This is a guest post by Anelisa Nokoyo
What is the basis of our dreams and how can we achieve them? What does it take to make it to the “big time”? I personally believe that our dreams are a reflection of our talents and are expressed in terms of passion and excitement. It’s that passion that you can’t explain to anyone and one which may at times, cause you to blaze a trail through new paths and potentially even become misunderstood by family and friends who expect you to take more conventional career choices. After all, we all want to feel accepted by the people we care about, even though that may come at the cost of giving up what we enjoy. Ultimately, the choice is yours to either go with what everybody else is doing OR listen to your heart and follow your passion.
That said, identifying one’s passion or talent is not enough, one has to follow it up with meaningful action. This is why it’s important to have tools to guide you through the journey to realizing your dreams. Which is why I’ve decided to share some of the tools that have helped me to stay focused and positive in the face of adversity while on my journey as an entrepreneur and freelance writer.
- Discipline in developing your craft and your brand is very important. Regardless of how talented you are, success is dependent upon constantly putting in the work to cultivate your craft. That’s why it’s important to set aside some time, preferably a couple of hours or more, to sharpen your skill every day, resisting any distractions that might cause you to take your eye off the ball.
- Consistency refers to the ability to hold yourself accountable to your goals, which in turn engenders integrity, thus ensuring that you offer the world your best at all times. The truth is that you can only produce the best results if you’ve consistently worked hard at developing yourself every day, in spite of disruptions. In my experience it’s always better to sacrifice a bit of sleep in order to complete a project, than to “sleep on the job”, and then regret it later. When you’re able to keep deadlines and promises, you build trust in yourself and your ability to persevere in the face of diversions. I’ve also realized the old adages such as “the early bird gets the worm” are not just cheesy one-liners, but actual words of wisdom. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a writer for a magazine or an aspiring athlete or actor, consistency in practicing your craft is a vital and crucial element that leads to continued excellence and success.
- Intention. Believe it or not, the intention you put behind any goal will determine its level of success. I’ve come to realize that sincerity and integrity when it comes to pursuing my goals is paramount, as it determines the quality of support that I receive in return from my environment and those around me. Some people start out on a project because they have a passion for it and that’s their intention going into it, but somewhere along the way, that passion gives way to another incentive, money. It’s not a bad thing to look forward to earning money from your project, but once that becomes the focus of your attention, it can easily divert your attention from your original intention and your work may suffer as a result. To have consistent clarity in this regard, it helps to ask yourself why you’re doing a particular job and if it’ll have the kind of impact that you want to make in the world. Another indicator that you’re being congruent with your intention is when you’re genuinely happy with your work, knowing that it is in line with your overall goal in life.
- Willpower. Willpower refers to the ability to focus your mind on managing all the different aspects of your life while maintaining the balance in all of them. Like the great sage Lao Tzu once said, “If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place”. Mental discipline is the key to maintaining order in all aspects of your life because everything starts in the mind, victory starts in the mind. If you can imagine it, then it’s already happened, all you have to do is to work hard towards a vision which sometimes, only you can see, and this takes mental discipline and willpower. Techniques such as meditation are quite effective at staying focused and keeping procrastination at bay. Another method for developing willpower is to have a realistic routine and follow up on it every day. You can maximize on both these approaches by setting aside time every day to meditate. This could be anything from 10 minutes to one hour of cultivating inner silence every day, where you reflect on your plans and work on your to-do list for the day.
- Fun, Lastly, all the best people that I know prospered to unimaginable heights by doing what they love, proving that following your passion can fuel you even through the most challenging times. From Oprah to Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Jay-Z, all these successful people built empires based on doing work that they genuinely enjoyed.
So please ensure that you enjoy the journey to realizing your dreams. Stay true to your original purpose, whether it be music, design, and writing, modeling or just innovating. Doing what you love will inspire you to keep the faith even when it seems like you’ll never “make it”, and pursuing your passion makes for a great quality of life, as it has the potential to greatly enrich your experience of life. So go out there and use these tools to pursue your dreams like there’s no tomorrow … and have fun while you’re at it!