Many of us have ambitions and goals, but perhaps just as many of us get overwhelmed by the drive needed to achieve those goals. We fear the overwhelming struggle, the possibility of failure, and the unrelenting force of self-doubt that eats away at our potential. What I have learned over the years is the importance of us embracing that struggle, staring down that fear, and ignoring that voice in your head telling you that you can’t accomplish anything you set your mind and heart to.
Fear is inevitable. It’s a part of what helps us understand who we are, and it challenges us to overcome different things that come our way, helping us grow and become better as individuals in our characteristics, skills, and so much more. (You can read more about my thoughts on facing your fears here.) There’s one beautiful reminder about faith that makes facing your fears much easier: “Allah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear.” (Quran 2:186) What that tells you is that regardless of what you face in life, God guarantees that you will never face anything you can’t bear. It means that He KNOWS you can handle everything you face. And because we also know that Allah only has us experience things that will help us become better versions of ourselves, we know that us overcoming our fears will result in us reaching new heights in accessing our true potential. How beautiful, encouraging, and reassuring is that?? As for the individual fears I mentioned above, let’s break them down one at a time.
1. The Struggle
We’ve all heard the saying, “Nothing in life worth having comes easy, and nothing that comes easy is worth having.” A pretty great reminder, if you ask me. Sure, you may come around the occasional unique case where something falls into place without much work, but to depend on that occurrence as our path to success in our endeavors is like living a half-assed life, expecting someone to come around one day with a briefcase of millions of dollars for you. Umm…sorry for breaking your bubble if that’s what you’re hoping for, but my friend, it’s probably not going to happen. I would recommend that you work hard towards your goals, and if you just so happen to stumble upon that kind of fortunate circumstance, simply consider it a bonus.
Hard work is it’s own reward. It’s true. When you have a goal or dream you’re striving towards accomplishing, every little success feels like a huge motivation and push forward. Successful people wake up every morning with the ambition to take steps forward in their goals, and to get a few extra little successes under their belts, and that acts as part of their fuel for the next day. I personally get excited every time I get the code I’ve been struggling with when designing a client’s website, or coming upon an epiphany for a logo or branding scheme for a client. Or, when I would see a coaching client overcome something they were afraid to face. Or, when I would come up with an idea for a quote, poem, or article to write. These may seem like really small experiences, perhaps even unimportant in the larger scheme of things, but every little success is worth appreciation and embrace, because these little things are exactly what remind us that we’re on the right path to fulfilling our goals. Keep going towards your goals, and work relentlessly until you accomplish your goal, or life leads you and your heart in a different direction that’s better for you.
2. The Truth About Failure
Failure can be one of two things: the fuel to your success or the fuel to your destruction. Which of the two it’ll be is up to you.
Personally, I’ve failed so many times during my journey to success, and actually fail in small ways almost on a daily basis. But, I recognize that those failures have come in my life path for the sake of helping me grow and build on my skills and talents. I know that God has put me on this world to help people, and that can be difficult at times when it comes to trying to support your family and future. I face criticism and ridicule often as I try things and stumble, and can sometimes have people telling me that I will never succeed, or that I should just give up on trying. Still, I push forward, have faith and patience, and work my butt off every single day, while trying to learn and grow from my experiences. If I let the reactions of others towards my journey and failures eat away at my mind, or affect me in any way, I would definitely see myself fall into self-destruction. The reason I say self-destruction is because it’s truly self-imposed. We choose what we let in and what we let out of our minds. We have to remember that no one knows our journey better than God and our own selves. As long as we keep God in mind with every step, give our hearts to Him, and work relentlessly towards what we want in life (within moral bounds, of course), we can remain steadfast in our steps forward towards succeeding in our goals.
Another beautiful thing about failure is that it keeps us balanced and humble. It reminds us that we’re human, and that reminder is hugely important when we have big expectations. It’s through this falling and failing that we learn how to get back up and keep going. It’s through these setbacks that we are brought towards the right timing for our success, and are reminded that we should stay humble and levelheaded with our potential and skills.
There is enough in this life that pushes its way into our life and minds to the point of causing us sadness and fills us with a test of hope and faith. Don’t pass the test of failure in that process. Failure is truly a blessing and an opportunity for us to become better versions of ourselves, and what better thing could we ask for than that as we strive every day towards personal development and growth?
3. Destroying Self-Doubt
Ah, the internal evil that resides in even the best of us: self-doubt. No matter who you are, you’ve surely experienced this to some degree. But, the beauty of life is that we are never faced with anything that we can’t bear, and we are often capable of so much more than we think we are. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” What that reminder told me was not only that we have to always try something before we know we can do it, but also that we can only know how much we are capable of through us pushing the envelope with our comfort zones.
Like I mentioned above, letting the words of others get to us is something that can happen only if we allow it to. What’s even more important to keep in mind though is that the same goes for our own negative, pessimistic, or skeptic thoughts. We are hardwired to think out all of the options, and life’s rollercoaster-type nature causes us to fear the worst and doubt our own capabilities. Often, we put up a front that we have what it takes to take on the things that scare us, but I think that it’s much easier to become courageous than to fake fearlessness. When you face every day, remind yourself that you are capable of so much more than you can imagine, and that there is nothing that can come your way in life that you aren’t able to handle. You are stronger, wiser, and more capable than you think. People will try to convince you otherwise, and life will challenge you often to make you think otherwise (if you let it), but I assure you that your success and happiness is simply past those things you doubt being capable of doing or achieving.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, there are two things I believe combine to create the formula for guaranteed success = unrelenting and ridiculous work ethic + an ever-growing knowledge and application of your beliefs and values. Figure out what you want to dedicate your time and efforts to, and what your beliefs and values are, and then face life head on. With these two things, you will find everything you’re looking for, and then some. Of course, there are so many more details to these two components for each individual person, and I’d be more than happy to coach or mentor any of you in that endeavor. You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free consultation, but till then, I hope this article will be a great starting point!
Now, I want to hear from you! Join the conversation! Leave a comment below telling me about some fears you’ve conquered, or share some insight into some other ways you have taken on these or other hurdles on your personal journey to success 🙂