WARNING- LONG POST WITH NO PHOTOS. However, this is an incredibly important post to me. I hope you will stick it out and read until the end. Your dreams may depend on it! :)
Although my passion is designing, I think it's my calling in life to encourage others to find and pursue their dreams. Periodically, I try to use this blog to be that place where others can come for an inspiring quote, an encouraging word, and hopefully proof that you really can achieve whatever it is you put your mind to. So, today I want to talk about dreaming and hopefully help someone out there who feels like they're just floating through life.
It wasn't until recently that I realized not everybody has a dream. I knew that Tim had a hard time figuring out what he was passionate about, but I thought he was one of the minority. I think I may be figuring out however, that Tim used to be part of the majority. And to be very honest, it makes me incredibly sad. Knowing what your purpose is in this life is essential, not only for yourself, but for those that you are supposed to touch during your time here.
I feel like I have identified three main reasons people can't pinpoint their passions/dreams:
1. People don't know themselves.
2. People don't believe big dreams come true- at least not for them.
3. People think they are working hard when really their efforts are half hearted.
So, let's break these reasons down.
People don't know themselves.
Identifying your passions can be difficult if you don't happen to love something that's mainstream. I was lucky because basketball is a pretty popular sport to try out at a young age. I figured out that I loved it and committed to it quickly. Designing however was a different story.
Creative outlets weren't really something my family pursued when I was younger. It was only in college, when I became obsessed with HGTV, did I realize that I might enjoy a creative career. I contemplated and tried a few things- photography, jewelry making, painting, ect. Although I enjoyed these things in moderation, I figured out that I would not want to pursue these things as a career.
Then came interior design. As I watched shows on HGTV, I became inspired to the point of actually trying some skills out. I found a few furniture pieces out by the curb and brought them home to refurbish. Through the process of redoing a couple of pieces, I realized I found great joy in turning something old, beat up, and forgotten into something functional and beautiful. Soon after I decided to take on spaces- transforming my apartment room by room. From there, my love for design blossomed I knew I had found my passion. My point here is that you have to try things to figure out what you love. You have to be willing to put in some effort to find what interests you, what brings you to life!
Here's the thing I've figured out, when you are pursuing a dream with enormous energy, passion, and heart- the only way to keep your eye on the prize is to know without a shadow of a doubt that what you are going after is what you are made to do. And here's where I go all "spiritual" on you. Pray about it. I'm not kidding. Pray about it!!! If you really want to know what you were made to do, ask the one who made you!
People don't believe big dreams come true- at least not for them.
Ever since I was a little kid I remember having goals or dreams. I think dreaming was instilled in me by my parents. I was so lucky to grow up in a home where my parents preached "anything is possible if you believe and work incredibly hard!" I've come to learn that many people don't grow up in a home where their parents encourage dreaming nor do their parents instill confidence that they can achieve anything. I think many parents project their own fears of failure on their children and instead of encouraging them to go after the impossible, they push their children towards more "manageable" goals. One thing I know for sure, having a person in your life who truly believes in your abilities is invaluable, but a belief in yourself is essential.
So, how do you develop confidence? How do you start to believe that you can achieve anything? Here's what I propose.
Start with small goals. They can be related to your ultimate goal or completely separate. Whether it's redoing a piece of furniture with a flawless paint job or running a mile in under 7 minutes. . . when you achieve something you thought of as incredibly difficult, you will see your confidence start to rise. And with each little victory, you will allow yourself to dream bigger and bigger.
I can't stress how important I think this small goals are. Let me give you an example from my own life. I started playing basketball in 3rd grade. Never having paid attention to the sport before (except for one snapshot in my memory of Michael Jordan dunking) I was as terrible as every other girl starting out. Soon though I felt the desire to become better. I would come home from practice and do my basketball homework. It started out with 100 dribbles with my right hand and 100 dribbles with my left hand. Soon I began to challenge myself- I had to make 10 layups before I could leave the gym after practice, then I had to practice on my own in the heat of summer at least an hour a day. Then, I needed to be in better shape than my opponent to beat them, so I ran 2 miles a day on top of my basketball workouts. Every goal I achieved and every minute of work I put in gave me confidence. Confidence, true confidence only comes with hard work, which brings me to my next point.
People think they are working hard when really their efforts are half hearted.
Of course it takes so much more than just believing. . . oh yes, it takes work. And not the type of work where you go through the motions or do something just to check it off your list. No, achieving your grandest dream takes an all out focus and steadfast perseverance. It is hard. And that's why most people don't achieve dreams or even dare to think about them.
You remember that I told you my parents told me "anything was possible." Do you remember the words that proceeded that phrase? "If you believe" (which we've covered) and if you "work incredibly hard."
Once again I was so lucky to have parents that not only said these things, but helped me to stay committed to my chosen goals. I would often get the question, "What did you do today?" which I knew was in reference to achieving my goals. Sometimes I got mad and sometimes I felt pressured, but when I look back I am so so thankful that my parents knew that I had a goal and they held me accountable to that. They preached persistence and perseverance. I remember countless pep talks that my dad would give me not just when I was having a hard time but also when I was doing well. He would say things like, "I've never seen anyone work as hard as you." and "If you keep this up, you will achieve your dreams." I cherish those talks so much because they made me feel so validated and after my dad spoke, I knew all the hard work would one day be worth it. Not everyone is lucky enough to have that person in their life that believes in them. If you don't, I hope that I could be your cheerleader. Keep going, work harder, you can do this! It's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.
You remember my basketball "homework?" Well, in my high school career, that turned into 2 hours of individual work (running, shooting, ball handling, working on new moves) after my team practice. When I say hard work, I mean exhausting, intense, focused, hard work.
After I played professional basketball for a season, I decided it was time to hang up the sneakers. I decided that designing and more specifically a design television show was my new goal. I had a hard time figuring out how to translate the work ethic I developed in basketball to design. Pushing my body physically was natural but designing required a different type of work. But the same idea still applied. I set goals: start a blog, learn skills, create a website, network, figure out how to take good pictures, practice paint techniques, ect. And little by little I started to gain confidence in my design skills. My efforts became intensely focused on my new dream.
When you read this, it may sound daunting, but it's the reality of what's required to achieve crazy, unimaginable, way out there type of dreams. The only thing that separates you from the Michael Jordan's, the Oprah Winfrey's, and the Dolly Parton's of the world is confidence and incredibly hard work. We can achieve our grandest dreams! I believe it and I plan on doing it, won't you join me!?
So, here's the challenge-
Take some time, sit down, and really think about your what it is you want to accomplish in this life. You may need to start with something small, like losing 20 lbs. I know some of you look at that and think, "20 lbs!!! That's no small goal!" But for how big I hope that you will dream, 20 lbs is just the beginning. Of course, you will have failures because we all do. When you have those failures, you may feel crushed and you may start to think you were stupid for going after such crazy ideals. But here's what will propel you on. . . the deep seated knowledge that you were called to this purpose and to give up on it would be forsaking the whole reason you were put on this earth.
So, let's start dreaming!!!!