When Life Interrupts, Stick with Your Plan

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by Charlton Harris |

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All too often, life gets in the way of living. That makes it hard to stick with your life’s plan.

Like most people, I had a plan for my future. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be in a creative field. As early as the eighth grade, I wanted to be either a disc jockey or in television. It was like I was destined to be in broadcast, and I tried to break into the business early on.

I remember my mother taking me to a production school here in Philly. They had a full radio studio with all the equipment, and they would teach students the broadcast business. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sign up for the classes — the cost was a bit high for my single mother of two — but that didn’t stop my plan. I remember watching “Bewitched” on TV and thinking I wanted to work in advertising. It seemed a little far-fetched at the time, but again, I stuck with my plan.

After high school, I landed at West Chester University, where I majored in Radio, Television, and Film. I befriended the television studio manager, who allowed me to hang out in the studio when there wasn’t a class in session and even let me help set the studio for classes. I was finally in a real studio!

The pursuit of happiness

My plan was finally on track! I transferred to Penn State University and became a television and radio lab coordinator … a work study gift from the gods. I loved instructing other students on the proper techniques of studio and field production. My brother and cousins would visit a few times a month, and we would make music videos that we would show at family dinners. I was in my element … until my plan changed.

I eventually had to leave Penn State because my financial aid ran out, and I was forced to re-evaluate my plan. Back home, after months of looking, I finally got a job selling high-end video equipment and production systems. It was a cool job. I wasn’t creating, but I was learning.

Unfortunately, I was laid off from that job. On my way out, my manager expressed confidence that I would land on my feet. He sensed that I belonged in this field, and he was right. That was the first job I ever lost. It was indeed humbling.

Persevere and overcome

After that episode, I had to decide whether I wanted to remain in the broadcast field or just settle for a regular 9-to-5 job. I decided to stick to my plan and stay the course, and I’m thankful that I did. I’ve had a successful production career that lasted 24 years and counting — all because I persevered and stayed with my plan.

During those years, I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, and I resolved that I would never let it stop me from going after what I wanted. (Remember, I have a plan.) In staying the course, I’ve been fortunate enough to work in television, advertising (including projects with James Earl Jones and Ray Charles), and as an independent creative.

I’ve worked with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns. I’ve even worked with Trump Entertainment for a planned Trump Casino in Philly. I’ve won numerous awards, and my last job was producing streaming video content for legal education. My plan added variety to my career.

Discipline makes all the difference

While keeping with the plan, I had to become disciplined about my craft, meaning I had to constantly work at being very good at what I loved. When you reach certain plateaus in life, you tend to take things for granted, health being one of them. While I was hospitalized, the spontaneous pneumothorax and sarcoidosis greatly humbled me, and it made me more appreciative of what I had accomplished.

My plan was to create a successful brand for my name and my work. That didn’t work out the way I’d intended; however, I did make a name for myself by staying true to my plan and not settling for anything less.

Living with sarcoidosis also requires a disciplined plan. You have to plan on living your best life possible in spite of your health conditions. Self-care is the main priority of your plan.

As long as I have the will and strength to persevere, I owe it to myself to do so. Sarcoidosis interrupts lives, no question, but if you allow it to dictate your lifestyle, it wins!

Every day is a great day, so follow your plan and make it special for you. Sarcoidosis has no tears for me, and I sure don’t have any tears for it. Get with your plan, stay disciplined, and shed no tears for sarcoidosis.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


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