Everyone has heard of the elusive Big Break—that moment when an ordinary individual is handed the opportunity of a lifetime, launching them to celebrity status. It’s the Cinderella moment everyone dreams of, followed by the fairy tale “and they lived happily ever after” ending. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Wrong. Why? Because The Big Break does not exist.
Sure, there are breaks along the path of any success story—momentous decisions that alter lives and build momentum. In story form, these moments sound like lucky breaks materializing out of thin air. But I guarantee there is more to every Lucky Break story. And the more you hear about that story, the less luck is involved.
You’ve Got Star Quality:
Did you ever have a feeling, when you were a kid, that there was something special about you? Well, I did. Let’s just say whenever I was out and about, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d been randomly “discovered.” For what, I had no idea. But it was a feeling I had, that I was worthy of being singled out—plucked from the crowd for having that Je Ne Sais Qua. Thinking about that now is embarrassing, as well it should be. But apparently I’m not alone—this generation is considered the most narcissistic in history. You too may have shared that fantasy. But if we put pride aside, I think there’s an important lesson there.
Everyone is exceptional. I believe that. You know that thing that makes you a little weird? It’s what separates you from the crowd, illuminates your inner Star. It’s the thing you’re best at and love most. There is room in this world for everyone to be their best. And no, that’s not just some esoteric hippie dippy nonsense. So I’ll say it again. Every single person is exceptional, and there is room for each of us to shine. I’m not saying everyone is going to be a celebrity. Not everyone wants that, for one thing. We all have dreams, and each one is different, like us. It is that fact—that we’re all unique—that makes room for everyone to realize their dreams and stop thinking that only one person can Make It.
Grow Up, Get A Job:
At some point we all have to grow up and stop fantasizing that some random stranger will discover us at the mall, making all our dreams come true. It’s not a good sign when you find yourself sitting around waiting for an anonymous stranger to dangle your dreams in front of you, promising candy if you’ll just get in their van. We all know better.
This realization leads to the moment of disillusionment—the moment we enter The Real World. And most can agree that The Real World sucks. Mature, right?
There are some positives to growing up though: no curfew, driving, financial independence, having sleepovers anytime we want. Those are pretty awesome. And on the practical side it’s pretty great to know how to cook for ourselves, do our own laundry, pay our own bills and make our own beds. But it’s no fairy tale, that’s for sure.
Just Be A Kid:
Confused? You should be. Despite the good side of growing up, there’s no reason to be a Grown Up. There’s something far more important to remember about being a kid. My four-year old son reminded me just the other day.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I think my son is wonderful and exceptional, but this isn’t about that, I promise. The greatest thing about being a kid is fearlessness.
They do not fear rejection, hurt or judgment.
The other day my son decided he wanted to make a movie. As a Grown Up, I’d be worried about the screenplay, the logistics of shooting, directing, editing and funding. Not to mention worried no one would like it. But not him. He plowed through those time-sucking concerns with the confidence of a dictator.
Over the course of the morning he made up the story, convinced his parents to film and act in his movie, providing wardrobe parameters, art direction and calling for new takes when he didn’t like something. I often joke that my musician husband, when in director mode, is an evil dictator, his vision trumping everything else. And I’m not going to lie, it amused me to no end seeing his little Mini Me dole out some of his own medicine. But in the end, the kid had a vision and he executed it (if you really want, you can watch the result here.)
So how can a 4-year old teach you to become a star? Do as he does. Seize the day! He’s got his whole life ahead of him but all he cares about is what’s happening right now. Why wait? Do! Now! Whatever it is you care about—that thing you’ve had in the back of your head but haven’t gotten around to doing yet? Let go of the excuses and take the first step.
The Key To Success:
Here it is, are you ready? Good. This is guaranteed to change your life.
Take one step toward your dream. It doesn’t matter how small it is. Make a list. Make a call. Quit your job. Put pen to paper. Say it out loud. Anything at all. Then, take another step. And another. Finally… and this is the clincher … keep going until you reach your goal.
Disappointed? Here’s why. You’ve been waiting for your Big Break. You’ve had it in your head that some external factor must happen/change/materialize for you to be able to stop waiting and start doing. I’m here to tell you it ain’t coming. But you know what? That’s the best gift I could give you.
Why, you ask? Because it means that your happiness—the realization of your dreams—is not in the hands of some nameless faceless stranger. It’s up to you. And you already have all the tools necessary to make those dreams reality. Think about that. You are free to start on your own dream path. That’s amazing!
On our tour, people frequently stopped us to tell us how lucky we were to be able to do what we love. Sure, it’s great that we do what we love. But lucky? Not so much. Luck implies that someone else is doing the work. It implies we would be doing something else if Luck hadn’t stepped in to make our dreams reality. But you know what the real secret is? We make it work; we swallow our pride. My husband writes songs. Then he records, produces, arranges, mixes and masters them. And then he goes out and performs them. And then we make music videos to go along with them. I write. I sit down and meet my word count and then keep going. Page after page, revision after revision. And when I’m not writing I’m researching, marketing, shooting videos, taking photos, planning new projects, booking tours and taking my son to the park.
So sure, it’s lucky I know what I want to be doing. But doing it is a choice, plain and simple. You either want it badly enough to make the sacrifices, or not. You either put in the work, or you don’t. You either accept the opportunities—big and small—along the way, or not. It’s up to you.
You’re Not Alone:
Want to know the best part about not waiting for your Big Break? You get to build your dream from the ground up. You are the architect. You will meet wonderful people who lift you up. And some that try to lead you off course. But there is no room for jealousy in dream building. No wasting of time and energy. The path to realizing your dreams is filled with amazing people, places and things. They won’t all be nice, or stick around till you get where you’re going, but you’re in charge. Steer yourself in the right direction.
There will be rough roads. And that’s okay. Because we don’t achieve our dreams despite those rough patches, we get better because of them. They hold us back just long enough to let us go, stronger and smarter than we were before. We couldn’t reach our highest heights without them.
The biggest opportunities are only obvious in retrospect. So say yes! Unless your gut says, “No!” In which case, keep moving. Be grateful for the opportunities presented and treat every single one with the respect and passion you would The Big Break, because each step you take toward your dream gets you closer to making it a reality. And when you finally get where you’re going you’ll have amassed a supportive community to share your triumph. And for that, be grateful. Choose happiness. Keep dreaming. And always, always keep going.