Most people give up on their dreams before they’re able to see the first results of their hard work.
Oftentimes it would have taken just a little longer for them to get some results and start believing that their goal might be possible.
I have found that it usually takes about two months after you have become serious about making your dream a reality before you get the first signs that you can actually make it. Once you’ve reached that turning point those signs usually come with full force, bringing you opportunities that you never thought possible.
The Killer Phase
When you first make the decision to make a big change in your life, it often seems like everything is against you. You’re giving it all, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Problems arise. People don’t understand. You doubt your own sanity.
This is the stage where most people give up. They don’t realize that obstacles arise naturally to test whether or not you want this enough. In that moment it seems impossible that your dream will ever turn into reality. You feel small, alone and scared.
This is exactly where I was about one year ago. In the beginning of March, I decided that I was sick of sleepwalking through life. I wanted more. So I took a look at my life and saw all that wasn’t good: I wasn’t disciplined, I slept in most days and broke about ten days into the new month. I skipped school but didn’t know what to do with my time so I ended up browsing the internet for hours.
It took a lot of courage to acknowledge the status quo of my life. But I did and then took the next step and visualized how I would want my ideal life to look like. I made plans and goals, a lot of them.
I tried my best to improve and grow, but it didn’t seem to make a difference.
The only thing that kept me going was the belief that life wouldn’t make sense if it wasn’t possible to live a more meaningful and happy life.
So I stuck with it. And I’m so glad I did.
How to move through it
Here’s what I learned about dealing with doubts, fears and all the shit life throws at you when you start getting serious about living your dreams:
- Take baby steps. Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you look at the people that inspired you it’s easy to measure yourself against their standards. Of course, it’s easy for peeps like Brian Johnson or Leo Babauta to be disciplined and get big meaningful things done each day. But they’ve had years worth of training. They didn’t wake up super disciplined one day with all their bad habits vanished into thin air. They took small steps each day to close the gap between who they were and who they wanted to be. Take baby steps. Celebrate even your smallest successes. And (this is a big one) only compare yourself to an older version of yourself.
- Be honest with yourself. If you feel overwhelmed and miserable, don’t pretend it’s all good. Acknowledge your feelings. Take a look at them. The best way I’ve found to deal with my fears and doubts is to journal about them. What you resist persists. When you take an honest look at your problems they’ll disappear more often than not.
- Trust. This is the most important part. When you don’t trust that you can do it, it will be much harder to push through your fears and put in the work necessary to reach your goals. Do anything to make it seem more plausible that you can do this. Get pumped up listening to inspirational music. Read books and stories from people who have done what you want to do. Surround yourself with passionate people. Do what it takes.
- Don’t give up. There are gonna be moments when your dreams scare you so much you want to be boring again. Yet the only way to guarantee that you won’t make it is to give up. If you take persistent action, no matter how small, you are bound to be successful in your endeavor. Don’t give up.
The Turning Point
Creating the life of your dreams can be tough. Don’t underestimate it. But when you continually work on gaining an optimistic mindset and put in the work, you’ll reach a turning point one day. Things will start to fall into place. Opportunities will arise where you least expected them.
My first big turning point came in form of a two-month coaching scholarship from Jacob Sokol. When I applied for it I didn’t expect to be chosen at all. But I applied anyways to see what’s possible and at least give it a shot.
In those two months that Jacob coached me every two weeks, I had more epiphanies and gained more knowledge about myself and where I wanted to go than ever before. It was the catalyst I needed to stop fussing around and start taking some bad ass action.
I launched this blog, became friends with other world changers in the making, and ended up working for Jacob as his coaching assistant. Who would have thought?
When you’re standing at the beginning of your journey, it can be daunting to look at the road ahead. The only way to get from there to where you want to be is to take the first step. And the next. Then keep going. [Click to tweet]
I’ve found that using positive mantras, watching positive videos, etc… help a lot. They can keep you driven and keep your spirits up through the dark periods.
