Recently, I've been asked to give some speeches around town and I've been honored to have a chance to talk about my history and share tips for, what I think, are must-do steps to overcoming life's challenges. Everyone's story is different and no one has had it easy. I grew up with a mean, alcoholic stepfather who definitely didn't make it easy for my mom or me but, out of this bad situation, something good came from it. I was bound and determined to make a positive out of a negative. I've always thrived on adversity, don't ask me why....stubborn I guess, but it's always worked for me. Here are some tips I've learned that I believe will help anyone achieve their dreams:
1) First and foremost, stay true to yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not. Your biggest asset is "YOU" ....no one looks like you, thinks like you or acts like you. Use this to brand yourself in your chosen field. My content manager at Chicago Now always tells his writers, "don't worry if 100 people have written about the same story. No one will see it or write about it the way you will."
2) Be mindful of your minutes since killing time murders opportunities.
3) While you're saying it can't be done, someone else is doing it. Don't lose an opportunity by dragging your heels. React and trust your instincts.
4) Use rejection as a learning tool. Make it your friend. I was turned down by more modeling/acting agencies than I can remember but I eventually found people who believed in me. Don't give up....I remember the Ford Agency specifically turned me down as a model because the length from my knee to my ankles was too short! What the hell? Anyway, fast forward to now....who do you think my agent is?
5) Examine your competition and learn from their successes or failures.
6) Stay positive in the face of negativity. Nothing pisses haters off more than seeing you happy.
7) Don't shrink to make people feel better. By letting your own light shine, you guide the way for others.
8) I know this has been said before, but I can't express how important this is. Visualize yourself in the position you hope to be. If you can't see it, you can't achieve it. (Although I've been visualizing winning the lottery for years with no success!)
9) If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies, so be prepared for this but succeed anyway!
10) Don't ruin your reputation before you have one. This means no posting on Facebook photos you wouldn't be happy for your mother to see. Remember, what goes on the web, stays on the web.
11) If you're satisfied with your work or where you're at in the world, you won't achieve anymore. Never be satisfied.
12) Keep as many balls in the air as you can, gravity has to kick in sometime!
13) And lastly and most importantly, enjoy the ride! Life is shorter than you think.
As Thoreau said, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." Challenges are presented to all of us. It's how we react to them that shows the true measure of a man/woman.
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