Follow your dreams
Learn the industry inside out. Sometimes the best way in is through the side door.
Follow your dreams
Go to school. Work hard. Pursue academics and get a steady, well-paying job. That’s what most of us are taught. But what about the ‘outliers’? How many of us are readily encouraged to pursue our passions in creative or unconventional fields of work? It’s too uncertain, some say. Success is not a guarantee. We can’t blame parents for wanting to see their children attain financial security but as many creative minds will tell you, it’s soul-crushing to be stuck in a job you do not love.
It may be impossible to convince parents that all will be well; and yes, there is the potential of financial uncertainty at the onset, relative to the profession of choice. Whether it’s building a business from scratch, becoming a writer, designer or artist, passion and persistence will be the driving forces to do great things. A supportive network will make the journey a whole lot easier so don’t be afraid to share your passion.
Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you is important. Like-minded, creative types will understand your ambitions. Loved ones will want to see you happy. Positive energy will counter those difficult days (they will come so be prepared) so a listening ear will come in handy but remember to be your own cheerleader too. Never depend solely on others for encouragement. Inspire and challenge yourself. Say no to the naysayers, especially if you find yourself becoming one. It happens sometimes. We’re only human.
Being a one-man or one-woman show requires a lot of hard work and may cast you in multiple roles – talent, marketing and management. Ask for help, if necessary. Know your strengths and outsource where possible. If your friend is better at marketing than you are, seek advice. Your starter-budget may be small to non-existent so if friends and family are willing to help in areas within their remit, let them. You can repay them one day. Wild guess – They will do it without expectation. Advice – Find ways to say thank you at some point.
Dare to be different. Dream big and unlike anyone you know. Staying true to yourself is liberating, offering the freedom to not only choose and carve out your desired path but to channel your energies on what’s important – achieving goals. Saying what you want is important in every aspect of life so it pays to be honest with yourself and others. You’re the one who has to live it so live a life you love.
Be original. Don’t waste valuable energy trying to be someone else. There just might be a gap in the market that only you can fill. Know your USP and cultivate that. Own it. Put all efforts into building your brand and work hard every, single day.
Seeking sources of inspiration will help to keep things fresh. Mood boards, music, immersing yourself in nature, children’s art. Find what works best. Step outside your comfort zone and find something that moves you.
Find a mentor too, if possible. What better guide on the how-to’s of a chosen field than someone who’s been there? Learn all you can but remember everyone’s journey is different so embrace your own experience, as it comes, and follow your intuition. Your options may be different so trust yourself. When in doubt, seek advice from a few trusted sources and decide what’s best.
Mistakes will be made so take things in stride. No one gets it right the first time. It may take a few tries so be a sponge. Soak up everything about your prospective field and get in the game. Get qualified or get experienced. Find the route that will take you home and do it with integrity. Shortcuts may be tempting but success is sweeter when acquired the honest way.
It’s true what they say. There’s merit in hard work. Consider that as you work your way up. Starting from the bottom is one of the best ways to master an industry. Take the starter salary, make the coffee, be the stage-hand or someone’s personal assistant at that record company. Learn the industry inside out. Sometimes the best way in is through the side door.
Be flexible and seize the day. Any opportunity, no matter how small, could be a defining moment so keep an open mind. Welcoming new experiences may also inspire creative bursts of genius. Who knows what potential lies within?
Be supportive of others and their success. It’s human nature to live by comparison when times are tough so avoid that trap. Radiate positive energy and it will come back to you in spades. Your time will come if you persevere.
Do not let rejection stop you from trying again. Your art may not be everyone’s cup of tea, your style may not be trendy in some parts of town, your song may not resonate with the crowd on a Monday. But somewhere out there, you will find your audience. Somewhere out there, they’ll be waiting to see what you bring next. Not every day is a Monday.
Have a backup plan as you navigate your course. It may take years to get that first taste of your dream job. It may take fifty auditions before you land that small role with no dialogue or that gig at the corner pub with five people in the audience. Find something that will pay the bills but don’t become complacent. Keep chasing your dream. Never lose hope.
As you climb the ladder to success, stay humble. When you make it to the top, remember the hard work and give back. Be a mentor. Be an inspiration. Never let it be said that you forgot where you came from.