Let’s say that you are in your hometown of West Reading, Pennsylvania going downtown with some friends for dinner and the local pub that you show up at has a great little country singer named Taylor Swift, who you enjoy listening to as the night passes. By the end of the evening, you go over and drop a $10 bill in her guitar case because … she earned it! She sang her little heart out and did a good at it too.

A few years go by and this little country singer has blown up. She has released multiple albums and started touring. She performs large concerts and sings for thousands of people. Finally, you have the night off work and get a group of friends together to go to her concert. As you purchase the ticket it does not phase you that you are paying $250 to go watch her because she is worth it. Taylor started out young, she put in a lot of time and energy into growing her brand and getting herself to where she is today. Rather than starting in a concert hall she started at a local pub.

Establishing yourself from a base level and working your way up is the natural course of trajectory for employees. This is true of artists who start in garages and slowly grow. This is true of doctors who do years and years of schooling to finish and only be thrown into residency where they continue to learn and excel. This happens with accountants, who start small doing data entry and the team leader who started on the assembly line.

Whether you are just entering the workforce now and frustrated at the process or if you have been trying your hardest to continue in your career growth to break beyond your current ceiling to new and better things, it is important to remember that building a good career takes time and energy. Getting from the bottom of the food chain to the top requires sacrifice and dedication.

Creating goals is great, and so important BUT having goals without a plan is meaningless. Think about where you want to be and when you want to get there then work backwards helping yourself set realistic expectations and measurable targets moving in the right direction towards your ultimate success!

Having high expectations for yourself is very important, you should never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something based on their perception of you. However, understanding your experience, knowledge and capabilities in the moment is important to setting your current expectations and creating your plan to move forward.

Get a job where you can. Enter the workforce when you can. Take what is given to you then outshine the people around you. Work harder than the employees next to you. Think faster, do better, push yourself. You have the capability to do whatever you put your mind to, all you have to do is try and if you fail…try again.