I get it. Sometimes we just feel plain stuck. We diligently write down our goals and our visions, only to find ourselves disappointed or frustrated that our greatest desires aren’t manifesting quickly enough.
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Then, we start to turn against ourselves by questioning if we are doing enough. Worse case is that we give up on our dreams, entirely, while succumbing to the idea that what we want, just isn’t possible.
Look, it takes a lot of courage and trust to activate a goal or vision in the first place. And, when we actually get started, we are often riding a high of anticipation, nerves, and excitement. Then, over time, something happens.
We either patiently choose to learn, grow and master our crafts, or we hastily fall prey to self-doubt when things don’t happen quickly enough. In my humble opinion, it is this diversion of choice, which separates those who make it from those who don’t.
A few years ago, I took a big leap. I left a field that I knew for my entire career. It brought me many successes, and my future was looking bright. Yet, something was missing for me, and I was ready to take a chance and branch out on my own.
I felt like I was starting over – I was facing a vast unknown that could either succeed or completely fail. Since then, I’ve experienced quite the roller coaster ride.
There have been some incredibly exciting highs and plenty of tiring lows.
Regardless of the ups or downs, I’ve continued to stick with a master plan, which is to consistently plug away at mastering my craft.
And, you know what I’ve come to learn? The concept of trust isn’t just important when we take that initial leap of faith. That’s just the starting point.
Trust becomes even more important after the adrenaline, excitement, and hype of our first big decisions wear down.
Trust is the only thing that keeps us connected with whatever is possible; especially, when we confront challenges, lulls or situations that just don’t quite pan out as we expected.
In a proverbial sense, trust creates a vast invisible web of opportunities. And, when we remember to honor it, we loosen our grip from what “has to” happen, and exchange it for possibilities that we could have never dreamed of on our own.
In the time it took me to jump off a giant career cliff and build a steady, successful coaching business, I’ve learned a thing or two. The overarching theme of it all boils down to giving the world some damn space to deliver what we want.
So, here’s where we can start:
1. Stop Trying To Control Everyone And Everything
Without a doubt, planning serves its purpose. It’s great to have a target and give ourselves a sense of direction before we start taking action. Yet, endless planning becomes counter-productive when it occupies too much of our attention, only to distract us from creative possibilities that we just aren’t going to see on our own.
All too often, we are trying to maneuver the world to fit into our plans. We expect people to adopt our ideas, treat us the way we want to be treated, meet us wherever and whenever we want to meet; heck, we even build gift registries to tell people what presents to buy us with their own darn money!!
And, what does this do for us, aside from limiting ourselves from a big world of ideas and possibilities? If we don’t allow the world to respond to us in its own way, then it’s no wonder we find ourselves blocked from the vastness of new thinking, experiences, and duh, opportunity!
The lesson? Be open to new ideas and allow the world to influence you from time-to-time. It’s quite likely that someone has important or interesting news to deliver, right at your doorstep, and by opening your mind to it, you might actually notice something that will catapult you to the next level.
2. Leave A Little Room For Spontaneity
When is the last time you pushed your to-do list to the side and paid a little attention to a whim of interest that keeps calling your name?
If you stopped doing and planning, for even just 20 minutes, and paid attention to that cool idea, what could happen?
So often, our hunches guide us to important, career-building stepping-stones, or at a minimum, experiences that teach us more about ourselves.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself blasting through endless to-do lists that keep me in my own rhythm of “more of the same,” or an addict to my own busyness.
Yet, every once in a while, I’ll allow myself to take a break and explore new ideas, or chat with a new people for no particular reason. And, more often than not, it’s within these moments that I’ve found the next golden opportunities, which keeps me saying, “thanks, universe!”
The lesson? Loosen your rigid plans and schedule to create a little space and dabble with a certain whim, which might be calling your name. Get out of your own little bubble, and explore outside of it every now and again.
3. Keep A Growth Mindset And Be Patient
Successful people stick with it – period. Let’s be honest – nobody becomes a master of her craft without a lot of practice. And, more often than not, practice requires courage to show up and get over the fact that we are still a work in progress.
In fact, we always will be, at each and every stage of life’s game.
Our growth and ability to become masterful at whatever we do gets seriously stunted when we expect nothing but perfection from ourselves.
Just like a kindergartener, who is learning to write for the first time, we have to approach new challenges with an open mindset and learn what we don’t know.
This requires that we try on new experiences with a full acceptance, that it’s going to take time before we ever do it masterfully.
If the goal or dream is important enough, we’ll have the patience to give it plenty of time to develop, while we prepare ourselves for anything to happen.
The Lesson? Remember the famous quote by Seneca, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” While the world conspires to deliver us with new possibilities, it’s just plain smart to patiently prepare ourselves by continuing to grow and learn.
4. Recognize And Appreciate Your Little Wins
Okay, so our first victories might not qualify as much of anything to a mere outsider. I remember after the first year of starting my own business, when I excitedly told a former colleague that I finished my first fiscal year by recouping half of my former income.
She looked at me with astonishment and wonder – was this a good thing, or not?
Understandably, the circumstances probably looked a little bleak to my former colleague. Yet to me, this was an amazing validation that I could, indeed, run my own business, and also pay the bills.
I was incredibly proud of the fact that I had attracted clients, and actually earned a legitimate income, during my first year out of the gates within a brand new field.
This little win gave me the fuel and motivation to continue to grow my business. The next year, I was on-track to recoup my entire income from before, which was my next little win.
It put more wind in my sails to work towards exceeding my former income, which will, in turn, further drive me to exceed it again! You get the point.
The lesson? No matter what anyone else thinks, take the time to celebrate and get excited about any progress you make with whatever you set out to do. I promise, it will steer you towards even greater successes.
5. Be Flexible
It’s rare that a goal comes to fruition in the exact form that we envisioned it. There’s often an unrecognizable twist, which could throw some of us off if we are inflexible. When we stay fixated on every last detail of our initial visualization, we are more prone to miss the real opportunities all together.
Recognize that opportunities could come from anywhere or anything, and be flexible about how they look when they are first delivered to us.
Some opportunities are what I like to call, ‘fixer-uppers.’ In other words, they might need a little TLC, before they transcend into the amazing pictures we’ve drawn in our heads.
In fact, all viable opportunities will meet us exactly where we are on our growth paths.
So, don’t expect to experience the final destination, when you’ve only traveled the first few miles. Instead, look for pathways that are meeting you, wherever you are, that could steer you closer to your end goal.
The Lesson? Recognize that where you are headed likely looks a lot different from wherever you are. Be flexible about how opportunities could present themselves to you.
Again, what does this all amount to – need I say it again?
Staying the course with success requires that we trust ourselves, as well as the process while giving the world some damn space to meet us wherever we are, in order to deliver what we want. The end.