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5 Steps to Following Your Dreams

How to inspire yourself to consistently work towards your goals.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

So, you want to be more authentic to yourself and follow your passions. That’s great! But you’re equally anxious about the process of being vulnerable with the world and showcasing your talents to everyone. No problem, we’ve all been there, but let me try to offer you some advice as to how I attempt to follow my passions daily. Is it challenging? At times, yes. Is it worth it? Most definitely.

Here are the five mantras I consider when I follow my dreams and the logic behind them.

1: “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.” – Unknown

If you are making enough time in the day to complete tasks that do not stimulate your mind and nourish your heart, then you need to offset these daily distractions by doubling that time and applying it to working towards the tasks that you are passionate about. If you find that there are events or people put in place in your life that is restricting you from achieving success in the field you are most passionate about, then you must sacrifice that aspect of your life for your ambition.

Sacrifices are much harder to make in the moment but if you respect yourself enough to put your personal projects and ambitions first, then there is nothing in this world that can discourage you from pursuing your dreams.

Here is a personal example: when I audition to be a part of a play, I give up my weekends. This is a given. I am well aware of what I am signing up for, but as it is my passion I have no problem pulling the late nights completing assignments, cancelling plans with friends, and missing a few events.

When I set time aside to write a novel, I disappear off the face of the earth for a month. I miss family events, evenings with friends, trips, I don’t commit to T.V. series or watch movies…

I also took a few months off to work on a personal project (my novel and several self-publications) if you aren’t allotting time and making sacrifices to achieving your dreams, then your dreams truly do become the sacrifice and I just personally cannot accept that. My life is short. My time here is precious. If I am going to be chipping away at a project, it had better be one that I am proud of that is pushing me to succeed in the way I deem best fit for me.

This said, when you are truly passionate about something, you will get to a point where it does not feel like a sacrifice to set time aside over other “obligations” to pursue them. Stay driven and the right people will support you.

2: “If you want to succeed, you’ll have to fail first.”- me

This one seems obvious on paper but can be rather difficult to live out in practice. We’ve all heard of the success stories resulting from multiple failures from our favorite role models, yet applying them to our own life can become rather disheartening.

When we fail we don’t equate it to a step closer to succeeding, we instead regard it as a sign that we are not capable of achieving the success we’re striving toward. Hearing of Dwayne Johnson’s failed career in football only so he can thrive as a very well-established wrestler and widely known actor. Or in recounting J.K. Rowling’s initial struggle in finding a publishing house to accept the “Harry Potter” series, we often idolize our role models as resilient super-humans immune to long-term failure. What we fail to consistently recognize is that these widely idolized successes were just as unknown as we may be now. They were also deeply impacted by their failures. The difference was that they did not regard failure as the be all end all. Neither should we. When we fail it is because of one of two reasons:

  1. We need to be persistent in our initial ambition OR
  2. Life is redirecting you down a better suited and more fulfilling path for you

The sooner we recognize that all failures are just stepping stones to a larger success, and the more resilient we can become to the failures we do encounter in our daily lives (no matter how large) we will be capable of achieving an indestructible mind frame to success. With the correct mindset, any failure can become a success.

3: “…love is a stimulus…” – Paulo Coelho

Be “selfish” your ambitions and your dreams come first. Trying to appease the selfish individuals who cannot see that, should not be your concern.

In the introduction to ‘The Alchemist,’ Paulo Coelho suggests that love should be a motivator, not an obstacle. I felt his idea in explaining how some people worry that if they follow their passions they will hurt the ones they love was very accurate. A lot of the time we worry that if we aren’t doing consistent or stable work we will be disappointing the ones we love. Even if the work is consistent we are afraid that we will not have a lot of time for the ones we love with the late nights required to finish our tasks. When Paulo Coelho suggested that love should be a motivator it really resonated with me.

The ones who truly love you will love you BECAUSE of your desire to pursue your passions. They will want to see you in your happiest and most successful state and your success will bring them joy. Therefore, you are doing them just as well as yourself a disservice in not pursuing the things that make you happy, as the people who truly love you, really only want to see you thrive.

4: “I feel like we tend to be our own worst critic.” -An Na

Sometimes people are very motivated in pursuing their passions. They complete tasks that they are inspired by and they work hard towards perfecting their skills. Still, they become their own worst critique and they are afraid of the social rejection and negative reviews that could potentially emerge if they openly broadcast their work. They are too humble to feel the need to brag about their work.

While this is an honorable trait, sometimes you have to do a little self-promotion to get the ball rolling when it comes to finding success in pursuing your passions. If one’s definition of success is simply obtaining happiness in completing fun hobbies then they do not need to broadcast their works. However, for those who want a large audience to witness their personal projects, they will need to find the confidence within themselves and embrace any negativity as a learning curve for next time around. All we can do is try our best in pursuing our passions. Not everyone will like what we produce, but if we are proud of ourselves, that is enough reassurance to open our work up for others to see.

5: “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe

Sometimes we fall into the trap of believing that we will just keep working and working until one day success arrives and then, that’s it! We’ve made it. But in reality, success is not a destination. You can be successful now, even in pursuing larger goals, and when you pursue those larger goals you will be just as successful as you are now. The difference is that once you achieve one set of goals, new ambitions will emerge that also require hard work and commitment. Success is more of a mind frame than anything else. Success is establishing goals for yourself and driving yourself toward completing them and having fun in the process. Think of success like a board game. Everyone’s objective is to win a board game, but that was not the reason they chose to play. They chose to play because they knew that the game itself would be a fun challenge that they would enjoy. If they lose, they will learn from the mistakes they made that time around and when a re-match occurs, they will utilize their newly established strategy to win the next game.

If one is truly successful, they will not only appreciate the final product but all of the fond memories, failures, small wins, and lessons accumulated on their journey towards that final product. They will also acknowledge that even once they meet that, they should begin to plan for their next big journey.

I wish you all the success in the world, dear reader, however you define it for yourself. <3

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