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How to find the starting point towards your dreams



How to find the starting point towards your dreams

If you are like me, then you probably have had dreams and ambitions to be successful. At Least I hope you do. Sometimes it’s hard to find a starting point or even know where to begin to be successful.


Then you have to ask yourself,

“What exactly is success?” “How can I measure my own success?”


I remember when I graduated college, I was a little envious of some of my friends who got amazing jobs straight out of college. They were making so much more money than I was and even got to travel the world for free on the company’s dime.


In this post I want to tell you my story of success and how I learned to avoid being trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking, and how I didn’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out my inner voice.



Remember The First Time You Thought Of Your Specific Goal


Ever since I was a kid I always had this infatuation and love for New York City. I had never been before, but growing up my mom had me watching musicals like “West Side Story” and “Annie.” The buildings were so much bigger than buildings I had seen growing up in Louisville, KY.


As I got older, watching old gangster movies like The Godfather was just so… gangster. Everything about NYC from television and what I had heard was the place I wanted to be without having even been there before.


I knew at an early age I wanted to move to NYC one day and start my own business or work for a company in the Big Apple.


For anyone who has a long term or short term goal, it is important to go back in time and remember when this first thought or idea came to mind for two reasons:


  • This will help with measuring your own success. – Did you personally achieve what you have always wanted?
  • You have the power to make your dreams come true. – If you always have wanted something, did you empower yourself to fulfill this want, or did you just let it slip into a thought?



Come Up With A Plan


Once I realized that I wanted to live in New York I knew that I was the only person that could make this dream become a reality. I was still a little kid just entering the ninth grade, but I knew I wanted to move to NYC.


My parents raised me to be a hard worker and work for the things that you want in life. They preached that nothing is handed to you, it requires hard work, dedication, and a plan. After all, the reason some of you own the laptop or cell phone to read this article is a result of your own hard work, right?


At this point I realized I needed to come up with a plan to save money for my “Move to NYC fund.”


The bottom line was, I had to save money. Saving money for any ninth grader is difficult when you can’t legally have a part time job due to age restrictions.



So what was my plan? I planned to save all of my $1 bills.


Let me explain….


If I spent $20, or any amount of money and received a single dollar bill as change, that $1 went in my back left pocket until I got home to add it to my secret stash.


No spending any $1 bills for me. If I ordered off the $1 menu, I was paying with a $20 bill even though I had singles in my back left pocket.


I had a grass cutting business in high school and made a decent amount of money with 7 lawns a week at $25 per cut in the summer. Almost $200 a week for a highschool student living at home was more than enough money when mom and dad were still paying for most everything.



Don’t Deviate From The Plan And Have A Backup Plan


Anyone can really make a plan and act like they are following it. Nowadays some of my friends tell me they quit smoking cigarettes 2 months ago. When we’re out drinking, they sneak a smoke in and justify it by telling me “I don’t smoke anymore, this is just one cigarette in the past 3 weeks, I’m not a smoker.


Creating a plan means sticking to it. No cheating. After all, this is your dream, if you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself.


All through high school and college, I saved my one dollar bills. As I got older and started getting internships and more adult jobs, I was adjusting my lifestyle spending more money, but saving more $1 bills.


I had a lot of money saved up and at this point I was a little nervous about having so much money in my dorm room. It was time to buy a fireproof safe.


You would think that any normal person would be sure to put all the money in the fireproof safe in a college dorm room to hide their savings over the years. Well, I’m not normal. I bought the safe as a decoy.


In college word of mouth gets around, naturally. I wasn’t sharing with people that I was saving my bills. It was a secret. But my roommate and people who came into our dorm room saw the safe under our bunk beds and people always asked what I had in there…


I just told them “important stuff” and never spoke about it. In reality, I didn’t have anything in there other than a few bottles of liquor I wasn’t supposed to have.


I hollowed out an old text book like you see in one of those spy movies and placed all the money inside it on my roommates bookshelf. I knew if someone wanted to steal from me, the first thing they were going for was not the Rene Descartes philosophy text book, they were going to take the safe.


I continued saving the money. More money stacked up. By my sophomore year of college I had over $4,000 saved up. Still, no one knew what the money was for, not even my family.


Then, one night my roommate had a party and the safe was gone….


Someone thought they were slick and stole my safe. But my money was still sitting nice and quiet in my old philosophy textbook on the shelf, right in plain sight.


I’m not sure what your backup plan is, or even your goal/s. But it’s important to have a backup plan too. Yea, mine was a little creative but whatever your backup plan is, it should be like trip insurance. You’re main goal is still there, but just in case something happens, you still have everything covered.



Don’t Get Discouraged


I graduated college and had a total $7,832 dollars saved up. I bet you can guess my debit card pin…


Obviously, I exchanged all of the bills for higher denominations, but even that much money doesn’t fit in an old hollowed out philosophy text book.


I had all of this money saved up in cash, and other money in my savings account, but I was in the perfect spot to achieve my lifelong goal! I graduated and now it was time to find a job in NYC, right?




