What do you want out of life? What is it that you’ve always wanted to do? Where is it that you’ve always wanted to go? A lot of us have dreams that have been with us for years. Some of us even have wish lists or bucket lists – lists of things that we want to do before we turn 30, 40 or 50. Or even before we die. We set goals and New Years’ Resolutions. Some of us even say to friends or family, “I’ve always wanted to [blah blah blah].” How do you fill in the blank?
Most of the time, the reason we haven’t done these things is because there is something standing in the way. Money keeps us from putting that trip to Paris on the calendar. Time might keep us from coaching little league. Education or experience usually keeps us from pursuing that big time job. But, the funny thing about life is that – as grim as it sounds, we don’t know when we’re going to die. We don’t know if we’ll make it to 30, 40 or 50 and if we do, we don’t know for certain that we’ll be in the position to do these things. Today, I am encouraging you to do what it takes to do these things as soon as possible. Because life will pass us by if we let it, and we don’t want to look back on our lives with regret wishing we had the nerve to chase our dreams. In today’s podcast, we’re first going to talk about the barriers standing between us and… (fill in the blank), then we’ll discuss how to overcome those barriers and do what it takes to achieve our goals.
There are three main reasons why we don’t do those things we’ve always wanted to do. We don’t have the currency, we don’t have the confidence and we have critics talking us out of it.
For the purpose of this episode, currency refers to anything of value that can be exchanged for something else of value. Of course that means money. But it can also mean time and knowledge or experience. Let me give you a few examples. You want to take your kids to Disney World. Of course, that requires money. Say you want to serve on the board of directors for a non-profit. That takes time. Or maybe you want a leadership position at work. Most times, that requires a certain level of knowledge of the business and experience with doing similar work that would have prepared you for that job. In each scenario, we have to have something valuable in order to, in return, get something deemed valuable to us. If we had these things, there wouldn’t be anything standing in the way of our goal, so this is usually the primary barrier.
In some cases, we have the currency, we just don’t have the confidence. We’re afraid of failure. We let uncertainty of what lies ahead hold us back. Or worse, we’re actually afraid of what would happen if we succeeded! Imagine that! A lack of confidence will keep us from even trying. We talk ourselves out of it before the idea ever gets off the ground. A study shows that girls’ confidence drops by 30 percent between the ages of 8 and 14. I don’t know about you but that stat is mind-blowing to me. After only eight years on the planet, girls are 30 percent less convinced that they can do it, no matter what “it” is. Now, how old are you? And how much less confident are you than you were when you were 8? Male or female.
Currency, confidence, critics. Critics will always be there, no matter what you do. If you’re doing well, they’ll try to bring you down. If you’re down and trying to pull yourself up, they’re pulling you back down. That new idea you have at work? A critic will tell you it’s a terrible idea! Want to start a new business? A critic will conveniently remind you that 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year. Want to go backpacking across Europe? Critics will recall the bad experience had by a friend or family member who did something similar. Regardless of what you want to do, there will always be someone there to tell you how it can’t be done. How it will be too hard, too expensive, too time consuming. How it will be too dangerous or that won’t be a great as you think it will be.
I am willing to do what it takes
The good news is that the story doesn’t have to end there. If you want something bad enough, nothing can stop you. But the key is wanting it bad enough and doing WHATEVER it takes to accomplish that goal; to fulfill that dream.
I am willing to make sacrifices for my dreams
So, you don’t have the money, time or knowledge/experience. Being willing to do whatever it takes may mean that you have to make sacrifices. About a year ago, I wasn’t in the best shape. I gained some weight and knew that I needed to add exercise to my daily routine. The problem was that I just didn’t have the time. Being a wife and mother with a full-time job, it was almost impossible to carve out the 90 or so minutes it would take for me to gather my workout gear, travel to a gym, workout for an hour, then travel back home and shower. I mean, who would keep the kids? Who would take them to their activities? Working out after 8pm was a no-go for me because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep by 10 due to the adrenaline rush. Plus, I really didn’t want to take any quality time away from the kids for my benefit in any way. I had to figure something out. I decided that I would workout at home. This would cut down on the time needed to travel and eliminate the need for a babysitter. I would invest in a home workout video program, which is ultimately cheaper than a gym membership. Lastly, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. (before the kids need to get up) so I could work out from 5:30 to 6:30. Now, I work out for an hour Monday through Friday. It helps me start my day off with a positive attitude and the energy I need to get through the day.
The point is, you can’t just sit around hopeless. You may need to rearrange your schedule to make time. You may need to cut back on eating out so you can save money. You may need to take some night classes to finish your degree so you’ll qualify for that job you’ve got your eye on. Someone once said, “True success requires sacrifice.” What do you need to sacrifice to help make your dreams come true?
I am not a quitter
I have to be real with you. Just because you want it bad enough and start making sacrifices, doesn’t mean everything will just fall into place. There will be setbacks. You finished your degree and you applied for the job, but didn’t get it. You saved a bunch of money but then you had to spend it to get your car fixed. You had to start working overtime which eliminated all the extra time you freed up in your day. You have to be strong enough to keep going. Don’t give up. Don’t quit! Keep at it. Consistency is key. Recognize that these are temporary setbacks and remind yourself that you’ve still got this. Nothing great was ever had by giving up. You may need to tweak your plan or create a new one altogether. Doing whatever it takes means that you pick yourself up after a fall. One thing that helps me and keeps me from getting discouraged is celebrating my incremental wins. Your goal is to save $1000, celebrate when you get to $250. Your goal is to lose 50 pounds, celebrate when you lose 10. Do whatever it is that you need to do in order to keep going.
I am patient
Maybe you’ve been doing everything it takes. And quitting is not an option for you. But now you’re getting impatient because it’s not happening as fast as you would like. You’re discouraged because no one is hiring you, or you’re stuck on a weight loss plateau. Banks keep telling you no as you try to secure funding for your small business. You get excited at the prospect but then that letdown is hard to bare. Expect that you will hear no, but don’t let that discourage you. Remind yourself that you are just that much closer to your goal. When applying for jobs, I remember getting told no over and over and over again. I would get into the final stages of the interview process and the company would go with the other candidate or they decide not to fill the position at all. It was hurtful and discouraging. I cried. I thought I wasn’t enough. But what I wish I would have told myself was to be patient. Remember that this is just another stop on your journey, which will make you that much more grateful of the outcome.
Proclaiming that you want to pursue your dreams or that you want to officially “go for it” can be scary. It might be easy to allow you or someone else to talk yourself out of it. But if you want it bad enough, be willing to make some sacrifices. Don’t quit when it gets hard and be patient, as you are likely to encounter bumps along the way. Remember that you’ve got this! There is a reason why this is something you want to do. In 10, 20 or 30 years from now, don’t look back and wish you took advantage of this opportunity to get started on your dream. Instead, look back and be glad that you did.
Here are your positive affirmations to ponder on this week:
- I am willing to do what it takes.
- I am willing to make the needed sacrifices to make my dreams come true.
- I am not a quitter.
- I am patient.
- I am acquiring the resources I need to accomplish my goals.
- I am confident in my abilities.
- I am not going to let critics talk me out of doing what I want to do.