Is fear destroying your hopes of great success?
I believe we’re all more than a little terrified of attempting to do something really big and challenging. Something that seems to us almost impossible. Let’s take an example of when might this happen:
One way is when we are urged to set great goals for our life.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to become powerfully motivated, and inspired to break the mold. We start to believe that great success is just possible – even for me! We try to take on board what we read in self-help books. We become motivated to “go for it.”
We tell ourselves we believe it. We try it. We set the great goals, the “impossible dreams”. We may even write down these goals, and solemnly promise ourselves this is for real.
It makes us excited and happy. We’re over the moon. We can see it all! Wouldn’t that be fabulous?
The sudden shock of what might be involved
Then stark reality kicks in. I suddenly realize just what I’ve done. Fear and panic grip me:
“That goal’s huge. I’m terrified. It won’t work. Beautiful thought though it is: no way, man! Let’s get real! I can’t possibly do that. It’s not for me. It’s impossible!”
Back to dull but safe mediocrity
So, we calm down. We do “get real.” By that we mean that we choose to forget those “impossible” dreams.
“They’re just pipe-dreams,” we tell ourselves.
So once again we settle for the “possible”: tiny goals.
We can see immediately that these little goals really can be achieved. That comforts us. We rejoin the masses of underachievers. We feel much better now.
“Better than that going after the impossible” we feel, “too much stress and hard work! I’m not ready for a mental breakdown!”
The secret of success revealed
The secret path to great success is the step-by-step approach. But let’s be quite clear why it’s a “secret.“
The secret here is not that we’ve never heard of “step-by-step”. The secret is this: it really will work for me too, if only I do it. Step by step really can overcome our natural fear and self-doubt.
The sad fact is that “step-by-step” doesn’t work for most people. Why not? Why do most people fail? Simple. They stop believing in themselves.
They also get fed up. Get bored. Lose interest. Lose patience. Look around for something different. Opt out. They give up. No staying power!
“I knew it wouldn’t work,” we tell ourselves.
Our comfort zones have become our jailers. We’ve all heard of comfort zones. However, we underestimate their power. What we fail to realize is that comfort zones can also be deadly. They paralise us. They really can hold us, chained and bound, in an iron grip.
Why? Because we think that we have to change everything overnight, and that terrifies us. Great fear stands guard at the door of every comfort zone.
What’s the answer? The magic key to unlock the door, push fear aside? PATIENCE! We need to be patient. We need to believe in the immense power of steady, relentless, day-by-day change.
It is well said that,
“We greatly overestimate what we can do in the short term, but vastly underestimate what we can do in the long run.”
The wisdom of Mother Nature
We need perspective. Mother Nature herself is our best teacher. The miracle of growth, in its countless million different forms, can only happen with time. Growth happens constantly, but so slowly you can’t see it. It’s like watching paint dry!
Kids take years to grow up. We can’t see those miniscule daily steps. Yet progress is relentless, 24/7. Let Nature teach us her lesson: the best way to grow, evolve and change is imperceptibly, step by step.
We are all under the curse of impatience. We’ve made an idol of speed and efficiency. Yet change is time bound, and we must patiently respect this fact of life.
Great goal achievement is a bit like running a marathon. I speak from experience. I began running marathons when I was 65 years old. I believed it was possible. I took all the steps, over a period of months. No problem!
It is a perfect metaphor for the step by step approach. To run a marathon you, quite literally, have to take thousands of small steps.
To jump 26 miles, in a single step, is impossibe. The very thought is absurd. However, realising that it will take you a few hours, you patiently set off at a comfortable, steady pace.
Each step is easy: something you’ve done, quite unthinkingly, ever since you were a child. We can all do that. As they say, “just keep putting one foot in front of the other!”
Whatever we want to do, no matter how difficult and seemingly impossible, can be achieved over time by taking steps. Break it all down into a series of small mini-tasks.
The key is right here: each and every step is small, easy and manageable.
That’s the magic ingredient. Yet so few of us have mastered it. I’m reminded of a little rhyme I learned many years ago:
“Patience is a virtue, get it of you can,
seldom in a woman, never in a man”
What’s your experience?
Search your own memory bank. I’ll willing to bet that there have been many times in your life when the simple step by step approach has served you well.
If you’ve done it before, you can do it again.
Just make completely sure that you’re absolutely passionate about the magnificent goals you want to achieve.
Make sure that love, service and commitment to others is at the heart of your ambitions.
Gerry McCann (The Merry Monk)