All Women's Talk

7 Stepping Stones to Living Your Dream Life ...

By Ellie

When we're younger and someone asks us what we want to do, our response is determined by the things we love doing - a footballer, a singer, a ballet dancer. As we get older, what we want to do gets overtaken by what we have to do; we think more about which jobs are going to pay enough to us to cover the rent and go on our next holiday than the jobs that will make us feel fulfilled in a way that isn't purely financial. OK, so few people are going to be the next Beyoncé, but that doesn't mean you have to give up hope entirely. Here's a few ways you can keep your childhood naïveté alive - and get your dream job.

1 You Really do Have to Work Hard

Eurgh, I know. Those tropical holidays and Manolo Blahnik's aren't, apparently, going to fall into my lap - despite frequent, concentrated hoping. If you want to get somewhere, whether that's a particular position in your company or going down a whole new avenue, you're going to have to work hard to get there. People respect that, it'll show you're serious about what you're doing and it will pay off in the end.

2 Get Qualified

There are loads of online courses on offer now that you can do in the evenings or in your lunchtime without it taking up too much of your time. They don't have to be formal qualifications necessarily (like a degree) - many will take only a week or two, or even a day; but they'll boost your CV and could be the edge you need. If you're already working in the industry you want to be in, you could even ask the company to pay for the courses for you - if it helps your work, it's helping them, too.

3 Have an End Goal in Mind

This is my main problem - I still don't know exactly what it is I want to do, so I feel like I'm floundering around a bit until I do. I suppose some floundering is natural for most of us, but try to decide a definite end goal - it'll make the steps you need to get there much clearer (and that, in itself, is the first step).

4 Don't Let Knockbacks Stop You

The form rejection letter - the work of a mere moment, but it's effects can be devastating. It is so, so hard not to take every rejection and every knock back you get personally. But there's a reason successful business people tend to be so strong and that's because rejection is going to be part of the deal. You don't need to be ruthless, but developing a thicker skin is going to help you get where you want to be.

5 Be Prepared to Take a Hit

I know someone who took a job he didn't particularly want, turned out to be good at it and has now risen to a comfortable position and a comfortable salary that will only improve. However, he still doesn't really enjoy it, but is debating between carrying on or switching careers, because he knows it'll mean significantly less money. You need to be prepared for this, but I think you should do it! Obviously you need to survive, but where you can, always choose the things you're passionate about over money.

6 Can You do It in Your Spare Time?

A lot of hobbies are turned into successful businesses - fashion, cooking, craft etc - and now, in the days of blogs and social media, there are more opportunities than ever to get your work out there. Take those opportunities - if it's something you're doing anyway, take the extra bit of time to put it on a blog, or contact local businesses to see if they're interested in stocking what you're making.

7 Work Isn't Life

We seem to spend so much time working now, more than ever before. When we spend so much time thinking about work, it can be easy to let you take over your life. Remember that, although it's important, it's not everything - and whatever you're doing, you don't have to be stuck.

It's not going to be an easy thing; everyone I know, or anyone I've read about who are exactly where they want to be have worked really, really hard to get there. But if it's something you enjoy, hopefully it won't feel quite so much like hard work. Do you enjoy your jobs or do you want to work towards something better?

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