What do you think goals are?
For me, ‘goals’ are something that we have started creating from the moment we were born. It’s the product of our desires and self-exploration. Goals provide us with a billion paths that we can follow. But which one do we take? If you’re not sure, why not try a few? The first one you try will not be the same path that you will follow forever, and every path leads to another. And eventually, after some trial and error, maybe your goals will become clear, and you’ll find yourself on the right path. Setting goals are the first steps to every journey we take but also the last. Goals are the kindle that helps fuel our dreams, and turn imagination into reality. But setting goals isn’t an easy process, which is what I found out as I grew up. I still remember when I was about seven years old, one of my sisters asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without hesitation, I said, “‘an astronaut”. I didn’t know how hard and how far it would take me to make this dream materialise. But of course, as I grew up, it became clear that it was a dream as far as the stars. However, that was the very first moment I ever felt that little fire in my heart. Before coming to study in the UK, I had always followed the road that my family had paved for me. At school, my grades were average and I wasn’t good at anything apart from drawing. And so, art became the only thing that kept that fire in my heart alive, and was what I wanted to do and work towards. Learning the fundamental drawing skills is essential to become a proficient artist. Since I was ten, i took drawing classes outside of school. But things took a turn for the worse, when I was in senior year at high school, I started going through a rebellious phase and wouldn’t focus on anything during class. There was nothing that interested me and I didn’t want to put any effort into studying at that time, as I knew my family would always have a plan B for me. I thought things would get better when I came to the UK. I started off doing a foundation course that was mainly focused on fine art. But once again, I wasn’t sure if I was choosing the right path. It felt like I was on a boat drifting randomly at sea with no where to go. Then one day, my life changed completely, as I lay in the delivery room smiling at my newly born daughter. I never finished that foundation course. But instead, I found myself slowly moving in a new direction. It was the first time I had ever made a decision that I had really wanted. And it all began with her. As a mother, I felt like it was my duty to be a good role model for my daughter. This helped me to take those first steps towards forming the goals that would build me the future that I wanted for the both of us. And there it was, my first goal, to enter university and finish a degree by the age of thirty. But of course, I couldn’t start straight away, I had to be able to show that I was capable of studying at university. After hours of researching and consulting college advisors, I found a course that allowed me to develop my skills and portfolio, which took me a total of three years. In that time, I had finally managed to put my finger on what really made that fire rage within me. There were a few bumps in the road, but I got into a course in animation, despite it being my second choice. I was given a chance to go with my first choice, but for some reason I felt like maybe I should take the risk and try something new. It took me a while to get used to this new world that I had journeyed into, but I got the hang of it eventually. Three years had passed again and I had completed my degree. I didn’t achieve my goal exactly as I had planned, but I was happy with what I had achieved and that was fine. After graduating, the one thing that didn’t go so well, was that I found it difficult to get myself a job. This was when that feeling of uncertainty began to creep up on me again. Had I made the right choice? Was all that really worth it? But I pulled myself together again and kept digging. I tried to find opportunities to expand my social circle, such as visiting networking events which led me to meet people who had similar aspirations and interests as myself. On the other hand, I was also continuously improving my digital drawing skills and sharing them on social media. For the previous two years, I had been working part-time at a shop, which was initially to earn a bit of money, as well as working on small personal projects during my free time. I was doing all these things and even had a degree, but why did I feel like I was back at the start? Like my boat, that was sailing at full speed, had stopped again.
But like the light from a lighthouse shining through a thick blanket of fog, an opportunity appeared. Last year, I stumbled across a workshop organised by pRESPECT, and there, I met Viana. The workshop she led gave me a chance to share my story with others like me and helped me to gain a deeper understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. Then I had a lightbulb moment. All this time I had been setting my goals in a way that wouldn’t unlock my full potential. I underestimated myself all these years and thought of myself as a failure, when in reality, I wasn’t that at all. I realised that the only way to move forward was to stop doubting myself and to take action no matter what got in my way.
My path was a very long and twisted one. It was clear on some days, and confusing on others. It took me almost thirty years to find the right path, and without my goals, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. Your path may be like mine, or it may not be. It may be like a walk in the park, or it could be like you’re scaling a mountain. What’s most important is to make sure that you really know what your passion and purpose is in life, and be able to adapt yourself to the challenges that come with it. Once you find the answers, you’re bound to get there some day. And it’s fine if your path isn’t clear at first, but you will never get there if you don’t try.