One of the MOST asked questions I get is how to pursue your dreams/dream job. Before I get into it, I need to clarify there’s a difference between pursuing your dreams and successfully pursuing your dreams. Anyone can work for years on their craft, but never achieve it. This is a loaded question, but one I feel pretty confident answering because I’ve come a long way in successfully achieving my own dreams. Long story short: I failed out of two universities and a community college, had a broken relationship with my family, worked a handful of sh*tty jobs, and surrounded myself with people who brought me down. I felt like a lost cause with no motivation, no goals, and no future.
My Story (The Condensed Version)
I had hit rock bottom and once you’re at the bottom, there’s really nowhere to go, but up. I deleted all my social media, moved up the coast, and restarted my life. Without distractions, I was able to focus on myself, rebuild my life, and work on my goals. I got a job as a receptionist and went to community college, where I earned my associate degree within a year. I then transferred to Rutgers University where I completed my bachelor’s degree in two years.
From there, I pursued my master’s degree at Columbia University and here is where the story gets good. By now I knew how resilient AF I was and capable of pursuing whatever I wanted. I stubbornly refused to apply to any of the prestigious Columbia fellowships or internships because I was determined to get a full-time job in the city. I have nothing against internships (I did so many during college!), but I was at a point in my life where I wanted to really start my career.
A month after graduation, I got a call from Vanity Fair. Someone else had forwarded them my resumé and they hired me immediately as a video editor. You know what I had on my resumé? This very blog!
Why You Should Follow Your Dreams
Because this is YOUR life; not your mom’s, not you dad’s, not your significant other’s, not your teacher’s. And trust me, children of immigrant parents, I understand the cultural pressure you’re under to please your family. But at the end of the day, this is still YOUR life. Immigrant parents all want their kids to succeed and they think there’s only three linear paths to success: doctor, lawyer, or engineer.
It’s 2020 and life is not linear. The concept of having your future planned at 18 years old, going to college, and pursuing that singular path is so archaic to me! You’ll never be able to please everyone, so it’s better to do what makes you happy and let your happiness continuously guide and motivate you. The success will fall into place. In today’s day and age, there’s a higher chance you’ll make more money and be able to support your loved ones by forging your own path! Your dreams matter, why shouldn’t you pursue them?
If you need some guidance on speaking with your parents, check out this blog post!
My 6 Pillars (Az-isms) to Success
Success is completely subjective. Some people view success as having no debt, a family by 25, and a mortgage. Sorry to break it to you, but I have thousands of dollars in student loans, I’m single AF, and I rent a studio. But I can also say, I have higher education from an Ivy League, I’m living my best life at 30, and that little studio is in Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. See? Subjective.
I have six foundational beliefs that continuously guide me to successfully pursue my dreams. Without going into too much detail here (because they will be thoroughly explained in an upcoming blog post!) they are:
- Never settle
- The universe is always working in your favor
- Your only competition is yourself, yesterday
- A step forward is still a step forward
- The only thing holding you back is yourself
- Gratitude is the attitude that determines your altitude
Adopting these beliefs and putting them into practice changed my life and helped me crawl out of rock bottom. I live and breathe these principles (my Az-isms!) so much that they routinely motivate me to never give up and keep going.
My Secret Formula to Manifesting Your Dreams
It’s amazing what happens when you believe in yourself. You’ve got to believe sooo hard in yourself that when other’s rudely doubt you, it’s just background noise. When I was applying to Columbia for graduate school so many people told me I wouldn’t get in, but I knew I would. When the career center told me if I wanted to have my dream career in video journalism I’d have to move to middle America and start in local news, I knew they were wrong. I never let other’s doubt get to me. I just let them speak, and go on working towards my goals regardless.
The law of attraction is very real (it’s a universal law!), but believing in yourself is just the first step. Positivity is nothing without hard work and good intentions behind it. I have a secret formula that perfectly encapsulates the secret to success aka following your dreams: (A x B) + C = D
(Hard Work x Good Intentions) + Positive Affirmations = Manifesting Dreams
You really want to pursue your dreams? Then start doing it. Don’t let your circumstances limit you! Trust me, I know how hard it can be financially, physically, and emotionally. I’m not blindly telling you that it’s going to all work out. I’m telling you, you need to put in the work and take that first step, no matter how small it may be. Is it a course you need to take? Sign up for it! Is it a skill you need to learn? Google it! Is it a conversation you need to have? Make the call!
It’s also really important to set your intentions. Why do you want your goals? Is it to help others? To leave a legacy? To make an impact? Your intention is what motivates you and the more genuine your intentions, the more success will fall in you lap because the universe is always working in your favor.
Lastly, you have to keep a positive mindset, which comes from practicing gratitude daily. Your life won’t change until your mindset does first. Don’t focus so much on the final outcome. Appreciate every step you take towards your goals and the small wins that come your way! Did someone email you back approving a pitch? That’s a win! Did you get good feedback from your audience or boss about a project? Another win! Did you pass a really hard course you needed to take to graduate? Win!
And remember, even if you can’t change your financial or living situation, you can still make improvements to your environment. Cut off toxic people, practice mindful self-care, and limit distractions like scrolling on social media. Take care of yourself by improving your nutrition, drinking more water, and feeding your mind through books or podcasts. These are the small investments that will upgrade your life!
Now what are you waiting for? Go take that first step and successfully pursue your dreams!