Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and for the first time in years, I don’t have to work today. I always thought that it was strange that all of the places I’ve been employed at my adult life, never recognized this historic and monumental day. I always felt a sense of bewilderment smothered in anger that I was working on a federal holiday, especially this holiday to honor a man who fought for some of the basic human rights I am afforded today. Only 45% of employers actually give their employees Martin Luther King Jr. Day off of work. Of course this varies geographically. I live in New York City which is pretty progressive but yet and still, I never had MLK Jr. Day off work in this state. Maybe it’s different in other places but New York City and non black folk seem to recognize every single holiday except the one that matters exponentially to black folks. It always makes me angry as if some how this is an illegitimate holiday only to pacify us black folk and not necessarily unite us as American’s. The only reason I have today off is because I work for myself. Since Dr. King is most widely recognized for his I Have A Dream Speech, I want to share some of my thoughts on dreams. The importance of having them and also of following them.
Your Dream is Usually Your Purpose
[one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]I knew when I was a teenager sitting in my room, reading tons of books and magazines that I wanted to be a writer. I always knew. I wrote any chance I could get. I wrote poems for my middle school boyfriend and literal 4 page letters to him too. I wrote short stories and fictional novels loosely based on my teenage angst. I wrote essays and a monthly newsletter that I’d email to my group of college freshman friends about the woes of being a freshman. I can perfectly articulate a thought but only with a pen and paper. When I was in high school I bought a slim black leather briefcase with modern square handles. I loved that bag and bought it with purpose. I planned on using it to carry my articles and essays.[/one_half][one_half_last padding=”0 0 0 15px”]In my college writing class I wrote a poem about that briefcase and how it represented the life I knew I wanted to have as a writer but that I shelved for a more conventional and monetarily lucrative career in healthcare. Even with a full schedule of science and anatomy classes, I found time to write for my college newspaper. I started this blog 9 years ago when I graduated from NYU with a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. This was my outlet for creativity and eventually revealed itself as my purpose. I went the long way around but I ended up right where I knew I’d be, writing and blogging. You can take the long way or the shortcut but 9 times outta 10, what you’re the most passionate about is your purpose.[/one_half_last]
You Don’t Need to Run Your Dream Past Anyone but You
When I was younger, I wasn’t living my life for me. There were people to please, my parents for instance. So I fell in line and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s takes going through life and actually living a little before you know what you want for yourself. It took me some time to actually find what really makes me happy. I was really good at being a Physical Therapist. I helped a lot of people. Some people would say that what I do now, being a full-time blogger or influencer doesn’t hold the same prestige. Maybe it doesn’t but I honestly don’t care. I’m not living my life for anyone but myself. I will always have my degree. Always. I can parlay that into health writing, teaching and more. But I don’t care about prestige. I care about waking up and being excited for the day. Heading into my home office and writing my heart out. Even if it’s only read by one person, that’s enough for me. You also run the risk of diluting your dream when you ask for too many peoples opinions on what you should do. Educational advice is fine and dandy but everything required to fulfill your purpose in oftentimes already within you.
Don’t Expect Everyone to Be On Board with Your Dream
All people don’t think the same. Everyone doesn’t think like you think. There are even some fundamentally different ways in which men and women think. Different parts of the brain activated, different pathways and neuron synapsis for problem solving. There’s always going to be someone who thinks your dream is too big or unattainable. They can’t help it. Some people weren’t taught or have ever learned to see further than what’s within eyesight. Opening your mind to possibilities doesn’t come easy for everyone. Most people operate from a place of fear instead of a place of abundance. Fear rules a lot of the decisions we make in life. It takes practice and courage to break free from that kind of strong hold over our thinking. So don’t be so quick to cut someone off who can’t see the vision. Conversely don’t waste time trying to convince anyone either.
Photography by Rose Lazard || Editing by Monroe Steele
GET THE LOOK
No one can be the Blue Print for Your Dream[one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]I find it so disheartening when I see people literally morph into someone they admire who has reached a level of success that person wants for themselves. Some people are the Blue Prints. They come up with amazing ideas, businesses, products and lo and behold two seconds later someone who admires them does the EXACT SAME THING. Insert *bangs head against wall* GIF here. No one is inventing the wheel here in 2019 but it’s basic math. How can you fulfill your dream with someone else’s Blue Print? It just doesn’t add up. No one can be better at being them than them. Just like no one is better than being you than you. A successful person can give you a playbook of exactly what they did and you can follow it perfectly and will still fail.[/one_half][one_half_last padding=”0 0 0 15px”]You are the blue print for fulfilling your dream and your dream alone. Until you do it your way, unapologetically and authentically, you will always fail. I learned this the hard way. We all have at one point or another tried to immolate people we admire. We may copy their style or their writing or their methods of doing things and think that because they are successful, we will yield the same results. That’s never the case. I didn’t gain real traction in pursuing my dream, until I stopped following the basic formula for success and started doing things because I genuinely and passionately wanted to. Not because that’s what everyone else who seemed successful was doing. The only way to be original is to execute your own ideas.[/one_half_last]
The Dream is Free, The Hustle is Sold Separately
Dreams are not meant to stay dreams. They are meant to materialize and take roots and take form and grow into tangible things. My dream was to write and now I’m writing. I’m not saying quit your day job, I’m saying don’t quit your day dream. If you can go and work 40 hours a week for someone else, doing something that isn’t deeply serving you, you can most certainly find the time even if it’s an hour a week to work on your dream, whatever that may be. I spent 8 years working a very demanding full-time job but when I got home I was always eager to work on my business and my blog. Put in the work. People who are successful rarely get there because of luck. It’s because they put in the work. They believed that they could bring their dreams to fruition and they had the passion and determination to turn the dream into a reality.
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day Beloveds.
Even if you’re not off work today, take a little time and do something that will get you a little closer to fulfilling your dreams.