I knew a girl once who had lots of dreams. Lots of things she wanted to do. Lots of ideas for businesses, projects and strategies for becoming successful...But despite all the planning and sometimes the work, nothing happened.Nothing ever worked for her.
She'd get to a certain point in a project and always, and I mean always, something would happen that stopped her.
Watching her go through this process a dozen or more times, I could easily see that it wasn't the projects that were at fault - though she would swear every time that's where the problems originated.
No, it was something inside her head that made her stop.
Fear? Anxiety? Lack of commitment? Insecurity?
Any and all of the above.
But it was more than that.
I believe that in some odd way, she needed to be stopped - because failure fulfilled her worldview of what's possible and what isn't.
Because - and it sounds obvious but is no less true - that you are only capable of what you think you're capable of doing.
In other words, success is a state of mind.
If you think your project will fail, it will - because your mind will look for signs of failure from the moment you doubt it.
In turn, the signs validate your suspicions and your project collapses from within.
During all the time I knew this girl I had only one project - to be a writer full time.
She would often belittle my aspirations and say that she was the doer, the champion, the "succeeder" - and I was just a hopeless dreamer.
Difference was, I knew I wasn't going to stop nor would I lack the commitment to seeing through my goal.
It didn't matter how many people - friends, family, loved ones - told me (lectured me!) that being a professional writer was a silly dream, a waste of time pursuing, etc., because in my heart, I simply didn't believe them.
There comes a time when you have to sacrifice everyone else's worldview for something you know in your heart to be true.
You have to believe that if you want something enough, you can get it.
Inspiration is wonderful. It captivates and possesses you.
But inspiration has no value unless you pursue its ramifications.
It could be you take the first tentative steps on a path and start to feel that perhaps you were mistaken.
Perhaps you didn't want to work on the project as much as you thought you did.
That the kind of person you think you might need to become to finish the project is not who you really are.
This happens with long term goals too.
Many people have second thoughts when they realize that their success might require them to become a different person - one outside their comfort zone.
We all know that planning and strategizing is fun and safe and exciting until we get real world feedback - and realize that the consequences of inspiration often put you in the firing line - on the battlefield, as it were, to continue the metaphor.
We all want to be the commander, directing the troops from a safe distance.
Getting down and dirty in the trenches isn't really part of the plan!
But if you want to succeed, you need to make a commitment - and stay the course whatever happens.
It's the only way to know whether your inspiration was valid to begin with.
If you have a habit of stopping when you should be pushing on through, you'll find that your faith in yourself, over time, will diminish.
Success likes reinforcement.
And there's nothing like seeing one project, to the exclusion of all others, right through to the end, to help get your mind in the right head space to take on anything.
The more projects you finish, the more faith you'll have in your abilities.
But finishing that first one is where it all starts.
Don't let yourself get sidetracked by the myriad of possibilities.
Pick one project and go for it.
Even if you're not sure it's The One.
It won't always mean that the rest of your life will be taken up with it.
But it might take a year or two of total commitment.
And it's that total commitment that will change you - for the better.
Once you succeed in one thing, you'll know that nothing is impossible - if you believe in yourself.
And you can't really believe in yourself properly until you've seen something through, right to the end - and been the person capable of doing that.
The girl I mentioned earlier still believes she's capable of anything and everything - but has yet to prove it to herself.
Actually to anyone.
She's bitter and angry these days.
She blames the world for not complying with her wishes.
She rages against the unfairness of "the system" - whatever that is - and how everyone is out to get her and scupper her plans.
As a result, she's often nasty, defensive and cruel.
Her own insular, self-protective worldview has become the enemy within.
She's still poor - emotionally and financially.
She hates me, of course and, as she calls them, "people like me," because we don't fall into the category she's created for us.
She hates me for getting what I wanted.
She still believes that to be successful you have to be greedy, vindictive and manipulative - which in my experience is definitely not the case at all!
The successful, wealthy people I know are happy, generous and just, well, nice.
And they get things done.
They let inspiration guide them, intuition counsel them and they have the courage and self-fulfilling confidence to stand by their actions, attitudes and beliefs, to see their dreams, goals and plans through right to the very end.
Just like you should.
© Rob Parnell