“I’m always catching up with myself.”
“No matter what I do I’m always behind.”
“This isn’t going fast enough.”
“Everyone is doing better than me.”
Any of these sound familiar?
Are you trying hard and still you feel like you are getting nowhere? If so, this one is for you!
You clearly want something or this post wouldn’t appeal to you.
Chances are you want it badly.
You may want it enough that you’ve sacrified a great deal to have it. Time, money, delayed pleasure… all in the service of something you want or feel like you need to achieve.
Now why isn’t it happening?
I have heard this one over and over again…
There are a few things I have seen over and again that sort of put out the “why am I getting nowhere?” fires. In fact, they are the ideas that actually helped me go from “getting nowhere” to a life I love now.
See your progress. Is there progress? Real progress? If you are not seeing your growth in a real way than you will never be successful because you will never acknowledge it. There’s always more. Fame doesn’t mark an end point. There’s more. And more. And more to be had. So if you can’t see progress you will likely psych yourself out because there will always be more.
Truth: if you are miserable you aren’t succesful. I don’t care who you are or what you do, if you can’t see the value in happiness your hard-drive toward goals will catch up with you.
So, see progress. In fact, see it weekly.
On diets, you measure or step on a scale or look at a food journal or assess symtoms to see progress toward a desired end. You can see the same if you look weekly at anything you are doing and see what exactly you managed to do.
Write it down.
It’s really important to see things clearly and know how many steps you are actually taking in the direction you want to go. The last time I found myself twisted in knots about how stuck I was in an area of my life led to a phone call where a great friend mapped out all the progress I’d made in the last few years that I had refused to acknowledge.
Huge leaps are what we tend to want, but they can be dirorienting. Small steps are often the most successful ones….small constant steps. An extra hour of sleep every day. A few extra phone calls. A few more great things done. They build in amazing ways.
The two year rule. A dear friend of mine shared this two year rule at my Buddhist temple recently. He used it to build a very successful career. A professor shared it with him years ago.
If you want to do something, invest all of yourself into it for two years. Not half-heartedly, but as completely as possible. Sure, you may need a side job to build a career, or you may need time to carefor your family while developing your art, etc, etc, but as much as possible throw all your extra energy into your endeavor.
See what happens.
If you have no traction in two years, maybe you can fold your passion into other outlets that flow better? Maybe you can re-think what and how you want to pursue your talents. I’ve seen artists become insanely brilliant creative businesspeople, never abandoning their art. I’ve seen actors become experts in a passion on a high level. There’s always a way to fold your gifts into a path that speaks to you and moves you forward… you just need to make the investment wole-heartedly.
You can half-heartedly “sorta try” all your life. No matter what happens, two years of an adventure will move you forward in some very right direction.
I’ve seen more evidence that in relaxation you have more control and more access to your talents than in anxiety. If you let amped-up energy flood your brain you may find you are psyching yourself out of the natural order of things.
Did I ever tell you about my experience at a “get psyched into a peak state of super motivation” seminar weekend that landed me in the hospital for 13 days? It was something I will never forget. Nothing comes of this “hyper-state” but stress and mania. Don’t believe the off-the-charts-motivational hype.
Forbes published a great article on goals that explains the perils of “over-motivation”:
“7. Overmotivation can undermine goal achievement.
Motivation is essential to goal achievement, but overmotivation can lead to exactly the opposite. When your brain is in a hyper state of arousal about wanting something, the neurotransmitter dopamine floods your brain’s reward circuits. Research shows that when this happens, your chances of failing increase no matter how hard you try. Mental focus and precision are deluged by the flood. The trick seems to be to find the happy motivation balance that keeps you moving forward without tripping on your brain’s in-built foibles.” (the whole article is HERE)
Take it easy. See how far you’ve come. Really commit yourself to what you are passionate about. Celebrate the small steps. Embrace change.
There’s no race. There’s a ton of talent, ideas and stories in you that I’m sure you are so very ready to bring to the world… and I know you will, in your own way.
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