I think a lot of people go about “reaching their goals” and “changing their lives” with an unsustainable, mostly unsuccessful mindset called “I HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING ABOUT MYSELF TO GET WHERE I WANT TO GO”.
This is the mindset that results in New Year Resolutions burning out by February, Weight Loss Diets looping you back into weight gain within a year, and Big Dreams getting lost in the unreasonable expectation of changing everything overnight and then feeling like a failure when it doesn’t actually happen ‘overnight’.
I can personally look back to every accomplishment I am proud of and see that, first of all, it happened by me having a commitment every day (sometimes even quite small)… and second of all, I accomplished these goals within a structure and process that worked for ME. I was successful within an environment that enabled my strengths and gifts, and developed the areas I wanted to expand in a way that worked for me.
Here’s an example. In college, I was a competitive cheerleader. Like Bring It On Style with Nationals and being in the top ten and having 15+ hours of practice and commitment to the sport each week. I loved it! And, like the other 29 people on the team… I wanted to be in the top 20 who “made the nationals mat”. It was my goal from the beginning, and it took a lot of hard work! Here is a brief timeline of events:
- Tryout for cheer team my senior year in highschool for my freshmen year… DIDN’T MAKE TEAM.
- Cry, go through 5 stages of grief, and then work on 1 skill, literally the 1 skill! That held me back from making the team… the blasted standing back flip.
- Get called back in the middle of freshmen year as some spots opened up on the team. 2 spots were open. 3 of us went to the private try-out. DIDN’T MAKE TEAM.
- Repeat step 2.
- Tryout at the end of my freshman year for sophomore year. Over 150 amazing athletes show up to tryouts, the most in the history of the school’s tryouts. I hit my standing back tuck, as well as a toe-tuck and a pike tuck (jumping straddle jump and pike jump connected straight into a back tuck)… DIDN’T MAKE TEAM!
- Repeat step 2.
- Release energy around making the team… basically move on from the possibility.
- Get a call from Coach my Junior year asking me to join the team… no tryout necessary. WHAT!? There were spots open, the coach called around, and 2 of the people he spoke with in the “cheer community” personally recommended me… so in the end, it was more my work ethic and personality that got me on the team vs. excellent athletic skill.
- Now I’m on the team… how did I make the Nationals Mat?
- Told the coach I wanted to be on the mat
- Did private coaching with him on my tumbling skills 2 times a week before practice.
- Paid to go to open gym at a local gymnastics place to work on extra tumbling 1 time a week.
- Went down to football field to run laps because part of the conditioning qualification to be on the mat was to be able to do 2 laps around the field in less than 7min… I started out at like 8+ min and timed myself 1 time a week.
- My first year, I was an alternate for the mat… which I was told was “normal” but was bummed.
- My senior year, I finally made the team all on my own lol and was on the Mat!
- I also chose (partly because I was double-majoring) to do a super-senior year and made the mat again.
- Then, after graduating, I learned a lesson trying to get a dream goal overnight to cheer in graduate school. I was sending in a video to the best cheer school in the nation to be part of their team as a graduate. I attempted a tumbling skill I had only ever done on a spring floor (a full-twisting back flip…) and, well, let’s just say I was on crutches for my college graduation.
First of all, thank you for listening to my story, and hopefully it reminded you of a time you accomplished something that wasn’t necessarily easy, didn’t happen overnight, but looking back you can see that you really were committed the whole time and it happened as it was meant to.
So, am I saying, that by goals happening within the context of our already existing personality and strengths, that we don’t have to change ANYTHING to accomplish something we want?
No, I am not saying that… I am saying something between these 2 quotes
- In order to get something you’ve never had, you need to do something you’ve never done… and
- To quote Alan Cohen’s book, I had it all the time.
The life essence in between these two is this.
Yes. It is human nature to want to improve, expand, and fulfill our purpose and potential during this life.
And, if we spend our time doing so with focus on not being perfect and needing to “fix” ourselves, we are actually blocking the potential… missing the fact that it is our own unique strengths AND challenges that shape the flow of our accomplishment and Journey.
So what is your “back tuck” right now? What is your “making the Nationals mat” goal?
And how can you approach it with ease in a way that might bring some discomfort because it’s new and different, but also will bring you confidence in embracing how you work, how YOU accomplish, and how YOU succeed?
Here’s to your Already-You New Endeavor,