With just a few weeks left of summer, it's about that time when kids and young adults prepare to go back to school.

Parents are shopping, college students are packing and teachers are planning their class lessons. 

On Sunday after the blackout (search), my wife and I attended the christening of our niece Alexandria. One of my cousins-in-law made an early exit so that she could pack for her trip to Syracuse University (search), where she'll be a freshman in the musical theater program.

Now 18 years old, she has been acting in community theater since she was a child, and is understandably excited about her future in the entertainment business. 

Before she left she said that one day she will be "rich and famous." The only advice I could muster was "don't put too much pressure on yourself. Have fun."

While we all want her to make it, what I really wanted to tell her is that it's OK if she doesn't make it. She will still be the same person, and her family will love her whether she's a household name or not. 

It's not a comment on her talent or her ambition, but a life lesson that in the long run would serve to help her realize her dreams.

We all want to win the gold, but ask any Olympic athlete, for instance, and they'll say the lessons learned while on the journey are far more important than the medal itself. 

Remember U.S. bobsleigh driver Jean Racine (search)? She dumped her longtime partner Jen Davidson for a stronger brakeperson right before the Salt Lake City winter games. Her new brakeperson Gia Johnson came up lame the week of the games. 

Racine learned the hard way that winning isn't everything.

And in the world of theater, success does not come overnight. On this weekend's "FOX Magazine," I interview legendary director Jerry Zaks, and equally legendary music composer Alan Menken (search), who have teamed up to bring the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" (search) to Broadway this fall. 

Between the two of them there is more than a half-century of experience. 

Zaks directed such Broadway smashes as "Guys and Dolls" and "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," which helped catapult Nathan Lane to stardom. Alan Menken has four Academy Awards, among others, for writing the music for some of Disney's most recent classics, like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid."

The point is, nothing happens overnight, no matter how hard one works. It's important to enjoy the process and learn as much as you can along the way. Fall in love and get your heart broken. Go out for a job or a part and don't get it. Fail a test or two. It won't be the end of the world.

Just don't give up. If you work on your craft, half the battle sometimes is just showing up.

Eventually that "dream job" will be simply the next step in your career, and by that time you'll probably have your sights set on a much higher rung. You might not even notice how far you've come.

You only need to prove to yourself that you can do it. If you believe in yourself enough, but also understand that it's not just about you, eventually others will come around and believe in you too. 

And that boys and girls, is when your dreams will come true.

Mike Straka is the project manager for FOX News' Internet operations and contributes as a features reporter and producer on FOX Magazine (Sundays 11 p.m. on FNC) and as a reporter and columnist for Foxnews.com. 

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