When I was 24, I thought the coolest job in the world would be to report on the local music, arts and theatre scenes for an alternative newsweekly.
So, I called up the publisher of my local newsweekly and asked him for an information interview.
Remarkably, he gave me an entry-level job on the spot!
Only it wasn’t writing about the local arts scene. It was selling advertising to small, independent businesses.
And I sucked at it.
I lasted a week before I gave my notice.
Going into that meeting, I didn’t know that the editorial and publishing arms of newspapers were completely separate areas.
Once, I’d found out, I was afraid to say what I’d really wanted.
I was, as they say in the old westerns, circling the wagon.
Circling the wagon happens when you get close to what you want but don’t go directly for it.
- The closet stand-up who memorizes every line from their favourite comic’s HBO special but never gathers the courage to do an open mic night.
- The painter who works at the art supply store but hasn’t picked up their brush in months.
- And, the journalist creating ads instead of articles.
When you circle the wagon, you are surrounded by people who are doing your dream.
This is amazing! You are already part of a community that is doing the things you want to do. You have contacts!
But, you’re not actually doing what you want. And this sucks!
You watch from the sidelines, stuck in self-doubt, never summoning the courage to step up and do what you want.
If this describes you, here’s what you need to do:
1. Ask someone living your dream for their advice.
Say, “Hey, I really admire your work. How did you become a [insert thing you are in awe of here]”?
2. Admit what you really want to that person.
Stating your dream to someone puts it out in the Universe. It makes you accountable to exploring it further. It sets the wheels in motion.
3. Take one small step toward doing it.
Follow the person’s advice. Do anything in the direction of being who you long to be.
Action is the first step to momentum.
The fastest way to get to where you want is always the most direct route.
Often, all you need to get there is to believe that you can.