Things No One Tells You When You're Trying to Follow Your Dreams
Today, I'm taking off the filter and sharing the nitty gritty about what it's like trying to create something out of nothing. What it's like trying to follow your passions and interests, whatever they may be.
I personally admire multi-hyphenates like Oprah, Joanna Gaines, Martha Stewart, Sharon Horgan, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jill Soloway, Brit Marling. I love how they've found a way to somehow do everything they love. That they own their creative process from end to end, while also allowing for collaboration.
That is what I want. For me, this means forging a path as an actor, writer, filmmaker, producer, and director. And then also allowing room for whatever else grabs my heart; things like design, business, giving back, making a positive difference in the world, empowering women, eventually being a mother.
So as I follow this rough road of trying to make this life I envision a reality, while also somehow trying to live life to the fullest in the present, this is a love letter to all my fellow entrepreneurs, bloggers, creatives, people-trying-to-follow-their-dreams-ers in the trenches right now. These are the things I feel no one talks about.
There is a constant feeling of being behind everyone else and/or somehow being less qualified than everyone else.
Some call this the imposter syndrome or feeling like a fraud. Whatever you want to call it, it sucks and it happens to everyone. You have in your head where you want to be: living off of your passion, traveling, making a difference in the world, inspiring others, creating art.
And then... there’s the reality.
For me, my reality is waking up earlier than I want to every day so I have time to work on personal things before my day job. To plan out content, write down goals, do research. It's working on all of those things and then having a post that was only liked by my mom and myself (in all seriousness, though; thank you, mom!).
There are days I feel like I will change the world one #ladyboss at a time. And there other days like the one above. This feeling reminds me a lot of Ira Glass’ talk called The Gap (if you haven't watched it, it is well worth the few minutes!).
You will sometimes feel like an idiot
You will feel unqualified. You will feel impatient. You will feel like it's never taken anyone else this long to figure "it" out. Whatever "it" is for you. You will feel like you're waiting for an "a-ha" moment that never comes. You will second guess yourself and whether you like it or not, compare yourself to others.
You will want to feel like one of those messy-bunned, coffee-toting, somehow-still-chic-looking instagrammers. Some days you will; some days you won't. And that's okay.
It doesn’t mean your favorite inspirational quotes are lying to you. It doesn’t mean you’re lying to yourself. It just means you're in the thick of it and there's a lot of ups and downs.
What you’re doing right now is the "hustle” and it’s not as glamorous as we all pretend it is.
It’s early morning and late nights. It's balancing a day job with everything else you're doing. It’s webinars learning how to up your instagram followers and write better content. It’s researching how to make money doing what you love, because you know others are and you want to know how. It’s feeling really nervous and vulnerable asking people to pay for something you believe in or have created, to follow a blog you've written, like your facebook page or instagram, etc. It is hard to put yourself out there.
It’s working on changing those inner beliefs that what you create is worth putting out into the world. That it's worth asking to be paid for. It’s feeling nervous knowing that people you went to high school with could potentially be looking at your facebook page. It’s also knowing that that doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks but that it’s okay to be bothered by it every now and then.
It's learning what makes you come alive. That there is room for everyone and you can learn from the people you might feel jealous of.
Sometimes all you want to do is work and other days you don’t want to do anything.
You feel like you’re putting a lot of time into it and not quite sure what you're getting back. Sometimes you feel like a fraud for even wanting to make a living doing what you love and having freedom of time. And then you wonder if "freedom of time" is just something that someone made up and maybe no one really feels like they have freedom of time.
It’s a lot of questions and compromise and trial and error.
This is the learning no curve I feel like no one talks about. The hard part. The doubting part. I feel like this work is done in secret and then people come out with trainings or webinars (and I take them all and then do trial and error to see what works). It feels like stumbling around in the darkness trying to put your best foot forward.
I feel like following your dreams and passions are romanticized. And that’s okay sometimes (because otherwise we might all be crazy to just keep going). But I also want to know about the grit. I want to know that you felt like quitting but didn’t because some unknown force inside you kept pushing. I want to know that you failed or lost money or made a mistake but then picked yourself up and tried again. I’m not saying we can’t romanticize sometimes; God knows that I love a good pinterest quote.
But I’m also saying that it’s okay to be more raw and vulnerable and imperfect. That’s inspiring too. It’s okay to have days when you feel like you’ve got everything and you’re rocking it out and other days where you feel like like a guppy in an ocean who’s barely hanging on.
Let's take off our mask and live in the messy. Support one another. Remember that we are all experiencing all of the above and more sometimes. I want to hear what you feel is NEVER discussed when you're following your dreams. Share with me all the good, the bad, and the ugly in the comments.