I suppose when we pursue goals in life, deep down, we wish or at least prefer, that we had it all figured out beforehand, which would make the journey shorter. Guarantee, it’s worth it. Provide a glimpse of the future before we put in all the uncertain work.
I suppose we would certainly prefer this ability to look into a crystal ball and see how it all works out. Then, of course, we could avoid pain, dodge obstacles, and sidestep challenges along the way, while all along knowing that success is inevitable.
But as you and I both know, it doesn’t work that way. Your only knowledge comes from what you know right now. Your wisdom is only up to date within this moment. And your ambitions require a leap of faith.
In Shoe Dog, a memoir by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, it was unbelievable how much he was flying by the seat of his pants throughout his entrepreneurial journey. In meetings on other continents, with bankers, and the direction he would take his company, at times, through the story, it felt as if he didn’t quite know what he was doing at all. Maybe in many moments, he didn’t.
Yet, our hero finds himself fighting, clawing, and scratching his way forward through all the obstacles, setbacks, and controversy. Why? Because he never lets go of that dream, that vision, that goal.
And we all have to do that if we plan on accomplishing anything worthwhile in life.
I don’t have a clue what I’m doing…I just keep going…keep dreaming…keep working on it. That’s it. What else can I do? I can’t already know what I don’t know, and I can’t figure it out without going through it.
This philosophy doesn’t have much elegance, nor will anybody be using my story anytime soon for a book or motion picture. But, it’s the same place all of us start.
Just trying to figure it out.
Push Through The Fear and Failure
“But when we did fail, we had faith that we’d do it fast, learn from it, and be better for it.”
— Phil Knight
Fear isn’t always a bad thing. There are several occasions in life that fear serves us quite well, for instance: walking into a Lion’s Den, facing a man who is twice our size — in height and anger — or avoiding paying your taxes. In these times, it’s essential to listen to that voice that says, “this seems like a bad idea.”
Unfortunately, that voice talks to us far too much and granted too much influence over our actions. It prevents us from taking chances in life. It prevents us from pursuing goals or chasing worthy causes, or living up to our purpose in life. In short, that little voice, if we aren’t careful, will get in our way, far more than is necessary.
You have to ignore that little voice. You have to ignore the fear. You have to ignore the fact that you will fail. You have to ignore the fact that you won’t know how to handle everything.
It’s tough to start a journey that you are so unsure of in the beginning. Imagine starting a race on foot or even by car, knowing you want to win, you want it to be a success, but, in reality, you have no idea where this race will go, what kind of terrain you may experience, or when it will end.
Would you sign up? Would you show up? Would you compete in that race?
Keep Going, Keep Growing
The people who fail in life are those who quit moving.
In junior high, football coaches teach running backs to keep moving their feet. There is even a fancy gadget that is used as a drill to exhibit this skill. A running back runs through it repeatedly, while metal bars hold ready to provide resistance. As long as the feet are moving, the runner is advancing.
In life, in your career, in your pursuits — as long as you keep moving and growing forward, you too can keep moving.
You adapt and learn as you go. Dive into new and uncomfortable positions. Take on more responsibility, develop new skills, and have the mental attitude to grow into your strengths and push you along the path towards your goals.
I can tell you how hard I’ve been growing by the level of fatigue I feel during a week. Growth causes fatigue within me that I can’t quite explain, but confidence on the other side, that I’m always grateful for and pleased I was willing to take on.
And still, I have to talk myself into these moments, more often than not. It’s not easy living in a consistent place of discomfort, which is why so many never move forward. Again, that voice shows up, talks sense into us, and we listen.
You have to go and grow through these stages of your goal. It’s imperative. It’s the only way to your goal.
Go Get In The Fight
“Before you can win the fight, you’ve got to be in the fight.”
— Bill Walsh
As the Latin proverb states, “Fortune favours the bold.”
Fortune, goals, success will and has always favored those who were willing to get in the fight. Those willing to stick, not just their heads, but their whole body inside the arena and compete.
Accepting that we will not know the outcome or how it will play out is just the first of many critical steps we must take to move forward towards your goal.
Doubt, fear, uncertainly, imperfection, unsettling future results. These are just a part of the equation. You can’t stand inside the arena without having to face these enemies down.
Your pursuits will demand boldness from you, no matter the goal or destination.
It starts there, and the rest is up to you.