Dear Confessional,

For most of my life I’ve been at war with my eyeballs. Sometimes at night, I fight my eyes to uncross, focus, and reopen during a strange bobble-head battle when I’ve worked too many hours during the day. Let’s also not forget that blank, open-mouthed stare while at work, followed by a day-dream about the idyllic career/position. It’s a vicious cycle between feeling grateful for what you already have and aspiring for something more.

Determining how to best proceed can be quite daunting. Whether you’re a parent or not, taking a leap of faith and fulfilling your true passion isn’t as far-reaching as it seems when you have a realistic plan to get there.

Do any of these criteria describe you?

  • You’re currently employed but desire a better position.
  • You know you deserve more out of your current job and are tired of being overlooked.
  • You know you’re ready to work again, but don’t know how to dive back in.
  • You miss feeling accomplished professionally, and you miss sleep!
  • You’re ready to return to work after all of the kids are now in school, but don’t really want to go back to your previous job because you no longer love it.
  • You feel guilty to change careers after spending so much time in school, building up your current job, worrying about the discouraging opinion of others, and fear failure.

If you can identify with any of these descriptions, keep reading. Take a closer look at these top tips for planning and achieving the direction you truly desire.

Proper prioritizing between your career and ambition, and managing a healthy lifestyle and family life, is harder than it seems. Is it possible? Absolutely! The only way to succeed is to first create a plan and tackle it one small step at a time, without losing sight of your happiness, health, and family.

After taking a professional hiatus for a few years to refocus my efforts on my family of 6 + 1 super furry dog, I reconciled with my eyes and became determined to dive in again, not dabble.

If you’re ready to start empowering your own life and fulfill your true ambitions with concrete action, here’s how.

1. Determine your goals

  • What is your dream job?
  • Is it realistic?
  • Is it feasible?
  • Does it require a financial obligation or commitment?
  • Is it local?
  • Would the hours be manageable with familial obligations?
  • Is it what you really want right now?
  • Identify your obstacles.

2. Draw it out

  • Let go of fear and inhibition, and make a plan. Take those swirling thoughts and big ideas out of your head and onto paper with a brain bubble.
  • Start with a circle in the middle of your paper that details your goal.
  • Draw branches out from your circle and identify distinct objectives.
  • Make a micro-list under each objective with ideas for achieving each one.

3. Work in small steps

  • Look at your brain bubble, create a concrete to-do list, and start with the simplest step. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by staring at the top of a magnificent mountain. The only way up is one small step at a time.
  • Focus only on the step before you. This is a personal journey, so achieve each comfortable step to impress yourself only.

4. Stand out

  • Always remain realistic, and determine a unique approach to achieve your target.
  • Offer the best value-add to your initiative. Try to strategically stand out instead of doing the same as your competition.
  • Spend time thinking about why your offering is valuable, different, and better. Focus on your unique niche, even if you’re working towards a promotion or developing your own brand.

5. Don’t overtalk or brag

  • As you begin this exciting path, remember not to blab about it. This is merely a thought at the moment. The more you overtalk or brag about what hasn’t transpired yet, the more you set yourself up to back off from the big picture.
  • Frankly, when it comes to family and friends, most career talk necessitates follow-up, questioning, and often leads to feelings of self-doubt. Don’t fail yourself before you begin. Remember, you are doing this for YOU, so share with caution.

6. Don’t lose sight of YOU

  • Give yourself breathing room to process, plan, and enjoy your own company.
  • Learn to take breaks for yourself, social relationships, and the family.

7. Make sure to SLEEP!

Allow yourself the opportunity to dream big with your eyes closed and achieve fearlessly with your eyes opened.

  • You can’t drive a car straight, productively, or without crashing if you’re half asleep at the wheel. You need to recharge and reboot your mental and physical computer by shutting down.
  • Manage at least 6–8 hours of sleep per night as a priority.

8. Work honest and work hard.

The only way to fail is not to try at all.

  • Every effort should move full-steam ahead, full of passion and determination. As long as you truly love what you do, you will not fail!

9. Take risks!

  • The higher up you climb, the trickier the maneuvering. You have nothing to lose, so take risks, stay positive, and keep reaching!
  • Remember, there will be some tough moments — people who will say it’s not possible, others who laugh at your efforts, and some who say nothing at all and exude so much jealousy. This is your road, your journey, and only your life lesson. Keep your focus and don’t stop trying.

10. Check off your to-do list and keep expanding

  • Take a moment to absorb your effort and accomplishment. It takes a lot of courage to chase your dreams. Don’t forget to stop, breathe, and play with your kids.

Don’t be scared to dream bigger than you think possible! Believe it, plan it, achieve it, conquer it, and enjoy your view from the top.

You can do it!

“I never lose. I either win or learn.”

— Nelson Mandela

with Love,


Originally published at on July 9, 2016.

Originally published at