Transforming a dream into reality is no easy feat! Even with careful planning and pure dedication, staying the course can be an all-consuming emotional roller coaster. Country singer Carly Pearce knows first-hand how hard it can be; she moved to Nashville when she was 18 and finally scored a record deal, only to lose her contract when the label folded. She topped the charts with her single Every Little Thing earlier this year, and Carly鈥檚 dishing out advice that鈥檒l help you achieve the success you鈥檝e been dreaming about, whether that means turning your side hustle into your full-time job or scoring a gig at one of the best companies to work for. Read on for more of her super inspiring story, plus eight great tips for moving forward when it feels impossible to carry on.

Carly Pearce

1. Network as much as you can. Carly admits that networking isn鈥檛 always easy, but tells us it鈥檚 super important just the same 鈥 you never know who you鈥檒l meet! 鈥淎fter I lost my record deal, I ended up connecting with the Opry. After some back and forth emailing, I landed my very first performance there. I actually just played my 37th Opry performance, and it all started because of a little networking.鈥

2. Send five new emails each week. 鈥淭his one might sound simple, but can really pay off,鈥 Carly promises. 鈥淚f you commit to sending emails, you鈥檒l expand your network.鈥 She notes that while the people you connect with might not be able to help right away, you might be surprised how they can pop up later in your journey. Plus, you might be able to help them out with something too.

3. Be open to taking a gig that isn鈥檛 your dream job. Carly says that you鈥檝e gotta be creative when things get tough. 鈥淚 auditioned for and took a job as Lucy Hale鈥檚 backup singer. No, my dream wasn鈥檛 to sing backup vocals for someone else 鈥 but if it kept me singing, I was going to do it.鈥 For you, this might mean taking a more junior role at a company you admire, starting your business as a side project first, or even accepting a job with a few tasks you hate if it has potential to take you in the right direction.

4. Focus on your faith. 鈥淢y faith has played a big role in my life,鈥 Carly says. 鈥淲hen it looked like my dream would never come true, I turned to God.鈥 She tells us that while it wasn鈥檛 easy, her faith helped her focus and inspired her to keep moving forward. She credits her strong faith for the people and opportunities that led her along the path to her current success. No matter what your faith or beliefs are, you may be able to call on them to build a super strong foundation that holds you up when things get tough.

Carly Pearce

5. Indulge to take the edge off. 鈥淚f you know anything about me, you know I love some wine,鈥 Carly confesses. 鈥淚 think it鈥檚 great for celebrating and for helping me through the tough times.鈥 She reminds us that pursuing a dream your heart is attached to is emotional and can be really tough. 鈥淪ome days are great; others test your limits,鈥 she shares. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 where the wine comes in. Don鈥檛 be afraid to pour yourself a glass to take the edge off if it鈥檒l help you unwind and put things back into perspective.鈥 Don鈥檛 share Carly鈥檚 love of vino? Consider a warm bubble bath, a facial, a good sweat sesh, or whatever else it might take for you to hit the ground running the next day.

6. Stay humble. Carly swears by being humble and tells us, 鈥淭he moment you think you鈥檙e above something or that you鈥檙e 鈥榯oo good鈥, you鈥檙e sunk.鈥 She explains that if you really want to see your dreams come true, you need to be willing to do whatever it takes 鈥 even it鈥檚 totally unrelated to what you want to do, like cleaning Airbnb rentals while networking and songwriting like she did. 鈥淭his will also make you appreciate your success that much more when it happens,鈥 she says.

7. Own your destiny. 鈥淣obody is going to work harder for you than yourself,鈥 Carly notes. 鈥淲hile your friends and family might mean well, remember that they aren鈥檛 the boss of you and your life. Make thoughtful decisions for yourself and stay true to who you are.鈥 She reminds us that in the end, you have to live with the result 鈥 be it good or bad. Though it鈥檚 hard to find the courage to follow your gut and your goals, being brave is a surefire way to live with fewer regrets.

8. Never give up. Carly is a big advocate of believing in yourself and staying the course. 鈥淚f you truly want something, don鈥檛 lose hope or give up.鈥 Having been through the ups and downs, she explains that while your dream might not come true on your planned schedule or the way you think it should, the journey itself is worth it. 鈥淵ou don鈥檛 want to look back one day and say, 鈥榃hat if I had tried just one more day?鈥 or 鈥榃hat would have happened if I kept going?鈥 Remember, it鈥檚 always darkest right before the dawn. Keep dreaming, and keep going.

Are you chasing a dream? We want to hear all about it! Fill us in on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Carly Pearce)