Most of my life, I have wanted to be a writer and a teacher. Truthfully, after years of neglecting this dream, I am only now trying to pursue it and make it happen as a full-time career. It’s made me think about how as adults, we are rarely encouraged to pursue our dreams. As children it was the opposite – we were encouraged to think about what we wanted to be when we ‘grew up’. Many of our childish pictures would feature stars to wish upon or some other visual representation of our personal dreams. But as we grew older, the focus shifted to things like financial prudence, achieving a degree, or doing what we felt was expected of us.
I am not saying we can neglect reality and the demands and obligations we each have, but I believe each person still has a hidden dream or wish for themselves. Whatever your dream is, this blog is about how to achieve it. Maybe your dream is something small – like achieving a healthy lifestyle – or maybe it’s bigger, like a dream career (as in my case). Whatever it is, I hope these tips will help you on your pursuit.
Good things come to those who wait. All things involve process and the achievement of a dream takes time. Nobody ever established themselves instantly – there is always something to be built along the way like financial security, the right relationships and connections, confidence and experience. Accept this and remember that time often only feels slow. In reality a little bit of progress can be made each day if you are determined enough.
Use your own network. We all know the famous saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, I have my own: “it’s not who you know, it’s who they know!”
It is highly likely that someone you know will know another someone, and so on. In order to have access to their network, take the time to cultivate these already established connections. Never take your connections for granted – especially someone who has given you a previous opportunity or who has helped you in some capacity at some time. Thank them personally for this. Send them hand-written notes. Check in every few months.
Ask your established connections if they know someone you can talk to. Social media, in particular LinkedIn, is a great way to do this. Although, I still recommend asking your contact for ideas and feedback, rather than just randomly selecting off their network. Value your established contact by reaching out and asking for their opinion on the next steps in your pursuit or on who they think you should talk to next.
Once you do have a lead, drop in your contact’s name. For example: “Jennifer Kelly recommended you as someone I could speak to about INSERT HERE.”
Did you do your homework? In school, homework was used to prep you for the next day’s lesson. Now, in the pursuit of your dream, the same applies. Do your research. Read and read more on the subject of your dream. Observe others who are already doing what you want to do. Take a course to improve your current skill set. Connect with groups who are already doing what you wish to do. For example, if you dream of a healthier you, try joining a ‘learn to run’ group. This would help you get healthier and provide you with a social network of like-minded individuals.
Make it happen. Go out and make things happen! A great way to get things started is to reach out to your contacts, as said above, or to start doing research. You can even do some “experience shadowing” with someone who has already achieved what you wish to do. Reach out and ask for some ‘face’ time with them so you can learn from their experiences. I recently did this with a consultant I admire. I invited her to lunch and got to know how she became a consultant and her personal story. People love to tell their own personal stories and share insights they have learned.
Finally, believe in yourself and in your ability to make it happen. My father once told me “there will be enough people out there putting you down in life, so why be one of them? Far better to believe in yourself.”
Good luck on your pursuit!