I remember the first time I attempted to write a story. It was a warm summer evening, and I was cooped up in my room, sitting on the floor and scribbling notes onto printer paper. I was five.
I could barely form letters at the time, but the ideas burned inside me like the setting sun – I'd found my passion.
If you're so lucky to discover a craft that excites you, build on it, align your goals with it and never let it go.
"To truly reach your potential, you need to identify your passions and talents and create ways to utilize them each day," said Heather Monahan, founder of #BossinHeels, a career mentoring group. "If anything is important enough to you, you will find a way to make time for it."
Losing sight of your ambitions will leave you uninspired, affecting both your professional and your personal life. Here's how to hold tight to your passions and develop your goals throughout your career.
Choose an industry that reflects your interests
You don't need to work in a position that directly aligns with your interests, but you should be channeling them in some way. For instance, if you work in in real estate but have a passion for photography, you can leverage this skill by taking photos of properties. Not only will this appeal to buyers, but it will also allow you to practice your craft.
Without heart or drive, you'll never reach your potential. Rather than choosing a job for the money, choose it for your happiness; and if you aren't feeling satisfied in your work, don't hesitate to make a change. You're never trapped.
Monahan advised speaking up to managers when you feel unfulfilled. That way, they can involve you in projects more geared toward you and your talents. By leveraging your skills and interests in the workplace, you will not only perform better, you'll also feel more motivated, confident and inspired.
Share your goals with loved ones
The more you talk about something, the more real it becomes. Take the chance to speak about your goals as often as possible, with as many people as you can.
"The more people you bring into the fold to share your goals with, the more people you have asking you about your progress and updates which keeps you on track," said Monahan.
Whether it be a family member, a mentor or someone who has embarked on a similar endeavor, stay inspired by voicing your ambitions.
Monahan shares her goals with her son to help her commit. When she feels like quitting, she thinks about what type of example that would set for him, and continues to push forward.
Make your passions a priority
One of the most common excuses for not doing something is lack of time. But if you are truly passionate about something, you won't let yourself get sidetracked. You'll likely never "have" the time – it's about making it.
"I found that the simple step of taking action helps," said Monahan. "Doing something, no matter how small, each day to take you closer to your goal will allow you to see progress."
This is ultimately up to you. While you might have support from friends or loved ones, you're the one choosing to wake up an hour earlier, or work on a project instead of binging Netflix shows in your free time. Hold yourself accountable for pursuing your dreams, no matter how busy you might be.
"Writing your goals down and having them handy to see as a reminder also helps," Monahan added. "I like to give myself deadlines and track my progress against them each week."
Always remember why you started, and where you want to end up.