I have failed on the majority of goals I have set in my life. You might as well stop reading because I have no idea what I am talking about, right? Bare with me for a moment. My resume of failures seems to grow each year. I remember reading an article about Abraham Lincoln. This was the first time I truly understood the power of failure. Abraham Lincoln has failed at more things in his life than most people I have ever read about. But look what he accomplished with his life in the end. President of the United States! I honestly thought I had failed at a lot. It’s so easy to look at those more successful than us and wonder how they got so lucky. I dare you to find someone who has created success for themselves and hasn’t had many monumental failures on the path to get there.
Failing is great. It’s part of the process of growing. Wield failure like a weapon. Use it to learn from your mistakes. Every failure is a life lesson, and you can turn a situation upside down by focusing on that truth. That being said, there is one major thing you can do today to help eliminate one of the primary reasons you might be failing to even attempt your goals.
From a young age I have been into read personal development type books. Having strong goals and seeing them through is predictably a key part of this genre of book. There is one thing that I have never read in any book. This is why I am so excited to be writing about it. This has changed my life. I consider it the single greatest predictor of if my goal will become a reality. I want to share it because I can almost guarantee everyone reading has made this one mistake. I have made it hundreds of times myself.
You know what feels awesome the second you decide to follow a goal? Telling the world. I want to jump up and down and scream my excitment. Hey, world! Look at me doing this amazing thing! But wait. I haven’t actually done anything. I probably haven’t even considered how to accomplish my goal. I just made up my mind I wanted to do it. Therein lies the problem. I’m experiencing a sense of accomplishment, and sharing how proud I am of myself without even lifting a finger. My goal is no closer to being accomplished then the day before I thought of it. But here I am feeling proud and wanting to show off.
This attitude fundamentally destroys motivation. I’ve already got a reward (the feeling of pride for telling people about my goal) so now why go through the extra effort of actually following it? But it doesn’t end here. When you try to tell people about a goal they will often tear it apart either consciously or unconsciously, hurting your chances of success. The truth is you can never know impossible into you follow through! Do not set yourself up to be unmotivated from the get go by letting others choose your fate. Do your research first. Become educated and actually start making your goal happen. Seek people who can give you constructive criticism along the way. But DO NOT look for validation in others before you even attempt your goal. That is the number one way to sideline your goal from the get go.
Can’t is a word that you should never use again. Next time you imagine the place you want to be say I can. Say I will. Then wrote down ten different things you can do this week to help get you there. Chose one and do that today. Read a book on the topic, research online, seek a mentor… And while you are at it tell NO ONE about your goal. The second you rely on outside input for inspiration you have set yourself up to feel unmotivated when the naysayers and realists try to steal your fire and save you from failing. When you want to go against the grain people are forced to look at you and confront their own insecurities about their position in life. What if you do succeed at doing what you love? What does that say about the rest of us who are just doing what we thought was expected of us?
And even if you do fail at your goal no one will be the wiser because you kept your mouth shut! I find that telling people about a goal creates extra stress because now I have to admit my failures to others. Not everyone understands my opinions on failure. That’s ok, but I’d rather not explain them to the 20 people I told when I got my grand idea to better myself. Should have just kept my mouth shut. Then again, maybe you do succeed at one goal. At that point you might not even need to tell anyone. They will see your success and might become envious without you saying a word. They might go out of their way to compliment you. And that’s great. You deserve it! Now get back to work! I experienced this when I first put on about 20-30lbs my first year of training. EVERYONE I met complimented me or commented on my body. It felt good, but my recommendation is to be thankful while being forgetful. Never rely on the opinions of others for motivation. What if those same people were telling me I looked funny? Motivation must come from within.
I kept this conversation in the forefront of my mind when I built this website. This is not the first fitness website I have made. The first looked good but I never took it a step further and learned how to build in membership functionality. I never put the finishing touches and worked out the technical kinks that would have made my dream happen. But I did tell many people about my website. I told them how excited I was to start it. At that time all I had were a few pictures of myself and some free workout plans. Far from ready to tell anyone. I was stuck. I needed to build a membership website but I lacked the knowledge of how to do so. And I let it sit for over a year.
That was until do to a life event I felt I had to either sink or swim. I started from scratch. I built another website until I realized it lacked the functionality I wanted. So I deleted it and did more research. Finally I figured out exactly what I needed to do and here I am. Had I not sucked it up and put in the extra effort to go from idea to reality this website probably wouldn’t exist. Here is the kicker: I still am far from finished. I need to get the word out and let the world know I exist. Otherwise, I will once again be stuck with a pretty website and a full time job wiping old people’s asses as a CNA. No offense to anyone in this field you are a hero! But it’s not what I want to spend the next three years doing. This website will become one of the best fitness website on the Web. But I cannot tell anyone. Lie, make an excuse, but tell no one.
Those are lofty goals. Yea I probably should have kept that to myself. But I will be honest with you. If I were to tell my friends or family I planned to quit my job and live off a website I created most would try to convince me to do otherwise. And then I’d agree. I have an ok job and I can go back to college. That’s what people want to hear. I know this won’t make me happy. So I am left with this: silence is golden. Don’t tell them. Show them.