In today’s world, companies want to hire the best and the brightest. You’re expected to know everything from complicated coding languages and how to build a website to how to manage the expectations of difficult clients and command the attention of everyone in the room when you’re speaking at a conference as a brand representative.
But all those skills you’re expected to develop and all the problems you’re expected to solve?
You’re doing all that to make someone else’s dreams come true — and rarely your own.
It’s not your fault.
Success starts earlier these days, and so universities train us on skills we need to have to get hired by top companies and make a living wage. This means you’re so busy thinking about being “employable” that you rarely think about what you’re truly good at as an individual — and what you truly enjoy doing.
Before you know it, you’ve spent ten years putting profits in someone else’s pocket, working for someone else’s dream, and feeling like you’ve been constantly strung along by promises of promotions and raises that never seem to come.
It’s time to break the cycle and focus on following your dreams, not someone else’s.
Read on to learn how to make yourself your number-one priority. It’s time to create your own legacy.
It’s true – Life really is short
And after you finish yet another 60-hour workweek dedicated to living someone else’s dream, you just want to go to your room, turn on the television, and zone out.
The idea of “working for the weekend” has never been so true — even if all you do on your weekends is spend your time recovering from how awful your week was and worry that you’ll never have time to achieve your own dreams.
But the truth is that you’re not seeing any of the benefits of your own hard work. The idea of putting yourself first is shot down by countless companies these days — and of course it is.
If you go after your own dreams, they lose the skills and expertise you’ve dedicated to making theirs come true.
Here’s the deal: you’ve given them enough of your time already.
It’s time to focus on YOU. Yes, we know you’re already insanely busy with kids, school, bills, social obligations, and the extremely rare moments where you can almost relax.
But life is short, and you’re going to keep feeling resentful, depressed, and just plain “stuck” if you don’t start following your dreams. And those bad feelings will only get worse with time.
Don’t let regret eat you alive.
It’s never too late to get started, no matter how scary or even unrealistic your dreams might seem to you now.
Let’s talk about four things you can do to stop spending your life for other people, and start building on your own dreams and goals.
1. Banish Doubt
Even the most successful people in the world deal with debilitating bouts of self-doubt.
Those nagging voices in your heads?
The supposedly “well-meaning” friends and family members who ask you if you’re really making the right decision?
Roadblocks that feel insurmountable, like raising funding, getting clients, or finding the time you need to chase your goals?
They’re all dream killers — and you need to banish them from your existence for good.
You also need to make a definite decision that only you are in control of your choices and actions.
2. Work Backward
A popular study by Bronnie Ware says that the number-one deathbed regret is the failure to live life for yourself, as opposed to living it to please the expectations and desires of others.
To avoid this, picture what you want to think when you’re on your deathbed.
Do you really want to be full of regret? Or, do you want to be surrounded by your family, knowing that the business you’ve built has set them up for life?
Do you want to be proud of the legacy you’ve created?
Do you want to know you’ve helped others to live a better life?
Start from the end of your life, and work your way backward from there.
Get specific in both your personal and professional goals.
3. Write it Down!
So, those personal and professional goals we just talked about?
You need to write them down!
A study by Dr. Gail Matthews shows you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.
Surround yourself with reminders, whether that’s Post-It Notes around your office or even a special bracelet you wear to remind you of your goals.
Journal every day, and keep track of your progression. Write down both your long and short-term goals. For example, each day, start a quick journal entry with, “Today, I will…”
Once you see that you’re able to accomplish these smaller goals, you can extend your timeline from there.
4. Focus on Action and Have Faith
Here’s the thing: once you decide to live out your dreams, it doesn’t mean that you’re immune from setbacks.
Things will still go wrong, and you’ll still fail at some things. Things may take longer than you like, and you may have to take alternative paths to get what you want.
But the important thing — the most important thing of all, actually — is to keep your faith in yourself, your abilities and your supporters, and your vision for your life.
As the popular saying goes, “‘Can’t’ is the cancer of ‘happen.'”
So just keep going — no matter what.
Now Is the Time to Start Following Your Dreams
You deserve to live the life you want to be living. There is nothing selfish about putting yourself, your goals, and the things you want out of life above what someone else wants you to do for them.
Now is the time to to start following your dreams — and always remember, it’s never too late.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said so beautifully:
“Take your first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”