We all have a dream; a passion for something that seems unattainable, but a drive to do absolutely anything to obtain it.
For us, it’s our purpose, our livelihood, our destiny. And even when it seems like no one else understands, we know that it’s a fire that’s been lit in us for a reason.
But what we also know, is that dreams don’t just come true because we want them too. Pursuing one takes hard work, effort, dedication, and a lot of action.
And the possibility of failure can leave you wondering if you even have what it takes to begin with.
As someone who’s been pursuing blogging for 2 ½ years now, I know what it feels like to not feel good enough or want to give up.
But what I’ve also learned is that the growth and rewards you get from the process make the hardest moments worth it.
So whether you’re looking for the courage to start or have been at it for a while,
my hope is that by sharing what I’ve learned so far on this journey, you will feel more motivated, capable, less alone, and like you have the tools to finally conquer your dreams.
The Easier Parts
1. Be Yourself
Regardless of what your dream is, there’s always going to be trends to hop on or things that seem like they will get you to where you want to go sooner.
However, these things almost always do more harm than good in the long run.
For example, when I first started out as a blogger, I was desperate for instagram followers because I thought it was the key to success. So I participated in the infamous follow/unfollow game.
While this resulted in a temporary rise in followers, this method wasn’t sustainable. Most of the people who followed me weren’t interested in my content, and just unfollowed anyway.
Even worse, that time could have been spent creating quality content and cultivating a genuine community.
But because I didn’t believe in myself and my talent enough, I took the easy out, and only ended up damaging my growth and wasting my time in the end.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, before anything else, always remain true to who you are. When you put yourself and your values into your work, your authenticity will speak for itself.
If you’re an artist, this means doing what you’re passionate about and not just what’s popular,
and if you’re a student or professional, this means not doing the work and doing it well instead of just trying to get by
I may only have 6,500 followers at the moment, but I know that my audience truly values my work and the message I’m spreading.
So instead of trying to figure out a way to hack your way to success, you have to believe who you are, your talents, and your ideas are good enough.
2. Don’t Compare Yourself
When pursuing anything it’s almost impossible not to encounter moments where you’re comparing yourself.
It’s like you know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway.
And this idea that you should be where someone else is, and doing what someone else is doing, really stunts your growth
For me, comparison shows up most when I’m comparing myself to other bloggers.
Like I said, it’s easy to want to fall into trends and right now fashion and minimal feeds are the most popular ones.
But when I decided to copy and “try something new,” my audience hated it and so did I.
We both knew I wasn’t being authentic to myself.
I say this to say, comparison makes you feel like you need to keep up. But when you do this, you’re failing to realize that the most amazing part about your work, is that it’s you.
You don’t have to be someone else or do what someone else is doing to be relevant, you just have to show up as you are.
So whether comparison occurs at work or in the classroom where other’s intelligence may seem to out do yours,
or in your industry as a creator where it can feel like you’re constantly falling behind
It’s your own unique voice, perspective, journey and story that’s going to make you stand out.
For more advice on comparison, check out this blog post.
3. Find What Makes You Different
With that being said, everyone has a specialty of some sort. Our talents, hobbies, and interests are what make us who we are.
But sometimes those can be blurred when we focus too much on the expectations of others.
For example, when I first started blogging, I didn’t know what I wanted to blog about.
I just knew that I wanted to use my experiences to inspire others and let them know they weren’t alone.
But once I got into the blogging world, I lost sight of that and started doing what I felt like everyone else seemed to be successful at.
It wasn’t until my How to Have a Healthy Relationship post went viral on twitter that it clicked for me.
It was when I spoke freely, and authentically about my experiences that I began to truly find success.
And that’s when I remembered why I began in the first place.
My niche was never fashion, or beauty, or pretending to be an expert on how others should live their lives, it was growth.
And as a writer and English major, I knew I could use my skills and interests to target the audience that needed to hear my message most.
The lesson in this, is that you also have a unique set of skills and knowledge that make you an asset to whatever it is you’re doing.
Whether it’s that you’re creative, analytical, or good at a specific niche thing, find what that is and accentuate it.
Finding and knowing what makes you different will take you a long way in life.
The Harder Parts
4. Put Yourself Out There
One of the scariest parts of pursuing your dreams is having to do it in front of people.
For most people, being vulnerable is terrifying because we know it leaves us open to criticism.
Whether it’s going in for that job interview, putting out our work or pursuing something unconventional,
the thought of judgement, failure, and looking stupid can oftentimes hold us back.
But the only way to find out if you really have what it takes is to do the work, get uncomfortable, and put yourself out there.
When I first started blogging and posting on social media, I was so afraid of what my peers were going to say about me.
I thought they would think it’s dumb, laugh at me, or not support me.
