It’s a blessing to know what you want to do in life. It’s a burden to believe you can do it.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing what I’ve wanted to do with my life since I was very young. I’ve had the burden of believing I can, in fact, achieve what I’ve wanted to do as well.
I’ve wanted to be a writer (creator) for as long as I can remember. I am guessing, since 7 or 8 years old, the dream has been there. I put it off for a long time and have squandered some opportunities as well. But, I’ve also been blessed and fortunate to have taken major steps (published articles and two books) to achieving my dream.
My objective with this post is to get you thinking about your dream and encourage the confidence and rule-breaking thoughts that cause you to put the necessary actions in place.
I talk to a lot of young people (and more mature people, too) who don’t have any clarity in this area. They truly have no idea of what they want to do or any sense of direction. Or, if they’ve thought about a goal, they don’t have the belief that there is any possibility of achieving that thing they want to do. So they suppress and even forget what that thing is.
Confidence is a burden
I’m not complaining that I have the confidence to achieve my dream… but make no mistake, it is a burden. Not as much of a burden as NOT having the confidence… but a burden none-the-less.
When you have that confidence that you can achieve that thing, you can’t stop thinking about it. If you don’t act on it, you can’t truly relax.
In my discussions with those who might have something they want to do but don’t have the confidence that they can achieve it, they supplant the action that leads to achieving with excuses – the reasons they cannot go after their dream… at least, not yet. Worse, they stop talking about it and replace that dream with anything else that is more achievable.
For me, I never had a time where I lacked the confidence. I simply allowed for distractions. I began a family in my early 20’s and started consulting. I built a small business. And it was good. I enjoyed it. No complaints.
But I was distracted from that thing… writing/creating.
I wrote the occasional song and I wrote some white-papers and technical pieces for clients. I wrote some marketing material. And it was good!
But I was not a “writer” per se. I was not intentional about writing and publishing.
I repeat, this was not a confidence issue… it was an issue of being distracted.
Remembering the dream
During that time, I had a correspondence with a well-known atheist. Some of the people who worked with me read our somewhat cheeky and snarky correspondence. A couple of them said, “You love putting ideas on paper. Have you thought about writing an article?” – or something similar.
Simultaneously, my first wife kept suggesting I read Stephen King’s book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I finally did.
In it, he dispels the notion of being inspired versus scheduling and doing the work. Meaning, even if you do not feel inspired, if your goal is to be a writer (and become good at it) you must write!
I’ve often said, “The noun is wrapped up in the verb.” To be that thing, you must do the thing that the thing does. Writers… write! Hint:Whatever it is that you want to be does the thing that whatever you want to be does.
And so I wrote. I submitted an article to a technical magazine and it was picked-up. I got paid. I was a professional writer. That lead to more writing gigs and ultimately to my current editor discovering me. And that, in turn, led to a book and then a second.
Rules are unhelpful, action is golden
Many aspiring writers believe they must get an English degree. They believe they must follow some mythical path to publication. This type of thought permeates almost every creative and even professional pursuit.
Don’t believe it!
The barrier to you becoming that thing is the action that the thing you want to be does… period!
If you are in danger of choosing to forget or suppress your dream, here is some advice:
- Guard your time and allow enough for action
If you spend more time watching others achieve your dream rather than taking action toward your dream, you are in danger of “forgetting”… ie: American Idol or The Voice may be responsible for stopping many potential performers from performing. And unless you are writing for TV… if you schedule your weeknights around the various (multiple) shows you watch, eh… you are well on your way to losing your dream.
Everyday we have time to pursue our dream. We trade it for something else. Make no mistake, that’s a choice. Guard your time!
- Reach out to those in the battle… only
Brune Brown has a wonderful quote (in this talk). It’s about being in the battle and getting your ass kicked (this will happen by critics and yourself)… at 9 minutes or so, she says:
“If you are not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
That’s golden. You don’t need to take input from the “not-doers”. They are of limited value.
- Avoid statements that put rules on your activity and pursuit
Big red flags. When you hear yourself saying (or thinking) the following, it is likely you are simply lying to yourself and avoiding the necessary action. You are one step away from choosing to forget or trade away your dream.
“I am going to start after….”
“I can’t do that/become that until I get…”
“I’m in a busy season of life… once I get through this I will….”
Any of those last statements should concern you. You have today and you can at least do a small thing on this day.
If you have the blessing of the dream and the burden of belief, do not hesitate. Be thankful for the blessing and the burden. Now, take action!