“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” – Tony Robbins
So I just got off the phone with my mother and we were talking about her recent retirement, life and what she wants to do next with the rest of her life. She mentioned that she was reflecting on what lies ahead for her and wondering if she waited too late to start new pursuits that she has dreamt about in the past. As we were talking I begin to think about how common that train of thought is for many people (including myself), and age really has nothing to do with it at all. I thought about my own dreams, things I have accomplished along with the many ideas that still lie dormant in my head.
I imagine as we get older some dreams may seem or become unattainable, far-fetched and even downright scary to contemplate as a possibility, but we should never stop believing or dreaming that they can be achieved. When we do, I believe apart of us begins to die inside. So we must press on and keep on believing that there is much more life to live and dreams to fulfill. But how do we get there and how do we remain motivated for the duration? Although I do not claim to have the magic formula for success, I do know that what I have accomplished thus far in my professional and personal life is not by accident or coincidence, and I have many wonderful friends and family members that are doing great things in their own right, and are a constant inspiration to me.
A few things that I find consistent with inspirational people and those that get things done are as follows:
- Along life’s journey they begin to live for something larger than them – When you think about the great people in your life, what stands out? For me, it’s that uncanny ability to keep it moving no matter what, seemingly. They defy the odds, never quit and seem to never have excuses about why they cannot achieve something. They see life obstacles as potential, even if it’s a temporary setback. At some point along the way, the mission to get there has become the goal and no-thing will get in their way. When we begin to live for things that our bigger than us (also known as purpose), the obstacles, challenges and setbacks not only become opportunities that strengthen us, but the stories of overcoming them become interwoven in the overall process we experience. We expect the hardships, challenges and pain that comes with achieving any goal, but the decision to press on despite the pain has long ago been decided, because it’s no longer about us. It’s about getting to the destination.
- There is a vision and a plan to getting there that is reviewed periodically – There is a saying that, “if you don’t know where you are going, you will probably never get there.” It is seldom that we get into a car and simply drive without a destination in mind. This should hold true to our missions in life as well. How does someone begin anything and not consider the end goal or the steps it will take on how to get there? This not only waste time and possibly limited resources, but it also breeds frustration and discouragement. Mission-minded people not only have a map of where they are going, but they understand why they want to go there in the first place. And it’s not a one and done type of scenario. The vision and plan are reviewed periodically in case it needs to be adjusted or tweaked, because life and people change. The key is, there is a tangible vision and plan that can be referenced when necessary. It’s nothing magical about it, but it is essential to remaining focused and on track.
- Commitment – Once we have discovered something worthy of pursuing and have obtained a vision and a plan on how to get there, it is imperative that we become committed to it. Without the commitment there will be no longevity. We will retreat at the first sign of difficulty or hardship. If your mission is to run a full marathon (like my friend Leslie just did on March 6, 2016), I imagine there is some physical and mental pain to endure (Leslie, please clarify). And that’s just the preparation, not the actual “day of the race” endeavors. Once the pain of training begins to set in or the mental anguish of the twenty-third mile is in full effect, if you are not committed to pressing through this, quitting becomes an option.
- Faith – The ability to see past our current situations is critical to our success, because at any given time our life circumstances may seem more credible than our ability to believe past them. There may be nothing in our lives that pronounces we should believe in something bigger or better, but our faith will and can carry us through the adversity of doubt, disbelief and intimidation. Our faith will speak to us when we want to quit and remind us of that place we are going towards. Our job is to listen, believe and respond accordingly.
So I would not be surprised if these are things you have heard many times before. Perhaps you are at a point in your journey where you needed a refresher. Whatever it is, one thing will always be true and that is, it takes a little bit everyday to get there. Most things worthy of our pursuit do not happen overnight, so it is going to take hard consistent work. One push up at a time, one chapter at time or one day at a time to accomplish the task.
As I reflect on my life as my mother did tonight, I am reminded to continue to press towards the mark, never give up and keep my eyes on the prize, (the completed work). And thanks mom for inspiring me tonight.