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Two Rules to Help You Chase Your Dreams

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As Kyle Sasala mentioned in Dreams Are Dirty, chasing your dreams can be exhausting. While chasing my dreams, I have found guidance from two of my father-in-law’s phrases of wisdom. I would like to pass them along to you because they have helped me make big decisions, not only in my career, but life in general.

The first phrase is, “If you have a clipboard in your hands, you can go anywhere.”

No one questions the person with the clipboard, instead, the person with the clipboard does the questioning!

Here’s an example of someone with a clipboard: a young, aspiring director had the opportunity to be an unpaid intern at Universal Studios in the 1960’s. The internship only granted him certain restricted access, not satisfying his hunger to get up close and personal with the film business. So he came up with a creative solution. This young prodigy put on a suit, borrowed his father’s briefcase and walked right onto the backlot. He did this until he finally got his short film into the right hands. He was offered a seven year director’s contract, making him the youngest director to ever be hired by Universal Studios. The intern? Steven Spielberg.

It wasn’t a clipboard for Spielberg, but it was the attitude. He probably had the confident demeanor of a man on a mission, meant to be there. He did not look over his shoulder appearing guilty and timid.

Is it a job that you are trying to obtain? Maybe a meeting you have to lead? Go boldly and with confidence. Act like you belong there and no one will question you do or not. You might just find yourself with a promotion or a new career entirely.

The second phrase is, “Say ‘yes’ now and ‘oh crap’ later.”

No one questions the person with the clipboard, instead, the person with the clipboard does the questioning!

Have you ever been faced with a big opportunity and then been asked, “Do you know how to do this?” You find yourself stuck because saying, “no,” would lose you the opportunity. So what do you do?

I know I’ve been faced with this situation a number of times. I am not suggesting you go all “Catch Me If You Can,” where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character pretends to be a doctor when he has absolutely no medical education. That’s just dangerous and irresponsible! However, if someone is looking to hire you for a position in your field, have some confidence in yourself that you’ll figure it out when you get there.

In between two stints of being employed in the fitness industry, I was a salesperson at a car dealership for over three years. There is nothing about me that screams “car sales.” I had zero sales experience, I was somewhat easily intimidated at the time, and I was such a people pleaser that I was constantly tap-dancing around, rather than telling people how it is. I was afraid of hurting feelings or making people upset.

But I boldly stepped into this job, knowing full well that it was going to be an interesting experience. Little did I know, the next three-and-change years would shape the way I view everything! From sales, to company culture, to relationships, to life.

I could have said no and life may have been a lot easier, but I said yes, and yeah, there were many “oh craps” over those few years. Those “oh crap” moments were sometimes the most educational and they have made me into the person I am today.

So what do these two phrases of wisdom have in common? They require a boldness that you may need to manufacture. You need to realize that you may have to figure things out on the other side of yes. No one is born knowing everything. But what chance do you have if you keep saying “no” or “I can’t” or “I don’t know how.” Say yes, get in there, and grow!