“Mr. Augie when I make it big it’ll be as a rapper.”
“I going to be a professional football player.”
These are just two of the many overly ambitious comments I have heard over the past 26 years. All of them have come from a courageous teen who had taken the step of trusting me with their dream. For this I am grateful. Along with being grateful, as a real friend, I often make a few suggestions and ask some questions. My approach towards all the young people I have worked with has always been to treat them as I treat my own children. What I have found has been anything but comforting.
If my children had made these comments I would have asked many questions to find out how much they knew about their chosen field. Also, as a means to give them advice, and perhaps most importantly, to find out how I can help them reach their goal; this is the true definition of support. To my surprise, other than what a TV shows presents or what a video game has portrayed or what their friends have said, most of my young teens know very little about their chosen career field. They imagine or assume many things which they deem to be factual without doing any research. Life has a way of making things sound easy.
Let’s take the music industry for example. How do you break into it? Well from the outside looking in, I would say that there is going be a lot of hard work involved. But work at what? This is the real question. I’m not in the music industry, but I know a dozen or so people who are and scores of others with this dream. Here are a few of the things they have taught me. You will need a social media presence, across several platforms and you must aggressively publish. You will need to get noticed and have a special quality. This special quality must rise above everyone else’s. Or at the very least your quality must be appealing enough to get the attention of someone in the industry.
The effort required to become successful is not for cowards. It must be a consistent effort. You must consistently and continuously learn. You must meet people, bear criticism, but above all you must believe in your dream more than anyone else. And you must also be willing to go down this road alone.
Many of the young people I have worked with will never begin their journey because they never take a step towards it. Just like the man who boards a broke down bus and smiles because he thinks he is so fortunate to have found an empty bus and he can sit anywhere. What he didn’t notice was the hazard lights flashing or the missing driver. All he sees is that he is aboard a bus that says it is going his way. So he sits down and waits for something to happen.
Dreams are wonderful, but without proactive steps they are merely delusions. Unfortunately many of my young friends find themselves in this stagnant mindset mostly due to their upbringing.