Follow your effort, not your dreams

Follow your effort, not your dreams.  

This is a truth that has been resonating deeply with me lately.

We often focus on what we dream for ourselves. In my case, it's dreams for my career as a writer and illustrator.  Where we are in the present moment is never good enough, there's always more to achieve, a farther star to reach.

This month (February) I have an illustration exhibiting at Foyles Bookstore in London.  It is an exhibit of the most promising up-and-coming SCBWI illustrators from 2012, and I'm very (very) proud to be included.  I'm excited because I'm in this amazing exhibition, hanging with all the other amazing illustrators, but also because Foyles is the best independent bookstore in London.  It's like a literary mecca for bibliophiles.

A few days ago I went to see the exhibition.  I admired all the amazing illustrations, and then I sat in the bookstore cafe and thought about life.  You see, several years ago I had a meeting in that exact spot with two editors regarding a children's book project for a major cultural museum in London.  I wanted that job so badly, and I was so nervous as I was pitching my portfolio.

Did I get the job?  Yes, I did.  But... the project fell through due to funding and other bureaucratic nightmares.  It was going to be my first major break, and I fell apart when the bad news came.

Sitting in that cafe, several years ago, I never could have imagined that my illustrations would one day be hanging on its walls.  

I never would have dreamed it could be possible. 

So you see?  It was all those days of effort, working for the sake of working, and trying to open doors whenever I found them, that led me to where I am today. (Not my dreams)

I still have far to go; and I'm still dreaming.  But I'm also so grateful for how far I have come. And I'm not going let setbacks keep me from working hard, for it's the hard work that will get you to where you want to go in the end.

What do you think?