I'm so glad you guys enjoyed Part 1 of "The Art of Being a Goal-Getter" last week. I introduced this mini series with my own career history, and in Part 2, I want to share five tips on how to be a goal-getter in your own life…
01. You have to (really) want it. Sometimes I say, "I want to open a restaurant," or "I want to run a marathon," but I really have no desire to work the hectic hours that a restaurant requires, and my knees are way too banged up to run more than a few miles at a time. Some of my ideas are fleeting—not dreams I've had for a really long time. But when I think about designing products, that's something I really want, and something that's been a goal of mine for a long time. What are the things that you constantly think about wanting to do? Tell me what you want (what you really, really want). Whatever it is, that's what you're most likely to achieve because you want it. A lot.
02. You cannot wait around for it. So often people think that as soon as they set up shop (their website, a retail location, an ad in a magazine, etc.), the world will come knocking. But no one will know about what you do or what you have to offer unless you tell them and show them. I learned that lesson early on, when I realized that flyers I put in my neighbors' mailboxes for my calligraphy business did nothing. But as soon as I did some work for someone who was willing to give me a chance, more people saw my potential and hired me for little calligraphy jobs. Ever since then, I have been proactive in going after the things I really want.
03. Do your research. Who or what will be the best fit to help you accomplish your goals? When I pitched to companies to show them that I'd be a great partner for licensing my designs, I made sure they were ones whose aesthetic complemented my own, and that weren't already working with a designer whose style was similar to mine. As much as you may want to work with certain people, companies, or brands, it has to be a realistic fit, and it has to be with someone who seems most interested in what you have to offer.
04. Put together a presentation that shines. Show them what you're made of. When I applied for my first two jobs, I sent a physical package in the mail not only to show companies my work, but also to stand out from all the other resumes that were simply going to be emailed or faxed over. When I pitch ideas to companies for licensing, I mock up the product ideas I have. Whatever it is that you want to show, make sure you wow them with a sampling of your ideas so they can really see what you can do.
05. "No" is not the end of the world (even though it feels like it). When I didn't get my dream job as a home designer for Anthropologie, it forced me to start freelancing because I needed to work and make money. Though I didn't know it at the time, starting my business led me down the path to where I am today. And along the way, there were plenty of projects and jobs I wanted that didn't work out. But they all opened up different, bigger, or better opportunities later on. Often, we learn from things that don't work out and use them to our benefit to strengthen our weaknesses.
Finally, I want to conclude this post by saying that it's okay if your goals sound really out there and are kind of crazy. Don't let people tell you that you can't achieve them, because surrounding yourself with people who believe in you will make those accomplishments even more likely to happen. Every year, I set some ridiculous goal for myself—whether it's a certain amount of income I want to make or a project I want to see happen. And you know what? Every year I manage to make it happen. Because if you put it out there, you'll work hard and figure out ways to get closer and closer to reaching it.
So, tell me friends…what's ONE thing you really want to accomplish by next year?