In my early years in corporate America, I found myself in misery because I worked a job that sucked the life out of me. Not only did I work for a jerk, I also wasn’t energized by the type of work I was doing. I had always imagined I’d be on a “stage” telling stories, acting or anything that involved entertaining, informing or inspiring people. But at the time, it all seemed so out of my reach, especially when I had bills, student loans and other responsibilities that demanded my immediate attention.
Things changed when I took a chance one day to audition for community theatre. It confirmed my belief that a “stage” was where I belonged. I still kept my day job and never went to Broadway or Hollywood, but I did pursue other opportunities that led me to be in front of people, using my natural ability of public speaking to positively engage with audiences. One step led to the next step. And here I am today, a national speaker, just beginning to live the life that I had dreamed.
In my journey, I’ve learned a few things. I know everyone has the ability to dream, and our dreams give us insight into our purpose. Where does your mind drift while daydreaming, driving to work, sitting in front of your computer or lying on the bed? Like coming attractions, our dreams are divine gifts to muse and encourage us with previews of our future.
But our dreams will never come to fruition if we never take action. Even if you’re unsure of your dreams or the direction your life is to go, just take a step in a direction…any direction. Because if you take a step and fail, you will learn a valuable lesson of what worked and what didn’t. Then you can reset your life and start again. There are many doors in life. Most of them will slam in your face and for good reason. The few doors that remain wide open to you are the ones meant for you.
But the key is to start. Take a step. Trust the opened doors and the closed ones until you discover the correct path for your life.
This is one of the keys to owning your opportunities—start somewhere. You have to put things in motion, get the ball rolling and commence the journey from wherever you are with intentional and actionable steps—and never stop. You have to will yourself to believe that you deserve the life you see in your dreams and simply work towards it.
So how do you start? The following are four actions that worked for me:
- Write down what you see or create a vision board. Begin with getting your imagination out on paper. Guess what? If you keep your dreams locked inside of you, it will continuously nag and frustrate the hell out of you like a rabid dog rattling a cage. Have you ever felt this way? This is why people often become restless, depressed and angry because they’re not moving in the direction of their desired future. You become less mental when you move the location of your dreams out of your head and onto a physical place where you can see it each day like a guiding light.
- Create a plan. Think through initial actions—just simple baby steps—you need to take towards your dream and compose it into a plan. If you dream of becoming a lawyer, then the first step you may need to take is registering for the LSAT. If you want to write a book, then take the first step of attending a writer’s conference and learn from the people who’ve written books. Ask yourself, “What is one thing I can do each day to position me towards my dream? Or, three things I can do in the next 90 days?” Put it in a plan.
- Share your plan with trusted advisors. Remember, everybody else may not see what you see, and that’s okay. It’s not their role to see it—it’s their role to support it. So be intentional with whom you share your dreams and make sure these are people who genuinely support you.
- Track your progress. Check off all the steps you’ve accomplished according to your plan and celebrate your progress, big or small. Tracking enables you to stay focused, measure your progress and see your momentum (or where you’re slacking).
Are you ready to get started? Use each day to do one thing to make your dream become a reality. Make 2020 your year of owning your opportunities. Leave a comment below, include the hashtag #OYOkeys, and let’s chat. CLICK HERE to join our #OYO Community and be sure to follow me on social media for daily inspirations.