I graduated in 2010 and the economy was still bad in the US. Jobs in NYC were paying a salary of $30,000 a year, with little benefits. I was probably the most discouraged human on earth when I had to make the decision to move back to Louisville, KY after I spent years of saving.


I built excel spreadsheets with numbers on how I could make $30,000 a year and living in NYC work. I came up with grocery lists that would help me budget money all to just live in NYC! It was time for a reality check…


It wasn’t the right time to make the move just yet. I needed work experience in order to build my resume to have a higher salary if I were to move to New York.


So, I took a shitty job in Kentucky. All my friends parents worked for big companies and helped them get jobs in LA, Chicago, and even NYC. Here I was, with more money saved up then them, and I had to move back to Kentucky to sell hotel coupons to Days Inn Motels and Microtell’s along the highway.


But, I continued saving my $1 bills!


I went on to work for Livingsocial after the hotel advertising job. Livingsocial was fun, until they wanted me to do more and pay me less.


So I quit…


Studied for the GMAT and didn’t get into Graduate school. I was stuck.



Be Patient


If I have learned anything in life, it’s good to fail. If I didn’t fail back then, I wouldn’t be where I am at now. Everything I’ve done in life, I’ve figured out on my own.


Taking calculated risks when we are young is important for your future.


I didn’t get into Grad school, so the next day, I purchased a one way ticket to NYC! I spent over a month searching for jobs. I went on interviews, I got job offers… and turned them down.


I was staying in Airbnb’s around the city to save money. I didn’t know how long it was going to be until I landed a job, and I didn’t want to be locked into a lease right away until I had something stable.


I was getting so frustrated that I was getting job offers, but for $30,000 – $40,000 with my experience just wasn’t cutting it for me. I had to turn them down even though I wanted to start working right away, and ship all of my belongings from Kentucky.


I had been in New York living the life for a little over a month. I wasn’t spending too much money, but the New York City fund was slowly depleting. Weekends I did touristy things and tried to network with people. During the week I was attending at least 4-6 interviews.


But damn, New York was so expensive!


I was just about to call it quits and schedule a flight back to Kentucky. I figured that this was not the best time for me to make the move and maybe I should try again in about a year or so. Until, I got a phone call from a recruiter.


Have Self Confidence


I’ll never forget this women’s name, Debbie. She called me just when I was closing my laptop to call my parents and let them know I was going to head home since I did not find the job I wanted.


I told Debbie a brief overview of my story and she said there was a pharmaceutical company looking for a sales rep. She told me the salary and benefits and it got my attention. If I landed the job, I was even given a brand new company car too.


She told me that my resume was a little shy of the requirements because I was only in sales for about 2 years. I argued with her and begged for her to give me a shot.


Long story short, I had 2 face to face interviews with her. I made it past those two and now it was time to meet Bryce, my future boss if I landed the job.


I remember being so nervous in the interview room. They had me meet at Newark International Marriott Hotel in a conference room. There were about 4 other people who were interviewing for the position and we all made small talk in the hallway. I was so nervous because all of them had years of sales experience.


My name was called. I sat in the chair shaking with cotton mouth. I needed some water and the questions kept getting harder.


I made it through the interview and the last question he asked me changed my life. Bryce asked me “Why should we hire you over the other people standing in the hallway?


I took a deep breath and said “Can you give me a few seconds to gather my thoughts?


I responded with:


I purchased a one way ticket to New York a little over a month ago. I have been on many interviews and turned jobs down. My dream is to live in New York ever since I was a kid. I have over $7,000 saved up. This is my plan A, I don’t have a plan B. Debbie mentioned you would be making a decision around 4pm today who you will be hiring for the job.


I began to stand up and push my chair under the table…


I want this job more than anyone in that hallway right now, and I expect a phone call at 4pm.” I extended my hand out as Bryce reached for it. I turned around and walked out of the room to see Debbie standing right there.


I was so scared for what I had just said and did not even say thank you Debbie. I just got in my car and went back to the Airbnb I was staying at.


I got the job.




This is my story to how I achieved one of my goals. I hope you have many goals you are looking to achieve. Everyone’s story is unique but they all follow somewhat of a pattern.


The key to never giving up is keeping the main goal, the main goal. Stay disciplined and if you can’t want something so bad that it hurts, then you need to readjust your goals!


Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do what you want to do. As I was in New York for a little over a month, everyone was asking me when I was going to come home?


I told them I wasn’t coming home until I had to pack all of my stuff up because I found a job. Don’t ever give up on your goals. Today, I work for a medical device company in Brooklyn and Staten Island. I also own a health website with a close friend of mine.


I stopped saving my $1 bills. I now use an app called Acorns to round my credit card purchases to the nearest dollar. This is essentially what I had been doing years ago. I should have started Acorns!


But, I have saved a ton of money using this app and I also gain miles to travel on top of that. I rarely use cash anymore.

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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