Last week I shared with you six of the twelve steps I believe it takes to achieve your dreams.
Today we are going to cover the last six.
7. Build your personal brand early
“You are the CEO of your own brand: make sure it is congruent with who you are.”– Scott Dinsmore
Ask yourself the following questions: "What do I stand for? What do I want people to know me for?" You need to think about these questions and make sure your actions are in line with your answers. For example, if you want to be the person people come to when they have a problem, constantly gossiping and bad mouthing other people probably won’t help your cause. Also, social media is not a blank abyss. People read what you write and form opinions about who you are as a person. Keep that in mind when you are posting things. Ask yourself, what message does this send about me? Lastly don’t underestimate how your friends affect your personal brand. People will assume you have the same values as they do. For instance, if your friends act slutty, just because you don’t, doesn’t mean it will stop people from thinking the same things about you. Sorry this is harsh, but unfortunately it is the sad truth.
8. Take action
I struggled with this early on. I took a ton of time consuming and learning anything I could get my hands on, but I got paralyzed when it came to taking action. I did not take my advice about having a beginner’s mentality and I felt like I had to have it all figured out before I did anything. When I finally dove in, it was far from perfect, but it got the ball rolling and I learned a ton from my early attempts. It is not important that you have all the answers, just put one foot in front of you and take action.
9. Make yourself accountable
I have found the best strategy for this is to tell as many people as possible what you are doing. Once you put it out there, the pressure is on to make it happen. Another great idea is to form a mastermind group. To learn more on this topic check out Scott Dinsmore and Liz Seda’s mastermind workbook. Do whatever it takes to hold yourself accountable. Everyone is different, but it is natural to make excuses and procrastinate, especially when it comes to doing things that intimidate you.
10. Make time for yourself
I’m still working on this one. I kind of have a one-track mind and when I am in the “zone” I can’t turn my brain off. I also truly believe in giving things 110% of your effort. However, I have learned the hard way that if I don’t slow down from time to time, my body will force me to. It took me getting pretty sick to figure this out. Now, I actually schedule time in my calendar to do things I love – zumba, yoga, traveling, or just relaxing. I find that when I make this a priority, I become reenergized and more productive.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” –Art Williams
I’m not going to lie, there are definitely days I feel like it would be so much easier to stay in my current teaching job and forget about pursuing my dreams. Usually those times are when I am racked with fear of failure, I am feeling overwhelmed by my huge to do list, or when nothing seems to be going the way I planned. Those are the moments I have to take a breath, persevere and take it one step at a time. When you look too much at the big picture or too far into the future it is easy to get overwhelmed. The key is to focus your energy on the here and now and what you can control.
12. Find joy in the process
Last and probably the most important step in achieving your dreams. Going after your dreams is going to be a ton of hard work and sacrifice, but it is not just about the end result. It can’t be, I will be happy when…I have found that celebrating small successes along the way helps. I felt on top of the world when I reached my first 100 likes on Facebook or when I had the opportunity to interview the CEO of the Jewish Community Center, Lynn Wittels. Going after your dreams is a long road, and you will wear out if you don’t celebrate along the way.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. What are your strategies for holding yourself accountable? How do you make time for yourself?