When you're driving, you (ideally) keep your eyes on the road, right? So when you're creating your career, you should keep your eyes on the goal.
This may sound like a complete contradiction to my post last week, which was about enjoying the journey, instead of focusing on the destination, but the idea of keeping your eyes on the prize is not about waiting for your life to begin; it's about making sure that your choices have your goal in mind.
If you live in New York City and you want to become an actress on Broadway, and your best friend says, "Let's move to Cheyenne, Wyoming!" Don't follow her. If you want to be a professional screenwriter, and you live paycheck-to-paycheck, don't spend your money on a class meant for playwrights. If you're single, and you want to find a life partner, stop sleeping with your lame ex-boyfriend!
Be where you need to be in order to achieve your goal.
15 years ago, when my husband and I were dating, he taught me how to ride a motorcycle. I bought a beautiful, shiny blue Suzuki SV650. Riding in a straight line is pretty simple. But going around turns, when you and the bike end up leaning to one side at an unnerving angle, took a special tip my then-boyfriend gave me: look to where you want to go.
As soon as I learned to look about 10-feet ahead to my next goal in the sharp turn, the bike did the rest of the work for me. If you look down, you'll go down. If you look up, well, you'll go down.
I literally kept my eyes on my goal.
Make decisions that work in tandem with reaching your goal. If you want a promotion at work, show up on time, instead of rolling into the office late, clutching your Starbucks. If you have a dream of becoming a roadkill taxidermist, take classes in taxidermy, instead of spending your money on classes in wine tasting. If you want to make a career as a screenwriter of zombie movies, stop working on your remake of "Sense and Sensibility." And if you want to be a respected actress in the business, for godssakes stop auditioning for cosplay porn.