I was recently at an art show where I meet two wonderful young ladies. These two young girls were admiring my work and told me how “cool” it was that I was an artist. I began to chitchat with them a bit.
They told me how they are in eighth grade and their teachers had recently been asking them what they wanted to do in the future, and for the rest of their lives for a career. My initial gut reaction was, that is a bit much for an eighth grader to think about. More so, this is something that can shift throughout ones life. In all actuality it should change throughout your life. Your goals and ambition should grow, as you grow. As you increase your experience and knowledge, what you expect out of life should increase. What floored me the most is what the teacher said to them next.
The girls had told me how this science teacher was telling the students to be more realistic in their dreams, and that what the students wanted out of life was never going to happen. WTF!!! How dare any of us tell anyone that their dreams are foolish or unrealistic. It is not our dream, or our life, and not a place for us to judge.
I, of course, immediately told these amazing young women that this was a pile of horse shit. Don’t ever give up on what you want in life.
This is not about entitlement; I feel entitlement is when you expect things to be handed to you. You must work hard to achieve your goals. If you wish to achieve things that most people do not achieve, you must be willing to put in the work most are not willing to put in.
I also explained that if they are to purse their dreams, to be willing and able to pivot. What we hold in our heads as success might be different in reality. You can take a slightly different path and still be doing what you love.
When I first stared to pursue becoming a professional potter I certainly did not visualize hours at my computer doing website updates. I held in my head the vision of art gallery openings and champagne! That is not exactly reality. It has also taken me a lot longer than I had ever imagined. It is a harder, more uphill battle than I ever imagined, but that doesn’t mean I was going to give up on my dream- it just shifted and I dug my heels in more.
I was especially touched by a interview I recently heard from Cathy Heller when she was interviewed by Lori Harder on the Earn Your Happy Podcast (one of my favs by the way). She told her story of wanting to become a songwriter and musician. After having a record deal pulled out from under her, she shifted her dream of being the next Beyoncé and continued down her musical path by writing songs for TV shows and ads. She was still doing what she loved, and was highly successful at it. The main dream stayed the same, the details changed and shifted.
There is nothing wrong with changing course as you gain more knowledge and a different perspective, in fact you should always be readjusting the course. But that does not mean that you cancel the entire voyage, pack your bags, and go home to settle. These are two entirely different things. It is also ok to decide to embark on a different journey, no matter what stage of life you are in. Our experiences in life change us, and with that our ideas and dreams change. I believe they are always changing for the better.
May all of you all follow your passion and dreams, and shift and pivot where ever you need to.
If you have a story of a dream, whether just starting out or crushing it, please share it with us. We all need inspiration, and to know we are not alone in the struggles and heartaches of pursuit.
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