The rewards that are reaped when you work hard for something are priceless. I’ve been fortunate to learn that lesson early on in life, and it has stuck with me ever since. I knew what I needed to do to achieve a goal, made a plan, stuck with it and earned a half-tuition scholarship to the private art school I had my heart set on. Every single day I am reaping the rewards from the dedication of my 17-year old self. My life would be incredibly different had I not got the education I did, met the friends I met, or been more prepared to get my career started on the right foot.
Back then, maybe it was easier to set and achieve goals. Dreams were limitless, and opportunities were right there, all you had to do was reach out and grab it. When you get older, and the stakes get higher and there are a thousand more variables in play… it get a little more challenging. Big picture goals are often set on contingency plans, such as, when I get married, I’ll buy a house. Or, when I have kids, I’ll start my own business and work from home. Welp, the clock keeps on ticking and putting up these barriers in my mind is just an excuse that is holding me back. I’ve been ambivalent about these goals, when I need to be more pro-active. I’ve been taking baby-steps toward both of those big-picture goals, and I am ready to pick up the pace. I have a 1.5-2 year goal to buy my own house. Increasing my income and saving up a down payment are things that I can realistically work on RIGHT now. I’m increasing my client base and networking for freelance work, which will give me a good foundation for when I’m ready to go it on my own. It can be such a struggle to establish yourself in the marketplace, and having good referrals is an important step.
Then there are more abstract goals… I want to help people. I want to do some type of service or work for a company or group that is making a difference. I am a very good graphic designer and my creativity is a gift. I would love to be able to use my talents and experience to do something that makes a little bit bigger impact than increasing revenue and ad sales. There is a certain amount of pride that I feel for doing good work and pleasing my clients, but I’m looking to do something with a greater purpose. My needs are pretty minimal, and I have never and probably will never live a life of excess. If I can find something that I can contribute my time to that is meaningful and can support a humble lifestyle, then I will be very happy. There are a lot of things I am passionate about, and striking the right balance in my personal/work life will bring me a lot of happiness someday.
Right now, I’m just trying to keep my head up, and keep these goals in sight. The motivation and realization that I am working towards something to better my future makes me feel extremely empowered. An opportunity could present itself any day that could change my life, just like getting that scholarship did. I’ll be ready to walk through those doors when they are opened before me!