Time's Not Up
Every person in his or her late 20's always laments that when 30 is around the corner your dreams will supposedly end. But for myself, things really didn't start happening for me until I was in my thirties. Everything that I wanted to happen started happening within the last ten years. In your 30's, your career is solid, your finances are solid, you've found the love of your life and as result you start a family around this time period. Plus you've got disposable income to buy all the things you want and to travel.
In your 20's you may have some lofty goals, but frankly at that age you don't know jack shit about the world. That's why in your 20's it's about acquiring life experiences. Good times with friends, meeting new people, trying new things. Whereas your 20's are about experiences, your 30's are about accomplishments. That's why everybody who turns 30 looks back and asks, "What did I accomplish?"
I remember that in my 20's, I had a friend who always had some crazy scheme he wanted me to join him on. Long before Match.com or E-Harmony came on the scene, he launched a dating site when the Internet was still in its infancy. He always wanted to start a business. He always talked about creating a short film and using that film as a springboard to jump into the film industry.
The funny thing is he was always looking for me to be a "partner" in these projects that he came up with, because it was too risky and too much work for him to handle alone. In a sense, he wanted me to be his assistant to help him achieve his dreams.
The problem is you can't wait for other people to start a project. If you do, then you will never achieve anything, because you're using someone else as a crutch or as an excuse as to why you're not making progress. You got to have some emotional resiliency where you say, "I don't care what other people say. I'm going to do this, and I'll figure out how to do it along the way."
Don't rely on your family, friends or even your spouse or partner to be supportive. You have to rely on yourself. Don't get me wrong. Your loved ones want the best for you, but they want you to get there by avoiding risk. But for you to be truly successful in whatever you do, you got to focus on the goal, not the risks.
I don't do a lot of rock climbing, but one time I went through a ropes course with a lot of climbing obstacles. There was one physical challenge where you had to climb to the top of a telephone pole, stand straight up on the top of this pole, then jump off and grab a trapeze suspended aproximately 5-6 feet away. You either successfully grabbed the trapeze and floated down to the ground or you would miss the bar and fall 30 feet to the ground (on belay, of course).
I successfully completed the course, because I operated on this game plan: don't look down and focus on your end goal (reaching the top). I never looked down, because if I did, then I would've gotten vertigo and fallen off or been paralyzed with fear (which happened to one guy). I always kept an eye on the top, because that was where I had to be.
A key to success is to gradually expand your goals and build on each success that you have. When I decided to be a writer in my spare time, success to me in the beginning was just completing an article and getting it on the internet. Then eventually it was to get paid for an article. Then it was to publish a book. Then it was to market the book and actually money from my passion.
I achieved all of the above many times over. It's given me a nice side income, a little extra cash every month for trips and nice dinners with the wife. Each time I published an article, I leveraged it for a greater opportunity. Editors of high traffic sites noticed my articles on low traffic sites and contacted me to write for them. Then I leveraged my online articles to become a writer for print magazines that pay well.
So the bottom line? Remember:
1) Build on your success
2) Focus on the goal, not the obstacles
3) Don't rely on others to jumpstart your dreams. Just go out there and do it.
4) You always have time, but you have to start now.