It can be difficult to watch others living the life you dream of for yourself. While they are taking vacations, starting new careers, falling in love, taking risks, and reaping the rewards, it seems like you are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for your life to start. Don’t let life pass you by. It’s time to get into the game.
If you take only three words from this article, they are: Dream. Explore. Act.
Allow yourself to fully believe you can do anything, no matter what it is. There is a hint of truth in your dream, no matter how crazy it may seem. Let your wildest dreams start inspiring what it is you truly want to do. Only when you have brainstormed to your heart’s content, should you take the next step.
Start by exploring your local library for resources. Yes, it still exists, and it is your greatest asset. Check out books (or e-books) written by people who are doing what you would like to do. Find examples of people who have faced adversity, to remind yourself that you can overcome obstacles that might pop up along the way.
Still not sure exactly what you want to do? Attend a seminar, or enroll in a course. Many libraries offer access to free courses through organizations such as Gale. You can learn about everything from child face painting to wedding planning, life coaching, feng shui, and anger management. This is a low-risk way to start exploring about your passions. Use the internet to research the market. Figure out how you can leverage your existing skill sets in an area you love, or develop a new skill set.
Finally, what is it that you are willing to put in work to achieve? Once you have a list of ideas, look for resources that can help you chart out your journey. Before you pay for any program, make sure you have done your research and understand how it will add to your toolkit.
This is the scary step. Remember, however, a fear that is protecting you from failure may also be protecting you from success. It can often best overcome by focusing on 3 S’s:
1) What are your strengths?
2) What are some of your past successes, and what did they teach you?
3) Strategize. Develop a sound plan that will provide you with the resources and accountability you need to succeed.
I used to think that my imagination was primed towards worst case scenarios. I always had a thought of how I might fail. Used poorly, my imagination would think of ways that my plans may not succeed. This would often keep me from taking action. It’s time to demand better for (and from) yourself.
The best way to use your imagination (for good) is to start creating solutions. Every time you are faced with a problem, think about how you can start solving it, or what you might be able to learn that can help you. I now use my imagination not just to solve problems, but to think of tiny action steps that can get me closer to my goals. Every goal links back to what I can do today to move it one step forward.
Finally, you might be excited to start your dream, but know that you need time to prepare before taking a full leap. No problem. Decide on the amount of time you will carve out of your schedule right now to start carrying out your plan. Research what type of training you need (if any) to pursue this new route. Make sure your plan is realistic and works for you. I studied for the GRE in the evening during one of my summer internships. I used online practice tests to prepare closer to the exam. Take your plan seriously. Don’t tell yourself you will work on your plans for four hours every evening, when a 1.5-3 hour session once per week at a local coffee shop (away from the distractions of home) is something you can truly commit to.
My final advice? Start. Even baby steps count.
Note: Want more tips? Learn more about my Strategic Life Design Workshop.