Artist Sandra Magsamen knows firsthand what it takes to make your passion your life's work. Her handmade pottery has become a multimillion-dollar gift business and has expanded to include home décor, jewelry, bedding, greeting cards and more. She shares insight on how to live your passion.
There are no big secrets to making your dreams come true and doing what you're passionate about. But there are three ingredients found in every dream realized. They are:
Take the following steps toward pursuing what your are passionate about:
- The belief in yourself and in your dream
- A heaping dose of passion and imagination
- A lot of hard work
Step 1: Identify Your Passion
First you must articulate and identify what you are passionate about. Dream what it is that you want to do, to have, to give, to be. You must fully believe in this passion. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many people write me and say they dream to have a pottery business. And when I ask for more details like What kind of pottery? What does it look like? Where will they sell it? What makes it uniquely theirs? they have no idea. They have not dreamed their dream.
It is key to visualize, see, define, redefine and be specific about your passion. Use your imagination and dream, dream, dream. Create a dream journal, and fill it with as many details and specifics about your passion as you can. Don't worry if you don't yet know what your passions may be. As you create your journal, your true passion will begin to reveal itself.
Ask yourself these questions and answer in long lists:
Get to know yourself, honor yourself, nurture yourself. Themes will begin to appear, and your passion will emerge feeling respected and cared for if you take the time to befriend it.
- What do I love?
- What are my dreams?
- If I could do anything, what would I do?
- What matters to me?
- What do I believe in?
- What brings me joy?
- What do I find beautiful?
- Who am I?
- How do I want to spend my day?
- Where do I want to live?
- Who do I want to be around?
Use your imagination to create a dream that honors you, your beliefs, desires and wishes for your life.
- Make jewelry if you want to be a jewelry designer. Find tons of pictures or sketch what you think is beautiful.
- Cut images from a magazine if you want to build your dream house and make a book filled with what your house will look like.
- Make cakes, decorate them and eat them if you want to be a wedding cake designer. Find, create and save recipes, and photograph every cake you make
- Write poems if you want to be a poet. Dream where you want to publish, what the cover of your first book looks like and see yourself at the book signing.
- If you want to start a nonprofit for children, then do work with children and discover what work you really want to do.
Create a mission statement
Step 2: Create a Mission Statement
Don't worry, your mission statement can change as your dream or passion changes and grows. This is not set in stone—you can revise the plan again and again until that dream becomes a reality.
Creating your dream is a journey that could take a day, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime. Once you are clear about what you want to accomplish, writing a mission statement will help you define, articulate and solidify your ambition and passion.
My dream statement reads: "My dream is very simple—to create products and share ideas that celebrate the people and moments that make life a gift."
Actually sit down and write and rewrite a mission statement until it reflects what is in your heart. This activity will be both fun and challenging. Take your time in getting your statement to really reflect what's in your heart. This activity will urge you to be specific and to define your dream.
Write a step-by-step plan
Step 3: Write a Step-by-Step Plan
Get creative and put your own spin on the work. Use your imagination and make this your own. Have fun, explore and embrace the infinite ways there are to make your passion into a reality.
I wanted to make and sell things that touched peoples' lives and hearts. So I had to first...
If you need to learn a skill or understand a business model, take a class, borrow a book from the library or become an intern with a master.
- Learn to make pottery well.
- Create and design a look that was uniquely my own and make a collection to offer.
- Look for retail outlets and learn how craft and wholesale shows worked.
- Learn enough about business to get into my first show.
Research the area of your dream as much as possible. There is an old saying that I repeat to myself during times of research and preparation: "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail." This little phrase reminds me to do the work I need to do to move my dream forward.
Put your plan into action
Step 4: Put Your Plan Into Action
This is where the hard work comes in. You must work through your plan. Along the way, you will be learning, gaining knowledge, reaching out to mentors when needed and following through on the plan.
The one thing I know for sure is that as you work and grow, so will your plan. Often, people make the mistake of thinking they have to quit their job, change their life and start again to make their dream come true.
My advice is to take your plan and break it up in small steps. Do what you can each day, but use time mindfully so that it feels joyful, not rushed or stressed.
When I created my pottery business, I worked in the evenings and weekends while keeping my full-time job for years. Once I was confident that my dream plans were working, I was then, without stress, able to move to my dream job full time.
Your dream will take you places you never imagine once it takes flight. I never dreamt of the opportunities and people I would meet along the way that have given my dream the breath, beauty and life that it possesses today.
Tips to take to heart
Tips to Take to Heart
A few things to take to heart along your dream journey:
How to be your dream
- Your dream matters! We need dreamers and dreams that will make this world a better place. Take it seriously, nurture it, believe in it and yourself.
- Give yourself permission to be you. Stop censoring your actions. Be you—the only you there is.
- Remember, only you can be yourself. No one else is qualified for the job. Ask yourself: If you don't manifest your dream, who will?
- Have fun, have a sense of humor and have a million laughs.
- Be an optimist. Embrace a positive attitude because, as Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are probably right."
- Embrace your inner child. Do something new, exciting and different. Look at life from a different point of view. Get curious, ask a trillion questions and experience the joy in looking for the answers.
- Make new friends and cherish the old (some are silver and the others are gold). Make and build relationships along the way that are supportive and helpful as you reach toward your goals.
- Let creativity help you solve problems, face challenges and become a part of the fabric of your daily life.
Be Your Dream
Remember these nine things as you embark on your journey:
- BE you: There is only one you. You are a gift, an original, no one else is qualified for the job! We need you. So embrace the world with your own genuine style, do it your way, show us a new way and leave your mark on the world.
- BElieve in yourself: Let go of fear and let your skills, talent and ideas shine. If you believe in yourself, you will do the thing that you dream to do.
- BE passionate: Go for it, live life like it matters, put your heart into everything you do, feel life, taste life, hear it and celebrate it.
- BElong: Join organizations, clubs and groups whose ideas, friendship and values mean something to you.
- BEgin today: Every day is an opportunity to dream, to learn something or discover something or someplace new.
- BE curious: Play, go out on a limb, walk a new way to work, try a new food at dinner and keep learning and growing.
- BEdazzle with your smile and laughter. Laughter is an instant vacation. Have fun, play and enjoy life. Fill the room with sunshine and that beautiful smile, and remember a smile is a little curve that straightens everything out.
- BEhave like it's your last day on the planet. Live in the moment, celebrate you and the people you love. Connect, hug, tell people that you appreciate them, sleep late or get up early. Watch the sun rise or set. Use your senses and taste, hear and see the beauty all around you.
- BEcome what you dream to be. Set goals, identify what matters, focus on where you want to go and go there. You are in the driver's seat—you are not the passenger when it comes to following your dreams. You are in charge, so take a detour, take the back roads, get lost or decide your dream has changed. Just be sure you stay on the dream journey.
Printed from Oprah.com on Monday, March 10, 2014
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