Your own worst enemy? Obstacles. Hurdles. Barriers. Roadblocks. These are all common sights along the road to achievement.
If you have ever worked towards a goal that most people would label as “unrealistic”, then you have undoubtedly faced one challenge after another. In fact, when you reach the point where you feel like giving up, that is usually when things get even tougher.
Believe it or not, these external obstacles are actually the easy part. They are obvious. We can examine them and devise a plan to work through them or around them. For example, if you want to start a business but lack the funding, there are a variety of tangible action steps you can take to resolve your funding issues.
The real barriers to success are the internal roadblocks. This is where it gets difficult. This is where you battle your own self doubts, worries and feelings of unworthiness.
You may have the best work ethic in the world. You may have the strictest discipline and self control. But if your mind is listing all of the reasons why you shouldn’t have what you truly want, you are fighting a losing battle.
For many of us, these negative tapes have been playing the same dis-empowering messages in our minds for years.
In my business, I hire a lot of writers for various projects. Some of these people have incredible talent. They can weave words together and communicate a powerful message with ease and grace. But, they spend all of their time ghost writing or freelancing for other people. Many have never published their own book.
Why? For one reason or another they don’t believe in themselves. They don’t think they are ready. They choose to sit on the sidelines watching other people publish successful work while they maintain the status quo.
They are waiting for some defining moment to give themselves permission to finally publish their own work. The problem is, this moment will never come as long as they remain blind to their capabilities.
The only way to cross the invisible line from feeling unworthy to feeling powerful and capable is to change the internal dialog. Instead of repeating patterns of thought telling you why you can’t do something, you flip the switch. You spend time every day reprogramming those internal tapes. When an old dis-empowering message begins to play, you train yourself to switch it to a positive.
Slowly but surely you forge a new path. A new way of thinking. A new internal dialog. Instead of being your own worst enemy, you become your own cheerleader. It is in that moment that everything in your life changes.
If you want to be certain that you will never face a challenge or find yourself in a difficult bind, then it is very important to have tame and realistic goals.
Goals that you know you can achieve with minimal effort and hardship.
However, if you want to have any degree of excitement and experience real growth in your life, then you’re going to have to make plans and set goals that other people will very likely label as unrealistic.
These kind of goals often come with a high degree of risk. You rarely know how you are going to achieve them until you get started. More often than not, the result you achieve will not be exactly what you set out to do in the first place.
Many of the famous entertainers, doctors and scientists that we admire in our society today became well known because they achieved unrealistic goals. They had the courage to set the goals and the perseverance to bring them into reality.
Unrealistic goal setters tend to be happier, more positive people. They have high levels of energy because they thrive on challenge and love the thrill of achievement. Setting and pursuing unrealistic goals is not always a walk in the park. You are going to face resistance.
Many people abandon some of their biggest goals and dreams after well meaning friends and family talk them out of it. There is a very good chance that the same thing will happen to you once you start changing your life and setting big, unrealistic goals. When this happens, it is very important to look at the source of advice.
If you are being talked out of an exciting idea by someone who lives a boring, risk-free life, realize that if you choose to accept their advice and abandon your dream, you are also very likely going to create a boring risk-free life.
If you want to keep your biggest goals and dreams alive and build momentum to start putting them into action, seek advice from other like-minded goal setters and get feedback that encourages you to go for it. Spend more time hanging around people who are less concerned with risk and failure and are more interested in living an exciting life.
Once you become an unrealistic goal setter, you will never look back.
When I think back to my high school days, one of my best memories is the time I spent in the gym playing basketball. By no means was I star (actually, I sucked at it!) but I just loved the game and thrived on the competition.
One of the intramural games we used to play involved taking free throws and seeing how many you could make in a row without missing. It was the most addicting game ever. I would go home and practice and even fall asleep thinking about shooting free throws. I wanted to beat my record each time out.
The thrill, excitement and pressure of being on a streak is powerful. You want to see how far you can go but you also know it can end at any moment. This concept can play a huge role in our lives if we apply it at new levels. The good news is that in most cases, there is more room for error than shooting free throws.
If there is an area of your life where you are currently unhappy with your results, you can use this momentum principle to shift your direction immediately.
Earlier this year I realized that running my business was becoming so demanding that I was spending all of my time on daily demands and investing almost no time into my own personal development. I knew this was hurting me because I thrive on feeding my mind with inspirational and business education.
I decided to start a new routine of waking up at 6am to get some quality study time in. This was way outside of my comfort zone. I felt tired for the first few days and questioned if this was really a good idea. But, I tried it for a few days. A few days turned into a week. After that, I was feeling great and I wanted to keep the streak going. Before I knew it I had literally forged a new identity. I was now the girl who gets up at 6am to get a head start on the rest of the world. I felt proud of myself. And more importantly, the extra hours I was investing into training my mind and motivating myself were paying off. My mood was better, my business was thriving and new ideas were flooding into my mind all of the time.
