Do you know what’s harder than pursuing a dream? I’ll tell you: living a life in which you are not actively pursuing your dreams and feeling bad about.
Now, I’m not an expert on dream fulfillment. I definitely have not started working towards all of mine, let alone achieve them; it’s actually quite the opposite. Thus far my twenties have been spent trying to figure out what my dreams are. When I first started this conversation with myself, I decided to write them down in one of my many journals. However, it wasn’t until recently when I realized that dreams can’t be written down and forgotten about. At least, they can’t be if you actually want to make them a reality. Now, remember, I am not an expert who can tell you step-by-step instructions on how to achieve your dreams, but what I can do is try to inspire anyone to start taking theirs seriously.
For any fellow dreamers out there, I would first recommend you write down your aspirations, preferably somewhere you can easily come back to. Dreams don’t need to be grand. For example, our ideal life doesn’t have to be one of a multi-millionaire, or the smartest or most popular person alive. As long as it’s something you really want, the dream is worth your time and energy to achieve.
Providing a little background on me, I can tell you that one of my dreams is to be a published writer. I’m a market researcher for my 9 to 5 but I’ve always desired to write an original piece and have it published somewhere - whether it be an academic research paper, poetry, or an op-ed just like this. Would I place a checkmark next to that dream now? No, I would not but I do think I’m heading in the right direction. I’m practicing my long-form writing and poetry, I’m tightening my research skills, and learning how to build something from scratch.
I’m working on it but it’s hard! I get frustrated with my slow and often start-and-stop progression. That said, I have my own set of roadblocks: I’m an overthinker, a “worry wart” who is cursed with indecisiveness. But these thoughts do not help me get closer to where I want to be in life. I must see them for what they are - barriers to growth and progress. Here, dear reader, might be a good time to think about what your roadblocks are. That is the second step. How does negativity try to invade your mind? Whatever form it may take, identifying it is the next thing I suggest doing to pursue your dreams. Call them out! Practice self-reflection. Knowing your character flaws puts you way ahead of any novel character on the hero’s journey (I’m looking at you, Odysseus).
Knowing what you need to work on can be empowering. Not only can you use that to form new goals, but you can feel better prepared to authentically face life’s difficulties. If you are experiencing a challenge but you know that you’re not strong in that area, you will be more likely to seek help. Knowing when to ask for help is an important skill to have, especially on your journey to pursuing your passion or accomplishing a dream. Therefore, the third step is realizing that a journey towards your dream(s) is not a lonely one. To start “Our Friend The Artist '' it took a conversation with my friend and co-founder Maricar to realize that a) I want to work on my writing b) I wasn’t doing anything to improve my writing and c) I needed a creative outlet. Once we decided that this was something we wanted to do, it took months of planning and hard work. Even still, I would not call myself an accomplished writer, blogger or anything of the sort (but doesn’t my creative shop journal [pictured] just scream I’m a creative?)
Though your dream may not be to become a writer or start a blog, odds are that at some point during your journey, you’ll need some advice. Plan to grow by learning from others. Find people who are on the same path as you, or better yet, find those who have already achieved your dream (if possible).
And that’s it. Those are my three preliminary steps to following your dreams. Cheesy, right? Well, what did you expect from a blog post about going after your dreams? I’d like to remind you again, dear reader, that I am not an expert, just a girl in her twenties trying to make sense of things. While most of these steps rely on mental work, I hope it better prepares you before the physical work begins. Now, as General Shang from the Disney movie Mulan once said, ”let’s get down to business”.