“You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” Zig Ziglar
Remember when you had dreams of greatness? Remember when you talked yourself out of those dreams? Remember why? Many people don’t even remember when or how their dreams fade but when they do, the reasons we give up on dreams usually sound something like “I’m not good enough at xyz” or “Mr. X. has more money/influence than I do,” or “I don’t have a degree in that” or “Nobody in my family has ever…”
Stop. Be still. Take a breath and re-read those words from Zig Ziglar.
So, what’s keeping you from being great? It’s probably not money, lack of a degree, or the neighbourhood you live in. It’s more likely the fact that you’re nursing a toxic cocktail of unrealistic expectations and fear of failure with a twist of doubt. We all benefit when the people around us are fulfilling their dreams and living a life of purpose, so do yourself – and us – a favour and decide today that you will do these things:
1. Reconnect with your dream
Have a meeting with yourself with one thing on the agenda: Name My Dreams. Maybe it’s one big thing, maybe there are multiple aspects to your dreams. Whatever the case may be, you need to sit down and reacquaint yourself with the particulars. Refrain from judging yourself, and if any of those “but, I can’t” thoughts start lurking in the background, just tell them to wait their turn…you’ll get around to dealing with them in a minute.
2. Commit to ‘alone time’
To achieve the full greatness of your dreams, you need to have a clutter-free mind. In a practical sense, that means your head can’t be filled with the noise of everyday life: a non-stop playlist of popular songs, the latest episodes of your favourite tv shows, viral videos, constant texts, and the chatter of gossip. Just like you need private time in the physical sense, you need private time in your mind. If you are going to develop your greatness you need to hear yourself think. Create a place you can go to that you are free from distractions and can think in peace.
3. Take care of you
Making sure your mind is clear to think freely goes hand in hand with making sure your body is functioning well. Make respecting your body a priority by taking care to eat well and on time, drink water more often, and get up and move! Walk, run, play, what you do matters less than just making sure you get your blood pumping for a few minutes every day.
4. Adjust your expectations
This doesn’t mean that you should expect to be disappointed. It means that if we’re perfectly honest with ourselves, most people expect success to come easily. It doesn’t. In a piece for Forbes, John Kluge recently wrote “Success is an event. Mastery is a process.”
5. Embrace failure
You will increase your odds of success exponentially the moment you decide to embrace failure in your endeavours. When you remember that mastery is a process, then you will be willing to see failure not as roadblocks, but paving stones and course correctors. Remember the words of Samuel Beckett: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
6. Stop thinking about what ‘they’ will say
You have to keep reminding yourself of this and that is okay. Sometimes ‘they’ are just a way for us to put a face to our own fears, and sometimes ‘they’ are real people in our lives who freely discourage us with negativity and criticism. Either way, you have to find the strength to ignore them. That’s why going back to the first 2 points in this list is vital to your success.
7. Be willing to collaborate
Sometimes we don’t share our ideas because we’re afraid someone will steal them. Obviously this can happen. People betray the trust of others all the time. But don’t let the fear of betrayal paralyze you to the point of hiding your ideas from the light of day. When you are taking care of your body and mind you are already in a better position to hear your true intuitive voice inside and steer clear from untrustworthy people at the first sign of trouble. When we have the courage to share our thoughts with a select few people we trust and respect we can see the benefits almost immediately. Their fresh perspective can spark a thought revolution that takes your plan to new heights.
8. Help someone else
Don’t be so focused on your own goals that you forget we are here for each other. Do you volunteer in any capacity? You don’t have to join a group officially to lend assistance. How about offering your talents/skills for a particular project? The act of helping others helps us to reconnect with our own purpose in deep and meaningful ways.
A few centuries before Zig Ziglar, Chinese philospher, Lau-tzu was also an advocate of starting wherever you are. He said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Some translators believe the more accurate translation is “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” Either way, start where you are. You are already on the road to greatness.
“The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery” by Sarah Lewis.