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The Career Coach: Time To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

It's the New Year folks and time to get moving on making your dreams come true. Pamela Thompson, the Career Coach, gives you the specifics on how to get started.

pam.gif Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

It's a whole new year -- a chance to start fresh. What can you do in 2002 to make your dreams come true? Turn them into goals. A goal is a dream with a deadline.

Define Your Dreams

Goals can be anything you want. Write down whatever they may be. Write a date after each one -- the date you expect to achieve that goal. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time for each. Writing down your goals will help you stay on track. Fewer than 3% of the U.S. population actually writes down their goals so already you will be ahead of 97% of other people.

Write down both short term and long range goals so you can have a map of what you'd like to accomplish/acquire/learn/earn/do. Don't be afraid of putting down even the most impossible or outrageous goals. You'll never get those dreams if you don't know what they are.

If you prefer, you can create a dream board, which is a visual representation of your goals. Use drawings, slogans, photos or other visuals to illustrate your list of goals on a poster board. Hang it prominently so you can remind yourself of your direction every day. You can have a dream board party. Invite some friends over to share their dreams and make the boards together.

The dream board or goals list is what you want -- not the expectations or wishes of anyone else. Don't worry about what others think of your goals/plans. They're your desires. This is a time to write down what is important to you. Some goals may be long term -- a friend of mine wants to exhibit at the Guggenheim in New York. He hasn't had a show there yet, but he works every day toward achieving this dream.

Get Writing!

Even if you have just one or two goals write them down -- no matter how extreme they may seem. Don't censor yourself into thinking that your goal is impossible.

Example: Goals for 2002 (January 2002). Get a new job. Meet new people.

Be Specific.

You have to be specific in order for your dreams/goals to become reality. So rewrite your goals to be as specific as possible. Goals must be specific and measurable. Your goal might be to become a better artist, but without specifics you won't be able to achieve this goal. Some examples of specific goals might be: Take life drawing classes once a week. Go to the zoo once a month and draw the animals for 3 hours. Go to the mall once a month and draw people for 3 hours. Update portfolio twice a year -- once in May, once in November. Get the idea?

Better Example: Goals for 2002 (January 2002). Get a job as a voice over actor by June 1st. Meet two new people a week.

Devise A Plan Of Action.

Your goal list might look like a plan of action.

Example: Muriel's goals for 2002. Take voice over class. Take acting class. Make demo tape. Send demo tape to voice over agents in Los Angeles area. Attend two networking meetings a week.

This list of goals is Muriel's road map to success.

Be specific and you will have a course of action. Take action and make your dreams a reality.

Set Deadlines.

Deadlines will help you focus your energies. Allow yourself enough time to accomplish your goals. Don't expect changes over night. The important thing is to get started at once.

Share Your Dreams.

Don't keep what you want a secret. If you have specific goals you can share them with others. They may be able to help you reach them or give you an introduction to someone who can help. When you share your dreams, others may have ideas of how you can accomplish them. Be willing to help others with their goals as well.

Ask For Help.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. But don't expect anyone to wave a magic wand and grant you your every wish. You are going to have to work hard to earn the help of others. This includes staying enthusiastic and determined. If you are devoted to your goals, it will be easier to get help from others as well. No one can help you if you are not willing to work hard yourself.

Stay Focussed.

Many goals can be difficult to reach but the problem is usually that we don't devote enough time or resources toward what we want. We get sidetracked. That is the key reason to write them down. You have to be committed to your goals and dreams. After you have your goals/dreams list, post it in a prominent place. Use it to remind yourself of what you'd like to do, what you want to accomplish and where you'd like to go. It will help you keep on your path.

Relentlessly Apply Yourself.

Pick a goal, get started and keep going. Work on your goal every day.

If your goal is to improve your drawing skills, resolve to draw for an hour every day. Pick a time of day, before work or school, after work or school, during the lunch hour, whenever is right for you, and do it. Just like a daily exercise. If you draw every day, you will become a better artist.

If your goal is to meet two new people in the animation industry every week, put yourself in play at industry networking events -- a film festival, a talk at an animation gallery, a college lecture or a software sponsored event. There are many opportunities to meet people in the industry, including organizations such as Women in Animation, SIGGRAPH and ASIFA. There are many sources of help for people who want to break into the animation industry, including this Website. These resources can help you make your dreams reality.

The beginning of the year is a great time to plan what you want to accomplish in the coming year(s). But anytime is a good time to define your goals. Begin now -- make a goals list or dream board and get started on creating the life you want.

I wish you all success and joy in the New Year. May you accomplish your goals and make your dreams come true in 2002.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach and recruiter who speaks at colleges and universities about animation, art and visual effects careers. Her goal is to make a new goal list before the end of January.