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4 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job and Life

Empowerment was the theme at a recent event for women called “Empowering Conversations” at Milk Studios in Hollywood, hosted by Vanity Fair and Fidelity Investments.

It seems simple enough for some women — being empowered — but when you’re mired in the daily routine of motherhood and spend your days servicing the needs of other people, it’s easy to feel like you’ve lost control. Suddenly, your spouse and little ones get the spotlight and, way too often, we forget how important it is to put ourselves and our well-being center stage.

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More than any other demographic, moms are guilty of phrases like, “I’m focusing on my children right now. I don’t deal with the decision-making or finances.” Or “I’d love to be doing (insert dream job here) but I just can’t right now.” And we believe it. Even worse, all too willingly we snuggle up in our comfort zone, covering our heads in its warm, fleecy familiarity, performing our daily routines.

But at what cost?

Society has traditionally taught women that we should have children and, once we do, our job is to service our families. Climbing into the passenger side of life is encouraged and rewarded, and the battle between working moms and stay-at-home moms rages on, fueled by a social expectation that once you’ve shacked up and had kids your story comes to an end.

But it’s simply not true.

"There are two kinds of people, the type of people who make a left turn and the type of people who won’t. But everybody CAN make a left turn!"

Keltie Knight (CBS’ "The Insider") moderated a panel of über-successful women, including actress Kate Walsh; Katherine Power, CEO of Clique Media; Ara Katz, CMO of Spring mobile marketplace; and Kathy Murphy, president of Fidelity Investments' Personal Investing to find out what inspired them to move out of their comfort zones to pursue their dreams (#shiftthescript).

“So many women are waiting to take that leap. They know they can to do it in their hearts and their souls, but they’re scared or waiting for the right moment,” Knight told the crowd.

“You have to learn to be uncomfortable,” Walsh said. “Take (your dreams) step by step. In any venture, taking it a step at a time always alleviated my anxiety.”

Power suggested that life is kind of like the Waze app, which shows you the most efficient way to get somewhere based on real-time traffic. “It suggests you make a lot of left turns into oncoming traffic — where there aren’t any traffic lights. There are two kinds of people, the type of people who make a left turn and the type of people who won’t. But everybody CAN make a left turn! You kind of go out into the middle of the intersection, you’re feeling uncomfortable and the guy behind you is honking at you. But if you stay your course, you’re going to get there more quickly. That’s what it feels like to be an entrepreneur. And it feels good once you’ve done it.”

Katz’s advice to women who want to start their own business was plain and simple: “It’s exciting and a lot of pressure. But ask yourself, 'if not you, then who?' Why not you?”

So with that bit of inspiration, here are 4 steps to action that you can take right now towards making a change in your life and pursuing your dreams — whether it’s a new job, a little sideline or hobby, or following your dreams. It doesn't matter how big they are.

Take it one tiny step at a time. After all, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step!

1. Give yourself permission.

As moms, we’re practically wired to feel guilty when we spend time doing anything for ourselves. But when we feel great about ourselves, we’re better moms and role models for our children. Give yourself permission to pursue your dreams and let go of the guilt.

2. Make room for yourself.

Maybe it’s getting out of the house for an hour or two every day. Maybe it’s asking your partner to help share your load so you can make the time. Maybe it’s simply making a quiet space for yourself in your home for you and your work. Whatever that work will be. Whatever it is that you need to move forward, make it happen.

3. Take it one tiny step at a time.

“Don’t try to change your whole life in a day,” Walsh said. “Every day you take one little step toward your goal.” This is a change any mom can embrace. Go online and research classes, connect with somebody in your desired industry and set up a time to talk. Or just sit your butt down in a chair and start writing that book. Whether it’s 10 minutes or two hours, just do one thing every day toward your goal. After all, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step!

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4. Take control.

Not just of your own direction in life but of your finances. Being knowledgeable about where your money is, how you’re growing it and how you’re saving for your retirement is not only incredibly important for every woman, but it’s empowering. If you don’t understand your own personal finances, how can you make any plans for your own future? When you know where your money is and understand how to make it work for you, you can plan better for your future regardless of whatever “script” you follow.

Image via Vanity Fair/Fidelity Investments

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