How To Stop Getting In Your Own Way
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
This is something we've been asked from when we were little ones in Primary School, before we even know ourselves, before you can even tie your shoelace, before you can even spell words like onomatopoeia let alone know what the lip it means (the formation of a word associated with the sound it is named i.e sizzle or cuckoo).
I changed what I wanted to be a million times, as a young girl I loved reading books, writing stories and singing but my mother was having NONE of it for me to have a job in within entertainment or the arts, I understand now that I'm older that it was just that my mother wanted to ensure that I always had an education to fall back on and not have my head in the clouds. Being a Pisces this is something that we often do!
Firstly I wanted to be a singer then I realised that I wouldn't like having that much fame because your private life gets exposed to a level that I am not comfortable with. Besides, you guys know patience isn't really a virtue of mine so having that level of pressure and paparazzi at my door would end up with me being in jail. I still love to sing but enjoy singing on my own terms, it is a gift from God that I am truly grateful for but ain't nobody got time for that type of fame.
I then wanted to be a lawyer and did my work experience in a lawyers firm in Central London, I remember being so excited to see what lawyers do, to go court, be in the atmosphere of the job I dreamed about and I did was answer phonecalls and learn how to make tea and coffee in a small ass law firm. So lawyer was quickly scratched off my dream list.
After university and dreaming of then being a probation officer, the recession hit and I lost my grandmother so I lost my footing. It's coincidental that during that time that Vex In The City was birthed. Respectively I realised that it was meant to be.
Did I think Vex In The City would be what it is 8 years later? Hell...to...the..NO
I simply began writing because it was something that I always enjoyed doing. My family would buy me books and I loved reading fiction, envisioned myself in the scenes, write my own version. In secondary I wrote a B2K fantasy story called "Pain is Love" where I married J Boog...I still have it at home..don't laugh my love for him was REAL. I began writing blogs before it was a profitable career to have, before I knew much about the blogging world myself, I simply enjoyed the interaction of writing about topics and seeing my readers respond to what I was saying.
I always love to write...but I didn't believe that I could write
The reason I say this was because I knew I enjoyed writing a blog, the reason I didn't believe that it could be a viable career was simply because I didn't believe in myself.
1) I didn't have a formal degree in writing
2) I was writing about relationships, sex and life...how does that make me a writer?
3) I didn't have enough belief in myself that I could do it
4) I didn't formulate a plan as to how I could make it a reality
5) Me? A girl with a short temper, who loved to curse, doesn't always spell words right, loved UFC, lightweight drinker wanted to be a writer?
A lack of self belief can really taint how far you think you can go with your dreams. Irrespective of how much my friends and family thought I was a good writer it fell on death ears. Especially as I am CRAP at accepting compliments...please don't do it I turn into the most awkward black girl ever. As time passed, I decided even though I wasn't going to pursue my writing full throttle, my passion for being involved and learn from it was there so I assisted others and offered my help where I can, what I didn't know I learned, any questions I had in regards to writing, filming, producing ,directing I asked!
The only thing that's going to stop you pursing what you love...is YOURSELF!
Excuse 1 : I work full time I don't have the time to pursue my dream...
I used to say this over and over again, it is exhausting waking up in the morning going to a job that you don't particularly enjoy and spending all your time and energy so when you get home you don't feel like being creative, running a business, doing research you just want to sleep because you know you have to do the same routine again tomorrow. I have been in jobs where I seriously don't know how I wasn't either fired or ended up behind bars but the only thing that saved my co-workers was the fact that I wanted to pay my bills and my obsession with H&M is real. But I'll be real...there is always 24 hours in a day. Point, blank, period. Yes you have a 9-5 that you are responsible for doing the people them job and getting paid for but what you do with the rest of that time is up to you! On your way to work, you could be listening to a podcast relating to your passion, during your break you could be reading a book/blog/YouTube tutorial, on your way home you could write your own content when you have no reception underground, when you get home you could give yourself a goal to do that is achievable and realistic. Remember that you are replaceable in a job, if you leave there are others that will come to replace you, that's not to say that you aren't good at your job but there is nothing worse than being in an working environment that is not conducive to your goal/dream or career. If you are going to work...at least let it be in the field of what you want to do so you can at least learn on the job.
Excuse 2 : I don't know how to do it/ if I can do it/ I'm afraid of failing
No one WANTS to fail at anything, but there is not a successful entrepreneur or celebrity that you look up to that can say that they got to their levels of success or fame without a few hard times on their journey. Those hard times make you a better person and businessman/woman. If you don't know how to do something Google and Youtube can teach you literally everything that you need to know. I have spent many hours looking at tutorials, going to workshops, reading books, watching documentaries to feed my knowledge of writing,filming, theatre and music and everything I didn't learn...I did through experience, curveballs, failures, anger and backstabbing. I didn't know if I could put on a theatre production but once I put my casting out and people turned up to audition I realised that I had a responsibility too. I had too many people cast and crew relying on me to not at least try. Furthermore, if you try and fail there's always positives and negatives that you will take from it, its up to you whether to try again, change it slightly or trying something new.
Excuse 3: I don't have the money to do it....
