing to let go of some familiar and comfortable things to grab hold of your dream.

The journey the “Mark Being Mark!” team is on has been both exciting and fun. Each day has brought with it a whole world of new possibilities. It has also been full of challenges and self-discoveries that are needed to help us grow and prepare for our new adventure. Nothing is ever easy when you are sailing into uncharted waters.

We have most of the filming and editing behind us. My new show has been packaged and sent to all sorts of networks and is in their hands right now. The comments have been favorable and, in fact, most of the networks have wanted to see more. But I have had to learn something that I never have been the master of before — PATIENCE!

I have always been told that good things come to those who wait. In fact, I have tightly held on to that promise when I sometimes became overwhelmed and discouraged. With each day, my skin is getting thicker and I am learning to deal with criticism without taking it personally. I know that whatever happens, I will be a much stronger human being for having decided to follow a dream.

So many of you have been very supportive of me over the years and I want to thank you! Please continue to send positive energy in my direction. We have completed the test, turned it in and are now waiting on the results.

Just like Georgie followed the sunlight out of his comfortable bed and onto the floor just to be in its glow, I have taken my talents, left what I have always known and started my journey to pursue a dream. I challenge you to not be afraid to do the same. No matter your age, financial situation, your gender or race, dreams are there for the taking. Start your journey today towards your dream!

More with Mark

— Garden Gate Luncheon, noon April 23 at Christ Church, 582 Walnut St., Macon. Sponsored by Women of Christ Church. Join Mark for lunch and laughter as he demonstrates spring entertaining and decorating ideas. Tickets are $25. Reservations required. Call (478) 745-0427. Shop in Garden Market before and after luncheon.

— Vidalia Onion Culinary Extravaganza, 5:30 p.m. April 24 at Southeastern Technical College in Vidalia. Mark will be “Slicing Up Some Sweetness” with recipes featuring Georgia’s most famous veggie. Fun, food and prizes. Tickets are $10 and are available at Phillips Pharmacy and Merle Norman in Vidalia or by calling (912) 537-1223 or (912) 537-9973. Mark’s 2010 Vidalia onion plate will be available.

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; fax them to (478) 474-4930 or call (478) 757-6877.