There’s not one person who goes to bed thinking of how they can take steps towards achieving nothing. Truth is, we all dream of leaving a positive legacy in life.
Regardless of how apathetic, unmotivated someone may appear, everyone wants to make a difference and contribute towards something great.
So if this is true, what’s stops many people from becoming or doing who or what they desire to become or dream of accomplishing?
I think it boils down to two things. One, the belief that they’re incapable, and two, the fear of making mistakes that will reinforce those beliefs.
Though there are other factors that hinder people — some within their control and some not — I think these two are the main obstacles to people making their desire to impact others a reality.
I’m going to confess that I’ve long struggled with both of the obstacles just mentioned, so know how crippling they can be.
For years I’ve lived with a desire to inspire others through relationship, writing and speaking, a longing that despite these barriers I’ve not been able to reject.
In his book Let Your Life Speak, Parker J. Palmer puts it like this,
“Vocation at its deepest level is, ‘This is something I can’t not do, for reasons I’m unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that are nonetheless compelling.”
Call it vocation, calling, destiny, purpose, or whatever, for everyone, there’s just something we can’t shake off, and for me, it’s steadily grown over the years.
The trouble is, when plagued with doubts about my ability, and fears about getting it wrong, it can be hard to take the steps necessary to realise these aspirations.
I have a few, but here are just three affirming statements I use to help me overcome these two obstacles that you too might find helpful.
#1. “You’ve got more capacity than you think.”
Yes, we’re capable of accomplishing more than we think, but that’s not to be confused with being able to accomplish whatever we want, which I personally think is a lie that leads to heartache.
But though we’re not all going to be the next Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, or Bill Gates, we’re all capable of growth — of becoming better today than we were yesterday and tomorrow than we are today.
What matters is that we don’t limit ourselves, but instead commit to the daily development of character and competency, from which we grow towards being the very best version of ourselves.
#2. “Making mistakes is key to your learning.”
There’s no such thing as success without failure. Michael Jordon once said,
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 time I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
A growth mindset trumps a fixed mindset every time and being prepared to treat our efforts as a learning experiment frees us from the tyranny of a belief that says mistakes are bad.
To accomplish our best, we need to face the fear of what it’ll look like to be wrong, to make mistakes, and to fail at reaching the mark, yet go for it anyway.
#3. “Embrace the struggles — they’re good for you.”
Without some degree of resistance we can’t grow, as for genuine growth to happen there needs to be some resistance.
Best Buy founder, Richard Schulze, said of struggle,
“With every episode of struggle there is a learning opportunity.”
In understanding that things happen for us and not to us — a healthy perspective to have when facing challenges — we learn to accept each struggle as being one to embrace for our development.
Bring your talents to the table
Not only do we all want to make a difference, we each have a responsibility to use our talents for the good of others. If we don’t, someone somewhere will miss out, and we wouldn’t want that!
When doubt and fear prevent us from stepping out and offering our contribution to those around us, using these personal affirmations can go a long way in giving us courage.
What, if anything, holds you back from making your unique contribution? Add your thoughts in the comments below.
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