There are so many things that you can do for free if you were just creative on how you do it. Ask for favours from family and friends, ask students they are more creative and knowledgeable than you think!! BELIEVE ME! My 6th form students taught me how to edit on Final Cut Pro because it's something they've been taught to use since Year 7 and they are able to communicate in a way that made it easy for me to understand and as thanks all I did was buy them some chocolate or KFC! Budgeting is key for anything business-related, yes having money is key but HOW you spend the money is important. I received no financial aid to put on my theatre production but I learned to be creative in how to finance my dream. I'll be real....I hate asking for help. It's not something I can do, it's not in my DNA, I do not like doing and I probably never will but I also learned that I can not do everything! Pursue the funding if it is there, ask brands/companies to invest, if this is something that you are truly passionate and believe in then you need to learn how to make others believe in it to. What's the worst that they can say? No? If they say no then keep it moving. Do not let a "no" stop you. you could have a 20 slide Powerpoint presentation, with graphs, videos, music and all sorts to make a killer pitch and still be told no...are you going to let that stop you? Keep pushing. I totally understand how discouraging it can be when plans fall through, when people let you down, when you are so broke you literally starve in order to get to work the next day but all of those times taught me how resilient I am and money will never predict my outcomes. When it's something of quality and people are interested the money will come sooner or later as I said in my previous blog "Why Your Friends Are Not Your Target Market" the more that comes from people you didn't expect...the better. Stop wasting money in ASOS, on trainers, eating out and make those sacrifices for a few months and invest in yourself, it takes discipline and when you have done your goal...THEN you can treat yourself it will feel so much better!
Excuse 4: I need a team to support my dream...
When you start out the only person you will have is yourself. You will have the support of friends and family from time to time but they have their own lives to lead and that's cool. But it's going to be many nights of just you and your laptop. The longest relationship that I've ever had is with my Macbook Pro, we've had late nights, disagreements, breakdowns and upgrades but it holds all my hopes and dreams more than any man that I have been with. You will be the driving force for your brand and dream, along the way you will find people that you will collaborate and work with, business partners that become life long friends, you will begin to delegate to others too. But in order to cement what your brand/business stands for you have to put in the hard work and create the ethos and voice for it. IF you allow someone else to do it for you, you will easily become frustrated with a company that was not what you envisioned, and something you definitely want to avoid...is someone taking your dream away from you. If you keep procrastinating, making excuses, waiting for the perfect time there will be someone else that will do exactly what you thought of doing and then you are left at a standstill. That's not to say that your dream is over, but it should be a kick up your bum to get it done. There are millions of beauty bloggers out there, does that mean there isn't room for another? Hell no! Do they all use the same products? Have the same style? Have the same voice? I can not express to you how frustrating it is to see someone else live your dream and they're not even good at what they do.
The biggest key in order to stop getting in your own way is to PLAN. Plan like your life depended on it! I make lists and I put it up because I've realised that seeing what I need to do, breaking it down into tasks, putting it somewhere that I would see it everyday, giving myself a deadline was imperative for my business. In order to achieve something big like putting on a play in August, I had to think about what I needed to do, common sense tells you is I needed a script to even make into a play in the first place, then it was finding a venue to put on a casting, promote the casting on all platforms, see the actors, finalise a cast and so forth.
Another key is to believe in yourself. I am an advocate of positive daily affirmations , I talk to myself so much on the way to work, in my office, that I'm sure people have looked at me with a side eye and thought I was slightly crazy. But we all do it one way or another to psyche ourselves up to do something that we are scared of, something new, or something that we want. Never limit what you can do or achieve...ever. You have to be relentless, thick-skinned, have times when you want to scream, times when you are close to punching people in the throat, times when you want to smash your laptop/phone in pieces. I recently bought Iyanla Vancant daily devotion book in order to help my self-belief and give my day purpose. Again, it's a small investment into your future and your mindset is everything when deciding to pursue your career.
Lastly, I would say to have a mentor/muse that you look up to and learn from. The best way to learn is sometimes to learn from others. You don't always have to waste time, money and emotions when there are many before you that have done that already. I am a fiend for reading other's journey mainly because I am inner like that but I also see what to avoid or look out for when I eventually will come up against the same things myself. You don't need to try crack cocaine to know that it's not for you, we've seen plenty of people suffering with the addiction every day. Look for people that inspire you to see if they would mind giving you tips and tricks, any advice, or even have a coffee with you if they have the time. I'm currently mentoring 3 people looking to get into script-writing, to be honest I've even honoured that they asked me! But there's nothing wrong with sharing knowledge, helping others and when you have the time helping others dreams come true. With all the crazy things happening in the world politically there is no time like the present to be unified and supportive of another. Like I said before there is enough money and opportunities for ALL of us to go around. Competition is a good thing, when you are aware of those within your field and compare where you are similar and different, what you are going to do better, how to elevate your game it only ends up making you a better businessman or woman!
So rip off the plaster, take a deep breath, talk to yourself, and utilise your time and get started because there is no better feeling than when you have accomplished your goal despite the late nights, tears, alcohol, and everything in between because it will only make you want to do more!
Have you got any dreams that you want to pursue? Drop me a comment below and start speaking it into existence! Click the heart so I know you're feeling me!