If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place. ~Nora Roberts
I have told my story here on the RuffleBlog a few times over. From day one, the intention of this blog was to pay it forward, to inspire others, to share my journey (the real thing, not he sugar-coated version). So, today, I was asked if I could deliver one message to people based on my experiences and 'success', what that message would be. I knew pretty clearly that my message would be the same one I have shared here over the years...that dreams are not handed to you on a silver platter, you must go after them. That success is a culmination of God's blessings, a LOT of hard work, risk, commitment, and the decision not to accept less for yourself. Then, I was asked the key question, "where does someone start?".
I wish I had the million dollar answer here. I would love nothing more than to give this gift of passion and fulfillment to every single person I meet. I truly strive to share my passion with our team at RuffleButts to the best of my ability, and it is beyond rewarding when they tell me that they love their job. Totally puts a smile on my face to know I made a small contribution to this.
So, back to the question...if you are in the place that I found myself just 5 years ago, what do you do? Well, the quote from Nora Roberts above is a good place to start. Ask yourself if you are truly prepared to go after what you want. Are you ready to put yourself out there? Are you ready to commit to the journey? If the answer is yes, then you have to follow your heart, but the steps below are a basic guide:
1) PRAY - This applies no matter what your religion, but for me, my faith in God has given me the courage to take steps when the staircase was out of sight. Before quitting my real estate job, I would sit in my car before going into work, and have my own personal time with God. It was in this quiet time, that I heard myself asking for something specific. I found myself repeatedly asking God for an 'idea'. It was in this time, that I clearly understood my desire for entrepreneurship. That was my destiny, but it was many years of searching before that path became clear.
2) READ - It is often that the seed of a dream is planted by inspiration. What or who is it that inspires you? Read about the accomplishments of others. Magazines, books, newspapers, blogs. Today is a day of information. There are so many amazing people out there sharing their stories. Take in as much as you possibly can.
3) WRITE - This one may seem a little corny, but isn't it worth a try? So, take a piece of paper and a pen to a peaceful spot, outside with nature, if at all possible.
Draw a line down the middle. On the left jot down the things that bring you joy and things that are important to you. It can be as simple and far back as hobbies that you enjoyed in your childhood, when there wasn't the pressure of bringing in a paycheck, or status. Don't think too much, just write. Then, on the right, list the things that don't bring you joy. List the things that you want out of your life, or things you want to change.
It's funny, I always say that life is a bit like a book that you can only read backwards. It all makes sense looking back. I always felt lost in my career search. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life. But, looking back, I started businesses and clubs as early as I could remember. I loved it. There was the ninja turtle club in elementary school, then the baby sitting club in middle school. In high school, I tried to start a grocery delivery company. Seriously, could it be more clear? Then, the funny part...my hobby in elementary school was fashion design. I would carry around a notebook and draw fancy dress designs. I never really wanted to be a fashion designer, but was always interested in the fashion business. Reading this paragraph it almost sounds silly that I was unsure of a career path. It is so black and white, but it certainly didn't feel that way.
The next step on your journey...ACTION. At this point, it comes down to faith. Do you have faith in yourself, in your journey, in your decision? If so, go get it. Earn it. Live the life that you dream of. It is completely possible.