People always tell you that the way to make your dreams come true is hard work, an education, keeping your credit score high, and not doing drugs, among other things, right? Well, all of these things are true, but that’s not all you have to do. If this is what you stick to religiously, then you aren’t going to get very far. You’ll be standing on the doorstep of life holding your degree and a clean urine sample, waiting for someone to waltz up and give you a cookie and it’s just not going to happen.
Here is what I did to make my dreams come true, and it was a long and painful process.
Don’t stop with the minimum education. Sure, having whatever degree or certificate that an employer or whatever could ask for looks great on paper, but there is so much more you need to know about whatever it is that drives you. You can’t accept the minimum education and say that you’ve met the standards… you have to be the best. You have to be the most knowledgeable. You have to know deep down in your bones that you are the master of your function. For my field, all I needed was a BA, but I went ahead and got an MA right after simply for the fact that I wanted to have it. I wanted to know that I know everything about English and I wanted to be prepared. This opened more doors for me later… doors that I didn’t even know I’d be knocking on when I decided to take that step. The more you do early on, the less you have to do later to play catch up.
Keep learning every freaking day. Think about things that interest you. Study them. Find out more about them. Not only will you be the life of the party when trivia night comes around, but when something comes up in the future and you are the only one who knows how to give CPR to a cat or understands Worker’s Compensation processes, you are going to make yourself that much more valuable and people are going to remember you as being smart and capable. It can pay off later.
Offer your services. Someday, I hope to start a literary journal. What’s your “someday dream”? Pinpoint it. How are you going to get there? How will you stop letting your dreams be dreams? (Thanks, Shia LaBeouf, you are so full of wisdom). You need to start thinking outside of the box and making connections that you have to search for and conquer yourself. Go to Google and look for places near you or places that will let you volunteer remotely from wherever you are and reach out to them. Tell them that you have this skill set and interest and tell them that you want to work or volunteer for them, even if they do not say that they are hiring. In a lot of cases, small businesses, journals, etc., may take you on as a volunteer even though they hadn’t been advertising that they need help. This worked for me and landed me a spot reading fiction submissions for one of the more prominent literary magazines in Nevada.
Scour the internet for volunteer opportunities in which you can build upon your experience and make some connections. When you work for free, you are working toward that bigger goal and also coming up with some awesome stuff to put on your resume. Don’t be discouraged when places tell you no. It’s surprising how many people will turn down free labor. Keep trying. Your opportunity is out there.
Check out www.volunteermatch.org
It’s likely to be bad, but at least there are Little Debbie Cakes. The bigger your aspirations, the more hurtful the rejection. You may be rejected a thousand times, and guess what? Each time will hurt a little less. Don’t take it personally. Learn from it. In some cases, they may offer reasons behind the rejection. Take their advice because they probably know what they’re talking about. They hire and fire for a living.
Don’t wait for tomorrow. If you want to do something (and are able to without causing harm and neglect to children or something like that), then do it! (Pretty much I mean don’t quit your job to become a freelance lion photographer if you are a single parent of a young baby who needs to eat food and wear diapers and stuff. There’s a difference between following your dreams and being irresponsible and reckless).
Here’s my philosophy. If you are single and have no kids, the world is your oyster. You can do anything. If you are married and have no kids, same thing except maybe a little harder. You have flexibility. You can go where you want, when you want. You have time to work hard and get after things. Don’t invest time and energy into a job that you hate unless you are using it as a stepping stone to get to the place that you ultimately see yourself. Your life will go fast, and you only get one. Why spend it not doing what you want? Why spend it living in the same town you grew up in? Get out there. See the world! Take opportunities! Stop wasting your time because you will never get it back. EVER.
If you do have kids, don't use your kids as an excuse. I know it's hard and there are real drawbacks, daycare is incredibly expensive. You may have a lot of logistics to work out, you may have to wait a couple of years, and you may go to bed crying every night after banging your head against a wall. Things will get better. Enjoy your kids and use whatever time you have to keep climbing up that ladder toward your goals. It's difficult, but not impossible.
Ok, you're probably saying, who does this b**** think she is, giving me advice and telling me what to do?! I'm not perfect by any means, but in the past couple of years I have really stepped up my game and achieved a lot of personal goals and I feel fantastic. I am simply telling you what I have done. If you are googling "how to make my dreams come true," then this may have just been the pep talk that you need. Here's my thing... I struggle all the time worrying whether or not people are judging me, or if I’m a good person, or if I’m smart enough or good enough or if people are better than me, or if they even think they’re better than me… or if they do think they’re better than me, are they right? It’s ludicrous. It’s the dumbest thing ever. Sure, I know I’m cool and junk, but everyone has some sort of struggle, and that’s mine. I’m super self-conscious. We all have our rocks, it’s time to drop them.
I told you my ideas. Leave a comment and tell me yours.
Ashley and Cecilia work hard, play hard, write stuff, read stuff... because they don't know what else to do with their lives.
I- We should buy something superficial
II- Buy odd clothing
I- An Unusual Social Event
I- We should go somewhere with dangerous animals
I- Somewhere with strange food
When we get ten total votes, the item with the highest number of votes will be our next expedition.
(One vote per reader, per category).