5 Tips for Blazing Your Own Trail

The journey towards your dream rarely involves a pre-cut path.

The journey towards your dream rarely involves a pre-cut path.

By Katie Nelson

Remember middle school? The peer pressure, the burning desire to ‘fit in’, the popularity crises – it may all seem like a distant memory now. After all, fast forward to the present, we’re constantly on a mission to set ourselves apart from the crowd and let our voices be heard.

But often, those voices are still stifled by the need to fit into the parameters already set for us within our jobs, economic status, communities – the parameters that keep us coloring within the lines, so to speak. And in order to go beyond those limits and achieve the goals we’re pursuing, we must blaze a new trail.

You’ve heard the term ‘trailblazer’ before. In fact, you’ve probably felt inspired by a few and have taken advantage of the trail they’ve blazed for people like you and me. I’m talking about people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Amelia Earhart, Steve Jobs, Malala Yousafzai…the list is endless. It’s easy to think that these people are exceptional and that they defy the norm, but in reality, the only thing they possess is the confidence to go after what they want and the desire to blaze their own trails along the way – something you, too, have the ability to do.

So how can you break out of the conventional box and pave your own path? Use these tips for becoming your own trailblazer:

Find your passion. Blazing a trail is hard work, there’s no doubt about that. And in order to make the process more fun and worthwhile, it’s important to pinpoint what exactly ignites your passion, whether it’s campaigning for women’s rights, exploring new frontiers, or pouring your soul into a blog post – it’s up to you to decide.

Have a vision. After you’ve found your passion, envision your end goal. Where do you want your trail to lead? While it’s impossible to plan for every twist and turn of the trail you blaze, understanding the risks your end goal requires means you’re that much more prepared for the long haul.

Don’t wait for approval. Most of the time, blazing your own trail means breaking the rules. After all, nothing new or revolutionary ever happened by doing the same old thing over and over again. Know that there will always be people questioning and criticizing you along the way, but have the courage to overlook them. Remember, yours is the only permission you need.

Get out of your comfort zone. We’ve discussed it in length, but I’ll say it again – life is best experienced outside of your comfort zone. Your trail starts where your comfort ends, because nothing worthwhile is ever easy, right?

Ignore the crowd. This one harkens back to your middle school days, because sometimes, it’s still so easy to fall back on that herd mentality. Don’t be afraid to go left while everyone else goes right. After all, you’re blazing your own trail, not following someone else’s.

So are you ready to set off on your next adventure? Remember, the path towards your dream is rarely a paved road, so be prepared to go where no other dreamer has before.

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