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Jennifer Cohen

Senior leadership consultant and the founder and Principal...

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Julia Stoel-Legro

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Anita Sharpe on Pursuing Your Dreams

Anita Sharpe on Pursuing Your Dreams

Anita Sharpe is the co-founding editor of MOTTO magazine, a new national publication whose editorial mission is focused on passionate, purposeful and meaningful work. A Pulitzer Prize–winning writer for The Wall Street Journal, Sharpe previously served as editor in chief of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, which she helped build into one of the largest circulated, most respected and most profitable business journals in America. Sharpe is a former winner of the ACE Award for Communications Excellence and a past president of the Atlanta Press Club. She studied at the London School of Economics and graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University. In this interview, Sharpe explains why people find it so hard to pursue a dream.

Are there some classic mistakes that everyone makes when pursuing a dream?

In the first 30 days, you’re going to make lots of mistakes. You have to make them! You’re on a journey and mistakes are learning opportunities. We’ve made mistakes building this business, but they’ve made us smarter. The biggest mistake is to make the same mistake twice.

What do people underestimate about pursuing a dream?

How long it’s going to take. Making a change is a three-year minimum process. You spend a year marinating the stuff in your head and body, getting ready. Then you take the first steps and make lots of mistakes. In the third year, it’s really happening—you’re doing it.

How are dreamers similar?

All of them smile a lot! They have a sense of soul contentment, they’re directed and passionate. They’ve found the thing in their lives that makes their soul sing, and it comes out in their enthusiasm. They believe that their dreams are going to leave a positive impact on the world, and they feel like their dreams matter.

Are more people pursuing their dreams?

Definitely. It’s been an evolution in the past few decades as people see more examples around them. You can explore other paths, and there’s more acceptance in society in general. Financially, people feel they can get up and try something new. Also, we’re seeing a lot of people who want what they can’t buy. There really is only one life—you’d better go for it.

What can we look forward to as a result of pursuing our dreams?

No regrets. Knowing you used your life in a way that’s meaningful and important to you. Most people’s dreams come from the soul; they are important. The world needs people out there pursuing their dreams. Happy people make positive change. If you’re pursuing your dream, in general you’re a happy person.

What would you tell parents who worry about their dreamer kids?

Your kids will ultimately do what you taught them. If you did a good job raising them, they’ll be more independent in their thinking. There’s not much you can do to stop them; you shouldn’t be thinking that way. People who are doing what they love and what they’re good at will be more successful than those who are doing things they don’t enjoy.

Has pursuing your dream led to other dreams?

Getting connected with your dreams affects every area of your life. Pursuing this dream was the best change I ever made. It made me realize that anything I want to do is possible. Trust your gut and your inner essence—you will make the right decisions.

Posted: 12/26/07

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