“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss
In a world that demands conformity and judges those who defer from the norm, it isn’t always easy to follow your dreams — in fact, sometimes it’s downright terrifying. Failure, judgement and fear are always looming in the background, vying for your attention. People will doubt your ability to do what you say you’re going to do, and sometimes that doubt will seep into your head and you’ll begin to doubt yourself too.
The road to personal success isn’t always perfectly paved and easy to navigate — sometimes it’s bumpy and uncomfortable. And in those moments when you hit a bump and start feeling uncertain about your path and purpose, know that you are not alone. There have been many people who have traveled along a road just as difficult as yours, and chose to continue following their dreams, and were able to accomplish what they said they would and oftentimes so much more!
So if you feel like throwing in the towel, and giving up on your dreams when the going gets tough DON’T! You’ve got this!
Here are 4 inspirational people who are following their dreams, and their advice on how you can do the same:
1. Follow Your Passion, Even When it Means Temporarily Biking Uphill
📷: Rikki Chan
“I once thought, for a brief second, of giving up my dream of becoming an actor. I remember the day vividly — I had $10 to my name, was living in New York City and balancing many ‘survival jobs’ (catering, bartending, babysitting) to make ends meet. A casting agency in New Jersey called me up and asked me to come audition for a major movie, and at that moment I had two options: use that $10 for food, or spend the last of my money on transportation to New Jersey.
Knowing I needed to eat, but that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to audition for this film, I decided to bike the 15 miles instead. I left two hours prior to my scheduled reading, which in theory would give me plenty of time to get there. But, a wrong turn left me lost, confused and biking up what seemed like a mountain of gravel and dust. I was sweating in places I didn’t know I could sweat. My eyes burned. My mouth was dry. And when I finally made it to the agency I was frazzled, drenched and exhausted.
I cleaned myself up in the bathroom, took a deep breath and said, “You got this.” Except I didn’t get it.
Afterwards I sat in a Subway sandwich place and cried on the phone to my parents. They were worried, and asked me if maybe I should consider doing something else, like going back to school. I thought about it. And it was then I realized — I’d rather be sweating in places I didn’t know I could sweat, and living a life filled with passion and love than doing something I wasn’t meant to do. So I kept on biking in the direction of my dreams, and now when I bike it’s on my way to play John Laurens and Alexander Hamilton’s son Philip on Broadway in New York City. And if you’re where I was, I want to say this to you: Manifest your reality. Keep on biking toward your truth. It works.”
2. Focus and Commitment Will Bring You Success
“In March of 2010, I decided to quit my career and go full time with my website. Three months after quitting my job, Google Adwords annihilated the majority of my traffic and income by shutting down my ad campaigns and threatening to ban my account if I didn’t stop running the sort of ads I was running at the time.
Eventually I got the internet traffic problem solved and proceeded with ONE topic (instead of 10+).
This is what I learned:
If you’re going to be successful as an entrepreneur, your focus and commitment to learning are the most valuable assets you possess. Protect them.
Once you find something you click with, wrestle it to the ground and try your hardest make it successful before you wander off and “diversify.” You might fail horribly, but failure is your tuition. After you’ve paid tuition, your only real failure is in failing to use your education.
Also, figure out your overriding reason WHY you do this so you can pull that little scrap of motivation out of your back pocket during those dark nights of the soul and cling to it with every fiber of your being.
You’re going to need it.”
3. Never Ask, “Why Me?” Always Ask, “Why Not Me?”
📷: Joshua Earle
“I lost my mom when I was 5-years-old and grew up with an alcoholic father. I spent much of my childhood feeling lost, alone and confused about who I was and what I was meant to do. I was also overweight, had a stutter and was socially awkward so I didn’t have many friends.
My dad died when I was 20, and at that point I remember thinking to myself, ‘I can either go up or go down, and it’s going to be one or the other,’ and I made a conscious decision NOT to go down.
After graduating from college I spent a year trying to find myself while traveling abroad and teaching English. I was looking for meaning and purpose. And when I arrived home I found it — I met a personal trainer who motivated me to start working out, and within a year I lost 60 pounds. Seeing such incredible results so quickly motivated me to help others do the same, so I decided to become a personal trainer too. Within a year I became the highest grossing personal trainer in the company, and I left the gym I was working for to start my own with the trainer who helped me.
As I was going through this period of transformation in my life and planning out how I wanted to help other people live more meaningful lives, I kept thinking “why not me?!” And I came to the conclusion that at the end of the day we’re all human, and that means we all have the same potential for greatness. We all have a leader in us. We all have a sensitive person in us. We all have the lazy person in us. And it’s up to us to decide what part of ourselves we choose to bring forward. So I leave you with this question: How will you call forward the part of yourself that will best serve you and your goals?“
4.) Stop Taking Things Personally and Live for YOURSELF
“I grew up in a shitty house in Odessa, Florida with my older sister and parents. My family loved horses, and they had this grand idea that we’d knock down our tiny house and build a beautiful house in its place and have lots of horses. But, then my parents split up and stopped working. We went broke, and I spent the rest of my childhood living in a financial unstable and turbulent household.
Ever since I was 3-years-old, I remember wanting to act and sing. And, after college I moved to New York City to do musical theater. But, once I arrived, I opted to take a sales job instead, and ended up climbing the corporate ladder pretty quickly and paying off my student debt. Growing up poor, I developed this obsession with making money and paying off bills. And yet, the idea of performing still lingered inside of me, and like an undeniable itch I desperately wanted to scratch but couldn’t find, and it wouldn’t go away. I also always found myself infatuated and obsessed with sexuality, and I didn’t know the best avenue to explore that.
So I decided to become a singing waitress to make more money and perform, and after a year of doing that I started doing stand-up comedy. My first performance was about how I lost my virginity, and I loved the way my story connected with the audience and entertained them. I continued doing standup for awhile, and during that time I had this big AH-HA moment. I thought, ‘why am I not putting on my own shows?‘ And that was really the moment that changed everything. It was then that I developed the concept for my show, Never Sleep Alone. And it’s been a hit since day one.
So, if you find yourself where I was, struggling to figure out what you should do and how you should do it, this is my advice: Always be fearless and NEVER take anything personally, whether it’s an insult or a compliment — never let others’ perceptions, opinions or actions stop you from seeking your personal truth and living out your dreams. You get ONE life. You must live it the way YOU want to. Enjoy your youth and health while you have it. USE your body by exercising and exploring this incredible world. USE your sexuality by actively pursuing the pleasure you seek. USE your mind, accumulating knowledge and sharing with others. Use your creativity to build a beautiful and fulfilled life.“
– Roslyn Hart, Writer/Performer/Creator of Never Sleep Alone
📷: Ian Froome
Above all, have the courage to follow the path of your heart, and allow your intuition to be your compass on this journey we call life. Rest assured, you will be guided to where you’re supposed to go, even if that means weathering some stormy nights and bumpy roads. Struggling is a natural part of life, and oftentimes the greatest teacher. When you feel like giving up remember: You will never regret the chances you took, but you might deeply regret the ones you didn’t.
*I want to give a special thanks to the beautiful souls that helped inspire and breathe life into this piece. Big love to you all.
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.