1. Practice makes perfect
Whatever it is you love doing, do it again and again until you’re brilliant at it. Whether you want to be a mathematician, a musician, or a journalist, find ways to get as much experience as you possibly can and build up a portfolio of your work that you can show to potential future employers.
2. Ask for advice
Don’t ever be afraid to reach out and ask for help. The worst thing people can say is no. The Internet has made it possible to get in contact with people at the click of a mouse— find leaders in your field, find potential employers, find role models and ask them for advice, for opportunities, for mentoring. You never know where it might lead.
3. Put yourself out there
Join a group, apply for the school play or band, enter a competition, go for an internship—whatever it takes, the first step toward getting paid to do what you love is to just start doing it. If writing is what you love, start a blog and update it regularly. If you want to be a TV presenter, start a YouTube channel and start building up a following.*
4. You can change your mind
It’s OK not to be sure yet about what it is that you want to do. It’s also OK to have one idea firmly in your head for years and then decide that actually you’re going to do something else. People are sometimes scared to change goals or paths because they think it looks like giving up or being a coward.
It’s actually the bravest thing in the world to walk away from something safe and familiar toward something scary and unknown. Just look at Joy Behar, now cohost of The View, who was an English teacher before she decided, at nearly forty years old, to try a career in comedy. Good thing she wasn’t too scared to take a leap of faith.
5. Keep on going!
Remember that not succeeding, whether it’s in an interview or an application, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re another step closer to where you’re going.
It’s an old cliché, but there’s some truth in the fact that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Recovering and learning from rejection can help us to work out our best points and our weaknesses. Having to keep on trying also makes success even sweeter when it finally arrives.
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