A couple of months ago I had dinner with a group of friends. In the mix of our conversation we stumbled upon the topic of work. We discussed our jobs, as well as what each of us wished we were doing. By the end of the conversation most of us felt a little empty. The lack of creativity, passion, substance, or money that comes with our current jobs weighed heavy on us all. Sadly, many of my friends did not know what would make them happier in regards to their work. They had the question, but felt far from the answer. Then there were my friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do in order to feel more fulfilled, but they just weren’t doing it for one reason or another.
Take for example my friend. She just got a job in a research lab at the University of New Mexico. Somewhat excited to finally be done with her biology degree and to get out into the world of a 9 to 5 job, she also was disappointed. Her disappointment came from the fact that she didn’t follow her other passion, which was to be a wedding photographer. After a little too much wine I looked at her, opened my big mouth and asked, “Why can’t you do both? Why can’t you work at the labs during the week and do wedding photography during the weekends?” She looked at me paralyzed, thinking of a way she could answer my frank question without looking defeated. Her husband seemed to feel the same way I did as he turned to her and said, “You have a great camera. You should totally try to start a photography business.” This conversation, however, did not seem to inspire her as she quickly changed the subject and has never brought it up again.
And I have witnessed this exact scenario more times than I can count.
I have come to the striking conclusion that people are happy to dream but are often too scared to pursue their dreams. And this sad realization TERRIFIED ME.
I never want to be the person that lets her dreams fall by the wayside. I want to be the person that honors her goals and aspirations by constantly working towards them. That’s why I’ve encouraged myself to construct a whole new mindset, one that is more driven and goal oriented.
Here’s what it boils down to:
I Got Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
In pursuing my goals I had to emotionally, mentally, and physically take the effort to step out of my comfort zone as often and frequently as possible. I learned that when pursuing my dreams I had to allow myself to be vulnerable. The goals that I was actively pursuing were subject to both critiques and criticisms from outsiders as well as myself. It was a time for growth. This growth, which was somewhat an evolution, turning me into someone who felt happier, more confident and more alive, started out as nothing more than a struggle. But I came to understand what is best explained by Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, who wrote Better Than Perfect, when she states that people who constantly seek new experiences will often be more creative and more stable when it comes to their emotions compared to those who stick to their same routine.
I Learned Through Practice
Throughout my formative years , as well as most of my adult life, learning is something that I have tackled through reading, writing, and listening to lectures. Whenever I wanted to learn a certain skill I would study it. I would listen to a podcast, read books and study that skill for hours a day. Then I would practice the skill, armed with tons of knowledge, but would end up failing at the task. This in return would lead to me being frustrated and confused.
But then I came to the realization that learning is best done by actually doing. Practice makes perfect (or close to it). Practicing gives us the ability to not only work on our skills but to build upon them. It gives us the opportunity to actually see our strengths and weaknesses. No matter how much I read, nothing can take the place of hands-on experiences.
I Got Some Help From Friends
Allow support. Working towards a dream can only happen if you let people help you along the way. Nothing great was ever achieved by one person. I, like many people, learned this the hard way. I was working on a new business venture and I thought I could do it alone. Due to my foolish pride, I felt that doing it by myself made me a better entrepreneur and a more dynamic business woman. Then the humbling experience hit me like a train. So stressed out from trying to manage it all, I broke down in front of my husband. I told him how overwhelmed I was and how I felt paralyzed from the feeling of not being able to do it all. He looked up at me and said a cold hard fact: That I need to learn how to not only ask for help, but to also recognize when I’ve taken on too much.
Today, I have created a community of supporters. They support me in completing task as well as keeping me emotionally strong. They have become my allies, teachers and students. Not only has their help lightened my load, but our bonds are even stronger now than before.
If you have a dream you want to chase, don’t give up on it. But remember that, in order to make it reality, you have to take the time to weave it together, piece by piece. Sometimes those pieces of the tapestry are hard work and hustle, but so many times they’re the people you bring in to help.
About the Author
Carri works in the film industry, owns a clothing boutique and is the founder of Boutique Pairings. In her free time you will see her drinking wine with friends, walking her pups and trying new restaurants with her husband.