In 2017, I experienced one of the most faith-testing times of all: a 20-something dreamer’s search for fulfilling entry-level work. Even if pursuing entrepreneurship, we all need income to start paying those student loans (if applicable) and bills.
Because I withdrew from my upcoming master's program and moved to New York City spontaneously, I was thrown directly into the unemployed fire. All the days of feeling purposeless and worthless ended up being worth it, though, when I landed my dream job 3 months later. I still have more dreams that I am working towards, but defeating the beast of entry-level job hunting represents an important milestone on every 20-something dreamer's journey.
I know so many dreamers in their 20's enduring this struggle. We’ve got huge visions, yet they’ll take time to manifest, so we have to start somewhere small from where we can build. Through the following lessons that I learned from my toughest days while unemployed, I hope to help guide you dreamers through that uniquely beautiful process, and help you to embrace the terror that is uncertainty.
1. The Law of Averages
Seeking fulfilling employment is a numbers game. No matter how competitive the industry of your passions, though, never cease pursuit. Although debatable, the law of averages is the concept that given enough attempts, an event will happen simply because it is possible. Put your name in enough different hats and eventually, a company will draw your name out. 87 no’s could be followed by that life-changing yes. Play the numbers in your favor through relentlessness. The larger the quantity of quality moves that you make when seeking fulfilling employment, the more likely you are to succeed.
2. Following Your Soul
Apply only for positions that align with your passions and interests. If you must seek temporary non-passionate employment to pay your bills until you land that dream job offer, do that. But no matter what source of income you currently have, if it is not one that waters the garden of your passions, then remain persistent in seeking fulfilling income. It takes time, but when you follow what will make your soul feel joy and love, there comes a point where things fall into place in inexplicably miraculous ways.
In the midst of our constant struggles and fears, sometimes it can get tough to hear what our souls truly desire. To remain in constant communication with your deepest inner-voice, artistic expression can help you master this phase. You may like to draw, to write, or even sing. Or you might not think of yourself as artistic at all, which was me just last year. Regardless, leave your comfort zone and find some way to express your inner-self in whatever ways you enjoy. The simple act of artistic expression opens doors to parts of your soul that have always been there, just patiently waiting to be discovered.
3. Navigating Networking
Build right where you are. Do not wait until you feel that you have the right connections to start making power plays. First, reach out to those within your network who you believe have your best interest at heart. When the connection is genuine, then real blessings can flow. But remember, you do not need anyone but yourself. You are the key ingredient to your professional dreams.
Seek and foster only meaningful connections that will not just propel you closer towards your professional goals, but also feed your soul with love and hope as well. A network of 4 genuine, quality connections possesses more power than one of 100 surface-level connections. Attend events or take whatever steps make most sense for your particular goals, but never forget that who you are as a person speaks far more volumes than who you can list as a reference.
4. Making the Most of #TheWait
Dream journeys are the most worthwhile experiences, but with each one comes inevitable tests of faith and patience. No matter how intelligent or talented you are, we are all only human; even the greats had grueling waits leading up to their success. The beauty of these waits, though, is that they offer you an opportunity of stillness to explore new parts of yourself. If you maintain faith that your current goal will be achieved in due time, then you grant yourself the luxury of time to paint your next dream visions as you work towards the current visions.
Change and growth are beautiful. When life feels on pause, make sure that when it hits play again, you’re an improved and more inspired version of yourself. There will come a day when your current goals have been achieved. When you look back on that waiting period, what do you want to have to show for it? Months of feeling defeated and unmotivated in the bed while waiting on emails, or months of optimism and self-discovery from which exciting entrepreneurial business plans were planted? Rather than wait, start to create.
5. Believing in Yourself, Even When Others Don’t
Unfortunately, even some of your closest friends and family members will doubt the likelihood of your success. Their passionate love for you will make them fear you feeling pain from failure, so they will try to brace you for impact although all you want is their unconditional support. You must learn to appreciate them for their love, while respectfully disagreeing. The people closest to us have the most power to raise doubts in our heads, because we value their opinions most. Fight to unconditionally believe in yourself even when no one but you understands your visions. You are the dreamer in your world, so balance staying in the driver's seat while carefully discerning which constructive criticism is actually valid.
give yourself some love