When we set goals for ourselves, it’s not uncommon for us to get a little impatient when we don’t see them develop into full effect right away. This is especially true for our BIGGEST goals. Even though we all innately know that our big goals will require a lot of time, energy and patience, we still allow ourselves to get overly critical when we don’t see instantaneous results. The unfortunate truth of this scenario is that it often causes complete abandonment of goals, leaving us in a state of frustration, self-pity, or worse yet, skepticism about whether or not we are even capable of achieving anything remotely close to what we had originally intended.
In my November post, “The Openings Between The Clouds – Quick Tips For Fun Goal Planning,” I wrote about easy ways to fuel your intentions for 2015 with inspiration and pure motivation. Now, here we are in late January, hopefully, embarking down the path of turning our visions into realities.
Since we live in a culture that often demands instant results, and instant results aren’t usually a part of the “lets try something new” equation, I thought it seemed fitting to offer-up a few more quick tips to inspire you to stay-the-course. After all, you were put on this earth to “bring it” – whatever “it” is – my aim is to ignite that friendly reminder in your head, that yes, it’s worth it to pursue your dreams.
Tip # 1 / Believe In Your Ability To Create What You Conceive
One of America’s most notorious authors on the topic of success, Napoleon Hill stated, “what the mind can conceive it can achieve.” It’s that simple truth that if you can think it, then it’s possible – or, the only space between yourself and what you want to happen is just figuring-out how to make it happen.
Here’s where the mind often likes to play tricks on us. Great ideas are a dime a dozen – let’s face it, we ALL have a lot of amazing concepts firing-off in our heads, at all times of the day. Yet the courage, commitment, time and risk involved with actually figuring-out how to bring those ideas to life, can so often seem overly-complicated and overwhelming for the mind’s initial comprehension. Why? It all starts with our own personal belief system about ourselves, and what we think we are capable of doing.
In my lifespan (okay, only 37 years young, but old to some), I have rarely encountered any task, project or proposition that I couldn’t eventually figure-out, when giving it my complete attention, focus and most importantly, personal belief that I could, in fact, take it on. And, I can also tell you that I probably wasn’t deemed as the most equipped person at the time to tackle many of the things I’m referring to. What has always motivated me to explore unchartered territory is the little voice inside my head, which has been nice enough to encourage me with the thought that I am more capable than meets the eye. This self-belief has kept me going, even during the many times I’ve found myself squirming in my skin and shaking in my boots because I felt entirely out of my comfort zone.
Yes, it always takes time and commitment to absorb new information and learn how to apply it, but when your heart fuels your brain with the pure belief that you really CAN figure it out, then guess what happens? That’s right, you DO figure it out : )! I would even venture to say that anyone of us could become a rocket scientist, if that’s where we chose to place our heart-felt focus.
What actually unfolds in our lives always gets back to the root of who you believe yourself to be and how much you actually believe in your own concepts of that person. If you tell yourself you’re incapable, either consciously or unconsciously, then the game is lost before it is even played. Do me a favor and find that voice inside your head that reminds yourself that YOU are capable too.
Tip # 2 / Remember That Failure Is A Stepping Stone To Wisdom and Success
Have you googled quotes about failure lately? While it’s a big hot-topic in the world of self-transformation, I’ve got to say, the concept of “failing forward” offers an awesome reminder that if you aren’t failing, you probably aren’t trying very hard. One of the best quotes I’ve ever come across on the wisdom of failure is by Thomas Edison, who in his attempt to create the light bulb said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Because failure is so deeply connected with our emotions, it offers some of the most memorable wisdom for us to utilize moving forward. As with any scientific experiment, our own sensory observations of what does or doesn’t happen when we actually try something different, offers the most believable results for us to gain a deeper understanding of the world.
So, rather than fearing failure, we could all stand to gain a lot more if we simply look for the key learnings behind what’s not working in our lives, get over ourselves, and then quickly try again armed with new knowledge and a higher rate for success. This leads me to my next point…
Tip # 3 / Test, Learn and Try It Again
If we could shine a refreshing light of wisdom on our failures, then don’t you think we’d find it more worthwhile to give them another shot? I learned a great concept during my time as a marketer called “fail fast.” Notice how the word “fail” is an inherent assumption of that statement. When you are generating ideas within an innovative space, the question isn’t whether “if” you are going to fail or not. In fact, the statement actually implies that you are bound to fail. The bigger implication with this concept is how quickly you can navigate through those failures, in order to keep the proverbial train moving towards the next station.
