Don’t Wait. Start Working Towards Your Dream Career Now.

posted in Behind the scenes

Don’t Wait. Start Working Towards Your Dream Career Now.

When I opened my inbox this morning, I was greeted with a special message.

we-are-not-special-anniversary

Six years ago today I made the decision to change my life. I was in the middle of my second post-secondary program, swimming in debt. I was worried about the economy, my job prospects, and whether or not I was truly happy with my chosen path. I found that I was spending too much of my time just hanging out, and not accomplishing the types of things I had always dreamed of. I knew I was a creative, but I never had the guts to really pursue that.

All that changed when I started We Are Not Special.

With the help of my better half Sabrina, together we started a little creative blog. We made a goal of trying to do at least one creative thing a day. We wrote (mostly) terrible songs, filled sketchbooks, conducted interviews, took pictures, and just stretched outside of our comfort zone. I spent endless lectures at U of T drawing in my moleskin at the back of the lecture hall. I just pushed and pushed.

I didn’t really set out to make it a career, I just wanted to use my time better. I wanted to unlock an important part of myself that I knew I had hidden away. I never realized what my potential could be.

This is all really a lesson in goals. Actually it’s a lesson in specific and realistic goals. 

About a year and a half into working on my We Are Not Special project, I started to attract some clients. With the help of a talented photographer friend, we created photoshoots, designs, videos and helped build little brands. Suddenly, my goal of being creative everyday turned into an actual job. Before I knew it, I was making real money, working at a studio, and (much to my parents delight) dropping out of university. I decided to commit whole-heartedly.

But the only way I could make any of this work was by pursuing realistic goals. I decided that I didn’t want to be a solid professional in 6 months, or 2 years. I decided that by 5 years in, I wanted to hit specific goals. Some of those goals were;

  • Having technical proficiency in the Adobe suite focused on; Photography, video, and design
  • Learn how to run a small business
  • Learn how to sell creative and manage projects
  • Learn how to use a variety of cameras for both film and photography

You see, I didn’t decide that I needed to accomplish all of this overnight. If I set a shorter goal, I would have given up. Even looking back, I’m not completely happy with my work 2-3 years ago. All I see is what’s wrong with my photo, video and design work – but if I hadn’t set that goal, I wouldn’t have learned from and made money on those projects. Now, I’m coming up on the 5 year anniversary of my goals, and I just feel like I’m starting to get in the swing of things. I’m at a point now in my creative career where I realize I know nothing – in a good way.

I’ve learned that I need to continue these realistic cycles of goal setting and growth. I need to have the right expectations, and truly just put in my 10,000 hours of work. 5 years ago I was broke, frustrated, and unsure of my path. Today I have travelled the country, built campaigns for brands, won awards for my creative, worked with elite businesses in Canada, and seen my clients achieve success because I created something for them. If you’re sitting there wondering about making a life change, you should probably start today.

I don’t consider myself to be a bold person. I worked slowly and fit things in when I can. At one point I was working two jobs, volunteering, going to university full time, and starting my business. Whenever I could, I just tried to fit in a little bit of creative here or there. I brought my sketchbook with me, I played my guitar even if I was tired, and I snapped as many (awful) photos as I could. I know what it feels like to be tired, and be drained after a long day, but those who commit, succeed.

2017 marks a new chapter in my growth and development, not just as a creative, but as a person. If you’re afraid to step out because you might make a mistake, the best advice I have is this; I have learned more from taking a leap of faith and making mistakes then I ever have from playing it safe. When a project goes bad, when something fails, I know exactly what I have to do to perfect it next time.

So go out, make mistakes, follow your dreams. Start something today that you can look back at in five years and be proud. I’m so glad that I did.

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