What have decided you can’t do or have? We all have dreams on our “I wish” list. Maybe it’s to find the right guy, give presentations without fear, lose a dress size or start our own sideline business. But what stops us from starting toward those dreams? How do we not give up on ourselves and achieve them?
For me, it was running. When I had two unexpected breast surgeries followed by another necessary surgery that didn’t turn out as expected, I lost my fitness. Not only that, I couldn’t get it back.
Despite how hard I tried, I couldn’t regain my endurance. When I got on the elliptical, I sweated out 200 calories, not the 350 minimum I’d easily completed before. Instead of seven hours hiking, I pushed hard to walk two or three miles. Running? Ha, a distant dream.
Up 10 pounds, no matter how I dieted, I wondered if I’d need to settle for this new, more rounded body and this decreased level of fitness. Was this really all I could do?
So on a sunny day last month, as I walked and thought, I remember running, I suddenly wondered, Could I jog/run for a minute? Just a minute?
I wasn’t sure, but I tried — and there it was, the ability to jog for a minute. I fixed my eyes on a shadow farther up the path and tried for it. And then thought, Could I make it to that bend in the path? Yes!
Six minutes. Not the jock I once was but once again a woman who could run.
Why should this be important to you?
When you settle, you stop trying. When you don’t try, you cheat yourself. Instead of saving yourself from the disappointment of trying without success, you sentence yourself to true disappointment in yourself, because you’ve given up.
Your life narrows from what it could be to what you let it be. Six months from now, will you wish you’d trusted in yourself, settled less often and taken more chances?
Four secrets for starting:
- Stop the excuses: When we tell ourselves, “It’s not so bad the way things are,” we forget that the real risk lies in things staying the same. When we stagnate, our lives grow smaller rather than larger.
- Just start: Do you not begin something because you hesitate? Hesitation amplifies worry. If you stall, will you ever start? Possibly not. Is it fear that stops you? Fear erodes confidence. If you allow fear to take over your brain, it owns you.
How do you start? You just start. In Beating the Workplace Bully, I wrote, “Think what a brave person would do, and become that brave person.” Don’t tell yourself you lack courage — grow your courage by thinking your way through fear.
- Create achievable goals or action steps: If you want to start your own business but can’t quit your day job because you need the income and insurance, set a smaller, more realistic goal. How about creating a small sideline business on the Internet? You could do that and get your entrepreneurial sea legs even as you keep your day job.
If you want to lose weight or gain fitness, create action steps. For the first, perhaps it’s renting three exercise videos from the library. For your second step, work out to each of the three videos. For your third, select the video you enjoy most, buy it and work out three days a week for the next month. You’re on your way.
- Enjoy the process: Once you start, you develop your strength, talents and discover new things about yourself. You stretch, grow and move toward your dream.
So, what have you decided you can’t do or have? Stop your excuses, set a realistic goal, create an action step and start. You’re the author of your life. Don’t give up on yourself.
© 2016, Lynne Curry. If you’d like an answer to your career question, it’s easy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Curry is the author of Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully (AMACOM). You can also follow @lynnecurry10 on Twitter or access her other posts on SheKnows, www.workplacecoachblog.com or www.bullywhisperer.com.