I, like many of those in their late-20’s/early 30’s have been patiently waiting for my “passion” to just to one day miraculously appear to me. I’ve been working hard doing things that aren’t necessarily my passion with the hopes that one day, someone would just show up and say — “Ashley, here is your dream job. It’s all yours. You’re going to be doing what you love AND be super rich. You’re welcome.”
Ya I get it – that’s not going to happen. So guess what? I am going to create my own damn opportunities like all of those other successful people out there who figured out how success really works way before I had this revelation. The truth is that opportunities are always available for those who know how to recognize them and have the drive to pursue them. So where do you start with creating your own career miracle? Whether it be in your current job or if you want to start something on your own, as long as your idea involved doing something in a new or creative way or serves an emerging trend – you can be on your way with this advice:
* If you want opportunity to find you – you need to chase it. Don’t do this half-assed or it’s never going to work. Read books and blogs about the industry and the leaders in your field. How did they build their empires? You have all of these mentors available if you take the time to learn.
* Take as many classes as possible that will aid in your learning – maybe it’s continuing education classes at a local college or seminars being offered in your area. Your goal is to know more than your peers and to live and breathe whatever it is you’re building.
*Online courses are also an option, as they provide a stress-free learning environment by allowing you to complete your coursework on your own time. If you already have a degree, but feel as though earning an advanced degree would help further your goals, you can even earn your master’s or doctoral degree online. Since you have so many educational options at your fingertips, there is nothing standing between you and attaining your goals. All you have to do is speak with an admission counselor or sign up online for some courses to get started.
* Get to know online help communities where you can network or meet up groups where you can get guidance from others who share your interest. Follow industry leaders on social media and engage them when you have something relevant to contribute. You never know who may notice you.
*Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your personal and professional network who may want to get involved with what you’re doing (or know people who can help you out).
Now sell yourself
Develop a website – blog – join online discussion forums and network in your area of expertise. Write articles and submit them to magazines, newspapers and related websites. Once you have a presence online you’d be surprised at how people will find you and ask you to contribute to publications that will help get your name out there (that’s how I ended up in People magazine – an amazing opportunity).
Most importantly – Act.
Most successful people I speak to attest to the importance of ACTING on your goals and your intentions. Whether it be laziness, being overwhelmed or just scared – becoming paralyzed and not acting on what you’ve set out to do will destroy all the work that you’ve put into something. Whether it be fear of public speaking (as you’ll need to do to pitch to investors or sell to clients) or just taking the time to do things that you don’t really want to do like attending a networking event – you need to make these things a priority and just do it. You can be the smartest person in the world or have a groundbreaking idea, but if you don’t have the courage to take the risks involved or the motivation to keep going when things get shitty — someone else will, and you’ll end up working for them. Not cool.
You’re going to need to be flexible when things don’t go as planned and you’re going to be resilient when you encounter failures. Mistakes are going to happen when you’re learning — expect them and know that they will all be a part of your growth and your road to success. You’re not going to be perfect right away and it may take much longer than you expected to get to where you want to be, but the time you put into this is the same amount of time you could have been sitting around waiting for the opportunities. You know you have it in you – what are you waiting for?