The mountaintop view of goal engagement appears very linear and straightforward. But the view from the ground reveals the presence of a rugged terrain. No amount of planning, perspective, or personal growth will keep you from that part of the journey. Bumps in the road, pitfalls and hurdles—these are all common parts of the process when we are extending ourselves in order to accomplish something big.
As you fully engage, here are some of the pitfalls and setbacks you can expect to face:
The Defeatest Attitude of Naysayers–People who are outside of your journey will easily offer reasons why you shouldn’t, can’t, or won’t. There may be a bit of truth in their logic; they may even have the best intentions of keeping you safe. But achievement can be messy work. When you set out to achieve a big goal, you do so knowing that it won’t always be clean. The people around you have not made that same investment, thus your journey may trigger a myriad of responses in them. You cannot help that. But what you can do is protect your confidence. Shield yourself from the naysayers in your life, regardless of their intention. If you don’t, you will overthink every move and every decision—you will essentially be frozen by fear. Surround yourself with an army of likeminded peers who have just as much, if not more, motivation and drive as you do. Leave the naysayers behind.
Being Stalled by Perfection Paralysis–It doesn’t have to be perfect to be progress. Overthinking and fussing over insignificant details will only stop you in your tracks. Instead, focus on creating forward momentum backed by good intentions. Develop a habit of excellence and tell perfection to take a hike.
Expectation–Having a vision of how you want things to be is important, but lose the expectation around the details of the process. Be willing to recognize forward movement even when it is hiding under “things not going the way you planned.” Be flexible. Have faith. You can’t see the whole picture until it has all been painted, and you cannot perfectly lay the course for a journey you are still taking. Set goals and put action behind them, but also trust the process. Do your part, and be open to how the rest falls in to place.
Feeling Impatient with Results–Building a business and life that you love is a dynamic process that is constantly changing. This is just one more reason why you have to periodically review your goals and celebrate accomplishments along the way. Learn to pay attention to the patterns in your journey and frequently assess where you are. Are you making progress on the things that really matter? If yes, good! Stay focused on the big picture, and watch results begin to materialize before you like a Polaroid. If no, find where you need to make adjustments, if any, and then be patient. Allow time for your picture to develop.
Comparing Yourself to others–Comparison is nothing more than a grand illusion that will rob you of joy if you let it. The truth of the matter is you can never know exactly what someone else is experiencing or where they are in their journey. What you see on the outside may be a far cry from reality. Though you may think you want what you perceive as someone else’s joy, their journey is not meant for you. That successful person you envy has struggled, and it is not fair to you, or them, to compare your beginning to their end. Doing so will only shatter the confidence you’ve worked so hard to protect. Remember, true genius comes from committing to being more of yourself. Consider a group of rosebuds. On the surface they all look the same, but as they grow and develop, you begin to see their unique brilliance. Commit to being a continually developing version of yourself, and stand in your own brilliance away from the shadows of others.
Disappointment and Doubt–Disappointment and doubt are close cousins. Maybe something doesn’t go exactly as you think it will, or you feel like your efforts have failed. You’re disappointed. Doubt follows, whispering into your ear words of discouragement that your future dreams will suffer the same. Will the sting of disappointment happen again? Will you continue to fail? When things go wrong you must take the opportunity to learn. In failing, you become privy to the inside scoop on how to approach things in different and new ways. With a positive perspective, you can use disappointment to make you better.
Resistance to Challenge–Embrace the unexpected challenges and bumps along the road to your goals. It is in the moments of strife that we create the most interesting, resourceful, and unique solutions to problems. Without challenges, we would never truly know the depth of our strength. We earn our own respect when we emerge from the struggle, and we gain perspective that allows us to appreciate better days. Sometimes the redirection of a challenge is just what we need to align us with a better path.
Master these challenges and enjoy the process of watching your dreams become reality. Trust the journey. Surrender to the ups and downs and the pitfalls in the road. Carry with you the tools you’ll need to weather the rugged roads ahead, and commit to moving forward. You will get there. Remember life is not always about the destination, but the journey instead. Your success as you travel forth is not just about outcomes or what you can accomplish. It’s who you become in the process.