1. Everything is temporary
You may be working a depressingly remedial job right now, doing something that is in no way relevant to your career. You may be stressed and broke and overwhelmed because everything seems to be happening at once. Nothing’s falling into place the way you planned it, and things aren’t lining up as quickly as you thought they would. It seems unbearable but, in the grand scheme of things, all of this is temporary. Everything that you go through holds as much power as you allow it to. These problems will dissipate over time, and be replaced with new problems that you will be just as capable of overcoming.
2. You’re still young
It’s normal to not know what the hell you’re doing in your 20s. You’re not supposed to have it figured out. You’re life should be far from perfect or settled. Your 20s are the only time you get to live uninhibited. It’s the only time in your adulthood where your responsibilities are minimum and your potential is limitless. Be passionate and crazy and indecisive and carefree. Move across the country if you want. Travel the world. Fall in love over and over. You won’t get another chance to live like this, and exploration is the only way to find out who you’re supposed to be.
3. You want it for a reason
There’s no point in chasing a dream that comes easily. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and there would be no value in it. It’s hard for a reason. The struggle that you go through is meant to weed out those who want it badly enough from those who don’t. The people willing to bleed and starve and hurt for it are willing to do so because they can’t see life happening any other way. Remember why you wanted it in the first place. That stubborn passion and unfaltering diligence is steel. You’re much more durable than you think you are.
4. It’s worth it in the end
I don’t know that there is any feeling more discouraging than working so hard for something and failing more times than you can count. I also don’t know that there is any feeling better than working so hard for something, and failing, and failing, and then succeeding. Imagine looking back on how far you came, and everything that you had to put up with to get to that point. That validation that you weren’t wasting your time not only makes it worth it, but it makes it more rewarding than if you would have succeeded in the first place. That release of frustration, happiness, relief and pride is like a runner’s high. It’s overwhelming and intoxicating, but you only feel it if you’re willing to outrun the pain.
5. You’re good enough
It feels like every 20-something has a college degree these days, but we’re still unqualified to do jobs that are considered to be entry level in our fields. Employers want a degree as well as years of experience before they’re willing to hire you. The irony is that no one is willing to hire you so you can earn the experience. It’s important to maintain the belief that you are good at what you do. You know what you’re doing, and you have the skills to be successful at it. There will be people who will make you feel like what you want is crazy. Everyone wants that job, what makes you think you’ll get it? Their odds are as good as yours are. What makes you think you won’t?
6. It’s possible
If there’s a career that you want, and there’s someone in the world doing it, it’s possible. Even if there’s not, if you can conceive it and visualize it and plan it, it’s possible. It doesn’t matter how low the odds are. Things can feel out of reach, or they can be romanticized to the point where they feel unattainable. If it’s something that you believe you’re meant for, and you want it badly enough, there’s no body that can stop you. Maintain just the right amount of arrogance to fuel your self-confidence. Believe that you can always get what you want if you’re willing to earn it.
7. Keep going
The only way that you succeed at anything is to keep at it. Even when you get where you want to be, and you are doing what you want to do, there’s always room to be better. There’s always room for growth, innovation, and creativity. You should never reach a point of contentment or allow yourself to be comfortable. You may be broke and unsatisfied and eager now, but things happen in their own time. Work at it until you get there, and do it because you’d do it anyway. Do it because you love it.