“Make the choice to let go of everything you’re so attached to that’s not serving you and manifest the reality that you want. Life is an illusion created by your perception, and it can be changed the moment you choose to change it.”
— Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass
When I was an adolescent aspiring singer-songwriter-playwright-actor-veterinarian, I thought people were “discovered” for what they would wind up doing for the rest of their lives. Entertainers were plucked off the street — in malls, at gas stations — because they looked like they could perform, business execs were presented with their first power suit and briefcase before high school, chefs just knew how to cook and made the right dish for the right person at the right time, and veterinarians hugged enough furry friends to know how to care for them medically. It was inherent. Natural, but also magical. Magical, like the two times I can recall making a wish before falling asleep that I would wake up as a kangaroo and a lion. As you can see, I’m still very much human.
Once I got older and logic set in, so did the realization that it’s not so much about being discovered as it is you discovering. It’s learning who you are, what you’re passionate about, and putting yourself in a position to take on projects that fall in line with your values, whether it’s career-based, hobby-related, or simply to be a better YOU. (I would have made a terrific kangaroo, by the way.) There was a point in time when I was under the impression that the safe, expected route was the only one worth taking, and the voices around me served to solidify the doubt in what I was drawn towards by nature. This causes floundering, and not the cute kind that hangs out with Ariel.
It’s a battle within between your head and your heart, which should actually be working in tandem.
The steps to creating a desired outcome can be broken down into four parts: Speak, See, Take, Grow. There is no set timeframe that one should transition into another. It’s based on your readiness, which is determined by the person who knows it best: You. Being ready doesn’t mean being totally fearless, but rather being able to give fear, doubt, and hesitation the backseat because you have enough confidence, knowledge (or skill), and drive to steer the vehicle.
STEP 1: Speak Your Vision
Imagination is a powerful and wonderful tool to use to boost your confidence in pursuing your dreams. In your imagination, possibilities are endless. More often than not, if you can create the image in your mind, you can make it happen. The trick is that you have to believe it. You have to believe that it’s already yours, and it’s right there at the forefront, waiting for you to take your place in the sun.
In the beginning, you won’t know how to do it, but stay open to the possibilities. By knowing and focusing on your vision, a plan will come. Say it out loud! Write it down! Paint it across the wall! Build it out of clay! “If you can dream it, you can be it,” said Walt Disney. It’s already yours.
“The moment you have the audacity to start believing in the not-yet-seen, your reality will begin to shift… You have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true.”— Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass
Want a real life example? In an interview with Starry Constellation Magazine, actress Vanessa Lengies spoke on how she came to her role on Fox’s Second Chance:
Lisa Steinberg (@StarryMag): What drew you to take on another drama or drew you to audition for the role?
Vanessa: It’s actually kind of a magical story. I am Canadian. I am from Montreal and I have been living in Los Angeles for thirteen years now. I had decided in July after I went home for my thirtieth birthday that I wanted to try living in Canada for a bit, specifically Vancouver. I had filmed a movie there for Showtime once and a couple pilots. I told my friends around the beginning of August and then this came up around mid-August. I really loved this pilot script when I read it. I was in love with it from the get-go. They said, “They really love you for it, but it films in Vancouver.” It felt like the universe was just answering my desire that I spoke aloud in July. It was kind of that magical coincidence not coincidence with things falling into place for me.
When you decide and believe “This is the thing I want to accomplish,” factors that could make it possible naturally begin to shift. This is just one of many varying tracks when it comes to the universe answering your call. Maybe things fall into place, maybe it’s a matter of recognizing the moment when it comes. Either way, it’s up to you to make the final choice once the word is out because your awareness has now been piqued. So…
STEP 2: See Opportunity
It’s a lot like magic. It could look like magic. Your senses are heightened, and you know what you want. You may or may not have a plan, but you’ve put it out into the universe (prayed on it, meditated, told a friend or few—whatever your version of “put it out into the universe” may be), and opportunities to climb aboard the S.S. My Future is Mine are starting to sprout up.
A while back, I’d been talking about going to visit Tennessee since taking a trip to Memphis with my family and one to Nashville to audition for The Glee Project (Yeah… that happened.) — Different trips, same eventual desire. I didn’t know how I was going to get there or when. I’d tried to arrange road trips with friends that fizzled out, and so it became one of those “When it happens, it’ll happen.” One day, a friend of mine was visiting New Orleans from TN, and we missed each other, but I told her that I was planning to visit her state at some point soonish. Again, no idea of when or how, but I was going. Fast-forward a few weeks, and I end up booking a gig that films in Memphis because the opportunity presented itself and I took a leap of faith. Had it been a few months earlier, I likely would have passed over the chance. It just wouldn’t have registered as a possibility.
Options you may not have given a second glance before suddenly seem to jump out at you. Things you didn’t think you were capable of now seem possible. They ARE possible! So, what are you going to do about it? Psst…this is when you tell those partners-in-crime Fear and Doubt to shove it because you don’t need them right now. Fear of judgment or failure aren’t true red flags, they’re more like red herrings. Really obnoxious, pushy ones that get into your head. Listen to your heart, and also your mind, but mostly your heart. Make a practice of envisioning your desire, remaining free of attachment to the specifics of the journey, and seizing opportunity when it inevitably comes your way. Then…
STEP 3: Take Action
If it’s not happening as quickly as you expected, do not give up. That can’t be stressed enough. Your journey is just that: YOURS. Don’t make comparisons to what someone else has done or is doing. Every step you take forward is a motion in progress, not regress.
You are going to make mistakes. Accept it, and be okay with it. A setback is not a dead-end, but an opportunity to learn how to overcome and improve for the next attempt. You might even find a way around the thing that held you up altogether. A mistake is not a sign that what you want is not what you deserve. The power in symbols comes from the meanings you give them, which is exactly why someone can look at a rainy day and see it as a fine time to catch up on rest or play in puddles, while another person will see it as a bad omen and that they shouldn’t leave the house that day. It’s all about perception. Make your move, and…
STEP 4: Flourish
The top definition of flourish is to “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.”
- to achieve success
- to be in a state of activity or production
- to reach a height of development or influence
Then, there’s my personal favorite: to grow luxuriantly.
See, it’s not necessarily being at the finish line. You’re going to GROW. And that favorable environment? That’s your mindset. Congratulations! Enjoy it. Every day won’t be perfect or even good, but knowing deep down that you’re moving forward will be your best asset in holding on to the joy that brought you the courageousness that inspired you to take the reins and thrive. You aren’t the same person you were when you started. You know more, you fear less, and that in itself is an accomplishment. Perhaps you’ve achieved your goal, so what’s next?
Remember: Your vision can change and you can change along with it. If your heart isn’t in it anymore, there’s nothing wrong with taking a step back to reassess and regroup.
Now go off, be luxuriant, be the person you want to be, and revel in the magic.
Cover Image: Cristian Escobar