At some level, everyone desires it – success!: whether you’re an individual, a sports team, a business or even an entire country. But how do we know when we’ve ‘arrived’? More importantly, as essential data for developing an effective action plan to achieve our goals, how do we know if we’re even on the right path?
IS SUCCESS TOO PAINFUL TO THINK ABOUT?
One popular way is to create measurable criteria to define what success looks like within a particular context. Next, consider where you are in relation to that ideal. You can then take action to ‘bridge’ the gap between where you are, and where you want to be.
Sounds deceptively easy, right? Well, sort of…
Bear in mind, the expression “dare to dream” didn’t come about because visualizing one’s success is an easy thing to do. In fact, for many people it’s incredibly painful. Why? Because these folks don’t believe it’ll ever become reality (a depressing thought we’d rather avoid, right?) – or worse, they don’t believe they’re worthy of success. So, as a way to protect themselves, they simply keep it swept under the proverbial rug and don’t think about it.
Even if you can make it past these first psychological hurdles, the next deterrent is often the unwanted pressure to take action in the direction of your dream (I mean…stress? Who needs it!). This can come from within (e.g. your heart’s desires, or the not-so-little voice in your head that’s constantly on your case!), or from outside (e.g. doubters who ridicule your aspirations and challenge you to prove you can make it). This pressure is a whole new kind of ‘scary’, because responding to it inevitably requires breaking free from the pack, standing out from the crowd and drawing attention to yourself (and we all know how much we LOVE attracting attention to ourselves, right?).
FEAR OF FAILURE’S A DREAM-KILLER – OR IS IT?!
No – it’s true: many of us would revel in the attention, if only we had certainty of our success. But we’re ‘smarter’ than that: we know ‘the road to success is paved with failure’, and we don’t want people seeing us fail. Nope: it’s easier to just lower your expectations. Avoid thinking about success. That’s the safer option.
In the face of such barriers, its amazing people are even able to believe in their own self-worth, find the courage to dream, and defy their fear of failure. Yet many do. So how do they do it?
DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR - SPIN A NEW STORY!
Their secret often lies in the power of storytelling: or more specifically, the different, more empowering story they tell themselves about failure. For example:
“When I fail, I learn!”
“This is just a temporary setback (God’s delays aren’t God’s denials!)”
“I’m now amongst the ranks of the most successful people in history (all of whom failed at some point on their road to victory!)”
“Everything happens for a reason!”, or
“This experience is fortifying me so I can face even more meaningful challenges tomorrow!”
However, you don’t have to be a rock star billionaire to nurture and habituate this positive mindset - everyone can do it! For example, when our property was on the market, my husband and I had so many interested potential buyers, but we just couldn’t seem to land the sale. This continued for months, and months turned to years. At times, it was tough going. But the way we fought off despondency and held on to our dream was to remind ourselves that playing purely by the numbers, every “failed” transaction must logically mean that our chances of a sale were increasing every time! And of course, eventually – success! Our house sold.
ENGAGE YOUR IMAGINATION, AND YOU’RE ON YOUR WAY!
So, with disciplined effort, we can achieve that all important first step: overcoming our resistance to the simple act of dreaming, and visualizing success – not in a superficial, whimsical way, but in a detailed, focused way that will engage the power of our imagination and belief. Once we get a clear picture and definition in our heart and mind of what success looks like in our chosen area of life, then we can get to work on creating a plan to achieve it.
So: Isn’t it time you dared to dream?
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