Alas, the dreaming and reaching and going are so much easier than the doing.
Achieving, big things or small, is about:
- Amassing essential knowledge and skills
- Preparing and planning
- Cultivating supporters
- Taking risks, failing, and trying again
- Mental toughness, grit, and belief
- Patience and perseverance
Acknowledging this work list is the first test of your commitment to your goals. The action steps are your acid test.
Goals are slippery fish. They have a way of swimming into view, tempting us to hook them, and then spitting out the hook when we aren’t paying attention.
When our goals seem elusive or our efforts to achieve them unproductive, it’s easy to:
- Revise them downward
- Abandon them for something less arduous
- Defer them until we believe the time is right
- Cave in to what others say we should pursue
If this is where you are, it’s time to take a deep breath and reconnect with what’s been driving you all along–your passion, calling, or vision for a career that is you.
It all starts with getting clarity around your career goals. Then you’re ready to rock and roll.
When you stop moving, your goals start to sink. To keep moving, you need sources of inspiration that you can tap into quickly.
Diana Nyad might be just that inspiration.
On September 2, 2013, at 64, Diana became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage–103 miles in 53 hours.
It took Diana five attempts to reach her goal: once in 1978, three times in 2011 and 2012.
The obstacles she faced in earlier tries became the lessons that prepared her to succeed on her 5th effort.
USA Today reported (with video):
Her last try was cut short amid boat trouble, storms, unfavorable currents and jellyfish stings that left her face puffy and swollen.
This time, she wore a full bodysuit, gloves, booties and a mask at night, when jellyfish rise to the surface. The new silicone mask caused bruises inside her mouth, making it difficult for her to talk….
Although dreams of success are the driver, it’s human will that propels us to overcome the sheer weight of the tasks and the setbacks.
Diana is quoted in a CNN Press Room article (also with video) saying:
When you’re feeling good… you’re singing Neil Young songs to yourself…But when you’re suffering, and…I had two nights of full suffering this time with the mask with the salt water. Now you’re not thinking of anything. You’re just coping and surviving, and your team is somehow helping you making it through every 15 minutes, every hour. Let’s not give up.
When Diana completed her marathon swim, her first words (quoted in USA Today) are worth remembering:
I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team….
Understanding why your goals are important to you is central to your drive and the message you send to those around you.
Diana also told CNN Press Room:
The people who follow me are human beings “who are dealing with their own heartaches, and their own obstacles in life. And they want to know how to get through. And I think I’m a person who represents…You never give up. You find a way if something really is important to your heart, you look and see what’s inside yourself, and you find a way.”
If your career goals are in jeopardy, you too can find a way. You may discover that you need to look at what has worked and what hasn’t, who is helping and who isn’t, how much time you’re dedicating to the work, and how patient or impatient you’ve been.
Finding the way forward may mean reexamining how far you’ve come and then reinvigorating yourself and your plan. Go ahead. You can if you really want to.
Photo by camilla via Photoree