Many people are surprised by all of the opportunities I receive. “I’m so jealous, Dana! It seems like you always get everything you want.” As my parents like to say, “You always land butter-side up.” I’ll admit, a lot of it is definitely luck, privilege and God. God has blessed my life incredibly and continues to pour his love into everything I do. I also recognize that I have the privilege of being a white, middle-class woman who has never been in need for many things. My parents bring in a sizeable enough income that allows me to do things that many other kids simply cannot. Having a stay-at-home mom also allowed me to have the flexibility to go places and do things that I could not do without her driving me to and from all my many activities.
However, you can have all the luck and privilege in the world and still never accomplish anything if you have no idea who you are or what you want.
I’ve always been a pretty introspective person. I like to figure out who I am, what I represent, and, most importantly, what I want out of my life. I take a lot of personality quizzes and, while most people see them as simply a waste of time, I personally find I learn a lot from them.
In order to know what you want, it’s important to take the time to figure out first who you are. As silly as it sounds, I have a document on my computer labeled ‘the Dana brand.’ I regularly update it in order to continue determining who I am and what I represent. Some of the stuff in it is rather silly, such as “things I’m passionate about: feminism, Jesus, flowers, cupcakes.” However, all those silly little details help make you the person you are. On that sheet I have my five-year, ten-year and life plan/goals. I have a list of accomplishments from my life, a paragraph about where I’m at right now versus where I want to be, and even my personal motto. While this may seem laughable, it’s actually helped me immensely. It helps me to find exactly what companies represent things I care about, what aspects of myself mesh well my future career, and why goals I should be striving for.