You are Not a Tree

In my last blog I talked about the steps one needs to take to reach their goals and dreams. Now, let’s talk about various reasons why people don’t reach their goals. What keeps them stuck in the same place, day after day?

FEAR

Don’t let the fear of a little discomfort or what other people will think of you stop you from your ultimate happiness.” – Lori Harder

Fear is the biggest of all the goal crushers. It can be absolutely crippling. Fear can keep you in that rut you have been in for the last year. It can keep you in that same dead-end job that you hate. It can keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone and it can steal your dreams. Let’s be honest here. Fear is nothing more than your imagination running wild. Choosing to live in fear is a choice. Your choice. You can make a different choice!

How do you beat fear? One way to overcome your fear is to imagine two scenarios. First, think of something that you are scared of doing and ask yourself, “What if I do this and it all goes wrong? What is the worst-case scenario?” The only thing that you cannot learn from – or recover from – is death. (If your worst-case scenario is death… please rethink taking that step!) Everything else is a potential life lesson. Learn from those life lessons and try again. Second, ask yourself, “What if I do this and it all turns out great?” Those awesome outcomes are your WHY! Focus your thoughts on what can go right and your brain will do its best to make those thoughts a reality!

Another really good way to work through your fears is to take daily action toward your goal. That daily action can be large or small, many actions or one single action – As the saying goes, even if you were to take one swing at a tree with an axe every day, sooner or later that tree will fall. Take at least one action EVERY DAY toward your goal and sooner or later, you will be successful.

You will beat that fear that was standing in your path. When you beat it once, you will build your confidence and be more prepared to face it again and again. You will become addicted to the amazing feeling of facing your fears head on and conquering them one by one.

NO PLAN

It doesn’t matter what you are doing, if you don’t have a plan, it is much harder to reach that end goal. Whether you are remodeling your kitchen, writing a book, or taking your business to the next level, you have to have a detailed plan to get it done. Sure, you might eventually experience some success without a plan but I guarantee it will take longer and potentially cost more money if you don’t think it through, document and prioritize the steps that need to be taken, and finally, determine your timeline.

How do you build a strong plan? First, you will want to brainstorm everything that needs to be done. I usually use Post-it notes and put each step on a separate note. Next, you will want to put the steps in the order that they need to be done. For example, you don’t want to install new appliances in your new kitchen before you paint the walls or finish the floor. Next, put a timeline to your plan. Each step needs a due date so you have a good idea when to order the appliances, etc.

NO TIME

I have a family that is busy with sporting events. I travel out of state for work every week. I work 40-50 hours a week and between working out and eating, sometimes there is only an hour or two for working on my dream. I get it. Life happens. Sometimes I just want to relax at the end of a busy day.

How do you find the time? Once you have a plan to reach your dream, schedule time on your calendar to work your plan and commit to that schedule. Seriously. Block off time on your calendar and focus. If you only have 30 minutes a day to work your plan, stay focused for those 30 minutes. Athletes, for example, know exactly what hours they will train every day, when they will have lunch and dinner, and when they will rest. Get that detailed. Schedule time for working your plan, for research or reading, for rest, for working out and if you need to, for meals. If you don’t plan for it, it will be too easy to say, “I will do it later.” Before you know it, “later” becomes a week, a month, a year, five years, or TEN years later! Be smart and disciplined with your time.

One important note: Share your schedule with your family so they understand and have clear expectations for when you are working your plan. They can help you stay focused by understanding the schedule and not distracting you from the dreams that you have for yourself and your family. I have struggled with this and have found that Saturday mornings are the best time for my family. I get up at 5:00am on Saturdays and work five hours. That way, I am done by 10:00am and can spend the rest of the day with my husband and kids.

THE NEED FOR PERFECTION BEFORE ACTION

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward” – unknown

I have fallen victim to this one several times in my life. Yes, you need to have a plan, but don’t wait for it to be perfect. Take my first blog, for example. I can’t tell you how many times I edited and re-edited that piece before I finally hit the button to publish it. I do the same thing with presentations and reports for my clients as well. I am usually editing documents until the last second because I want everything to be just right.

How do you fight the need to be perfect? Let’s face it. Nothing will ever be perfect. Someone will always find something that could have been said differently or that could have been added or shouldn’t have been said at all. The biggest thing that has helped me is to give myself a deadline. I do everything that I can up to that deadline and then I put the report down, save the presentation, send that email, or press that publish button. If you focus and do all that you can to make things as close to perfect as you can … If you did your pre-work, you will be fine.

“Success doesn’t just come and find you. You have to go out and get it.” – unknown

There is no such thing as luck. There is only hard work. If you want the life of your dreams, you must do the work because your dream is not just going to fall in your lap. (At least not for the majority of us.) If you are not where you want to be, there are no excuses! It is all in the choices that you make every day. Take 100% responsibility for your life and where you are right now. You can choose to stand still or you can choose to take action. If you are ok with standing still. Take responsibility for the fact that you probably won’t reach that goal. If you are not ok with where you are, take that first step toward your goal. Then the next. And the next. And the next.

You are not a tree!