OK, it’s Monday; not everyone’s favorite day. Hopefully you took the chance to relax, recuperate and reenergize over the weekend. Maybe you also had the chance to touch base with God at church on Sunday. Now it is time to rededicate. Bring your goals back into focus. Do whatever resetting you need to do in order to deal with any temporary setbacks and get moving forward again.
It is interesting that this graphic uses the words “together” and “we’. There’s some psychology at work there. Those words remind us that we are seldom alone in our pursuits. We always have God with us. We may also have co-workers or companions who may be helping or just rooting for us. Build on that strength and that thought that you are not alone.
Start the week planning for success. Break down big challenges into smaller, achievable steps. See the things that are standing in the way of your success as challenges that you will overcome.
Give yourself a pep talks and then imagine that like football players at the start of a college game, you are running through the tunnel and out onto the field – breaking through the banner at the start of the field. Hear in your mind the roar of the crowd. Everybody is rooting for you to win. So, get out there and rise to the challenge.
“There is a wall between you and what you want and you got to leap it.” – Bob Dylan
I’ve had that quote laying around in my quote file for some time. Lots of people have dreams or desires that they never realize because they aren’t willing or ready to make the leap over the wall that separates them from that goal. Most often that wall is a mental one created out of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).
The wall of FUD often keeps people confined to their “comfort zone”, that warm, safe-feeling little mental prison in which we often confine ourselves. FUD prevents people from even trying, much less achieving their dreams. The wall that they build in their mind becomes insurmountable and their imagination creates failure scenarios before they even take the first step. Often these people sabotage themselves and their own efforts. Their imagined failures become self-fulfilling prophecies.
But, let’s assume for the moment that you are not one of those people and that you truly want to succeed and reach your goal. How do you get over the walls that stand in your way? Some may try the brute force approach, bulling their way forward and trying to overpower whatever (or whoever) is blocking their way. This is the win-lose method. When that something is another person, this approach may brush them aside or brusquely climb over them. It is not a method that results in friendships or loyalty being built with those who seem to be in the way. It is much better in the long run to find a win-win way to achieve the goal and keep those who you must pass happy, too.
The main ingredients in overcoming fear, uncertainty and doubts are knowledge, planning and self-confidence. Knowledge allows you to truly understand the challenge ahead, rather than just imagining all of the possibilities for failure. One builds that knowledge through careful study of the situation at hand. By increasing your knowledge of the problem, you develop an understanding of the challenges that allows you to plan approaches to overcome them.
Taking time to plan also allows (maybe forces) you to prioritize the steps in your plan. Getting ahead of yourself is one of the primary causes of failure when the brute force method is used. Finally, by increasing your knowledge of the problems ahead and having a plan to approach overcoming them, you build self-confidence. Doing those first two steps help remove many of the unknows that always cause anxiety and doubts.
When you can say to yourself, I understand the problem and I know what I’m going to do to resolve it you are already well on your way to leaping over the walls that stand between you and what you want. You’ve got the knowledge and you’ve got a plan. You’ve got this. Then, just do it. Take the leap and execute your plan.
Let’s start the week with a quote from my favorite source for inspiration, the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” (Earl Nightingale)
Whether you call it a dream or a goal, sometimes when we think it up and then think about it, our dreams seem too big to get done or we think that it will take too long to accomplish. Sometimes we defeat ourselves before we even start with those kinds of thoughts. I’ve posted here many time about breaking seemingly impossibly large problems or tasks into smaller pieces and accomplishing them one at a time. Making steady progress, even in small steps is important, as is rewarding yourself along the way for having accomplished whatever small step you were focusing upon.
There was a story this weekend in the local paper about a man who walked out of the rehabilitation facility that he has been in for the last three years while he fought his way back from a horrific automobile accident. The accident initially left him paralyzed and there were probably those who thought that he might never walk again. Apparently, he was not one of the naysayers. It took him three years of hard work to learn how to walk again.
What dreams do you have that seem too daunting, too far out in the future? Have you thought about the steps, no matter how small, that you need to take to get to your dream? Which ones can you accomplish today, this week, this month? Remember the advice of Lau Tzo – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Seen recently on the internet – “Most people rust out due to lack of challenge. Few people rust out due to overuse.” (Denis Waitley)
Like rust on things, rust on people can be prevented with a little effort. The key message in Waitley’s saying is to keep finding new challenges for yourself. Many people “retire” from work and almost retire from life. They no longer have the challenge of getting up and going to work every day and many fail to challenge themselves with new things to do, new skills to learn or new knowledge to be gained. They begin to rust because they are not using their minds and bodies as they were meant to be used.
Admittedly, our bodies change as we get older and start to put some limitations upon what we can do physically. That just means that we need to adjust by doing different things or doing things differently. That’s one of the mental challenges that we should be focusing upon – not quitting, but finding new ways of doing things that we love to do. Another challenge may be finding new challenges to replace those lost with the last job. Some may take on new or different jobs, as I have. Some may find both the challenge and satisfaction that they seek in volunteer work. I do some of that, too. The key (to steal a phrase from Chevrolet commercials) is to find new roads (new challenges) to keep yourself busy and stave off the rust.
Taking on the challenge of a new job, especially one in a field that you have no experience in can be both a physical and mental challenge. You must learn new skills or maybe just sharpen and adjust old skills and you usually must learn a new vocabulary of the terms and words that the new job uses. Both are a bit frightening, but that ads to the challenge and the rewards of the new job. Some may find new jobs that take advantage of management skills that they have developed over time. The challenge there is to recognize the differences in the job settings and to find the best ways to implement the skills that you may have developed in a big company setting to a small company or non-profit organization. That can be quite a challenge.
It’s really easier than you think to find new challenges. The need for volunteers is everywhere around you. You just have to try a few to find one or two that suit your needs, your interests and the time that you have to give. Most churches have lots of volunteer opportunities, so check with your church. Then, there are all of the non-profit service organizations that exist in every community in America, from Meals on Wheels to local mobility services. If you can drive a car you can help them. There are community food banks and homeless shelters that need help. There are local retirement homes that are full of people who would just like someone to talk too. If you can talk and listen, you can do that.
The point is that there is no reason to sit around and rust out. Some get it in their heads that no one needs them anymore. Not true. There are tons of people that need you, but you just don’t know who and where they are. Get off your duff and find them. Be useful and be patient with yourself and with the new challenge. You’ll be in learning mode again and isn’t that exciting! You’ll figure it out and it will feel great when you do.
Don’t rust out. Find those new challenges. What are you waiting for?