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So you have an incredible vision of something that you want. Good on you. You are special, and strides ahead of anyone who accepts an unhappy existence, not daring to dream of something better. But what do you do when it doesn’t seem to be happening? Maybe you know that you haven’t put in a full effort to achieving your dream or haven’t fully committed to it yet. Or maybe you have been putting in 110%, doing everything you can but things just don’t seem to be progressing. Either way, (go ahead and assume that what you want is fully possible) and ask yourself these questions:
If you answered yes then this article is for you. (If you answered no, maybe it’s time for a different dream?). In this post we are going to look at a few areas you can work on to unblock your path to success. Sometimes a small tweak in approach might be all that is needed, sometimes a major mind-set shift is in order!
Not all advice applies to everyone at any given time. So I have represented each point as a spectrum. For best results try to identify which end you lie closer to, and consider how you can develop a more balanced approach.
Are you often late or find you don’t follow through on things you start? Do you tend feel discouraged and give up when things get difficult? If so, focus on keeping your promises to other people and more importantly to yourself. Even something as small as committing to being on time consistently will start to change your mindset to one of following through and getting things done. Then you will be able to trust yourself to follow through on bigger and bigger projects.
Or do you tend to stay on the same path even when there doesn’t seem to a good reason anymore? Do you tend to resist change?
It is essential to success to be able to persist when things get difficult. But if it gradually becomes apparent that you no longer want what you are working towards, it may be time to re-negotiate the goal with yourself or others involved.
(Note: when you suddenly feel frustrated/like giving up, this is likely the natural resistance that comes with working through a challenging time. Our minds are very good at coming up with excuses not to persist when things get difficult! While uncomfortable, these thoughts are also a good indicator that we are being challenged and are in a position to grow by pushing through the challenge. On the other hand, when it slowly dawns on you after much thought that you need a change in your path/goal it may be worth exploring what that change might be).
Some say doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. True, but that doesn’t mean giving up. Doing something differently could mean means identifying the obstacles and figuring out ways around them. This could be a small tweak to the approach you are trying, or coming at it from a completely different angle.
“People think innovation is just having a good idea but a lot of it is just moving quickly and trying a lot of different things” Mark Zuckerberg. So if something isn’t working, brainstorm, read around the topic, bounce ideas off other people. Try a slight variation, a completely different approach or do both at the same time.
Part of not giving up and being creative in your approach is also developing a positive attitude to failure. If you are not failing at something regularly, chances are you are not challenging yourself regularly. Every failure not only started as an opportunity for success, but becomes an opportunity to grow and hone your approach.
Look at successful people in any field and you will see, a lot of the time it’s not that they are smarter/more talented than many other people who didn’t become successful. But they were persistent and creative in their approach to reaching their goals.
3. Cultivate a positive thoughts <………………………………>take action (don’t think too hard!)
The first step to success is expecting to succeed. So it’s great to have a positive mindset and to feel inspired and enthusiastic. But we all have days where that doesn’t happen. On those days, I find it helps to have a list of tasks that I can just get on with regardless of how I am feeling without having to think about it too hard. Sometimes the simple action of pushing myself to make progress is enough to pull me out of a negative funk.
4. Acknowledge negative thoughts <………………………………> take charge of your thoughts
You know that voice in your head that starts coming up with negative thoughts and doubts when you think about reaching for a goal? The voice that comes up with excuses not to go ahead when you think about doing something difficult/uncomfortable even though you know it will help you progress? Many coaches advocate giving this “voice” its own identity and name (Marcia Wieder calls it “The Doubter”, Carrie Green calls it “The Negative Committee”) . I like to call it “the voice of negativity”. Giving this voice its owns identity can help you to constructively tune into these negative thoughts, identify where they are coming from and separate them out so that they don’t have to colour everything that you think. Then you can more objectively assess these thoughts, identify the pearl of wisdom within them (this voice is good at identifying obstacles which you can then construct a way around) and then remove any excessive melodrama which might block your positivity and path to success!
