When I was a kid, I never fought for what I wanted. I suppose this was a result of being disappointed a few times too many. Getting 2nd place all the time was frustrating, but instead of being encouraged by failure to push harder, I decided to not push at all. If I never asked to play with bigger kids, I’d never get turned down. By never competing in sports or science fairs, I thought I’d never lose. If I never pushed too hard, I would never be disappointed, right?
The problem with that mindset is it’s a really lame way to go through life. By never pushing myself as a kid, I missed out on a lot of great opportunities. Trying to skirt around being disappointed protected my little heart, but I never achieved much. After I started high school, I started pushing myself more to get what I wanted instead of sitting back and playing it safe. When I was 16, I applied for 20 jobs and every single company turned me down. I felt like a complete failure, but…the next time I tried, I got hired with a company which I stayed with for over 2 years. In the real world, getting what you want involves a lot of failure, but eventually yields incredible results.
As you get older, you may struggle especially with things like getting a job or getting on a sports team. If you’re wondering how to start getting what you want, here’s some tips to think of when you’re struggling:
- Show up, then follow up. Half the battle of getting what you want is just showing up where you’re supposed to be. Whether it’s an interview or a meeting, show up on time and be at your best. Next, you need to follow up. Call or email your interviewer after the meeting to express your gratitude. This will show how much you appreciated their time and will make you stand out.
- Make friends. Knowing people can put you on the road to success. Being friendly with people who can help you is smart strategy. People love to do favors for friends. Just ask.
- Work hard and keep pushing. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in a failure. When you fail, it means you know what not to do next time. Stay on it and pursue what you want until the end. However…
- Know when to step back. Pushing yourself too hard can cause you to burn out. Work diligently, but don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Also, sometimes when an employer or other senior officer tells you no, it may be improper to keep pestering them. Know your boundaries.
- Fight for what matters. Sometimes we pursue things which aren’t that important. Getting what you want is great, but you have to understand your own priorities. Don’t sell yourself short by fighting for something frivolous and don’t sacrifice what’s really important (like family and school).
- Don’t compromise your morals. Pursing a dream is not about lying, cheating, or cutting others down. Maintaining your integrity will make you stand out as a person of character and may help you get along better with others.
- Prioritize. Don’t let a job rule your life. When you mess up, don’t be afraid to just let it go. No one should be ashamed of abandoning something which is not good for them. If a position is too draining, leave it and don’t let it drag you down. There’s always something better down the road.
- Accept failure. Sometimes all these things will fail and your efforts will be met with a resounding “No”. Step back and start over. One lost position does not define the rest of your life, I promise. When you do win, the payoff will be huge. Just keep pushing and never let yourself be defeated.