It has been said that the biggest obstacle between you and success is YOU! I do believe this to be true. I know that there are more times than I care to admit (or even count) when I talked myself out of stepping out of my comfort zone to achieve a new goal.
It starts out very innocently. You come up with an idea that quickly becomes the most important goal in your life. Your goal may be as large as developing a new app that can change social media for the better or as personal as wanting to ask a cute girl out on a date. The size and magnitude of your idea doesn’t matter, you have an idea and you are excited about it. You are jazzed and can’t want to make your new goal into a plan then execute it until it succeeds. There is just one thing you do between defining the goal and developing the plan, you run an internal checklist – and often that is where we get into trouble.
Instead of throwing caution to the wind and running with the idea we ask ourselves some questions:
- Is this a realistic goal?
- Is this something I could accomplish?
- Do I have the necessary skills and resources to accomplish this goal?
These questions are meant to, as Casey Kasem would put it, keep your feet on the ground while reaching for the stars. A sensible precaution before embarking on a goal. Unfortunately, these questions often allow us to become discouraged instead of encouraged to go for it.
These questions can be a gateway for our “doubting Thomas” and his cousin “negative Nelly” voices speak to us that live in the dark corners of our minds.
The two cousins start in with “This is a very big goal”, “It will take months or years to achieve it – if you can achieve it at all” and “who is going to believe you can do this?” Then the cousins go in for the kill by saying “You won’t be able to accomplish this goal without a lot of help”, “There are so many obstacles that stand in your way that I can’t count them all” and “You do not have the skills, talents, education, finances, etc. to even attempt your stupid goal.”
If those words do not discourage you enough, the cousins start to remind you of all your past failures as reasons why you shouldn’t waste your time on a new goal that will also certainly fail.
After a few minutes of the cousins and their attitude, you start to believe that you are not worthy of the goal.
But there is a secret that the cousins won’t tell you – if you can talk yourself out of taking a risk and striving to achieve a new goal in life, you can talk yourself into taking a risk and striving to achieve a new goal in life!
Start listening to the other two cousins’ voices in your head: positive Paul and confident Connie. These two cousins, when you think of a new goal, will tell you: “This is a very big goal and you can do it”, “It may not happen overnight but when it does your life will be better” and “you have a good circle of supportive people in your life, they will certainly be there to encourage you”, “when you need help (remember no one accomplishes anything great on their own) the Internet is full of resources and people willing to help you”, “sure, there are obstacles that stand between where you are now and your goal, but obstacles have never stopped you before!” and “if you are short any skills, talents or the finances to accomplish your goal, there are plenty of books that can help you!”
If those words do not encourage you enough, the cousins start to remind you of all your past goals you have set and accomplished.
In my life I have fallen short or given up on many goals by listening to the doubting Thomas and negative Nelly in my head. When I finally started listening to positive Paul and confident Connie I was able to achieve the goal that I had talked myself out of months or years ago,
When that happens, I will kick myself for the time I had lost by talking myself out of trying for my goals when I first thought of them.
The lesson that I have learned is that nobody can limit your success except you!