The number one thing I learned about chasing my goals was taught to me by my jewelry professor, Roberta Williamson, back in college. Back when my goals weren't quite as clear to me as they are now.
Back when I was this 19-year-old wide eyed college gal, I thought I wanted to go into animation. I had fiddled around for a semester with 3D Maya, an animation program. At some point in the course, I learned that the program was used to create several Pixar films. And that was when it hit me like a freaking bus. My dream was to intern with Pixar.
How does this go back to my jewelry professor? Or Post-It Notes? Okay so the following semester, after that *life changing* Maya course, I took Intro to Jewelry making. Our first assignment was to write down on a post-it note our ultimate dream. And then a second post-it note with a feasible first step we could take to reach our dream. We then had to put them on our dorm room mirror so we could look at those two notes every day. And by the end of the semester, we had to do the feasible first step. My ultimate dream post-it note was to become an intern at Pixar. My feasible step post-it note was simply to apply to their internship program. Now, thinking about this semester I am so unbelievably frustrated with my past self. It took me three months to work up the nerve to actually apply to the internship program. It felt like every free moment during that time I was working on my application. Perfecting my cover letter, resume, and of course, engaging in the pixar intern forum. Taking my sweet ole time to finally hit that apply button for fear of not getting the internship. For fear that things weren't 100% perfect. And in the end, I didn't get it. Folks I didn't even get an interview.
Now after that course, my dreams shifted several times. It went from working for Pixar, to becoming a jeweler, to being a magazine designer, and finally landing on photographer (which I am by the way!). Through all these dreams, the post-it note challenge taught me what it took to build the life you want. Before that point, I would look at people who were successful and think, how did they walk into that success? That's right ya'll, I assumed successful people just woke up one day and suddenly had their seemingly fantastic life. I thought the only way to achieve success was through connections, luck, or timing. I know, I know, I couldn't have been more wrong. I would look at my big dreams with a feeling of "that'll never happen" or "I don't know anyone in that industry". I didn't look at a dream and think about the small steps to get there or the hard work behind it. This post-it note challenge was my first real taste into how to break up my goals into bite size pieces. It was my first look into the mindset of how to gain success. What I learned was the importance of putting yourself out there. About how we're at a standstill with our goals when we let fear take over.
I challenge you to think about something you really, really want. Something that seems absolutely impossible to achieve. Write it out on a post-it note. Now, think about a step you can do right now that can nudge you in the direction of your dream even a little bit. Write that down on a post-it note too. Stick these both on your mirror. Look at them every day. You got this.