How To Make Your Dreams Come True

BlogHer Original Post

Once you've figured out what your dream, purpose or passion is, the next step is figuring out how to make that dream come true. It might seem impossible but specific step-by-step examples by those who have made even the wildest dreams come true show us not only that it can be done but how exactly dreams can come true.

In another life I was a talent scout (A&R rep) in the music business. In a lot of ways it was a dream job inside a dream factory. Starting at a very young age, I wanted to work in the music business. I worked in record stores, managed bands, toyed around with starting my own label, took voice lessons, started bands, saw live music nearly every night, found a mentor to guide me in learning how to create music videos and had all sorts of cool internships and crappy fringe jobs in between for years. Along the way I set my sights on becoming a top A&R rep. And I made it, sort of.

I made it to the bottom rung of the A&R ladder before I jumped off. Nevertheless, I made it to the point of having a job that fewer than a hundred people in the country had, and very few of them women. I got paid to listen to music, something which I paid to do before it became my job. That is the very essence of a dream job - getting paid to do what you would do even if you didn't make a dime.

My dream job was to help other people make their dreams come true. Getting a record deal is the dream of many aspiring professional musicians. That's a dream that can come true. And not only can it come true, it can come true in a spectacular fashion resulting in stardom, groupies, millions of dollars and an appearance on MTV Cribs.

However, getting a record deal is a dream I try to dissuade most artists from pursing. Why? because it focuses on a specific outcome that is largely unattainable and out of their control. That was my lesson learned in pursuit of my dream job. It's not about the specific outcome it's about using your talents and living your purpose.

I have a friend and mentor from my music business days who is one of the few people I know still in the industry. He did many of the same things I did but unlike me he didn't limit himself to one specific job. He kept trying different things that allowed him to discover artists and new music and introduce it to the world - much the same as what I loved about A&R. However instead of working for a major label, he is now a DJ (after starting as a volunteer) for one of the most renowned public radio stations known for launching new music. He has cool musicians come to his show to be interviewed and he shares his music finds with fans around the world (thank you internet streaming). And that's just his part-time weekend job. His main gig is running his own company as a music supervisor where he picks the music you hear in films and TV shows like Dexter, House and Six Feet Under. Oh, and by the way, he is also now a Grammy nominee.

My point is he didn't set out to be a Grammy nominee and focus on that singular pursuit. Rather he focused on his passion and talent and created his dream life. That, my dear readers, is how you make your dreams come true. Even your wildest dreams.

While stories of Jim Carrey dreaming of becoming a movie star and writing himself a $10 million check which he manifested doubled, becoming a movie star is a dream that is largely out of your control. Becoming a working actor, however, is. Jenna Fischer who plays Pam on the US version of The Office tells us how.

I thought being an actor meant being famous. But, most actors aren't recognizable. It's funny. I watch TV in a whole new way now. Like, I watch a show and I see the person who has 3 lines on Law and Order and I think, "Their family is gathered around the TV flipping out right now. I bet that was a huge deal for that person!" There are so many actors that make a living by doing support work on shows. I was that person for many years. For me to stay in this business, it had to be okay if I was never recognized. I learned that I loved the craft of acting more than the idea of being famous.

You have to figure out if your dream of becoming a movie star is a desire to act, to become rich, or to receive some form of external validation or approval. If it is to act, you can earn a living in many ways other than being a movie star. If you want to get rich or be validated there are many other ways to achieve those goals. But if you want to become a working actor, Jenna Fischer's blog post is generous, open and, best of all, specific. Go read, learn, and enjoy.

Another popular dream is to become a best selling author. The chances that you can make the dream of becoming the next J.K. Rowling come true are zero even if you are an unemployed single mother with a big imagination. That is because the role of J.K. Rowling is already cast. However, if you are a writer who needs to write like they need to breathe, you can write a book and it can be published. That is a dream you can achieve if you choose even if the dream journey doesn't come with an agent, a major publishing house and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

BlogHer CE Melissa Ford shares her journey to becoming a published author and what her alternate paths were in case the first did not work out. Like, Jenna Fischer, Melissa Ford gives you specific step-by-step advice and links. Want to publish your book? Read this post.

I will admit that due to my background (MFA degree where going the traditional route is drilled into your mind) and the fact that I had a decently strong platform, I went with traditional publishing as my Plan A. My Plan B was self-representation for a limited amount of time. And my Plan C was self-publishing. This book was getting out there one way or another...

Travel writing and food writing are two other popular havens for dreamers. I know from traveling with a travel writer that travel writing is not getting paid to vacation. Similarly I suspect that the allure of food writing is the perception that it is getting paid to cook or eat. Nope. Recognize that word "writing" in the description? That is what you are getting paid to do. The research part can involve fun and vacation good times but it is also often not so glam activites like touring hotel rooms with a PR person pitching you for hours along the way. Then you go back to your hotel room and bang out pages for hours, get a bit of sleep, get up, spend precious advance dollars on room service breakfast, check out, move to a new hotel, lather, rinse, repeat. Glamorous, eh?

Still not deterred? Love to write and are passionate about travel or food? Here is some practical advice for you:

A few weeks ago I received an interesting piece of mail. It said, “Launch your dream career as a travel writer today and get paid to travel the world.” All I had to do was sign up for an expensive correspondence course on travel writing. After that I could expect such rewards as “a complimentary week on an exotic Asian island” or a luxury vacation in Cancun “with airfare and all expenses paid.” The breathless come-on letter asked, “Why not live on permanent vacation?”

