By Jim Sobosan
Wanna move forward in life? Do you have a great idea or goal that never seems quite within your reach? Is self-doubt, uncertainty, naysayers or lack of clarity, blocking your path?
So, I’m walking with my faithful pooch Sam along a glimmering fall trail one inspiring morning, wondering what keeps us in neutral or reverse way too often? I can’t easily count the number of times someone has called me to ask for help getting unstuck as they struggle and stumble towards a desired goal in their life. Ergo, the impetus for my pondering.
I thought about clients who have grappled too often and too long to succeed. The authors who struggled to complete the manuscripts they had been working on for a number of years, the young professional who was living far away from her family, wishing she was home while enduring a stressful job not to her liking, the entrepreneur who was floundering because he could not develop and stick to a working plan of action, the young woman who performed tedious office tasks, while she dreamed of working in the world of high fashion, the financial executive who promised himself to do a better job creating healthier habits that were more stimulating and rewarding only to succumb to the demands and distractions of his position over and over.
And not to be forgotten, the college administrator, who dreamed of working for herself, but who could not get past her fear of failing.
So what holds us back from achieving our goals, hopes and dreams? Well there are many factors that can derail us. Frequently it’s fear of: failure, change, not being perfect or even good enough, the unknown, disappointing others, being ridiculed and yes sometimes the fear of success that can immobilize us.
There are additional critical factors that may block our path such as; uncertainty over how or where to begin, not believing in yourself, negative self-talk, (you know- I’ll never finish this, I’m not smart enough, I don’t deserve this, I don’t have the skills or discipline to do that,) lack of a workable plan or being unable to imagine what might be possible. There may be other factors that inhibit successful change, but these are some of the more challenging ones.
So what’s a person to do when they face any of these roadblocks, give up, give in, or set your sites on a lesser goal? Fogettabout it! You can, but why should you?
I believe there is a path through, around or over every mountain. The downside is someone has to find or create the trail that leads to their destination. There might be snow, wind, rain, tall grass or quite possibly the dreaded Antelope rendering the trail slow and difficult. But remember this! Someone will always find or blaze that path and they are quite likely no more capable of success than you are. Those who succeed are willing to strive beyond their comfort zones, face challenges, take chances, stumble, struggle along the way, manage their fearful and negative thoughts and dare to achieve, risk failure, endure and ask for help.
What’s the reward for all of this? Exhilarating change and the opportunity to create and sustain a more gratifying career or personal life are two thoughts.
How do you get started?
Well, it really helps to know what you want and why you want it, so take a moment to identify and jot down your goals and the reward or rewards you expect to attain.
Belief in your ability to achieve the goals you set is vital. Take sufficient time to list the strengths, skills, experiences, resources and special gifts you possess that will contribute to your success.
Share your thoughts and ambition with someone you trust. Ask for their feedback, support and encouragement.
Next step, identify all of the potential beliefs, thoughts, behaviors and habits that might keep you from even starting or completing your plan and be sure to write them all down. Next devise one or two strategies to manage each roadblock you identify. Ask for help from family members, friends, co-worker or a professional if you feel stuck.
Write the goals or achievements you have decided to work towards on a card or in a small notebook or in your smart phone (for those of you who aren’t 60 or older). Be sure to review daily what you have recorded. Read it silently and then out loud.
List all of the steps you believe are necessary for success.
Identify the steps or activities you think you will enjoy doing and not doing.
Identify which activities you will need help with and whom you will need to enlist in your endeavor.
Set a time frame for completion of the project. Consult with a trusted ally to determine if the time frame is realistic and achievable.
List one or two initial steps to focus on.
Whenever possible focus on one step at a time until it is completed. Focusing on all of the steps or multiple steps in the plan will tend to feel overwhelming and can inhibit sustained effort or shut it down completely.
Set a completion time-line for each step and arrange accountability with someone you trust who will hold you to it.
Take time to give yourself a small reward (something that is pleasing, energizing and soothing or briefly distracting between each task.
Nurture your drive towards your ambition by sharing your progress and your successes with others. Many of us tend to experience increased energy and enthusiasm when we discuss our accomplishments with the folks who root for us.
Remember to review and discuss your apprehensions and roadblocks when they begin to creep into your thoughts and activities. You want to make sure these potential disruptors remain as ineffectual as possible.
Never forget the prize at the end of your journey. Take time each day to read, write and say out loud what you are doing and why it is important for you to continue.
I assume folks will tire of hearing me say this, but I truly believe that two critical factors in any successful endeavor are intentional thought and action, ( if you are walking down the stairs you are likely to never fall if you watch and feel each foot hitting the step instead of thinking about everything else) and by what we do today not by what we didn’t do yesterday.
Be Intentional! Believe in You, Take One Small step today.