“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” – Oprah Winfrey
When I first moved to Chicago, my main focus was on finding a job. I searched CraigsList (all the rave back then) and other classified job posts. Sure, I could do data entry or work as a receptionist. I could find any print shop and get a job with very little effort. There were a lot of jobs available that I could do – but nothing really appealed to me. I asked myself instead what I wanted to do.
On one drive through the city on my way to a friends, I saw something stained glass. I don’t really remember if it was an actual ad for a stained glass company or if it was just a beautiful stained glass window in a church. What I do remember is thinking “I want to do that! I want to make those. I want to create!” I imagined many ways that this dream could manifest. The strongest vision I had was of myself working in my home studio (which didn’t exist), creating beautiful works of art and selling them… somehow. That’s where I got stuck. How would I make a living working out of a home studio that didn’t exist? Where would I get the supplies? The tools? While I doubted the success of working for myself, I never doubted that I could somehow work with stained glass. I took this desire very seriously. I thought of more practical means of manifesting this dream.
I decided to call every stained glass studio in Chicago to see if they were hiring. It was a long shot, but I could at least try, right? Nine out of ten studios seemed annoyed with my out-of-place phone call. They weren’t advertising anywhere, so why was I bothering them? It was such an unconventional phone call. The tenth place I called responded excitedly that they were in fact considering hiring someone for their show room. It turned out my phone call to them encouraged the owner to make that position official. I started work there the following week.
I had no experience with stained glass. I simply had a desire that felt significant. Working in the showroom of a stained glass studio wasn’t a life accomplishment – remember, my strongest vision was of myself creating glorious pieces of stained glass art in my own home studio. What this little victory did show me was that I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. I learned that I could work where I wanted to work. I could make a living doing what I wanted to do. I didn’t have to settle for what I could do. I could do what I wanted to do!
This small step has led to several other small steps that have led to me completely working for myself, doing what I love. I continue to take baby steps and giant leaps towards my goals and dreams. By moving forward every day, I get closer and closer to reaching greatness. Each day that I move closer to success, my aspirations re-define themselves to something larger. Celebrate the significance of each little victory. Recognizing the greater meaning in each baby step will inspire you to keep moving forward.
***Side note: as a bonus for my enthusiasm about following my dreams, the Universe gave me the gift of an opportunity. One of the assignments I had at the stained glass studio was to design two restroom doors for Salud Tequila Lounge in Wicker Park, Chicago. My beautiful pieces of stained glass art are still on display in this popular hot spot.