Why We Get Stuck
By Maria A Mansfield
"A goal without a plan is just a wish." When Antoine Saint-Exúpery wrote this, he knew that for wishes to come true, we need a clear plan and achievable goals to fulfill them.
Most of the things we see today were once an idea that dwelt in someone's mind and heart. They dared to attempt them -overcoming many challenges until they succeeded. All these years later, their products or services have outlived their lives and improved ours.
Maybe you also dream of something you've always wanted to do or be. Or you saw a need that could be met by your idea to improve other people's experiences. Wouldn't that be great?
Inevitably, like with everything we want to pursue, we might feel stuck in neutral, thinking of all the reasons why we cannot achieve our dream. We wonder whether it's too late or even worth the pursuit. You are not alone. Welcome to the world of pioneers, artists, and innovators!
Like them, we face uncertainty, self-doubt, fear, distractions, and challenges on the road to bringing our dream to life. Feeling overwhelmed by how to go about goal completion happens to all of us! I want to encourage you that if you still have the desire to have your dream come to life, it is a clear sign that you can still bring it to pass. Life is always in motion, so you don't need to stay stuck in neutral. It's never too late to have the life you love.
During these past years, I've been learning to recognize these same roadblocks, where we tend to get stuck on the way to achieving our goals. Some ways that help move you forward:
-Distraction & Lack of focus: Sometimes, we can get busy with other unrelated projects. We go for "easier" things on our list. Or, we lose focus and waste time on what doesn't really matter.
Instead, promise yourself to stay committed and focused on your action plan and goals. These will give you a road map of your progress and glimpses of the future you're bringing to life.
-Procrastination: Edward Young said: "Procrastination is the thief of time." We put things off until the time is right. We wait until the circumstances are ideal. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes: "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done." Every time we procrastinate, we risk sabotaging ourselves and our goals before we're even out of the gate. We think: We say, "Maybe someday," but someday is not a day of the week!
Instead, start today on a couple of things that would advance your project and stick with it until you're done. Then tomorrow, a couple more. I know a day is not too much. But days grow into weeks -there are 52 in a year -you'll get a lot done if you maintain momentum.
-Fear & Self-doubt: Fear will highjack our best intentions of moving forward every time by reminding us of the times we failed. Self-doubt will second-guess us by suggesting we're not good enough, equipped enough, smart enough, and manifest our self-defeating beliefs.
Instead, switch over to courage and self-confidence by challenging these thoughts! What if you acknowledged your past experiences, hard work, and your past successes? What if you gave yourself a chance to demonstrate insane courage to do what you fear? One chance. One time. I believe something extraordinary would happen. After all, like the old Latin proverb says: "Fortune favors the bold." (Terence) A similar translation, "Fortune favors the brave" (Virgil).
-Discouragement & Lack of motivation: You might think, -What if I start and then face challenges? -Well, don't we all? Other times, we feel our dreams are too far out, too impossible, and the lack of motivation has us settle where we are -without attempting them.
Instead, be encouraged! Let your dream inspire you. See it happening in your mind, and it will happen once you start completing stages and checking off goals. You already have what it takes to overcome the roadblocks. You do! The only way you'll lose is if you quit. You got this!
Getting unstuck & Achieving Success: What does success look like to you? How do you measure your success? I've lived in different parts of the world and noticed how diverse people define success. To me, success is not necessarily a job title or a place we arrive at. I think it's more about how we feel about what makes us successful and the life we build around it. It's about accomplishing our purpose in life. About honoring those, we love and making a positive impact on the lives of others, leaving a legacy that will outlive us.
Overnight success? That's rare. There is no elevator to success; we have to take the stairs. We do our best to move forwards so we don't get stuck in neutral. Why? Because it's worth it. Because whatever our goals are, they'll give us a purpose and a satisfaction factor in our life.
Learning to delegate: Sometimes, we get so caught up in doing everything ourselves that it's overwhelming at best and exhausting at worst. Why do we do this? Is it a control thing? Or, do we really think nobody else can do it "just right”, at the right time, and as well as us? Interesting.
I see as my life progresses, I've been learning about courage, commitment, grit, and success. These are crucial to fulfilling our purpose in the face of obstacles. They also build resilience that cannot be bought online. You have to build it up inside of you.
Courage: Building the resilience to do something even if it frightens you. Having strength in the face of pain or grief.
Commitment: Having the strength to do what you pledged to do and see it through. Being dedicated to a cause.
Grit: Having perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Having direction, commitment, and passion for honoring what we want to achieve.
Success: Seeing results and reaping the benefits while growing through the experience. The accomplishment of our goals.
Once, a group of seniors was interviewed in a retirement home and asked what their main regrets in life were. Answers ranged from working too much and not seeing their families enough. Others wished they could've told their loved ones "I love you" more often. But to their surprise, most agreed their biggest regret was the dreams they didn't pursue. They said it would've been better to have tried and failed than not tried at all.
Vincent Van Gogh once said: "What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"
It takes courage to move forwards, but getting unstuck to live your life with purpose and joy might be among the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.
Have a great rest of your summer, and all my best in your new endeavors.
Maria A. Mansfield