If you’re like most people, you have a dream. And then you have several other dreams of things you’d like to do in this lifetime.
Take me, for instance, I always dreamed of going to Morocco. I always wanted to see U2 from stage level. I always wanted to be a writer. I dreamed of being a hockey writer. I always wanted to get married and have a family of my own.
Four out of five isn’t bad. There’s the dream (which hasn’t happened yet), and then there are the lesser dreams (which are easier to make come true).
I always dreamed of going to Morocco. I dreamed about it for years. Then one day I realized that I had the resources to go and make that dream come true. I did a quick Google search on “Morocco Tours” and ended up booking with the first site I found. I don’t regret going by myself one bit.
The experiences I had from that trip went far above and beyond anything I could have ever expected. It was a dream worth having and one worth living. I made friends there and learned many things. Who knows? One day I may write a book about the amazing moments I had when I was there. Maybe I’ll even buy a home where displaced women and orphaned children can live some day.
As for seeing U2 at stage level, that hasn’t happened yet, but it will happen this summer. I was able to get tickets down by the stage this summer. It will be my third U2 concert in this lifetime. I had always wanted to be down by the stage. This time, I had the resources to purchase a ticket down by the stage, and actually be able to find one. The latter part is always the harder part.
Being a writer…well, that’s something I’ve been doing for years. Blogging, writing newspaper articles, freelancing, and even writing content for Fox Sports and Inside Hockey (being a hockey writer). All of those dreams came true.
I know there are many people that dream of those things and still wonder why they can’t seem to make it or (for hockey writers) get credentialed into the media. Writer (for Marie Claire, and many other magazines) and fashion blogger/stylist Nicolette Mason talked about privilege being one of the factors that got her foot in the door to be able to write for the big names in the fashion industry.
While it may be shocking to most, privilege is also what factors into opportunities. Privilege does help you get your foot in the door. But it also takes intelligence, drive and hard work to actually make dreams happen.
For instance, I was granted my first interview back in October 2007 by a hockey player that had seen me sitting in the front row of New York Rangers games for a few years. It wasn’t just an exclusive, it was his big ‘f you’ to the New York Rangers. I had to make a decision on how the article should be released. I opted to protect the player, which meant protecting the Rangers.
When the article was released, the Rangers breathed a sigh of relief. The player hated me for it. But I ended up making the correct choice, because eight years later, he’s retired and I’m still allowed to cover the Rangers in their press box. I was even asked to cover them while they were in Europe (both times). The reason why they asked has a lot to do with knowing that I have the resources to cover them in Europe during an age when other North American media are told to scale back their costs due to the economic landscape.
Privilege gets you in the door much easier. It gets you the jobs you want, the stepping stones you need to make a dream come true, and the fast track to making those dreams come true. It also provides you with opportunities that some people will not have access to because they do not have the resources.
Privilege is money, education, background and access to things that most people do not have access to.
How does one attain privilege?
Well, not everyone is born with privilege. You have to make it part of your dream in order to succeed.
When you graduate from high school, you may have dreams of how you plan on living your life. For the career minded, you know exactly what you’re going to do and how you’re going to get there. I’m going to tell you now that the best laid plans very rarely, if ever, get to the finish line because life happens.
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a politician. I mapped out the course, the school, the city, the major, the internship, and whatever else I needed to do to get myself into the Capitol building. I told all of my plans to this guy that I’d been in love with since junior high. He was also my best friend. He said to me, “Wow. It really looks like you have your life all mapped out.”
Would you believe those were the last words he ever said to me? Two weeks before my graduation, he put a bullet into his heart. One of the things he cited (and there were many) as the reason why he was committing suicide…I had made life plans without including him in it.
He put an end to that dream and life plan.
I still followed the course I mapped out for myself, but my heart and passion were never in it. Life had happened to me.
I didn’t start to move forward until my late twenties. It took a broken heart, an insane monthly education loan bill to get me to decide to change my life. I was getting peanuts working for the government. I could barely afford to buy food with the amount they paid me. I realized that I didn’t have to live this way. How you choose to live life is a CHOICE. I decided I was going to put myself out there and demand I get paid two times the amount I was getting paid, get a better health plan, and find a better life.
That’s how I ended up in New York. It was the only place in the world that bit when I put myself out there. I hopped on a plane. Did an interview and walked away with a job. I moved to New York two weeks later.
This is where dreams started to unfold. It was NY that gave me many opportunities. I took advantage of them as they became available. I fell in love with hockey and the New York Rangers. I decided to take two loves, writing and hockey, and put them together. Over time, I started to command higher and higher salaries, because I became good at what I do and I love doing what I do. I became passionate about the things I was doing. Passion makes you a valuable part of any team, and they will pay you well just to keep you from leaving.
