How to Get Out of Your Own Way to Achieve Your Dreams

Photo by Thiébaud Faix on Unsplash

Let me tell you a little story. 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wished and hoped and dreamed of moving to NYC to work for a magazine. Unfortunately, the little girl never thought she could actually do it, so she never did. (That is until life taught her a few lessons, and set her back on track.)

Sad story, right? Well, it’s my story. I’m that little girl. If you’re like me, you’ve talked yourself out of several things throughout your life. Trying out for a sport or club, sparking up a conversation with a stranger or moving to NYC to follow your dreams of working at your favorite glossy. These are all things I’ve talked myself out of, and in retrospect, it was always due to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. (For the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on big dreams — the moving across the country type dreams.) 

All throughout my 20s, I stood in my own way. I made decisions based on fear, and I’m totally paying for it now. I lost valuable time that I won’t get back. If this sounds like you, know you’re not alone. But also know that you shouldn’t give in to that fear. Don’t allow yourself to be held back by it. If you have a dream career, a dream lifestyle or a dream place to live, it is all attainable. There’s just some things you gotta do in order to get in the right mindset. 

I didn’t have anyone to tell me what to do in order to get a job at a magazine. I was a first generation college student and had to navigate it all on my own. Now that I’m in my 30s (older and wiser and all that), this is what I learned you have to do in order to achieve those big dreams of yours. 

Believe in yourself

This one is a biggie and the most important thing to remember. If you don’t think you can do it, you won’t. It’s that simple. At your core, you need to live and breathe your dream. You have to want it more than the fear you will inevitably feel. I know that sounds intense, but if there is any doubt allowed in, it can grow and destroy everything. Keep it in check and focus on knowing you can do it!

Do the work

This seems like a no-brainer, but for a long time, I thought if I just went to class, that was enough. Boy, was I wrong. You gotta hustle from your first semester. 

Look for internships, clubs, organizations, etc. that align with your dream in order to start developing your resume from the get go. It’ll make all the difference once you’re ready to find a real job. 

Gone are the days that you simply got a degree. You need to have a degree AND have experience right off the bat. That experience is achieved by doing internships and gaining experience in part-time jobs or side hustles while you’re in school. Even your blog can count as experience! And believe me, it’ll be totally worth it in the end. 

Surround yourself with the right people

If your dream scares you, then you’re right on track. But if you surround yourself with people who have little dreams or are constantly telling you that you can’t do something or that you’re crazy, then they’re just bringing you down and you’ll start to believe them. 

Surround yourself with people that have big dreams. Stay close to those who understand your ambitions and are going to push you and hold you accountable. Those are the people that’ll keep you on track and out of your own way, and will celebrate along with you. 

So, I know big dreams can seem scary, especially if you’re in your early 20s. But that’s the best time to try anything, to be honest. Once you get married or have kids, you have other people to prioritize or factor in (and it’s just ten times more difficult overall). Now is the time to be selfish and try everything. If you fail, then at least you know you tried. 

Sally Espinosa

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