No one starts off on a trip planning to turn back if they meet road works. We don’t wait for all the lights to be green before we leave, either. We plan to arrive. We start toward an important goal because we dearly want it and believe we are prepared to do whatever it takes. We have the snow chains in the trunk, a spare gas container and enough drinking water and food to sustain us. We envision the accomplishment and what it will feel like. A negative weather report will keep us going and not cause us to waste time. We refuse to contemplate the clouds. We focus on the end result and keep it strong in our mind. It doesn’t take long into the journey, when the rain clouds burst, to discover the need for our two essential “P” friends – persistence and perseverance — to accompany us. Our success will depend on how much we have included them in previous “road trips”.
You may become exhausted or even get knocked down by some obstacle if you are really going for a goal. Obstacles have a variety of names, such as ‘you need to learn more’, ‘develop a stronger character’, ‘get healthier’, ‘lose some weight’ or get the ‘car’ serviced. Facing these potholes squarely and moving past them develops our mental driving muscle and our character. It makes achieving the goal all the richer.
The nature of an obstacle is it will challenge our persistence. It can weaken our resilience, our ‘stick-to-it-tive-ness’, and our patience if we haven’t prepared. At this point self-pity can appear on the scene and any ‘wallowing’ will keep us stuck on the side of the road. For the least damage to occur to our psyche and dream it is essential to get up as quickly as possible, dust ourselves off, pick up the pieces and get going. You have heard it said that if you have an accident get back in and drive so that the fear of driving is overcome immediately.
Mental preparation makes facing the challenges along the way easier. Knowing that road blocks will be faced along our journey prevents complacency. Just as the astute driver is looking ahead, at the same time the observant driver is aware of the roadside. Not that we are looking for an ‘enemy’ lurking in the shadows, but we aren’t taken by surprise if an animal runs across the road unexpectedly! Prior preparation prevents pitfalls. You are ready! You have done the training on defensive driving. You know that other drivers may be careless. It can rain, or snow and there even can be ice on the road, or fog, which could cause you to stop or slow down momentarily. You may even need to take a detour. But your destination is still the objective and you can enjoy the journey along the way. Expecting a few obstacles or even a major setback is not being “negative”. Detours just give a moment in time to re-evaluate where we are compared to the destination and to review our plans if necessary.
Our EQ (emotional quotient), rather than our IQ, is often the cause of failing to reach our goal. It is probably one of the most important facets of our personal development that we need to work on the most. When we are emotionally mature we aren’t likely to crash as easily because we can draw on our past experiences, which give us wisdom and driving skill. We understand that speed humps are part of the road and it is necessary to slow down to prevent damaging vehicle when going over them. Rather than resisting the speed hump or being angry that it is in the road, we can take a short breather. We can nourish the soul by being positive, believing in our goal and rehearsing what our destination will be like. When we keep our purpose alive, our energy and persistence remains. We already know that to reach any worthwhile destination, believing in ourselves and our ability to achieve the dream is imperative. However, if you do start wavering in your belief, simply borrow some belief from somebody on your team. Use that person’s belief to keep you hanging in there until you can re-kindle your own belief again. Surround yourself with people who have the same vision and commitment as you.
Because you decided before you even began your journey that you would persist and persevere and finish what you started, when you encounter obstacles it is easier to remind yourself it’s not a defeat. Quitting is defeat. Setbacks and detours are not failure. They are a temporary hiccup and simply a test of our resilience – our ‘bounce back’ factor – an opportunity for our character to become more.
Constantly reinforce your resilience and character by using affirmations. Tell yourself how good you really are and why you choose to achieve this goal of yours. Stop and ask for directions if you have lost your way in the fog – use a mentor. Reviewing the emotional reason for your goal is the way you put more fuel in the tank. That gives us the energy to go for it with all our heart. Then rejoice when you arrive!