But you have to take yourself seriously enough to say screw what anyone else thinks,
because those people from high school that are talking about you in a group chat are not living your life or paying your bills (too specific?)
If you let the opinions of others stop you from pursuing your dreams, it’s only you who will deal with the consequences of not going after what you want in life.
You have to shift your focus to your growth and success and doing what it is you set out to do
Yes, people will talk, and some people just won’t understand, but you have to be your own biggest fan.
I’ve found that a lot of people admire you for having the courage to do something they know they never could.
And the moment you decide to just go for it you’ve already made it a lot farther than alot of people ever will.
5. Keep Learning and Growing
Another benefit of putting yourself out there is beginning to find out what actually works.
Regardless of the field you’re going into, there’s going to be things you don’t know and it’s going to take a lot of trial and error to figure it out.
For example, when I first started blogging, I thought it was going to be easy because I was already a writer. But I didn’t understand the marketing and business knowledge it takes to promote a blog and run a social media account
Discovering this was extremely humbling because it reminded me I don’t know everything,
and even worse, I was going to have to fall flat on my face a couple of times before I actually began to get it right.
Don’t believe me? Just scroll down my instagram feed.
But part of pursuing your dreams is learning and growing from your mistakes. It’s how you figure out what you’re good at, and what you need to prioritize
So even if it’s building your resume or making sales, failing, messing up, and looking not so bright sometimes is the price we pay for getting ahead.
That’s why it’s so important to start, because once you begin to see that progress, it’s what’s going to motivate you to keep going.
Which brings me to my next point:
6. Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
I know as creators, students, professionals, business owners etc. it’s easy to be consumed by what we haven’t accomplished yet.
However, it’s important to constantly remind ourselves of what we have.
As a perfectionist, I often get upset at myself for not knowing something sooner, or getting somewhere faster.
But it’s those moments spent messing up that have been crucial to getting to where I am now.
For example, when I first started blogging I had no idea what I was even doing. My web design was bad, and I knew how to write, but not for an audience.
It was through messing up and trying new things that I finally began to figure it out, and to be honest, I’m still figuring it out everyday.
So instead of spending time regretting the things you got wrong, channel that energy into getting it right. Think of how each mistake is teaching you or helping you grow.
Because the truth is, you’re not always going to get it perfect the first time. But it’s okay, you don’t need to know every single thing at this very moment.
You just have embrace the process, celebrate the small wins, and take each moment as it comes
The Hardest Parts
7. Work Hard Until You Get There
One of the ways we measure our success is by the progress that we’re making. One of the most frustrating parts of pursuing a dream is when we feel like we aren’t making any.
As someone who’s progress has stalled many times, I know how easy it is to blame everything else when you’re not seeing the results you want. But it’s necessary to step back and ask yourself if it’s everything else,
or if it’s you.
Sometimes the reason we haven’t reached that dream goal or milestone is because we just aren’t there yet.
Whether mentally or physically, we haven’t yet met the potential required to take it that step farther
In other words, we still have a lot of work to do.
So instead of blaming the algorithm, not looking/being a certain way, or the haters who just don’t want to see you win, focus on how you can be better than you were yesterday
It was when I stopped focusing on reaching a specific number, and channeled that energy into perfecting my craft that I began to truly see results
Keep taking courses, keep trying new things, and work harder until you get there
It’s never because you aren’t good enough or because you can’t be, sometimes it’s just that you aren’t good enough yet
But you will be, if you keep going
8. Show up for Yourself
As cliche as it might sound, the road to success is not linear.
There are days when I feel like giving up, like I don’t have what it takes, and when I question if all of this is even worth it.
But it’s all a part of the process.
The highs feel like extreme highs, and the lows feel like you can’t get any lower, but in order to really do this, the one thing that needs to remain consistent is you.
You have to show up for yourself, and you have to do it everyday to see true growth.
And even on the days where you just don’t feel like it, or when you think you don’t have enough followers or clients to count, discipline and consistency will be your best friends.
So whatever you do, don’t let the obstacles discourage you from going after what you want,
the no’s, rejections, and losses will feel like shit but they teach us the value of moving forward
If you keep going you will figure it out and you will get there. Just remember why you started, shift your perspective, and take it one day at a time.
The road to success is a marathon, not a sprint.
9. Trust the Process
There were some parts of this article I struggled to articulate, and then I realized that it’s because there are parts you cannot put into words.
There are things you just have to go through on your own to really understand all of the beautiful and intricate parts of the journey.
When you do, all of the cliches begin to make sense, and you begin to realize all of the things you’re capable of. And it’s through these things you begin to understand your purpose and yourself.
Here’s a friendly reminder that there is no one way to pursue your dreams, love yourself enough to create the life you want
Everything you need is already inside of you, all you have to do is start.