Dan @ ZenPresence
Inspiration is vital if you want to keep your motivation up. However it’s easy to fall off track and feel productive when all you do is watch videos and read blog posts. I’ve definitely fallen into that trap a couple times.
It’s the mixture of inspiration, reflection and taking huge action that counts.
Thank you Iris for another inspirational blog. I get many useful insights. And your comment about getting trapped in the inspiration phase without taking any real action hits me most. That is what I have been doing so far for the past few years. I kept reading and reading those motivational books and articles. I did the practice, some of them, just as far as it related to writing exercise, but never once did I take a real action, the first step. Well I did some, but then I backed out and gave up. The fear of sth unknown scares the hell out of me. Knowing that I will be all alone by myself, and I am not that strong.
However, thank you Iris for making it clearer to me. For making me see it. I will do my best to overcome the fear.
don’t beat yourself up for being stuck in the inspirational phase. Acknowledging where you are and taking an honest look at your situation are the very first steps on any path. Now that you’ve identified that a lack of action has kept you stuck you can do something about it. Ask yourself “What is one thing that if you started doing consistently would have the biggest beneficial impact on my life?” Start doing it. You’re on your way. :)
And btw, you’re not going to have to do it all on your own. Once you commit yourself to your dream and take some bad ass action, you’ll find opportunities and meet people that you didn’t even have on your radar. When I started my blog I knew almost no one online, now I have a group of supporters and people I can ask for advice.
You’re not alone on this road.
Yo! What’s up Iris :).
I love this! Goals truly are beautiful things, aren’t they?
I got a thought I gotta share. I’ve come to believe that “struggle, pain and challenge” is mother natures system to determine if we truly want it.
If it were easy anyone and everyone could and would do it. But the bottom line is that it is difficult. But the difficulty is beautiful because it builds our confidence, self-esteem, and commitment when we are able to successfully push through it.
Excellent tips by the way. I have a question: how do you guarantee that you are honest with yourself? Do you have any systems or processes you use to make sure of this?
Good to see you here, Izzy :)
You’re right about the struggles being a test to see how much you want it. I like to call this phase the killer phase, a term that I totally stole from my mom.
Yes, I do have a system in place to make sure that I’m honest with myself. Whenever I feel overwhelm and fear hang out with me more than 2-4 days in a row, I must grab my journal and take some time to reflect on how I feel.
The theory behind it is that what you resist persists, so if I take an honest look at how I feel and why I feel it, I find that I can usually solve the problem pretty quickly.
I know that I’m honest because I go into journaling with the mindset of taking an honest look at my situation. Plus, lying to your journal is very uncool.
This strategy has made all the difference for me. I’ve been journaling everyday since the start of the happiness experiment in December and it forces me to reflect and deal with fears when they first show up.
How do you usually deal with your fear, Iris? I mean could you share me your tips or your strategies to overcome your fear once you have indentified them?
Thanks for asking this great question Wieke. It got me thinking. I’ll probably write a post about this once I’ve collected all my thoughts and let you know then :)
I’m deeply impressed about how you follow your path. And I’m impressed to tears on how very honest you are in sharing your feelings and experiences with your community. Remember good, old Mr. Schneiderlein, telling you that you have a very big heart (you being a girl of about 9 then)? He was right, wasnt’t he? I’m proud of you. hdl (please excuse my english)
Thank you so so so so so so much mom :) You’re a rockstar. Don’t underestimate the influence your awesomeness has on my awesomeness.
Wow, this is good news – I will be able to make a business out of my dreams after all :-)
Great to hear your story and how it has worked out already!
You will, Lindy! Keep working as hard as you do and you will succeed. But remember to take some time for yourself and have fun with it of course :)
I’m sure this will be a very important post for me in a couple of months. I think pushing through doubts is most important for me at this stage!
I’ve found that taking action, acknowledging your fears and being gentle with yourself is the best combination to push through doubts and fears. Still working on it though.
That’s what we go through all the time, but just don’t dare to share and appear weak, right? Thank you for the inspiration, Iris.
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