My best friend is an artist. From the time we were five I knew she was special because while I made Valentines that looked petrified she made masterpieces and everybody wanted to be her Valentine for it. In our first year of high school she got a freelance job sketching for a tattoo palour. It didn't work out. At her first real internship she told the Art Director "that's just because you can't draw." When he chucked her pencils away; insisting she use ink for its permanence.
Though I am seen as the more ambitious one of us two because of my conventional career path and subsequent rise through the ranks, she is my mentor. Not in business or corporate etiquette. But in waking up and doing, planning and achieving.
She's always been out out there doing things. In high school when term breaks came I was always excited to sleep in and catch up on my reading. Not her, she either had a holiday job or internship organised. Even volunteered at a Room 13 project (an art class for kids in townships)
She was able and continues to be a success because of the following:
1. Know what you want
When I was in my grade 11 year all I had was "I want to be in business." My friend on the other hand knew from the time we were seven that she wanted to draw and make images. And because her purpose and what she wanted was so clear to her she applied for and took every job at which they'd let her draw. Knowing what you want is a gift.
2.Know how to get it
Dreams are very nice things to have. They keep you going and each time you engage with them for that moment the impossible and possible blur lines. But I accepted that I had no business dreaming of being a jazz dancer with my father's feet that always made him the entertainment at braais. That no matter how many lessonss I had the 10 000 hours rule simply did not apply to me. Once you've found what you love and want, find ways to make it happen. Do what it takes.
3. Have some latent talent and hone it
The world is filled with a lot of naturals. But only a few of them get to realise their dreams based solely on aptitude. Train, practice. Taking the time to get educated (even if it's not a formal education) says that you're invested in what you do. Read up on your field of interest, interact with big players even if it's through their books or blogs.