Exactly one year ago to date, I released my very first book. Like so many success stories you’ll read about, the tangible product started out as an unrelenting belief. For me, the idea was made definitive and clear in the summer before my senior year in college, and blossomed into the real deal in the spring just before my first full year as an alumni. I reached the goals I had set for myself because I never gave up on the ideas I had, and my commitment to making them tangible and really real. I also wanted to empower someone else to do more for themselves, no matter what had happened in her life prior. In the last 365 days of my journey, there were a lot of trials, errors, and successes; but most importantly, there was progress. Amongst everything I’ve learned and have been reminded of, it’s true: You can do anything you put your mind to. With that being said, I wanted a provide a tried-and-true starter kit for those who still choose to dream out there. Here is my list of the top-five, bare-bone minimum tools you’llabsolutely need to bring your own dreams into reality, and be happy about it.

1. A Strong Sense of Who You Are

Developing a strong sense of who you are gives you the crystal clear direction you’ll need to reach your ultimate purpose in life. It’s also easier to decide on what you want to achieve and improve on as you progress, and in what order. By knowing who you are, you thoroughly understand what you would and would not be willing to compromise in order to reach your goals. You should be able to definitively tell someone who you are, and your actions should mirror your affirmative verbal claims.

And by understanding who you are, you will have a better understanding of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Are you a curious creature? Do you prioritize your tasks well? Do you struggle with asking for help? Do you thrive as a procrastinator? List your strengths and weaknesses in a tangible space, like a journal, and view your strengths as powerful tools that help you creatively address and improve your weaknesses in a more tailored way, that actually works for you! For example, if you know your strength is being a social butterfly but you want to work on your critical thinking skills, go to a few more networking events and engage yourself to actively listen. Or maybe research online interviews featuring people who are killing it (or have killed it) and be mindful of the takeaways from their conversations! Everyday you learn something new about yourself is a day you improve yourself.

2. A Personal “Why” that Extends Further than You, and Wows People

Now, you’d hate to craft your “why” for the sole sake of impressing people. That’s not even cool. Their emotions are the reactions to the epitome you already had in your life, not the causes of it. Your “why” is your personal reason for doing what you do, that let’s the people who meet you know more about what you (and your mission) are truly all about. Your “why” is also your foundation that your endeavors are built on. The best “why” factors are true “WOW factors” simply because they are authentic and relatable to someone, whether you know them personally, or they’ve just discovered you and all your greatness. Your “why” is something to think on, and is a key element to run with. It will also build your vision and mission statements to become clear and crisp, as well as power your extensive plans later on. So ask yourself, “why”?

3. A Vision You Can Build On, with Goals You Can Measure. This includes:

Your Attainable Goals – The “Whats” that you’re focusing to achieve, now
Your Strategic Plan – The Directions or “How” to the “Whats” you’re striving to achieve, now
And Your Farfetched (Long Term) Goals – The “Whats” that are waving to you from a distantland, that you’re planning to meet in a few years

The common denominator here is direction. There are things you want to achieve in life, right? Having the plan, or blueprint if you will, makes every move clearer to you and your team. Having a tangible plan does a few good things, like:

– Keeps you on track, focused, and confident in yourself and your abilities
– Improves the integrity of you and everything you have (like your brand and your business)
– Helps you more easily measure your success
– Makes it easier to sensibly tweak small details, instead of starting over every time something doesn’t go your way

Put it this way, you’d probably be hesitant to put together a 40-piece system without having the directions handy, right?. And you’d be apprehensive about buying a car that doesn’t seem safe and reliable, much less not having all four wheels and a motor, yeah? And you should be. Great products are the outcome, but what makes them great are the solid thought processes, and your ideas are no different! A great plan makes the entire effort more seamless, and allows you to have more fun and less headache, overall. It’s your dream, plan it how you want to see it, from beginning to end!

