I know what it’s like to want more – and have every logical thought in your mind push you to settle for less. Whether it’s how your years of experience are in an unrelated field or how your loved ones react (with doubt) when you explain your dreams, the world is telling you who you are and your willingness to listen is the reason you’re struggling to become who you’re meant to be.
You don’t reach your potential until you let go of what you already think it is.
Why is it that we’re so inclined to believe our predetermined ideas of what we’re capable of? Maybe it’s because we’re taught a certain standard of success at an early age and expected to live conventional lives due to it. Or maybe it’s because we’re under the impression that greatness is only for a select group of people who are deemed above average. Regardless, the irony of the situation is that all the excuses are there, but none of them actually matter.
The people who are living your dreams aren’t the exception to the rules – they’re the examples of what happens when the rules aren’t followed.
Although I’ve told my story on here before, I’ll never forget how people kept telling me that only “some” writers make it in the editorial field – and how I didn’t care. My determination to succeed outweighed all of my doubts of whether or not I would get there and that’s all that mattered to me.
Some people would’ve called me dumb or brave or a random word in between the two, but I’m not any of those descriptions. Instead, I’m someone who believed in myself – and took a chance on the idea that I wasn’t special, but that I was going to work SO hard that I couldn’t be anything but the exception.
With a little editorial experience and a lot of passion, I set forth on this journey a year ago – disregarding my unrelated background, my lack of network/resources, and my disbelief that I was choosing to start over and commit to an idea that was purely based off something I felt.
But there I was – writing articles for The Everygirl, making contacts with companies I used to only obsess over, guest writing for websites I admired, growing my poem account to 10K followers, building my lifestyle blog, self-teaching myself Photoshop, and signing a sublease to temporarily live in NYC to increase my chances. Oh – and most recently? Accepting a full time job offer to work for The Everygirl and moving to the beautiful city of Chicago because of it.
Your talent doesn’t have to be the best – only your work ethic does.
Despite the positive experiences I’ve had on my path (up to this point), there were also moments that challenged me to the point where I felt absolutely helpless and confused. It wasn’t the fear of failure that scared me, it was the fear that I was wrong – that I was too much of a dreamer to the point that I truly believed I could live a life I love and have a job that reflected that.
At one point, I asked myself why I was doing all of this – and realized it’s because I literally couldn’t imagine doing anything else. If I wasn’t going to fight for me, I had to for the 10-year-old version of myself who collected every book from the Sweet Valley series and chose the library over the playground. Seriously, that girl knew herself better than I did and I wasn’t going to let her down.
You have so many reasons to quit and the only one that matters is why you won’t.
What I’m saying here is that it’s never too late – the only thing holding you back is the timeline you’ve set for yourself and the only thoughts stopping you are the ones that stem from a type of fear that’s only felt because it matters to you.
Oprah Winfrey didn’t quit when she was fired for being “unfit for television,” J.K. Rowling didn’t quit when 12 publishing companies rejected Harry Potter, and Walt Disney didn’t quit when he was told he lacked imagination. Sure, these examples are of famous people – but why are they so widely known? Because they overlooked every struggle they faced to make sure that their passion was recognized and that the impact created from them was remembered.
In the end, the people we look up to didn’t achieve success because of their pure talent – they simply believed in their talent enough to hope that one day others would invest in it as well.
If you’re scared, it’s because you’re not settling.
As someone who went from a traditional path to pursuing my own version of happiness, I truly understand the logical approach of being realistic and have nothing against those who choose a life with more stability.
However, to those of you who feel every single word of this post – my piece of advice is to stop listening to the statistics and the opinions. There’s no reason to base your likelihood of “success” on the personal experience or comments of others. Those numbers and people don’t take into account how you stay up late at night to create music on Sound Cloud or how you’re subscribed to (literally) every fashion influencer you can find because you can’t get enough of NYFW.
Overall, invest in who you are – recognize that what you love is what makes you unique and that you owe it to yourself to protect that. Don’t sell yourself short because what you want seems different – there’s a reason you were given the set of skills and talents you have and the only thing scarier than realizing this is not fighting for your chance to make something out of it.