Children overflow with plans for bold adventure, inspiring careers, and triumphant victories. I’ve never met a seven-year-old who aspires to middle management or wishes they grew up to become a paper-pushing bureaucrat.
As we mature, we dilute the potency of our dreams, learning to settle instead of lead. We adults too often let fear impede on our desire to do something remarkable and, in turn, forgo the opportunity to leave our fingerprints on the world.
When you study the most successful people, they aren’t always naturally gifted or predestined for greatness. They aren’t born with superpowers, and they share the same concerns we all have. The key difference is that they push ahead instead of bowing to the insidious fear demon. Rather than succumbing to the excuses that neuter so many of us, they refuse to let these common justifications restrict their journeys:
1) “Others will laugh. I don’t want to be judged” – Social pressures can be hard, often driven by jealousy and ignorance. Nearly every great contributor – from Shakespeare to Edison – was ridiculed for thinking differently. Funny how those detractors hold no place in history while the daring souls are the ones we remember.
2) “It’s too risky; I’ll probably fail” – While very few things in life are guaranteed, you will absolutely fail if you never take your shot. Our biggest moments of growth occur outside our comfort zone.
3) “It isn’t worth the effort” – If pursuing your calling isn’t worth the effort, what is? If you have the energy for a late night fast food run, you can certainly repurpose that effort into something far more productive.
4) “I’m just too busy” – We all struggle with the 24-hour day, and getting through the daily grind can take everything you’ve got. If you want it bad enough, however, you’ll make the time. To make your biggest mark, you need to sacrifice the good to pursue the great.
5) “If I stumble, I can’t handle the setbacks” – Personal development most often comes as the result of adversity. Instead of getting derailed by the speed bumps, celebrate them as opportunities to learn and grow.
6) “I’m too______” – You could easily insert 173 words here ranging from too old, young, or scared to too broke, shy, or proud. Every business titan, movie star, and community leader could have talked themselves out of going for it. Thankfully, they didn’t and neither should you.
Think how different the world would be if Steve Jobs, Dr. King, or Abraham Lincoln hid behind these excuses instead of seizing their full potential. In these challenging times, we must have the courage to beat down our fears. We must realize they are nothing but imposters, packaged and delivered to test our resolve.
“I would, but….” is a phrase that should be eradicated from our language. To drive the most progress in our community and in our lives, let’s stand firm and simply say, “I will.”