5.Ask for help <…………………>make it easy for the other person/make it a two way street
Most people actually like the idea of being able to help others. So don’t be afraid to ask. But for your benefit and theirs, as Marcia Wieder says, “make it easy for them to say yes”. For example saying “could you help me with this…. (really big project)…..” and not specifying how, requires that person to do all the heavy lifting/thinking and less likely to respond to your request. But coming up with some options and saying “could you help me by doing….( a), b) or c))” makes it a lot easier for them to decide if they can do one or all of those things to help. Be respectful of their time, be concise and always be on time.
It also helps to be considerate and giving and either make it so that the other person gets value out of helping you or make it clear that you will be available to help them out in the future.
6. Celebrate successes <…………………> keep the goal in sight
I have adopted the practice of celebrating success from 7 figure success coach Emily Williams and inspirational author and speaker Cara Alwill Leyba. Both do this with inspiringly well with style, glamour and pizazz! When it comes to keeping a positive mind-set, there are few things better than regularly celebrating small (and large) successes. Whether with a glass of bubbly or lunch out with a friend, celebrating success is a great way to remind yourself you are moving forward, even when your ultimate goal may still seem far away.
On the other hand, keeping your eye on the prize keeps you from being complacent and keeps you continually moving forward. It also helps to focus daily tasks by regularly reassessing whether what you are doing is in alignment with your goal.
7.Learn with an open mind <…………………> learn with a questioning/objective mind
Feed your mind with all the resources you can to grow and move towards your goal. But take the time to monitor what you are taking in. Be open to considering different approaches, but look for evidence to back up what you are reading where applicable and consider whether the advice is right for/applies to you at the current time.
8.Know and trust yourself <…………………> Get objective opinions
As above, separating negative thoughts/excuses which are motivated by a fear of something new/difficult from other thoughts is very useful. But if you are used to letting this “voice of negativity” run the show, so to speak, it can be very difficult to separate it from reality/thoughts of reason. This can take time and in the meantime it can be helpful to seek the advice of a wise friend, mentor or coach to help you sort through these thoughts when faced with difficult decisions/challenging times.
9.Love yourself as you are<…………………>never stop growing
As an example, if you are trying to get in shape, it is healthier and more sustainable to love your body and focus on caring for it getting it healthy than punishing it with restrictive diet and excessive exercise. But I myself have fallen into the trap of using punishment/negativity as a motivator rather than starting from a place of self-acceptance and moving towards something positive.
I used to be motivated to achieve by the fear of not amounting to anything/not reaching my potential/not making a difference/being a disappointment. I had no wish to get rid of these fears as I thought they were useful and necessary motivators. However, through my work in success coaching and self-development, I have found that a mind-set of loving yourself and looking forward to a dream that excites you is far more motivating and condusive to creative solutions. Not to mention that it makes for a much happier and fulfilling life!
Of course loving yourself as you are doesn’t mean you won’t work to improve yourself/invest in yourself. Think about what you want to achieve and then become the kind of person that would happen to. Want to have a successful career? Work at your craft but also get well connected and network. Want to meet an amazing life-partner? Be inspired by your own dreams and you will glow, know and feel secure in yourself. Want to be an amazing performer? Build an image based on your most unique, winning qualities. There is something unique and special inside you that only you can offer but it is hard for other people to see it if you don’t know what it is yourself or how to channel it. Work towards being the best version of yourself.
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Great post! I was feeling unmotivated a few years ago and realized it was because my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I wanted to move forward and do something new, but I felt obligated to stay where I was. Luckily, I listened to my heart and took the leap and I’ve been happier ever since. Although rough days still happen, I reevaluate like you mentioned and the reasons I do what I do, all comes back to me.
Thanks so much for your comment Charlsye! So great to hear your leap-of-faith paid off!