5 Tips For Getting What You Want

Getting what you want takes effort, but it’s worth every step of the way.

I recently decided to do something huge for myself. And by recently, I mean seven months ago. An opportunity arose with my employer for a position that would allow me to move up in the ranks. My supervisor told me I’d be perfect in the role but when I read the job description, my heart sank. Applicant must have a degree was right there in bold letters.

When I graduated high school, the question was never “which colleges are you going to apply at, Keira?” The question was always “where are you going to get a job, Keira?” Academic achievement was never encouraged, and I hadn’t considered that university within the realm of my own possibilities.

Getting What You Want


Photo: Victor Hanacek

However, I found myself at 34 with a bundle of experience and a strong skill set, but a roadblock preventing me from entering a new door. I decided, on somewhat of a whim, that I should get my degree. Why not? Even if I chip away at it over 10 years, and don’t actually walk across the stage until I’m well into my 40s, the effort is worth it.

I filled out an application form. And waited. Then I submitted my dusty old high school and Langara College transcripts. And waited. Then I filled out a personal profile and answered mini essay questions about what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years. And waited. Then I submitted reference letters. And waited. Then, after seven nerve-wracking months, the email arrived: I had been accepted to the Faculty of Arts program at the University of British Columbia.

Getting What You Want 2
Photo: Victor Hanacek

I’ve now known for almost two weeks and it’s still all a bit surreal. In September I take the first steps towards getting a degree, hopefully in Creative Writing. I’m worth the effort I make. You’re worth the effort you make. Getting what you want is worth it and it’s not a selfish endeavour.

If you’re considering stepping out in faith, taking a risk, making a change, or doing something for yourself, I have two words for you: DO IT!

After quitting my job several years ago, I’ve picked up a few nuggets of pure gold along the way. These tips have been hugely empowering for me and I want to share them with you here.

  1. The Time Will Pass Anyway – You’ll eventually be 40 or 50 or 60 no matter what you do, so why not make the best use of that time? Let the clock tick by or jump on it!
  2. Embrace Your Passion – If you’re passionate about something, and you let it show, that passion will ignite something in you that you didn’t know existed. And I have a feeling you might just feel happier for it.
  3. Do It For You – Trust me: not everyone will be thrilled for you. Taking a leap and getting what you want requires risk, and not everyone is ready to jump. Some may even resent it. Be happy for yourself and remember that that’s enough.
  4. Your Participation is Required – No one will fill out that college application, enrol in scuba diving lessons, or send out your resume for you. Procrastination is everyone’s enemy so kick it in the butt and do what needs to be done to get there.
  5. Start Small – Change is daunting for any of us, but try focusing on one pixel in the big picture. I can’t think about the 10 years ahead of me. Right now I’m focused on course selection and registration. I’ll worry about textbooks in August.

What kind of changes do you want to make in your life? Are you excited/nervous/scared about the next steps ahead of you? Share with me in the comments some of your tips on getting what you want and what has made you successful in what you’re passionate about.

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One Comment on “5 Tips For Getting What You Want

  1. I was accepted to UBC when I was 34 as well! I’ve managed to work full-time and take 2 or 3 distance or evening classes for the past five years and god willing I will graduate in 2017 when I’m 40. For some inspiration, perhaps check out Justine Bateman’s blog. Yep, Justine Bateman from Family Ties. She just graduated from UCLA with her undergrad degree at 50! http://getacollegelife.tumblr.com/

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