Saturday, March 01, 2008

Perchance to Dream

We all have dreams - relationship dreams, career dreams, lifestyle dreams.

Over time, some of those dreams turn into our goals, and some of those goals turn into our realities.

The difference between these three states of our ideas can be marked by many factors - but two of the most important ones I have found in my life are determination and passion. Determination to do whatever it takes and work as hard as one has to, in order to turn dreams into realities; passion so strong that it gives you energy when you are exhausted, faith when you feel doubtful and such pride in what you are accomplishing that nothing can stop you. Today, on the occasion of my 41st birthday, I have found myself thinking about the people I have known in my life who are living the reality of their dreams.

I think of my friend Johnny who, when we first met 20 years ago, spoke of opening his own salon and working as a makeup artist and hairstylist around the world. Johnny recently bought a building to which he relocated his existing salon, and has expanded into a beautiful new full spa and salon. He is also now represented by one of the top artist agencies in New York working on celebrity clients across the globe.

I think of my friend Jack who, when we met working on a charity benefit 14 years ago, had only just begun to seriously explore moving from his work as a prominent CPA into his long term goal of producing theater. This past year Jack celebrated his first Tony Award win as one of the producers on a huge Broadway hit and has moved on to produce not only theater but film projects.

I think of my friend Kimberly who I met over 10 years ago as she was running one of the most respected businesses in the beauty industry and who left to begin her new path as the owner of her own marketing businesses around the time I started my own business. Kimberly's business has evolved into the development of a new area of business, and she is currently in the midst of launching one of the most exciting new concepts in the salon and retail industries.

These are only three of many - but three that come to mind first when I think of those people I know who understand the difference between dreaming and doing. These three friends understand that in order to reach your realities you have to be willing to evolve - to allow the changes in your life that you didn’t anticipate, to lead you in a direction you may not have expected. They understand that they are likely going to work too much; that they need to surround themselves with people who support their goals, share their vision and are excited to see their dreams become realities; and that they have to expect some mistakes along the way. They also have some other things in common - they also done the work that was required, and expected nothing to be handed to them without earning it. Tthey have asked for what they have needed, worked hard to gain the respect of those in their industry and each have a high level of personal and professional integrity. They also understand that there is risk in any dream.

I also think about my own goals when I was a student at University, how they changed when I began my career in the makeup industry, and how they evolved even further as I started my company - The Powder Group. I think of the 12 to 18 hour days I now work, the 7 day work week and the long time that has passed since I had a real vacation. I think of the work done on holidays and, yes even on my birthday. I think of the goals I have had since I was younger, some of them personal some professional, and the ones that I have been able to turn into realties, and that it is those same things that Johnny, Jack and Kimberly understand that have helped me reach some of my most lofty goals.

But for every one of my realized dreams, there are many more - both personal and professional - that have yet to come. As I celebrate the beginning of another year, I also celebrate the accomplishments of my first 41 years as I look to the future and to what’s next, I have finally begun to understand why the hard work all feels so absolutely right, where I get the balance to be able to make it all work, and how I can begin to move toward my next reality. I have realized that the work doesn’t get easier as you reach a goal and move onto another - there is just more work to do, and perhaps a different way to do it and that evolving your career, your life and your relationships is an essential part of growth. That for every foggy horizon there is an unknown shore waiting for you to take your first step onto unspoiled ground - a step that can lead to many paths - just so long as you have the perseverance and patience to wait for the fog to clear and the path to become apparent.

I think of the times when people have said to me “you need to make time for yourself” - and that all this time I have been missing the proper response to that comment. The truth is this is all time for myself. When your life is filled with your dreams and your work is your passion, every bit of work and every long day becomes for you, and the next reality is simply a little more hard work away.

Michael DeVellis

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