Looking to the Future

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There is one question that everyone, at one point or another, gets asked, and it always stumps me. And my answer usually takes more explaining than either party was prepared for.
 
Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? X number of years?
 
My first reaction usually involves a momentary brain choke. Some people may jump immediately into panic mode. It seems like such a simple question but it forces us to stare straight into the great unknown and that can be terrifying.
 
There are some people who have their whole lives planned out. They know exactly what they want to do, exactly who they want to be. They make those of us who aren’t like that wonder what we are doing wrong.
 
I wondered that myself for a while. I wondered if I would ever get anywhere in my life.
 
It took a while, but I finally realized something. There is nothing wrong with me.
 
I just look at things differently.
 
You see, part of why the future is so scary is because of the unknown. Often times in stories the most powerful character is the one that has the ability to see the future. We want to have some sense of control over our lives.
 
The unknown doesn’t have to be scary, though. It can be wonderful.
 
Things in life rarely go as planned. Life is complicated. It is weird. And above all, it is chock full of the unexpected.
 
Its okay if you don’t have all the details figured out. Its okay if all you have is a general idea of where you would like to eventually be. It’s okay.
 
Right now, at this point in my life, given all the variables, I have a general picture of what my life could look like in five years. That is assuming nothing changes.
 
That assumption is what gives me hope. Because things change. There is no telling what amazing opportunities will wander into your life on down the road.
 
If you had told me five years ago that I would be sitting here, working on this blog post after finishing a Twitch stream (and the game I was streaming), with a YouTube channel, a few freelance gigs and plans to launch a podcast or two…I would probably have started laughing after the first few items. I never imagined that my life would turn out this way, but I am so glad it did.
 
Of course, I have plans for the future. A list of things that I would like to have accomplished and a picture of what I want my life to look like. It is all very general, though. Because I want to stay open to whatever comes my way.
 
There are benefits to being flexible, being adaptable. I learned a long time ago to go with the flow because you never know what will happen. Even when it seems like everything is falling apart, you have to find a way to keep going forward.
 
Now, I am in no way telling you to not chase your dreams. By all means, chase it. Even if it seems impossible, never stop chasing your dream.
 
Your chosen job/industry may be hard to get into. I know mine is. It may feel impossible. It is possible, it might be difficult. These things take time, patience, and a fair amount of networking. Find something that will keep you afloat in the meantime. Use that income to fund your dream, and keep your eyes open for any unexpected opportunities.
 
You never know what life may throw your way. Keep your mind open and be ready for anything.
 
Never stop dreaming. And never stop hoping for tomorrow.

Never Forget Your Mission

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Everyone who sets out to chase their dream struggles with this. Whether you are diving headfirst into your dream or it is something you do on the side, you will undoubtedly encounter this moment.

You hit a wall. You feel stuck. You feel lost. You question your decision to follow this dream. You find yourself wondering if any of this is worth it.

It is this crippling anxiety that you will never make it coupled with a deep sense of failure. You are afraid to let go of your dream lest you lose it. Yet you also fear that your dream is nothing but a fool’s dream.

Everyone around you tells you what kind of job you should be looking for, what you should be doing with your life. Some consider your dream to be silly, but some support you. Either way, it is easy to be bogged down by everyone’s expectations of what your life should look like.

I have experienced this myself. The anxiety. The self-doubt. I spent a fair amount of time struggling with this until I came to a realization. There is a way to fight this.

Whenever you are in this situation with your back against the wall, questioning whether it is worth it, as yourself a simple question.

Why?

Why are you doing this? Why does this matter to you?

Sometimes the easiest way to keep going is to remember why you started.

Sometimes you need to take a step back and reevaluate. Is what you are doing now getting you closer to where you want to be? Are you doing it because you want to or because someone else told you that you should?

Take some time to think through what you want to do. Create a mission statement. Figure out your strategy. Even if you never show this to anybody else, this can help you keep focused.

Remembering why you are doing something can help you keep going when times get though.

Another thing to consider. If something truly matters to you, it will matter to someone else.

Remember why you started and never give up.

You may just change the world.

The Power of Building Your Brand

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Here is a lovely little infographic about social media that was created within the last year.

You may be thinking “why does this matter to me?”

