(This post was originally published on medium.com)
There is no such thing as luck. Success happens by design. You are not like the others, you not only dare to dream big but you are getting things done.
You know that it takes continuous effort and daily commitment to get where you want to be. You just need to do the right things at the right time.
But what if that is not enough? What if despite great sacrifices you are not getting ahead? What if you have tried all success strategies out there to no avail?
· that success starts within you.
· that you need to work your ass off (which you do already)
· how to set SMART goals to make your dreams become real
· that the road to your dreams is always under construction (you can live with that)
· that you need to stop talking and begin doing
Yet you don’t have the success you desire and deserve.
The tiny bit of progress you can measure is just enough to make you feel miserable about it.
The art of success
What you have failed to realize is that success is also an art.
A true artist knows more than just the techniques of his craft. A true artist does not just understand. A true artist lives his art. He embraces it.
People who were not just scientists, engineers, or entrepreneurs but also artists had the biggest impact in human history.
After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.
— Albert Einstein
If you cannot truly embrace your dreams and the consequences of achieving them, you might actually resist them.
In your haste you might not see what truly holds you back:
The fear of being successful.
How can you fear and want something at the same time?
Why do you fear to be successful?
- Success means also change in many aspects of your life. You reject it on a subconscious level because your body and mind are wired for consistency. You do this unless you become aware of it.
- You would have to move out of your comfort zone. As odd as it sounds, we tend to find comfort in being the victim of our circumstances. You are unwilling to change your environment and sacrifice it for your success and the changes it brings with it.
- Being successful means to actually take responsibility for it, be it good or bad. It is the unknown awaiting you and the fact of being in charge that puts you in discomfort because you feel like you don’t know what to do in that situation.
- Fear of failure is another reason. Failure is the sister of success. A reality of success allows also for a reality of failure. However, both are impostors when it comes to evaluating your progress. Neither failure nor success should stop you from pursuing your dream.
- For you, success equals perfection. Therefore, a lack of perfection means no success. Creating a lot of imperfections is called action and is the ultimate premise to anything in life. A bad action is better than no action, a bad decision is better than no decision. Failure means you are on the road to success, instead of not even trying and waiting for the perfect opportunity. Letting go of perfection is where the perfection begins.
- Success makes you vulnerable. It means you have to step out into the public. You stand out for what you stand for and you be better sure about that. You can only do so if you stop caring what other people think of you. Bear in mind that you have to live with the consequences and not those other people.
- You define your self-worth with your success. No success means no self-worth. You do not believe in yourself and your abilities to make it happen. You take the level of success (or failure) personal. Try not to do that. See failure and success as your children, play with them, have fun, and don’t take it personally if they yell at you. Love them both.
Look inside of you and honestly ask yourself which fear applies to you. Do you want to know what is true for me?
They apply all. And although I could transform them one by one it won’t be enough to get ahead. It is important to be aware of these things but as mentioned before, action beats anything.
So the question has to be:
What can you do to overcome your fear of success?
Imagine you are given the opportunity for a tandem jump out of a plane.
You are all excited and very happy first. But soon worry will start creeping in. Soon enough you will be trapped in a fight-or-flight response way before the actual event takes place. This happens over days and weeks, or even months. You cannot think of anything else and the time you spend worrying ruins your tandem-jump-free-time.
All that fear can ever do for you is to make you avoid what you fear. This makes sense in life-threatening situations, but not when the supposed danger is nothing but imagination and based on false assumptions.
On the road to success, you might have to take calculated risks at times which can get scary sometimes. In order to keep moving and not get stuck by paralysis, I follow the 40–70 rule.
I forgot where I read about it but it basically says that when you are 40–70 % sure about something, then you should go for it. This may not sound very promising, but the alternatives are even worse.
You wait until you are 100% sure with the unique opportunity most likely being gone. Or you give it a try without knowing what you are getting yourself into.
All you can hope for in this case is what Liam Neeson was obsessed about in the movie Taken: “Good luck!”
The best (and maybe the only) way to overcome your fear is to get beyond the point of no return.
If you cannot back down anymore, you have to deal with the situation.
In other words, you have to take that cold shower, hold that speech in front of a crowd, or do whatever it is that scares you.
What is your point of no return?
Back in school, it was the tradition for those in the final year to perform a stage play in front of all pupils, parents, and teachers before the summer break. I was kind of pushed to play the main male actor because no one else wanted to do it, neither did I.
But once I said yes, there was no point of return and I started to take it seriously. It turned out to be a great success and everyone congratulated me except my parents (who were kept in darkness). I was glad I never had to perform again but it definitely helped me in my personal development.
In a roller coaster, the point of no return is when the safety bar locks into place. You cannot back down anymore. You are destined to be photographed in your least photogenic state (like my brothers and myself a couple of years ago)
That is what the point of no return is all about.
In terms of your success, it might be an investment to get your business started, it might be to sign a new contract, move to another country, to announce publicly what you are up to, or to upload your first video on YouTube. Make a commitment that makes it impossible to back down.
Face your fear beyond that point. Don’t talk about it, do it.
What separates the dreamer from the achiever is passing the point of no return.
Allow change to happen in your life. Accept that you will have to change as a person as well. Believe in yourself and your ability to make it happen.
The good news is that you need to make this decision, this commitment only once. Everything that happens after this will come naturally. There is but one choice you can make:
Forward ever, backward never.
Imagine waking up and knowing that you are living your dream. You know it was the right decision to have started back then. You took that big step in your life and now you see how everything fell into place.
You know that only good lies before you even it might be challenging sometimes. Nobody said it is going to be easy but this also makes it special.
This makes you special.
You are part of the illustrious circle of people who live their dream:
You are an achiever!
Ready for inspiration?
I have collected a list of inspiring videos that helped me to always move on whenever I felt down.