I’ve never been one to conform to anything. Since I was a kid, I’ve always had high aspirations and goals in life. But growing up in Ohio, when you tell someone that you want to be like Oprah when you grow up, sounds pretty far fetched. Everyone just kind of agrees with you and asks you what your back up plans are. But for me, there never was a back up plan. When I was finishing up college, a room mate of mine asked, “So whats your plan after we graduate?” and without any hesitation I replied, “move to Los Angeles and become a tv host” and here I am.
Now, I’m not sure if you want to be in entertainment, nor do I think its a career for everyone BUT having a dream or goal in life that seems unattainable … isn’t really that unattainable. I always say, if someones going to do it … why can’t it be me? So if you are looking to land your dream job or get that position, here are some things from personal experiences I wanted to share.
Life is long and for most of us who have to work for a living, going to work everyday can be not so fun. At the end of the day, work is work no matter what you do. Do I get to have my dream job and do the things I love? Yes. Absolutely. But somedays does it still suck and I don’t feel like doing it? 100%. BUT if you are going to work 40 hours a week, every week, until you retire, it may as well be in something you mostly enjoy doing.
Like most things in life, it takes a lot of work, patience and sacrifice to get there. Having that dream job might not be so easy to get there, to read my full journey from high school to career read this post about how long it took me and the ways I went about it. In addition to the work aspect, I always kept a positive attitude and had a lot of patience.
One piece of advice is to take out a piece of paper and at the very top write whatever that end goal is. If you want to be a designer, teacher, writer, whatever it is put the end goal at the top. Then from there write the steps backwards to reach that goal. For example, if you want to be the President you have to be elected to office, before that you need to be voted in the general election, before that are primaries, before that is fundraising, before that is probably hold some type of office before hand like be a Senator or whatever (I clearly don’t know much about being the President but do you see where I’m going with this?) So you don’t just jump into being the President, you probably start by going to Law School or something to win a local election and work your way up. So whatever it is, work the steps backwards and then start from the bottom of your piece of paper and work your way up.
If the steps seem daunting or uninteresting, maybe that job isn’t for you. This is a good way to test out and visually see the career you are after and how do-able it is for you and your real life. I sat down and did this last night with a recent goal I have for myself and found that half the steps backwards I’ve already achieved so the end goal is something attainable.
DO IT FOR FREE
Uggggh. The land of internships and free work. I gotta tell you, it sounds like no fun but this really pays off. If you have no skills or experience in that dream career you want, not to be harsh but why would they hire you? Because you say you could be good at it? Well, for a higher up that probably isn’t good enough. You need to prove it and offering to work for free is the best way to prove your worth and learn at the same time. My first job in LA, I really wanted to work in PR. But I had just graduated with no experience. I offered to work for free and learn the day to day tasks in a Beverly Hills publicist office. Shortly after the girl who I was assisting quit and guess who got her job *raises hand* If I wasn’t there working for free, I never would have been in the position to get the job. In hosting, I did the same. I actually cost me money to get ready, drive and park to work on red carpets but that paid off. You get the chance to network and gain experience that you wouldn’t have. It also is a great way to work and think, maybe this isn’t for me. No one is too good to work for free. I know we all need to make money, so I had a full time job in addition to the times I worked for free. Some days I was so tired I didn’t want to do both, but looking back I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t learn from those experiences.
FIND A MENTOR
The best way to learn is from other mistakes. Want to open a car dealership? Find someone who owns one. Want to be a designer? Who do you know that has a boutique. Find whatever it is that you want to be and just ask them all the questions in the world. I’m always wanting to help other people reach their dreams or better themselves and I’m always looking to others for advice or what to do in life. This can help save a lot of time of learning things the hard way. If you can’t find someone to mentor you, use the internet. There is literally everything in life you could want to find on the world wide web. There are sites like Skillshare that teach classes, bloggers have online seminars about social media and starting youtube channels. There is so much information online that if you need a mentor, a virtual one is just as good.
WHAT ARE YOU REALLY GOOD AT
I love pretty things, but can I paint? No. Am I good at eating, yes but am I a great cook .. debatable. But I know my likes and strengths and made a career out of that. My best friend was looking for her passion so we sat down and wrote all the things she likes to do and what she hopes to achieve. She loves kids, travel, helping others and she is bilingual. So from her likes and skills, we started to google what jobs have to do with this. We found that teaching English as a Second Language was the perfect job for her. She could travel the world, help children by using her skills of being bilingual and do all those things she loves into one career. Boom. Like taking pretty instagram pictures? Be a social media manager. Like to cook, write and diet? Maybe being a nutritionist is for you. Are you obsessed with news stories and the details of it all? Be a researcher. But don’t always think of the conventional paths of jobs, there are so many careers out there now that you could really be whatever you want to be. Write a list of the things you like, what you are passionate about and what you are good at and maybe find a job you never even knew about based on those things.
If all else fails, well even not if it fails … lets say if you feel like it … do it yourself! After you’ve learned from working for other people or gained enough knowledge, you can do it on your own. Some jobs, you might have to work for others but if you can create the business yourself go for it! It is so rewarding to work for yourself and really pushes you to be successful because its all on you.
NEVER GIVE UP … WELL MAYBE EVENTUALLY
Before graduating from college, my cousin told me to stick with a five year plan. He said if I really want to be a tv host, to stick it out for five years. Most people give up after a year or two and don’t stay with anything long enough to succeed. Morgan, my cousin, said that if in five years I hadn’t made huge strides in that end goal then it is time to move on to the next thing. I’ve always kept this piece of advice close to me and shared it with others to not be discouraged if after one or two years it seems like you haven’t reached your goal. Like all good things, it takes time to get there and if it was easy everyone would do it.
Just remember to have patience, be realistic and in time I hope you find whatever your passion is in life. I wish you happiness, success and no more days of saying ‘is it Friday yet?!’