4. Focus. On Yourself. And on the People Who are Supporting You

We’ve all seen them: people on our social media timelines complaining about who’s *not* supporting them, all the time. It comes from a bitter and hurt place, and it’s understandable: We are artists who want to feel the support of their peers to no end. It’s what makes us human! But the truth is:

1.) The energy you emit is everything, and comes right back at ya, ten-fold.
2.) No one is entitled to support you, except your mother. Mom always has ya back.

But even with mom in your corner, it’s your job to be your number one die-hard fan, and then confide in the people who naturally choose to support and check up on you and your progress. Also, be aware of who your friends are and who your fans are, but understand every friend you have won’t be your 24/7 cheerleader. And that’s ok! You need to be able to reach into larger audiences. That’s how your ideas will take off into five, six, and seven figure revenue streams, anyway. But when you’re going through a rough patch, and need a boost of motivation to continue strong, always reach back and remind yourself of your “why”. Remember, your “why” is your reason for taking that gigantic leap in the first place. In the meantime, keep yourself and your supporters happy. No one else should even matter.

5. You Don’t Need a Team, You Need Ever-Evolving Skillsets

It’s 2017. the more you can do for yourself, by yourself, the easier it becomes for you to apply the skills or skillsets you know to entirely new challenges you accept! The skillsets you hone are what make you versatile, and keep you sharp. And as you become more and more sharply versatile, your value grows, while you save yourself a ton of money, especially starting out (you smart cookie, you). On the other hand, there’s a dangerous phrase all too many rookies say:

“I just really need a team”.

In their defense, teams are great, especially when the goal is to achieve something in the business realm that is comparable in size to you know, eating a whale. But your reach for that “team” should come after you’ve tried to do it by yourself, simply because

1.) No one knows your ideas better than you know your ideas
2.) More hands are in your still-developing pot, which can leave you frustrated
3.) You can. And unless you have the money to pay these people to support you, hand and foot, the DIY route is your best option to start

And the thought of the DIY option shouldn’t triggered the defeated battlecry of foreseen failure, either. Trust me, you’ll learn so much more by investing in yourself and your craft, first, before bringing in the big guns too early. Get your hands dirty and your feet wet, while your ideas are all yours. You’ll thank yourself later.

Some of the best starting tools you’ll have are the modes of self-awareness you develop, the thoughts you build into plans, your reasons for starting and finishing, your direct support system and your approach to staying authentic! Navigating through the journey is one thing, doing it in a way that makes complete sense to you, is another! So there you have it, my five timeless and bare-bone necessities for manifesting your own dreams into real deals, and being happy with the outcome as well as the process. I hope you guys found this post helpful, got a dose of clarity, and enjoyed the read! If you did, tell us about some things that matter to you and your growth, or the reason “why” you’ve gotten started in the first place! Continue to follow your dreams, embrace yourself, keep hydrated and stay lit.


Author Bio

Kia Marie is a multiple award-winning songwriter, artist and author based in the Washington DC metropolitan area who is committed to building a creative life and influencing better perspectives along the way. Her first release, To Be Drenched in Dreams, Delights, Downfalls, and Dos, is a 200-page book of poetry, notes, and motivations for the dreamer; a manifesto of her commitment to encouraging readers to dream on through it all. She believes that despite what happens in life, one’s dreams, ideas, and plans are what carry them through both fortunate and unfortunate times, and into living happier, more fulfilling lives.

Kia is also the creator of the YouTube channel, Hairitage93, which serves as her platform to give easy and inexpensive tips to enhance natural beauty, share nail art tips and tutorials, promote self-love, and have candid conversations about her life experiences. She regularly uses Hairitage93 to connect with her viewers by answering questions, giving advice, and collaborating with them on video ideas.

Kia attended Stevenson University in Maryland on an academic and art scholarship and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Art and Visual Communication Design. When she isn’t busy creating tutorials or promoting her book, she is spending time with her loving family, or investing in the art and design world.

You can check out Kia Marie’s book at kiamarie.co, watch her beauty tutorials on YouTube:Hairitage93, and follow her on Instagram @kia.marie and tweet her @xKiaMarie!