What is it you want out of life? Forty years from now or next week? As I write this, I want a bacon cheeseburger and to perform on a resident Second City stage someday. Both are possible — one clearly easier to attain.
I ask this because it’s easy to sit and dream about what you truly want to do, and it’s another thing to actively seek it out. Whether it be working on a book every day, going back to school to become a veterinarian, or reconnecting with an old friend/crush, it all comes down to that first brave step. You have to be willing to put yourself out there.
I’m an avid believer in the ideology of you get back what you put in. I’ve busted my ass since middle school to learn all I can because it was engrained in me that education is the real door opener. Hard work prepares you for when opportunity knocks, but you have to hunt down the opportunities yourself. It sucks, but being known as a hard worker isn’t enough to earn you what you want. Yes, by all means it helps, but you need to be proactive about what you’re specifically working toward.
I’ve earned degrees and worked multiple part-time service jobs, but opportunities related to my long-term goals came from me going out on a limb and reaching out to respected individuals in my field. Most of these interactions were with the purpose to educate myself on what they do and learn from them. Artists, especially, seem willing across the board to guide fledglings in their craft. Why? Because that was them once until someone else took them under their wing and gave them a chance. A desire to learn serves you better than a desire for a title. In asking questions, listening to what an expert tells you, then applying it yourself, you slowly become an expert yourself. From there, jobs and achievements follow.
In the end, always try to learn, be willing to ask questions to those you look up to, and remind yourself why you do what you do plus your love for it. Even if you don’t get a specific opportunity, there’s value in letting others know what you want and learning from mentors because an even better opportunity could come out of nowhere. The important thing is that you take that first step and reach out.
As always, thank you for reading and I wish you the best in your own endeavors.
Challenge: Have a job or hobby you want to start? Reach out to someone in your community that’s respected in that area and ask if you can pick their brain sometime. Be yourself and explain why you’d like their point-of-view on the subject. Good luck!