Back in 2015, I did something kind of crazy. I declared it my Year of Selfishness. It was going to be ALL about me.
And it was … sort of.
How it all Began
I don’t remember exactly what I was looking for, but scanning the Google search results my eyes landed on “Three Simple Rules for Life”:
- If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
- If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
- If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.
Whoa! There it was, in terms so clear, the motive behind my ‘selfishness.’ I wasn’t looking to subscribe to the traditional definition of the root word, selfish: “(Of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure,” as defined by the Oxford Dictionary. The selfishness I embraced was about acknowledging what I wanted to achieve and having the courage to go after it. And since 2015, this concept of selfishness has been my modus operandi.
Put First Things First
It’s easy to let our creative goals get pushed aside for the wrong reasons. We’re afraid of what people will think if we tell them our dream is to be a writer or dancer. We’re afraid of failing the first time we try, and that can stop us from trying again. Or we feel guilty about taking time to do something that’s burning inside of us when surrounded by familial, work and other responsibilities or pressures.
So, sometimes being selfish is imperative to achieving our dreams, and that means putting yourself first. That can be difficult, and at times, uncomfortable. You don’t want to let down my spouse/partner, friends or family. You don’t want them to feel like you’ve abandoned them. But when you’re not being true to who you are — or if you’re not feeling like you’re moving confidently in the direction of your dreams — how can you be there for anyone else when you haven’t been there for yourself? You’re the one who you’ve abandoned.
Caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, we end up on autopilot and don’t follow through on our heart’s desire. Now it’s time to put first things first. So, maybe that means getting up early (I wake up around 4:00 am to write) or staying up late to have time to focus on your project. Take a vacation day (and don’t tell anyone) to finish the sound editing for your short film. Find a quiet place during your lunch hour (alone) and write the first sentence of the book that’s always been inside of you. And magical things happen when we put first things first.
It Kind of is Now or Never
And for too long, I worried about what others would think if I told them I wanted to be a writer. That was why, in my twenties, I ‘wasted’ a lot of time after graduating from university trying to fit into the nine-to-five world. When I turned thirty, it felt like time suddenly sped up … like I blinked and my thirties were over. In my early forties, it was all I could do just to keep up. But I found the courage to do the things in life that mattered most.
Now, in my mid-forties, some dreams have become reality and I’m living my best years ever. But there’s a lingering sense of urgency, knowing my time on this planet is limited, to rush to get everything else done. And as that temptation to rush intensifies, I teeter on the verge of craziness as other goals and dreams stall. What must I do to get them moving again? And is there enough time in the day to do it all?
So, whatever you dream of doing, do it now. Don’t wait. Don’t put it off any longer. It’s no secret. The longer you wait to begin, the longer it’ll take to get to where you want to go.
Hold Fast, Hold Strong
The age-old adage to take life ‘one day at a time’ is sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but it’s easier to stay grounded when we’re focused on the day at hand instead of running off to some unforeseeable future. Each step we take, no matter how small, moves us forward. Don’t chastise yourself for things not done. Instead, celebrate writing the first sentence of your book, buying the paint supplies for the new series, or staying up late to start your dream.
Holdfast, hold strong, and don’t ever lose faith. Don’t ever stop believing that you can achieve your passion.
Now is the time to begin, or begin again, no matter where you are.
Are you holding fast to your dreams? Can you be ‘selfish’ enough to make your dreams a priority? Click Reply or leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.