Hello beautiful readers! I’m Jenny Highsmith, of Maiedae, and I’m so happy to be doing a guest post for Kristin! When she asked me to do a post on “How to Follow Your Dreams”, I was thrilled. A while ago, I shared on my blog the exciting news about how I quit my 9-5 job on April 12th (woohoo!!) and went full-time with Maiedae. I am so so so excited and happy to finally be taking this risk. You can read more about that story on my blog here – http://www.jennyhighsmith.com/2013/03/the-winds-of-change-are-blowing.html .
For those who don’t want to read the whole story, pretty much what you need to know is that I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’m a graphic designer and an artist – I love making things beautiful. But, I realized as I grew up that making your dreams happen wasn’t the way the movies made it out to be. It wasn’t easy.
Kristin made a good point that many people would follow their dreams if they only knew how. So, how does one follow their dreams? I’m definitely no expert, but if I were to break down what I’ve learned on my journey of following my dreams, I would give these four pieces of advice:
We all have dreams, passions, and talents. From the time we are really little all the way through our life, we have dreams. About our future, about what we want to be, about our passions. The thing is, our dreams constantly change and sometimes we have so many we don’t know where to start. Sometimes, we have dreams and we aren’t gifted or talented at all in those areas. So, the first step is to focus or narrow down your top dreams and passions and figure out where your talents line up with that.
To do this, I would suggest taking some time to get away and write out all of your passions, talents, and dreams. Look for common themes. And, at the end of the day, look inside your heart and decide what really “gets you going”. For me, I’m passionate about art, hospitality, family, building relationships, bringing others joy, and a lot of other things. But, when I thought about the day-to-day, what really satisfies my soul is creating beautiful designs or art for others in order to help them pursue their passions and fulfill their potential. I love enabling others to accomplish their dreams by making things beautiful. And although I might be passionate about those other things, this is what I chose to focus on and pursue as my “career” dream.
PLAN & PREPARE
Although risk is required in almost every case of pursuing your dreams, planning and preparing for those risks is just as important. You might think, “Then how is it a risk if you’ve prepared for it?” Well, if you’re deciding to quit your 9-5 job like I am and decrease your salary by half, that’s a huge risk. Not planning or preparing financially for that risk would be unwise, but doing so doesn’t make it less of a risk – it just makes you smart.
When I realized that I wanted to pursue Maiedae full-time as a career, I took a risk and moved to Atlanta with little preparation. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a support group, and I didn’t have a huge savings account. I couldn’t prepare for some of those things, but I could have prepared more than I did. So, when I realized that it was time to start thinking about preparing for going full-time with Maiedae, I sat down with my husband and we starting planning out financially how we could best prepare for this transition. We set goals for our savings account and started living off of the new budget that I would be on with Maiedae to practice and see how it would work. We prepared and planned and took a “calculated risk”.
STOP DREAMING & START DOING
Whoever said that dreams come easy was LYING to everyone and should be shunned. Okay, maybe not. I think maybe it’s just that, as a child, we all look through life’s window with our eyes glazed over with possibility. We think we are invincible and that life will be so good to us. Then we grow up. We realize that life is tough. And one day we look back and wonder how we got where we are now.
I’m here to tell you that I felt the same way. I realized at the beginning of college that my dreams of being an entrepreneur had little chance of ever happening. I felt discouraged and lost. And I realized I was not on a path towards real purpose for my life. Shortly after, I learned a very important lesson:
There comes a point where you have to stop dreaming, planning, and preparing and just start going for it.
You have to stop saying, “One day I’d love to…” or “What if…” or “I just can’t…” and just start trying.I didn’t know that I could actually accomplish my dreams until I started actually doing them. Once I started, it gave me hope and stirred my passion even more. And I realized that I COULD do whatever I put my mind to. All it takes is courage and action.
Actually moving from “dreaming” to “doing” is the first big hurdle to jump over. The second is when you realize that “doing” means a lot of hard work, long hours, making sacrifices, being consistent and persistent, and keeping yourself inspired and on task. Savannah and I started Maiedae almost 3 years ago. And for the past 3 years I’ve worked a 9-5 job, then come home and worked every night (except Wednesday which is date night for my husband and I) and most weekends. Am I exhausted? Y-E-S. But pursuing your dreams requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
I joke around a lot that I’ve given up my social life along with many other hobbies for Maiedae. And, although that’s true for the most part, I know that it will pay off. And it’s a decision that had to be made. Figure out what sacrifices you have to make to make your dreams happen and ask yourself if you are willing to follow through with them.
I’d love to hear any advice you have on making your dreams a reality! Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you again for having me here! Check out my blog sometime – www.jennyhighsmith.com – for more Things I’ve Learned, Fashion, DIY Projects, Recipes, and other fun tidbits!
Thank you so much for sharing Jenny! And, I know I’ve recommended them before, but if you are in the market for a blog facelift – you need look no further than Maiedae. They are a design powerhouse!