Graduate from high school, go away to college, build a career, fall in love, get married, buy a home, have children and you will have the American Dream. How many of you were taught that this was the way of living in order to be considered successful? What happens when your life goes the complete opposite? What do you do when your dream doesn’t match the American Dream?
In 2003, during my first week of college orientation, our advisors told us to take a good look at everyone sitting in the auditorium, because about 20 percent of us would not be there for Graduation Day in four years. During my senior year, I was rejected by every law school I applied to. I walked across the stage on Graduation Day jobless and unsure of my future. A few months later, I began working as a Real Estate paralegal with a Closing Attorney and put a one-year plan together to purchase a house. A year later, the United States went through an economic recession and the real estate market crashed. Additionally, I was laid off from my job and entered into one of the most turbulent seasons of my life.
When Everything Seems to go Wrong
My love life wasn’t any better. It seemed like every guy I became involved with chose to marry and do life with other people. Here I was in my mid-20s trying to achieve the American Dream and every attempt at it crashed and burned. It was at this moment that I realized that the American Dream wasn’t mine. I didn’t create it and that there was another path my life was meant to take. I have since become an entrepreneur of multiple businesses, created multiple streams of income, and haven’t looked back. While we are taught that the American Dream is the only or best route to take, we are not given a manual with instructions on how to assemble it. My friends, if the American Dream hasn’t worked for you, it’s because it isn’t meant for you.
Over the past 4 years, I have built a very successful and lucrative business. I have been presented with amazing opportunities, walked through countless doors, and sat in rooms with powerful and elite men and women. Even with all the success, I would find myself questioning why my financial status was upgraded, but not my marital status. Why was I a hot girl in the business market but not the relationship market? I had to be honest with myself and accept that I had become a workaholic. All of my energy was put into building a successful business, but I wasn’t building a successful me.
Creating My Own American Dream
I created my business with the purpose of building a legacy and generational wealth for my future children. However, somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that and became overwhelmed with deadlines and timelines for clients. I made the decision to start living a balanced life and changed my work schedule around so that I could start living. I was hanging out with my friends and family more, going to the spa, and traveling for leisure. My business started to increase even more as I started taking better care of me.
As entrepreneurs, it can be so easy to get wrapped up in your work, but the same energy you put into your business is what you should put in your future relationship. Start making time for what you want. It is okay to rest and shut down, but make sure you don’t stop. Sometimes, you have to approach your love life as you would your business. Just as you have a target market for your business, you must be specific and intentional about what you want to attract. Just as you wrote out that business plan, write out your life plan. Entrepreneurs are not afraid to take risks for their businesses. They have the expectation that they will build a clientele to generate revenue. This should also be applied to your love life. There is somebody out there who will invest in what you have to offer.
Do What Feels Right For You
Just as an artist turns an empty canvas into a beautiful portrait, you have the same ability to put the pieces of your life together and create a beautiful masterpiece that will give you PEACE! You don’t have to settle for what you have been taught, rather, take it and make it even bigger. Instead of owning a home, invest in real estate, and own multiple properties. Instead of just building a life with a spouse, become business partners, and build an empire. When you have children, begin instilling the ways to become successful in them at a young age so that they don’t have to go through some of the same struggles you went through. Make them the future CEOs of your empire in order to continue and add to your family legacy. If you follow your own model, you will one day wake up overflowing with gratefulness that you didn’t settle for the American Dream, and created the blueprint to turn your dream into a reality that will inspire others who feel stuck in the system. You won’t have to wake up from the dream because you will realize that you created the life you desired and deserve to live.
Submission Written by Courtney Aiken, (@thecourtneyaiken), Author of the book, “What Waiting Looks Like”.