The journey towards your biggest goals will never be a straight line. It will always have lots of twists and turns, unexplored scenery, puzzling conversations, and rest stops along the way. And, the further you intend to travel, the more likely it is that you could have a mechanical issue or get a flat tire en route. So, the big question is how long are you going to sit along the side of the road cursing the situation with frustration, fear, shame or embarrassment before you simply figure-out how to solve the issue, in order to get back on the road again – like a “band of gypsies going down the highway”? (sorry, I just couldn’t resist that Willy Nelson lyric : )).
The twist and turns on any journey are what make your individual story interesting, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, try new things, learn from the results and try it again, until you get to wherever it is you intend to go.
Tip # 4 / Notice The Little Wins
There’s a well-known concept that whatever you focus on expands. Yet, we all have a little annoying gremlin inside of us which likes to pop-up from time-to-time, in order to highlight all of the things we either aren’t doing right or aren’t working within our lives. It’s human nature to allow ourselves to fixate on these unproductive thoughts, because let’s face it, sometimes it hurts when things don’t work out exactly the way we planned, especially when we’ve given it our all.
At these times, it’s incredibly important to build a muscle of awareness around your negative fixations, in order to gently remind yourself to call on your highest sense of inner wisdom. Ask it to help you notice what IS actually working. Referring back to tip # 2, taking the time to look for what you’ve learned from a recent mishap is a great place to start in your search for little wins. Did you learn anything new from something that didn’t workout? Awesome… write it down and congratulate yourself for noticing this new found antidote! And, when something goes well, pretty please take the time to give it a quick spotlight of your attention and celebrate it – even if it’s just a quick happy dance in your head, acknowledgement in your journal or a call to your mom or closest friend!
Let’s face it, success rarely shows-up in the form of one full sweep of achievement. Big achievements are usually comprised of a mountain of many small wins. If it’s true that energy flows wherever our attention goes, then the likelihood of attracting more little wins, or better yet, bigger wins, increases at the same rate we are capable of directing attention towards anything and everything that is going well in our lives… big or small. In a nutshell, your little wins are energetic building blocks for bigger wins, and they deserve your undivided attention and encouragement.
Tip # 5 / Relax and Open Your Spectrum of Opportunities
Sometimes it’s easy to fixate so hard on our end goals that we completely lose sight of aligned opportunities that are directly in front of us. We become so uptight about controlling the way our visions unfold, and preoccupied by the perfect pictures we’ve created inside our heads that we checkout of the present moment, where the true opportunity really resides.
This world is big… really big… and it is filled with all the people, knowledge, guidance and wisdom you could ever need to support any one of your goals. Yes, that’s right, it’s time to throw-out the buzz word of “abundance,” which we all know and love. Seriously though, the world is fully equipped to support your dreams and it is ready and willing to partner with you on any endeavor. The resources are there.
It’s up to you to notice the opportunities in front of you at each and every moment. These opportunities are like stepping stones that will bring you closer to your goals. They might not look exactly like the opportunities that you’ve conjured in your head, but they are there and it’s up to you to notice them.
Tip # 6 / Be Patient!
We all intuitively know that nothing truly magnificent was created instantaneously. So, why can it be so incredibly hard for us to exhibit patience when it comes to the development of our goals? An element of patience is not only required for the full development of anything valuable, it is even more important when it comes to how we deal with ourselves and our own performance.
When we step-out of our comfort zones to push new boundaries and try new things, we aren’t typically going to be naturals right off the bat. Yet, we often cloud our imperfections with new tasks as complete incompetency to pursue them at all, or we deem slow progress as “signs” that nothing will ever come out of our efforts.
To come full circle, how would things look if we took more time to notice the little steps of progress we are actually making along the way, such as wisdom gained from failures, progressive steps and persistence despite fear? And, is it possible that these acknowledgements of, yes, here it comes again – little wins, could enhance our capacity for patience by expanding our perspectives of what’s gone right?
There’s a reason that most religions consider patience a virtue – it’s because at the core of them all, there is a deep understanding of human fallibility. That’s right, it’s the old adage that nobody is perfect. Yet despite our imperfections, our ability to persevere with confidence and vigor rests within our ability to give ourselves the space to learn and grow with as much patience as possible. And, patience is just plain easier to cultivate when we are taking the time to actually notice, if not, celebrate all of our little wins!