So You Want To Follow Your Dreams?

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Since quitting my job, I have received countless emails and questions on how I knew it was the “right time” and asking how I possibly had the courage to quit.

Well, in all honesty… I didn’t. I didn’t think ahead, nor was it really the right time. And I don’t always look at it as courageous, but I do look at it as a huge leap of faith. Most others who quit their job have saved up for months, planned it out strategically, and had a back-up plan. I’m not proud to say that I didn’t really do any of those things. But I did make a change that has greatly increased the quality of my life, faith, and relationships.

I didn’t always know that I wanted to write. I knew for years – in fact, if you look in my 8th grade yearbook, I answered the “What do you hope to be doing in 20 years” question with “I will have a family and be a writer.

But then I lost myself along the way. I am gracious for that, because it showed me new horizons, let me test the waters and allowed me to decide what I really wanted to do. Now, I have never been so sure of anything in my life, even if I do spend a lot of time doing this:

What can I say? I like to write the old fashioned way.

When I decided to give up personal training and found myself in a dead-end job, I had to take a long, hard look at what I really wanted. Thank goodness I began my blog out of boredom, otherwise it may have taken me years to follow my true passion.

I wanted to share with you some of the tips that helped me realize my dreams and work towards them. I know what it’s like to spend your weekdays in a miserable state – it almost makes you die inside. And I know it sounds cliché, but you really can do anything you put your mind to. However, like anything else, you only get out what you put in.

  • Make a decision. What do you love? If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do? Determine what is a “hobby” and what is “your work.” And decide if you love your hobby enough to turn it into your work.
  • Be realistic. Can you really turn your dream or your hobby into your work? For example, if I told Mr. How Sweet that I wanted to be an actress, and then quit my job and moved to Hollywood, we’d probably be in divorce proceedings at the moment. But instead, I focused on writing and dedicated myself to writing my blog every single day. If anything, it showed a commitment.
  • Make a commitment. Make a solid commitment to yourself that you will work EVERY day to get what you want. This means that you need to make sacrifices, but they will be well worth it in the end. Make a list of priorities, and put your dream right up on there. For me, writing came immediately after sleeping, exercising and nourishing my relationships. This often meant that I gave up other things to spend time on blogging – which at the time was my only form of regimented writing.
  • Stick to it. Keep the commitment to yourself. Remember, this is going to pay off in the end, but you must work towards it every single day. It will also make you feel better – you get to do something each day that you love! It is also realistic: whether your goal is to become a better writer or lose 20lbs, once you get a book deal or lose the weight you can’t just stop.  There is always room for improvement; so working everyday towards your goal just prepares you for when it becomes your real “work.”
  • Don’t make excuses. Sure, the economy stinks right now. And there may be no jobs in the field of your dreams. But if you continue to work at what you love (which most likely means volunteering), just imagine the head start you will have when the economy rebounds.
  • Stay positive. Working a little bit towards your dream each day puts you that much closer to it. Think about it – if you can work on it every day, or even just 300 days out of the year, it puts you THAT much closer to achieving it. I believe in karma, and I believe that I get out what I put in. There were so many days that I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry when I was working at a job that literally sucked the life out of me. I wanted to come home, lay on the couch and eat an entire bag of Cheetos.  But really, that would get me no where, except maybe to the store for larger pants.
  • Pray. I don’t care what you believe in, but saying a few prayers never hurt anybody. If anything, pray to be at peace with the situation. And if you don’t like to pray, well then skip over this step.
  • Don’t give up. It’s the cliché of all clichés, but it couldn’t be more true. When the going gets tough, just push back harder. It will pay off in the end.

I really have no idea what I’m talking about, but I know that these things helped me get through a really hard time in my life. I have friends and family members that are struggling with deciding on what they want to do, and this is the advice I give them: just work towards it every day. Make the necessary sacrifices, find the time. If you want it bad enough, you will do it.


What do you want bad enough?