Why not indeed? Get paid to travel the world and live a life of leisure. What could be more glamorous?

Before you fall for it, remember that it is also glamorous to be a rock star, a best-selling novelist, or a starter for the Lakers. It’s not so glamorous, however, to be an aspiring actor (waiter) in Los Angeles, an aspiring songwriter (waiter) in Nashville, or an aspiring novelist (waiter) in New York. It may sound silly to compare travel writers like Tim Cahill or Jeff Greenwald to celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Stephen King, but the odds of getting to that level of success are just as daunting. The big difference is that when you do get to that upper echelon of travel writers, you’re still not making nearly as much money as the lowest-paid bench warmer in the NBA.

Just as plugging in a Stratocaster doesn’t make you a rock star, writing tales about your travels is not going to make you a travel writer. Like any position where supply far exceeds demand, you’ll need to follow the right steps and then pay your dues. It’s not going to happen overnight.

As a service to any beginning travel writers out there who are ready for the real story, here are the seven biggest myths of travel writing and the dirt on what to it will take to defy the odds.

The Seven Myths of Being a Travel Writer by Tim Leffel

Bottom line: don’t write if you can help it, and don’t write expecting to make money. The only really good reason to write is because you have to. To those who physically must write, I urge you to write daily, at the same time of day, producing the same amount of words. Read continually, look outward rather than inward, and do all you can to convey your own passions directly and honestly and completely to strangers.

On Food Writing by Michael Ruhlman

Now that I've pounded you over the head with the same message, get the gist? Have you achieved a dream, pursued your passion, are you living your purpose? Do you have any specific advice on achieving the goal? Please share your experience or any links you know of in the comments. Or if you are seeking suggestions on making a dream control, feel free to share it in the comments and maybe someone can offer ideas or point you to resources.

Related Reading:

The Healthy Librarian at Happy Healthy Long Life: The Secret To Success: Do Something You Love, Practice A Lot, Pay Attention & Get Feedback

MTV's Made (warning: video with audio auto-plays at this link) showcases teens reaching for outlandish goals in short periods of time and vividly illustrates many of the challenges that come with making a dream come true: fear, resistance, lack of support, loss and change. It also showcases the many rewards that come in the process and that dreams can come true. Even though it is about teens there are lessons for all of us at any age.

I just watched you on MTV. I'm not your typical teen - I'm actually a 49 y/o mom. I just wanted to say - I thought what you did was awesome. You should be sooo proud of your self for what you have achieved. I'm sure if you looked in the mirror now you would have no problems finding more than 3 things that you Love about yourself. Keep it up, you'll go far! This is the first time I have commented on anything like this.

BlogHer member jheat: My Dream Come True

SusieJ: How To Make A Dream Come True

New Year’s Resolutions have good intentions, but are too harsh and restrictive to survivelife1.jpg the 365-day mark. Dreams, require no willpower, are much more enticing, and naturally hold your focus throughout a year. There’s nothing quite like a well-crafted dream to help you replace bad habits with new ones. No dream is worth having unless it can come true – and most do, usually when we least expect it. Here are 13 steps to making your dreams come true.

Karen at Fab Grandma: When Dreams Come True

Since I was 12 years old, I have dreamed about working and living at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Even before I knew that jobs could be had that would actually let you live inside of the national park, even before I knew how to go about applying for one of those jobs, I have longed to go there.

A little over a year later, Karen writes: I Think We're Ready, The Park Opens Tomorrow

Finally training is over! It has been three weeks for me--the first week getting everything ready, then two weeks of actual classroom and hands on stuff. Training always exhausts me, because you have to be alert and paying attention all day long. Yesterday when we finished up, we still had a couple of hours, so we drove up to Point Imperial. It is one of the most scenic parts of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Here I am, hanging out at 8803 feet:

Kiwiwriter at Write to Travel: My year of getting published

I am a freelance writer living in New Zealand. For years I have been saying I want to write for a living, but have never really done anything about it. Until now.

thatlesleygirl at 43 Things: How to be a professional musician

First I gotta make it clear that I'm not a gigging musician. So I didn't end up being the next Kelly Clarkson (yet), but I managed to impress someone at a theater program for kids and they hired me to be their Summer music director. I got to write about 12 musicals, so that's about 50 songs (I had never written more than like, one song in my life before that), and it really kicked me into gear....

So I guess my professional musical career is veering down the musical theater path for now. I'll be excited to see where it goes from there. Right now it's still a side venture, but I'm just excited to see how things happen. I'm trying to stop controlling my life and letting life take me where it's supposed to go.

Ariel Hyatt at Disc Makers: iTunes Success in 12 steps

Was this process easy? No. It took solid dedication, trial and error, and a hell of a lot of time invested, but Making April managed to be one of the top selling bands at iTunes in 2007 and they beat a vast majority of artists signed to major labels.

I think this is a phenomenal and an inspirational story and one that teaches us lots of lessons. From my experience, musicians tend to give up too easily and lose focus, and then become defeated and give up. Making April proves that with a plan and some dedication, you can get very far with the tools available to anyone who wants to give it a go.

BlogHer CE Maria Niles is hatching some new dreams. In the meantime you can read her personal blog PopConsumer.


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