You’ve thought about it, talked about it, and done nothing about it. It’s time to get yourself up and get your life on track to follow your dream. As I live my words and follow my dream, I want to share my experiences and advice with fellow dreamers who are ready to live their life, already.
The hardest part is starting to live your dream. You need to have a beginning, a push, a first step. Well, here’s step one.
- Lets start at the top: Write down your dream boldly and succinctly.
My dream: To be a movie star.
I chose not to put a definite time yet, but the more specific you can get, the better. Make your dream an action, something that can be done, instead of something that just is. The easiest way to do this is to write your dream as a sentence. Not just “Novelist,” but “To write a full-length novel by February 1, 2008.” If you see your dream and write it down you’ll start to visualize and subconsciously move toward it.
- Be honest with yourself. I realize my dream is impractical. Of course it is; that’s what makes it a dream. Yes, it’s one of the most common dreams out there. Yes, it’s incredibly competitive. Who cares? There are a thousand people that have the exact same dream as you, and only one is going to do anything about it. So, make sure that one person is you.
- Make a life-altering change. As I write this, I’m moving from little Lansing, Michigan across the country to Los Angeles, California. I’ve never lived outside of Michigan and have never lived in a big city. Yet, this is the most exciting and empowering thing I’ve ever done. A huge change will help you grow as a person and experience life to its fullest. Once you make a change this big in your life, you know that nothing can hold you back from being successful because you have learned how to adapt to anything.
- Realize your potential. You’re meant for bigger things. For me, the move to LA is a must if I want to be in the entertainment industry. That’s where the big things are happening in movies. Think back to the fishbowl philosophy: if you stay in a small bowl you’ll be a small fish. Expand and go where you need go, and do what you need to do, in order to grow.
- Create a dead-end for your current lifestyle. Take steps to make sure the benefits of leaving outweigh the benefits of staying. Two months before I was supposed to move out of my apartment in Lansing, I still hadn’t found a place to live. Anywhere. Apartments in the area were filling up fast, people were finding roommates, and I was still talking about moving to LA. I hadn’t asked for a raise for months and months even though I knew I deserved a lot more money. Yet, I didn’t want to get comfortable and have anything holding me back. If you have nothing to stay for, then it’s much easier to leave.
- Take it a step further, and make it detrimental to live your current lifestyle. After I found some roommates in LA, I gave them a check for the safety deposit and first month’s rent for our apartment even though they were moving in weeks before I was. It made me realize that each day I’m not out there, I’m losing money for no reason. If you’re having trouble pushing yourself, then find a way to make life harder for you to NOT follow your dream.
- Find an anchor. This is a very important step. You have to find something you can hold on to that draws you to your dream. For me, it was simply having a place to live with roommates. Your anchor can be anything, but make sure it’s strong enough to be significant and permanent.
- Let go of your material possessions. When packing for my big move, I looked at all my stuff and realized I don’t use or need 90% of it. Everything I absolutely need I could probably buy for less than $100 when I get to my destination. So, stop worrying about your stuff and give it away or sell it. If you simplify your life, you can add your dream and still have enough room for everything. You don’t need things to define yourself, you need aspirations.
- Set a timeline. Once I found out I had a place to live, I sat down with a calendar, figured out when a good time to quit my job would be, and then planned to leave 3 days later. There was no big mystery, no wondering how much time everything would take. It was more about setting the deadline, then forcing myself to meet it. I learned from Timothy Ferriss that if you set a shorter timeline for your task to be completed, you’ll find yourself working harder and more efficiently to meet it, instead of wasting time and dragging it out.
- Believe in your dream and yourself. If you believe in your dream and are passionate about it, people will support you and want to lend any help they can. I started making movies with my friends for a competition even though I’d never made a movie before. Then, I started auditioning for movies like crazy, even though they were just local movies. Even before I got three roles, one in a feature-length film as a main character, people really believed in me because I was taking actions to achieve my dream. Your friends, your family, and even strangers will believe in you if you believe in yourself.
- Realize everyone wants you to succeed. The people that care about you truly and honestly will always want you to succeed. Even the people you first assume will be the most resentful of your decision may surprise you. My boss, on the last day of my employment, came back to my computer and helped me find new ways to contact people in the entertainment industry online. Even though he knew I was leaving his company, he still believed in my success and gave help in any way he could because he knew I was passionate about my dream. This is what he wrote on my going away card:
“In your interview you said you wanted to be a Rockstar, so I’m not surprised you’re going to Hollywood.”
There’s nothing scarier to me than never trying to live my dream and instead living a mediocre life in comfort and regret. So, if you want to make an impact and really live your dream, then today’s the easiest day to start.Now go own the world.
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