My point in sharing this is that you can create your own privilege. You can make more money. You can create your own opportunities. It starts by believing in yourself and making yourself go out there and make things happen.
So how do you start?
Before I get into the numbered points below, start with a notebook. Write down every single dream you have for yourself. Consider this your bucket list. Each year, go through it so you can see what dreams you accomplished and which dreams you would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. Highlight your accomplishments so you can always go back to see what dreams you have fulfilled. It will motivate you to keep chasing after each and every single one of your dreams.
Pick a few dreams you’d like to accomplish over the next year and pursue it at all costs, no matter what the outcome may be. It’s better to know what happened instead of regretting never having done something.
1. It takes telling yourself that YOU DESERVE A BETTER LIFE. You may be getting paid peanuts. You don’t have to accept that life anymore. Work on your resumé. Don’t just list the jobs where you’ve worked. List your experiences you’ve had in life, especially the things you are passionate about. If you’re out making a difference in the world, volunteering, part of a community project or not-for-profit, LIST IT. I have always found that the most interesting things about a job candidate is in that miscellaneous area. The reason why I got hired all rests in the things I did outside of work. It told potential employers more about me than what school I went to or where I worked before.
2. If you haven’t been doing things that would make that miscellaneous part of your resumé look good, then go out and do things that you can get passionate about and DO IT FOR FREE. I refuse to take money for writing about hockey. I have turned down paying job offers to write about hockey. I just never felt right about taking money for it. I believe you lose a sense of yourself and the passion behind what you’re doing when you agree to take money for something you love so much.
I helped musicians in my twenties. The best thing they could do was put me on their VIP list so I didn’t have to pay to get in to see their show. It really helped when I was getting paid peanuts by the government. I helped startup and work for a not-for-profit FOR FREE. I chose projects to work on that I was passionate about. I did that all FOR FREE. Doing that helped boost my resumé even more because what I did for free was actually why I got hired and could command a large salary and get exactly what I was asking for and even more. It was doing these life experiences that created my work ethic and character. I know exactly what I’m worth, and I expect to be paid more than what I’m worth.
The most important thing about choosing your projects you’ll work on for free, you’re assisting people that are trying to live their dreams (or people that need help). You help them without expecting anything in return. In exchange, you are actually gaining life experiences, as well as your own job training that can be applied to other facets of your life. Choose a project based on your dreams. If you dream of doing something in music, get involved with something that has to deal with music. Always do things that are closely symbolic to your dreams. You have to pick up and learn how to live your dream. It helps if you start by learning directly from others that are out there living their dreams.
3. No matter what your dream is, you have to pay the bills. You can’t go chasing after a dream without money in tow. You still need to eat, have a roof over your head and have your bills paid. Many people work a day job so they can have their real career – their dream. It is that main job that pays for everything, including your health care. I’m sorry to say, you still have to work your main job before you can work the dream job full-time. I’d say wait until you’re making more money from your dream job before quitting the day job. Just make sure you equate in how much you really cost your employer (after all the benefits, like health care, are computed in). Don’t quit until what it costs your employer to have you employed at their office is equal to (or less than) what you are making at your dream job.
4. Become involved in the things that will bring you closer to your dream. I will have to say that I fell into a lot of things that became a part of creating a dream. I didn’t get into hockey until my first New York Rangers game in 2005. After that, a hockey writer dream began. I went to as many games as I could, sitting down in the first few rows just to study the game. There were things I picked up down at ice level that I definitely would never have noticed if I sat further up (like in today’s day and age, sitting all the way up in the press box). Those days sitting in the front row was what prepared me to cover the game of hockey.
GMs of teams appreciated reading what I saw. There were things that they may not have been aware of that I would pick up. For instance, did you know that alcoholics sweat differently than regular people? I could tell a player was under the influence just by the way he sweated. I could tell which minor league player had the potential to make it to the NHL permanently. It’s that je ne sais quoi that sets them apart. Very few people can pick up on it. That’s why they’re called scouts.
These days, I attend a lot of arts related events because that is where my life is steering me. When I asked myself what I loved to do now, movies, the arts, books and theater came to mind. So that’s where my new course is heading. What do I do to make that dream happen? I throw myself right in and pursue whatever comes at me. That is usually in the form of film festivals, conferences, premieres, going to shows, meeting and speaking to the people in the industry, and developing friendships with them. There are a lot of facets involved with making a dream come true. Just go out there and put yourself directly in the middle of it all and watch it unfold.
5. Having money helps in this area. It buys you better experiences and VIP treatment. I find that it removes the wall from being an outsider to becoming an actual insider. Instead of dreaming of being one of them, you become one of them. No matter what anyone tells you, Sean Avery (former hockey player) put it best when he said that money gets you a lot further in life. It definitely helps you get to where you are going.