It matters to you because if you want to tell your story, social media is the perfect place to do it.

The power to tell your story

You may be thinking “why does this matter to me?”

It matters to you because if you want to tell your story, social media is the perfect place to do it.

When people talk about ‘branding’, this is what they mean. Each brand is its own story. Each brand has its own message that it wants to share with the world.

And these brands are choosing to use social media.

Now, I know that social media can be intimidating, especially with all of the negativity and stigma. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a positive influence on social media.

Think of social media as a tool. At is core, that is all that they are. Platforms.

Platforms that you can use to your advantage.

The power to be yourself

People crave authenticity.

Think about it. People flock towards those they identify with. They celebrate the celebrities who are open and honest.

There is power in being authentically yourself.

Share your journey. Share your passions. Share your knowledge.

You can start building your audience today. Talk to people. Tell them who you are. Start documenting your journey and people will pay attention.

They will celebrate your highs and rally around you in your lows.

All you have to do is be unapologetically yourself.

The power to reach people

As I mentioned before, there are a lot of people in this world who use social media.

Many of those people would greatly benefit from hearing your story.

They are also people you will never run into during your daily routine.

The wonderful thing about social media, and the internet in general, is that it connects people.

If you decide to build your brand through social media, there is no telling how many people you will reach. I have started to build relationships with people in Canada, Australia, and I even have a follower from Israel (shoutout to the wonderful Galit Balli)

There is no telling just how far your story can travel.

The power to connect

This is another amazing bonus of building your brand. It forces you to connect with people.

When you start broadcasting your interests and sharing your knowledge, you will attract people with similar interests. Case in point, my friend Galit. We both have similar interests.

I have another friend I met through a writer’s group on Facebook. She has been a good friend and writing buddy since 2013. Never met her in person (she lives in Colorado and I live in Texas).

One great thing about connecting with people, is it makes you realize you aren’t the only one.

No matter how obscure your interests are, I assure you there are others out there who are interested in the same thing. They will gather to you. You can create a much needed community.

At the very least you will meet some interesting people. You may even make a friend.

The power to inspire

This is probably my favorite point of them all. It feels me with the warm fuzzies.

You see, there is this thing that happens when you begin to grow a following doing something you love.

You inspire people.

Whether it is what you are talking about or simply what you are doing with your life, you will inspire people. You inspire them to try new things. You inspire them to work to achieve their dreams.

When you are living your life to the fullest. When you are chasing your dreams. When you are connecting with others. When you are living a life that 100% true to yourself. You are showing others that they can do it too.

When you take that first step towards changing your life, you never know who will follow you.

So what is standing in your way?

The Audacity of Tenacity

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This is for the dreamers. For the people who have always had a goal that no one thought they can reach.

Some want to write a book. Some want to run a 5k. Maybe you want to start your own business.

These are all things I myself have wanted to do at one point or another, among countless other things.

The hardest thing can be finding the motivation.

We often find ourselves surrounded by people who tell us we can’t do it. They tell us that our dreams are silly. Why don’t we focus on other things?

Why don’t we find a real job instead of chasing some silly dream?

Here is what I say to that.

They don’t know your passions like you do. They don’t know your skills like you do.

When they look at your dream, they see it from their perspective and to them, it is impossible.

This is where the good news comes in.

It is very possible.

It will take a lot of hard work. It will probably require you spend a fair amount of time researching and learning new things.

You will have to try new things, learn new tools. You will have to network with people. You will have to step outside of your comfort zone a bit.

It is possible, though.

Your journey will not look like other people’s. It will take a while before those around you starts to appreciate what you are trying to do.

Don’t give up.

Keep chasing that dream.

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have to prove yourself to the world. That just leads to frustration and feelings of inadequacy.

Start small. Create a plan. Follow the plan. Prove to yourself that you can do it.

If it doesn’t work out, so what? Failure is not the end. Trust me, I have failed before. It hurts. It may feel like everything is over, but its not. Failure is just a chance to try again.

Get up, dust yourself off, and try something new. There is always more out there for you to try.

Chase your dreams. Live your life to the fullest. Don’t let anyone stand in your way, least of all yourself.

Keep on working until your dream becomes a reality.

Be audacious. Be tenacious.

When you are done, the world won’t know what hit them.