Awards season has started in Hollywood, and it serves as a perfect metaphor for following your dreams. While few of us dream of becoming big stars, or getting national recognition for doing excellent work, we all want to know the satisfaction of a job we love.
Emma Stone won the Best Actress Award in a Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards for “La La Land” and gave a terrific acceptance speech that has applied to everyone at one time in their lives.
She said: “This is a film for dreamers. I think that hope and creativity are two of the most important things in the world. To any creative person who has had a door slammed in their face, either metaphorically or physically … or anybody anywhere really that feels like giving up sometimes and finds it in themselves to get up and keep moving, I share this with you.”
In the movie, Stone plays an aspiring actress, opposite Ryan Gosling, who plays the role of a dedicated jazz musician who wants to open his own jazz night club. Both characters struggle to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams.
It’s really a story for much of America. We all struggle at one time or another.
One of my lessons when I speak to corporate America is believe in yourself even when no one else does. Life is not a parabolic curve. It doesn’t go straight up. There are a lot of lumps, a lot of bumps.
I have never yet met a successful person that hasn’t had to overcome either a little or a lot of adversity in his or her life. It seems like if we want to triple our success ratio, we might have to triple our failure rate.
So, who says that you can’t accomplish your goals? Who says that you’re not tougher and better and smarter and harder working and more able than your competition? It doesn’t matter if they say you can’t do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it. So, we all know, if we believe in ourselves, there’s hardly anything that we can’t accomplish.
Why do some of us have what it takes to pick ourselves up off the canvas when everyone else is ready to throw in the towel? I don’t know the answer, but I do know this: it isn’t all that rare. The human species comes equipped with built-in mental toughness. Some of us just don’t know it’s there.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a firefighter, an astronaut, a rock star or an entrepreneur – but instead you find yourself marking time in a job you hate. Should you give up on your dream job?
Don’t be too quick to write off your goals, but don’t be stupid about it either. Some important considerations could help you decide what path to take.
- Be realistic. If the bulk of your musical experience is playing Guitar Hero in the basement, chances are you’re not going to sell out a major concert venue anytime soon. That doesn’t mean you can’t take lessons, meet other musicians, start a band and achieve some success.
- Keep your day job. Having a job pays the bills, but it also gives structure to your time. You’ll find it easier to set priorities and recognize what’s really important when you have to balance your dreams with the necessities of living. Remember that you are not your job.
- Adapt to change. The Internet has changed the way many of us work. Whatever your dream job may be, stay flexible and look for opportunities that didn’t exist until recently.
- Create your own job. You don’t have to wait for some big company to give you a job title. Build your ideal job on your own – by freelancing part-time, for example, or volunteering your underused skills to a good cause.
- Be prepared for sacrifice. If you’re really committed to your dream job, you may have to give up on some other goals. You probably won’t start with a big salary or lots of vacation. Ditch your sense of entitlement, and be ready to pay your dues.
- Re-evaluate your goals. Many people reach the corner office only to realize they don’t really enjoy being the CEO. Spend some time thinking about how you’ve changed and deciding whether your dream is what you want to devote your life to.
Mackay’s Moral: The hardest sale you’ll ever make is to yourself. But once you’re convinced you can do it, you can.