Money is the most important resource to have when you are pursuing a dream. It paves the way for you. It gets you into the things you need to get into without putting a wall up between you and the dream. I find that life is a lot easier when you have the money to afford your experience. Dreams, unfortunately, cost money.
Putting together a film…it costs money. Creating a book…it costs money (and a lot of times right out of the author’s pocket). Creating artwork…it costs money to make it. Becoming a professional athlete…it takes money to prepare, train and buy equipment. How are you going to become the next big basketball star without a basketball?
6. Education is crucial. No matter what field you are pursuing, you need the expertise. You need the credentials. You have to be knowledgeable in your chosen field, no matter if it’s the arts or sports, you need to have the brain to go along with the game. You need to become an expert. You need to continuously learn, because nothing stays the same. It always evolves.
Lawyers and doctors have to continually learn, because laws change, scientific breakthroughs happen. They have to attend continuing education courses all of the time in order to stay abreast of their practice, as well as change with the times. Everything is constantly evolving, you always have to evolve with the times, or lose in the game of life.
Even in hockey, players that know the game and have been playing it their entire life, they are always learning from each other, trying out new equipment, and adapting to the game as it changes. The hockey game is very different today than it was the day you were born.
As the owner of this site, I am constantly reading how to make the site better, what I need to focus on to create better content as a writer. I attend conferences. I take classes. It’s not because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m learning how to do things better than I did before.
7. Practice makes perfect. If you’re a writer, athlete, actor, etc. you have to constantly work towards perfecting your craft. In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell’s most important message is that it takes 10,000 hours to perfect your craft. That means, no one will take you and your dream seriously until you have perfected your craft, so start practicing.
Bill Gates spent over 10,000 hours working on his dream before he could even make a penny off of it. He wasn’t just an overnight billionaire. He put in many, many hours before Microsoft came into being. It’s the same for Mozart. He wasn’t just a prodigy. He had to work many hours to perfect his craft.
For some people, they may ask how I was able to get these interviews for this site. Throw in every single factor above, including spending the last eight years writing about hockey. Writing about hockey helped prepare me for this next adventure in life. Spending all of that time interviewing, writing, and establishing the type of person I am when it comes to being a writer, that’s how I was able to perfect my craft. It’s not just the constant practice, it’s who you become after you put in all the work. You’ll find that practice does make perfect, but it also helps shape you into the person you are setting yourself out to be.
8. It’s all in the mindset. Staying positive and thinking only positive thoughts all of the time will help you achieve your goals. If you need more money to make things happen, don’t get down on yourself. Write out what you need to do to make each dream happen, every single little detail. Focus on each detail.
Do you need to make more money? How much do you need to make to make the dream happen on top of the expenses you have already? What are your options to getting more money? Do you need a better job? What would a better job be for you?
Do not discount happiness throughout this entire process. One of the reasons why I love my job so much is because of the people around me. They make me happy…even my bosses. Make sure that wherever you put yourself, you have a positive atmosphere around you. If you constantly hate everything about your job, you can’t make the dream happen. There’s no “When X happens in the dream job, then I’ll be happy.” No. Start the happiness now. Only choose a job where you will be happy. You’ll find that happiness is very much a part of making the dream happen. If you’re not happy, you’re going to be stuck.
When I found my current job, I had written out the things I wanted most. I wrote down an insane number of how much I wanted to be paid. I wrote down insane things of what kind of benefits I wanted. I reached for a pot of gold and came back with diamonds. The job I ultimately chose was the job that not only matched what I was asking for, but gave me way more than I could ever ask for. There was something else I had written down on that piece of paper. I wrote down…to have way more than I was asking for. To have way more than enough.
I got exactly that.
If you need resources on how to get into the positive mindset, I recommend starting with Rhonda Byrne’s “The Secret,” moving on to Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist,” and then to Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth.” It’s all about changing your mindset. Your mind is much more powerful in making the most incredulous dreams come true. Your mind calls into your universe exactly what you put out there. So if you’re thinking negative thoughts all of the time, a lot of bad things are going to happen to you. If you focus only on good things, amazing things will happen to you.
It’s not some new age quack thing. I’m living proof of that philosophy. I’ve been practicing it since 2007. How else do you think I scored that interview from a New York Ranger on my first try as being a hockey writer? Positive thinking.
I also highly recommend meditation to help you find that inner peace that will keep you happy all of the time.
As you can see, making dreams come true is multi-faceted. The most important thing is believing in yourself and your dream. Making dreams come true is a lot easier when you’ve created your own ‘privilege.’ You’ve got to put in the work (and a lot of hard work at that) to make that privilege happen. Most importantly, you have to keep your mind positive. Think negatively, and plan on everything falling apart on you. Feel free to ask questions by posting below or sending me a comment in the Contact Page. You can also ask on my Twitter account: @MichelleDoPW