In this day and age of self actualisation, you will hear a lot about the importance of having big goals. You will hear from Coaches (like me!) and celebrity motivational experts like Tony Robbins that you can have anything you want and that you just have to decide what it is that you want. You will hear that as soon as you've achieved clarity, you're half way there! Easy! You will hear that by having a clear and juicy vision of your life, career or business, you simply have to work backwards and identify the steps.
And then - well - it's just a matter of taking those steps, isn't it?
Big dream achieved.
Well, not quite that simple.
All the above is true - I DO believe you can pretty much have/be/do anything you want. I also believe that getting very clear on your big juicy goal is important - because that dictates which steps you're going to take.
But the bad news is, deciding what you want and getting clear on what that looks like is NOT the hardest bit.
What's your dream? It might be a big one like changing the world. It might be a small one like finding a job you love. All dreams are equally as important and valid, big or small.
Recently, I've had some major breakthroughs and I'm closer to my big dream than ever before. But to arrive at this point, I've had to work like a dog, sometimes barely clinging onto my vision with nothing but sheer bloody mindedness! It's taken a long time to get this far and oh boy, I've wasted a LOT of time on detours and I've made MANY mistakes. And I'm under no illusions - there's a lot of hard work still to come!
Don't let anyone tell you that if you have a big goal, it should be "effortless". That's tosh - if you meet Miss Effortless Success along your journey and she wants to sell you HER map, tell her you're happy with your own!
The truth is, it takes a LOT of hard work and resilience to achieve what you really want. But it's worth it!
How to climb a big mountain
We all have ups and downs and sometimes we might feel as if we are stuck in a series of downs with no ups, going nowhere fast.
In my own life, I keep learning, again and again, that success comes after the lowest point - read Seth Godin's "The Dip" - it will give you hope! When I've all but given up, when I'm fed up and I just want to say; "F*** It! I don't want to do this any more! is when I have to tough it out and keep taking one step in front of another.
Some of my friends have climbed Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the World. That phrase "many people I know have climbed Kilimanjaro" gives absolutely no indication of the amount of preparation, determination, danger and sheer HARD WORK I know it has taken these friends to get to Kilimanjaro's summit.
This is the kind of thing my Kili conqueror friends say about that final summit ascent:
"It's the hardest thing I've ever done"
"I nearly gave up"
"On ascent night, I was tired, exhausted, feeling ill and we were moving at a snail's pace. And I honestly felt as if we'd never get there. I just kept taking one step in front of another."
However, apart from things like altitude sickness (and the real risk of death that poses), everyone I know who has had the dream of climbing Kilimanjaro and taken the decision to do it, has achieved their dream.
It's been hard work.
But they just kept going, one step in front of another, slowly and steadily, even when they were screaming inside, even when they were battling with their own will, the little voice in their head saying:
"Give up. You don't need to do this. Turn back! You'll never get there. It's too hard!"
But they didn't give up. This is what they DID do...
- They had the dream
- They had the clarity of vision
- They started the journey
- They faced many obstacles
- They kept going
- One step
- Then the next
- Then the next
- And then the next.....
Let's conclude by revisiting and modifying Walt and Zig's quote:
"If you can dream it AND you keep working at it even when it seems hopeless, you can achieve it"
That's now officially a quote by Amanda Alexander ;)
Have your big dream. Do the hard work. Don't give up.
And one day - you'll get there.