The momentum has continued and it is still my routine to this day. Realize that you are one decision away from starting your own streak. Make today the day you get started, and tap into the power of momentum.
Back in my corporate days, I worked for a huge company where it was easy to become just another face in the crowd. It was your typical corporate setting where you would find many people who truly hated being there.
There was one lady in particular who’s cubicle I would pass on a daily basis. Practically every time I walked by, she would be on a social networking or celebrity gossip website. If managers were in the area, she would quickly perk up and look busy. When the coast was clear, back she would go to the time wasting.
I also remember her being negative and miserable a lot of the time. I actually felt really bad for her.
As someone who dropped out of the corporate life to pursue something with more meaning for me, I can see with hindsight exactly what was going on. She hated her position and did not want to be there. But another part of her believed that she must keep this job because there was no other option.
Thinking back, I’m sure she wasn’t a lazy person by nature and I bet she had hobbies or other interests outside of work that made her feel alive and positive. She could immerse herself in these activities for hours and feel like no time had passed at all.
This is the kind of engaged, focused activity that makes people feel genuinely happy. For me, I know I always feel my best when I have put my heart and soul into a project that has meaning for me and that I am passionate about. Its even more powerful if you can get paid for it!
The challenge then becomes, how do you align your entire life so that you spend the majority of time engaged in the kind of work that makes you come alive? How do you find something that you are already good at, already enjoy, and want to become the best at?
All it takes is the willingness to try something new. If you are in a job you hate and have passion for something totally different, you don’t have to quit your job and risk the farm.
You can take on a small passion project that you devote your weekends to.
Sometimes, all you have to do is start and you will create the momentum you need to remap the entire direction of your life in a new, more exciting direction.
Here’s where a little flexibility is going to go a long way. Start examining the alternatives. Be as creative as possible and don’t discount anything offhand for being too silly. Sometimes it’s those silly ideas that are going to get you thinking along a different path entirely. Sure, it’s normal to feel some disappointment at this point. Chances are you had your path all planned out. But when you consider all the new possibilities, it’s easy to get excited about trying something new. Use this energy to fuel you toward the next step.
for your life.
success you want to obtain…
Is probably going to take a lot longer than you anticipate when you start the journey.
It’s just human nature.
We get a good idea about something we want to be, do, have and the idea captures our minds and emotions. The honeymoon phase is awesome. Daydreaming and brainstorming of your exciting new idea and the world of possibility that will open up once you reach this new goal.
You are energized and ready to take on the world.
If you are new to this game, I’m sorry to tell you but you have a mountain ahead of you. And no one has ever successfully scaled a mountain quickly and easily.
Sure, from a distance, the mountain may not look that big. It looks like fairly smooth terrain and a manageable grade when you stare at the mountain from a few miles away. You excitedly sprint to your starting point.
That’s when the work begins and within a very short period of time, reality starts to sink in at the difficulty and struggle that awaits you.
don’t make it far enough up the mountain to be invested in the journey. They quit
early enough that the pain of investment isn’t harsh enough. The sting of
quitting isn’t harsh enough.
However, if the goal at the summit of your mountain is something that you REALLY want… and you have enough reasons to get there (and enough reasons not to quit), then your first mission becomes the “investment phase”.
You have to put in enough blood, sweat and tears to reach a point where turning around and quitting would be more painful that continuing.
Once you reach this point, you gain a whole new perspective on life. The struggle doesn’t go away, but it takes on a new form. You find a sort of peace and “sense of knowing” during your struggle. You know you will make it to your goal… you just don’t know how long it will take. But it almost doesn’t matter because you no longer count the cost. You are focused purely on the journey.
This is an easy metaphor to understand but it applies to anything in life.
Make a point to first be the kind of person who dreams, has big visions and gives yourself the permission to set major goals.
Then, make CERTAIN you stay with it long enough that turning around is no longer an option.
Even though it will likely take far longer than you think to reach your peak.
In the end, when you're embracing obstacles you
meet in trying to attain your goals, you’re likewise embracing a new way of
thinking. You’re adjusting your mindset to one of success instead of failure.
You’re accepting there are different ways to do things, and that the things
standing in your way are more often new opportunities than a true stopping
point. You’re looking at life in a way which allows you to go places you never
thought possible before.
The key here is in control. Your emotions shouldn’t be what’s holding your back. Of course, it’s okay to feel what you do when you meet with an obstacle. The key is in not staying there when it’s time to move forward again because you will move forward again if you keep trying.