What keeps many people from pursuing their dreams? The answer is often a feeling of hopelessness - your role models seem so far away from your current reality, and the mountain of work it would take to become like them seems so daunting you never really get started.

But if the fear that the future you want is simply too far from the present you live is holding you back, you obviously haven't heard the story of Chacho Valadez.

A second-generation immigrant without family connections or wealth to give him a leg up in life, Valadez once earned a paycheck selling phones to grumpy customers at a Sprint store, he shared in a personal and moving Medium post recently. Every day he'd come home from his day sorting out the billing issues of irate customers and complain about his dead-end job to his wife.

But Valadez had a dream that kept him going. One day, he vowed, he'd be a venture capitalist helping fellow Latinos and Latinas build incredible businesses.

Sometimes your big break is just 140 characters.  

If that sounds like a pipe dream to you, then imagine how unlikely to must have seemed to the man himself after a long day slinging iPhones. But Valadez was determined and made a point to follow the investors he admired on social media and read up on his dream field.

Then one day he got his big break. No, Marc Andreessen didn't walk into his story looking to update his calling plan. Instead, Valadez did something simple but quietly daring. He tweeted Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital with a simple question - what books would she most recommend to an aspiring VC?

To his surprise, Hamilton tweeted back, and a friendly Twitter exchange sprung up between the two.

A bit of swag and a book recommendation are nice to get, but this wasn't all Valdez earned with his act of self-belief. You can get all the details in his post, but the end result was this: Valadez was first offered a part-time remote assistant position at Backstage Capital. Then, after he took the gutsy decision to quit his Sprint gig to go all in on his shot at a career in VC, he landed his dream role as an apprentice at Backstage.

"Since making the leap, I've been working as an Investment Apprentice to Arlan and Mentor Program Coordinator at Backstage. To my wife's continued delight, I'm not frustrated and grumbling about work anymore," he enthuses. 

"Most days at Backstage are never the same; I could be traveling with Arlan to a speaking engagement, sitting in a pitch meeting with Christie, onboarding mentors into our ecosystem, helping Bryan with events and brand marketing, or working on deal memos. I am given the opportunity to wear many hats in order to learn and grow."

Your dreams may be way closer than you believe.

This is a heartwarming story (and we could all use a few more of those these days), but does it really have any relevance to your life? Is Valadez just the lucky one in a million? He was clearly fortunate to connect with someone as obviously caring as Hamilton, but he's actually not that unique in getting his big break from something as simple as a tweet.

Stacey Ferreira, the young co-founder of AdMoar, landed a substantial investment from no other than Sir Richard Branson simply by having the courage to reach out to the billionaire with a tweet. Meanwhile, Basecamp programmer Dan Kim has publicly shared the story of how he landed his dream job by shooting the CEO a few short, friendly emails.

In light of all these stories, Kim's advice is even more valuable: go ahead and reach out to your role models. "Let your ideas, genuine gratitude, and personality shine in an email. You might be surprised what it leads to," Kim has declared. Hitting send might take a tiny bit of courage but it really could change your life.

Published on: Nov 16, 2017