I was 16 the first time that I thought to myself: “I don’t want to work in an office.” I was doing a week of work experience, which I really enjoyed, but I just knew that sitting in the same office, surrounded by people all day wasn’t for me. Over the years, I’ve worked in offices, and the experiences have never been bad, and yes, I could do it if I had to… but my dream was always to work for myself, run my own schedule, and my own timetable.
The other big dream: create art for a living. That’s a scary dream. You hear over and over again about the lives of “starving artists.” How difficult it is for people to make a living from being creative. But no matter how scary that dream was, it was there, and it still is. So what do I do? I spend every day working towards that dream.
Do you want to know how to take a dream and turn it into a reality? Let’s walk through the process that I’ve found has helped me time and time again!
- Brainstorming. I’m a HUGE lover of a notebook. I’ve got years worth of notebooks on my desk, or in my bookshelf. I keep most of them, because they are where ideas were born. I like to sit somewhere quite with a pen, create a mind map, normally with the phrase “What Do I Want To Do More Than Anything?” in the centre, and I let myself dream. The point of this is not to hold back, not to tell yourself that anything it “impossible.” Just get your ideas out on paper. Write down any fears creeping in. Leave your mind map alone for a few hours, and then come back to it, and add to it some more. This might seem like a messy and chaotic activity, but its incredibly important, and very freeing.
- Now that you’ve let your imagination run wild with ideas, it’s time to define your vision, and refine your goal. What is is that you ACTUALLY want to do? Can you sum up your dream into a sentence, or two? Strip it back, and let that be what you come back to time and time again, whenever you lose track of what you’re striving towards.
- Talk: Find people you trust (friends or family) and tell them about what your vision. Ask them for feedback and advice. If you can find someone who’s an expert in the area you’re hoping to go into, reach out and ask them for advice. Study, read, and watch as much as you can about your subject, and what kind of work it involves. As you do this, you may need to go back to step 2 a couple of times to further refine your dream.
- Jump Right In: Own your dream. Let yourself immerse yourself in it.
- Define exactly what steps you need to take to make your dream a reality.
- Create a timeline. This timeline can change, but if you start to set yourself small deadlines, and tasks to work towards, you’ll begin to see structure, and it will become easier and easier for you to actively work towards your dream.
- Be Kind To Yourself: Sometimes plans change, things cost more money, or projects take longer. Don’t beat yourself up about things, be kind and know that you’re still making progress in the right direction.
- Share what you’re achieved, and be proud of yourself! It can be really hard to tell people about achievements, because it can feel arrogant, but no one minds hearing about someones big achievement once in a while. Share what you’ve succeeded with, and let people be excited with you!
Don’t be afraid to dream big, because without dreams, life would be so incredibly dull! I hope this helps you to begin to take steps towards your dreams.