I am definitely more of a dreamer than a realist. Not the most logical thinker in the world by far. I tried really hard to stay on the practical train by getting a degree in something that “made sense”. Then I tried to stay content with a 9-5 job. In the end, I went back to crafts and design and have been learning to embrace the uncertainty of following my dreams. I feel like there are lots of pros and cons to being a dreamer, and I’m sure most of you can probably relate.
Pros: When you set out to follow your dreams, you’ll see many beautiful possibilities in small things. You can take one weaving class and be like, “OMG I think this is going to be my new full-time job!” regardless of how random or impractical it seems to others. Following your dreams involves taking risks and trying new things all the time, which will likely result in new connections, friendships, jobs, and interests.
Cons: You will probably have to deal with a ton of skepticism from most people in your life. Family, friends, and random strangers will all be asking “But how are you even going to make money?” For me, that’s when the doubt creeps in. I start listening to logic and wondering if maybe I shouldn’t have quit my 9-5 or maybe I should have pursued a career in my degree. And then I lose focus and put my dreams on hold for a while.
How to Follow Your Dreams and Stay Focused
1. Talk about your dream job as much as you can. I truly believe that when you talk about your dreams, you give them power. Telling other people about your plans, impractical as they may seem, will give you a sense of responsibility to really make them happen. My friend Rachel (who made the pretty garland above!) and I have been texting each other every so often to share what we’re working on for the day. It’s a small step, but it makes me feel like I have to get stuff done.
2. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. One of my best friends is very logical and has a completely different perspective than I do. But she has always been one of my biggest supporters when it comes to my blog and design work. Getting her opinion is so valuable because she considers important details that I often overlook. So I’m not saying it’s necessary (or even a good thing) to only befriend fellow whimsical dreamers. Discussing your dreams with people who think differently than you can actually leave you with a million more inspiring ideas.
3. Make a schedule. Everyone has different methods of managing time and creating to-do lists, so figure out what works best for you. Are you most productive when you plan out the entire week, or do you like to plan one day at a time? I have begun writing up a list of tasks at the start of each day. I separate each task by category (TBM, Earl Grey, Other, etc) which breaks everything up in a nice way and makes me feel like I’m mixing things up well. My schedule is pretty loose – I don’t set strict hourly deadlines unless I need to get something to a client at a certain time. Instead, I just have a bunch of bullet points that I aim to cross off by 5ish each day. This kind of schedule has unexpectedly increased my productivity a huge amount over the past month.
4. Try not to compare yourself to others. This one is tough and much easier said than done. A few years ago when I started creating DIY projects, I felt like I would write down a bunch of ideas and then see them almost immediately on one of my favorite craft blogs. It was discouraging. I stopped reading that blog daily even though it was, and still is, one of my very favorites. Along the same lines, when I was working on launching TBM I kept second guessing the whole idea because I knew that so many other people blogging were about similar topics. So I started focusing on how I could make TBM different. I’ve said this a thousand times and I’ll say it again – your point of view is unique. If you feel inspired to create something (a DIY project, a blog post, anything) and you’re not straight up emulating someone else, just do it. Somebody out there will benefit from your perspective.
What helps you stay motivated when you’re dreaming up exciting new projects? Share in the comments!
PS – the “Dream Big” garland above is made by the lovely Rachel Larsen of Everglow Handmade! She’s offering a generous 15% off of all her products to TBM readers until the end of the month. Click here to visit the shop and use the code TBM15.