“I worked 18 years to become an overnight success.” Illusionist/Magician Criss Angel
Quick, name an overnight star, someone who flew into our consciousness out-of-the-blue and became a staple of the American landscape. I would bet that whomever you came up with had in fact been, working at their craft for many years. There are anomalies given the instantaneous world of viral YouTube videos, SnapChat, Twitter, Facebook and Pintrest. But most of those people are who Andy Warhol must have been thinking of when he uttered the now infamous line, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
Although technically their fame may seem to come out of nowhere, most people who become famous for more than 15 minutes must have the talent, knowledge and experience to back up that fame. And none of those traits come overnight.
Our oldest son wants desperately to start his career in law enforcement after two years of college. He doesn’t like college, but understands at some point he will need to finish his four-year degree if he wants to be eligible for career opportunities that are sure to come his way. I understand his dilemma because I did the same thing, leaving college after three years to jump into a career in broadcasting. That was then and this is now and the most sought after jobs almost universally require a four-year degree.
No matter what your passion or goals are, understand it will take time to gain the knowledge, grow your experience or raise the money to make your dreams come true. I believe there are five key ingredients to ensure the choices you make today will help move you toward your dreams and give you the quality of life you seek in the future.
- Education: A four-year degree, Masters or Ph.D. are just the beginning in the job market today. A commitment to lifelong learning is the only way to keep up with the literal flood of information we face every day. Age doesn’t matter when the only constant is change. Keep up or give up.
- Goals: I’ve spoken about the importance of goals in previous blogs and why writing them down is so effective. Ships captains plot their course from Port A to Port B to ensure they track the most effective route. The same is true in our lives. We must plot a course to reach our goals, and update when necessary. Goals keep us moving forward towards the fulfillment of our dreams and desires.
- Passion: I’ve been working on a project for 15 years that looks like it will finally come to fruition in 2014. I’ve been able to keep the passion alive all these years by finally realizing it would happen in God’s time, not mine. I’ve kept at it, reaching goals and setting new ones and knowing in my heart it is a worthy goal. That’s passion and without it, dreams don’t come true.
- Networking: Rarely do we stand alone when pursuing our goals, which is why networking with friends, acquaintances and sometimes strangers is so important. You never know who might have access to that key person who can rock your world. It truly is a small world and using the “Six Degrees’ of Separation” theory, meeting and getting to know enough people will eventually get you to the person who can say yes.
- Finances: You may need money to fund your dream, to support you while you are getting started or on the backend, as an early retirement fund. Raising money relates to all of the above points while saving money requires an internal commitment. Know where you stand financially and put away as much as you can early in your life so you can relax sooner later in your life.
Life is truly a journey and it behooves us to learn to love that journey. It’s easy to be impatient and want what you want now, not in a year or five years or when you retire. Take the time daily to plan and strategize how you’ll get from where you are today to where you want to be at some point in the future. But always remember what the Marshall Tucker Band sang, it takes time.