A woman singing with a guy to her left playing the guitar

One of my biggest fears is not realizing my full creative potential. Two years ago, I crossed paths with an inspiring female artist at a house concert in Los Angeles. We’re both singer-songwriters and performed on the same bill that night.

After the show, I followed her on Instagram and soon found myself scrolling through an endless sea of tiles on her profile thinking, “Wow, this woman knows what she wants, and she’s doing everything in her power to get it.” She was fearless. She had a vision, and it was inspiring. 

Sometimes, the biggest obstacle between us and a dream is ourselves. At the time, I’d been a professional singer and artist for a decade but didn’t know I was, subconsciously, putting myself in a box—defeating my dreams before I could even get started.

Sometimes, the biggest obstacle between us and a dream is ourselves.

Then, one day, I challenged myself to press the reset button and start fresh with an entirely new perspective. When I dream today, I think “why not” instead of ruling it out, dwelling on my inadequacies. Learn to trust in yourself and know that once you open your mind to all possibilities and put yourself out there, the opportunities will be endless.

When I was at that house concert two years ago, I never thought I’d later end up singing for 20,000 people at Staples Center and millions more on a national TV show. I just had to open myself up to the unimaginable. Putting yourself out there may seem daunting, but there’s immense power in letting others know what you want.

Putting yourself out there may seem daunting, but there’s immense power in letting others know what you want.

Follow these five steps, and you might find the dreams you thought were unreachable are actually closer than you think.

Build self-confidence.  

The key to success is finding the right mindset. Putting yourself out into the world and accepting rejection is a mental journey that takes courage. You’re not going to hit a home run every time, but to see results, you just have to keep going.

As a vocalist and performer, I remind myself all the time that what I create isn’t for everyone. It’s easy to scroll through Instagram and get discouraged—or even jealous—seeing others achieve your dreams. The remedy is this—decide to redirect that negative energy. Look on in admiration when you see someone achieve something great. Learn from them, and if what they’re doing is what you want to do, then use the internet and your resourcefulness to reverse engineer that result. 

It’s easy to scroll through Instagram and get discouraged—or even jealous—seeing others achieve your dreams.

Pick your destination and create a roadmap.  

In other words, develop a vision of where you want to go and create an action plan. Create a vision board on Instagram. Next time an acquaintance gets a big opportunity you’d love to have, bookmark it and add it to your vision board. Then, go back and revisit your vision board to review those posts or “mini goals.” Take one action step per post and move those goals forward. 

Instagram aside, your plan isn’t real unless you write it out. Document your goals and track progress regularly. Don’t lose sight of your destination, but know that it could change because priorities shift, dreams evolve and global pandemics happen.

Your plan isn’t real unless you write it out.

As you revisit your plan, prioritize your personal goals and continue to push yourself forward. Don’t forget to dream bigger and ask, “I accomplished that, now what’s next”?

Focus on relationship-building.  

Successful people know how to communicate effectively. They are masters at building relationships and leveraging their network to advocate for their pursuits. Here are a few pearls of wisdom to keep in mind as you communicate.

It’s not all about you. Recognize the human on the other end of the conversation. What do they want in life? What makes them happy outside of work? Sometimes, people need a friend, and oftentimes, they need a warm conversation or kind gesture. We all want to be respected, considered and needed in some way. Ask them about their dreams and help make them come true in an honest, authentic way. 

Relationships are like plants. Remember to keep watering and tending to them. Check in on people occasionally, but don’t ask them for anything. This shows you genuinely care about them. Keep giving, and then, when you need help, they’ll likely give back to you joyfully and without hesitation. 

Stand on top of failures. 

In the moment, failure seems like the end of the world, but it’s really a beautiful invitation to rise above and grow. To reframe how you think about failure, start seeing it as a springboard to success. Instead of letting a mistake pull you down, learn from it, shake it off and move on. Whenever I have a bad day on stage, my next performance is a chance to show myself—and any doubters—what I’m made of! 

Instead of letting a mistake pull you down, learn from it, shake it off and move on.

Find your tribe. 

We’re often a reflection of the people we spend the most time with. Surround yourself with the right tribe of positive, go-getters because that energy and optimism is contagious. The journey toward success is long and challenging, and you’ll need encouragement along the way. Therefore, it’s crucial you spend time with people who cheer you on during your hardest moments and greatest victories.

Have you ever struggled to put yourself out there? In what practical ways can you take steps toward moving past fear today?

Featured Image via Chris Wood Pictures 

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