Have you ever been in a position where you desired something but felt like it was unattainable because it was too big? I am sure most of us have felt that way at least once. Some of you are facing some extremely tough barriers that are preventing you from obtaining your goals and dreams - and I know it’s not easy. Sometimes it’s so hard that you just want to ball up in a corner and cry! But sometimes, that wall is not created because of our environmental circumstances, but of our own fears.
Fears such as:
I have created these terrible habits and now I can’t break them.
I am not good enough.
I can’t do it because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
They probably won't like me or my idea.
I am loyal to this thing that I know is holding me back.
I don’t have enough knowledge or resources to get started.
It’s too late for me.
It’s too big of a dream for me to fulfill.
Allow me to let you in on a secret... There are billions of people on this planet and most of us feel this way. There are some that conquer their dreams with guns blazing, and then there are others who go to their graves without accomplishing any of their dreams. The reason why I say this is to let you know that you are not alone. We are all in the (figuratively speaking) same boat. Most of us have information swarming through our minds like busy bees saying, "what if" and, "what if not". Most of us are shaking in our boots before we build that presentation, send out our information, and network with people that can help us.
Let me make one thing abundantly clear – You have everything you need right now to get started... EVERYTHING!! You may be doubting yourself and that’s okay. Let’s see if we can switch off the negative part of your brain and activate the part that feels good and gives you the strength to move forward. When you celebrate an accomplishment, dopamine is released throughout your body. Dopamine is one of our main feel-good chemicals. It is a neurotransmitter that sends signals to your neurons to act as your reward system. You all know what I am talking about right? Perhaps you are in a competition or working on a task, and you experience victory or you succeed in your accomplishment. You can feel that dopamine rush and you feel amazing at that moment.
That is what celebrating your SMALL WINS is all about. Feeling good about that step that you made toward your goal. Even if the celebration is taking a deep breath and putting a smile on your face – be not mistaken, THAT is a win for you! Celebrating a SMALL WIN could also mean the excitement you feel after you conquer that first step and you anticipate the possibilities of the next.
Now, the scariest feeling that most of us face is that our dreams are too big for us, and we just can't do it.
You must understand, you don’t have to gobble up the whole elephant at once – that is where Mr. Overwhelm rears his frustrating head. If you can only imagine what eating the whole elephant looks like, it's intimidating at first. Fear steps in, anxiety and frustration take over, and you look up one day and that giant elephant is still there; uneaten.
The elephant is big in nature – that’s your metaphorical dream (it’s big and intimidating). But the elephant is just like an opportunity – standing there waiting to be recognized and devoured. But in the vastness of that elephant, you are paralyzed with fear or you start doing random things to avoid it. I do this drill with my volleyball girls called, “Don’t Freak Out”. They could have been doing so well all practice long, but the moment it's time to do the drill “Don’t Freak Out” – they ALL start to freak out. Why? Because they are now self-conscious and in their heads. They were just doing the same type of drill moments ago, but when you present the elephant in front of their faces, all they can see is the elephant. However, if they could just break down the elephant into tiny pieces by following the system provided below, they would find out that they can conquer whatever is put before them. And once they figure that out, they are eager to practice harder drills and challenge themselves.
It’s the same thing with life in general. We see this elephant that is waiting to be conquered and we tend to freak out. This is why it’s important to find pockets of peace in your day and be able to reflect positively on everything you do. You should be able to say to that elephant, “I know that you are big and intimidating, but stand right there - I am about to gobble you up. Not in one big gulp, because that's impossible. But I most certainly can if I take my time, create a system, find my rhythm and take it one piece at a time." And over time, you will look up and realize that your dream has been accomplished. Once you've done that, you are ready to elevate your game to the next level. There is truly no limit to your potential when you are putting the work in.
I remember this young lady I mentored who desperately wanted to go to college. She had gotten pregnant at a young age and felt that her life was over. She believed going to college was out of her reach because it had been years since she graduated from high school. So instead of moving, she froze. We talked about perhaps going to the local college and getting her Associates Degree by taking just a few classes at a time. Once she completed the first semester, we celebrated the "small win" together. We looked up two years later and she had earned her Associates degree. Two years went by and she had her Undergraduate Degree, and in two more years, her Masters.
I love that story so much because she could only see the elephant at first and was bound by her fears. But because she was able to recognize and celebrate the SMALL WINS, she was able to take further steps toward her goals.
My encouragement to you is to celebrate the SMALL WINS – you won’t be disappointed. Every day, do one little thing and then throw your hands up in victory. You'll realize how well you're actually doing and be inspired to do more!
You want to write a book? Start by creating the title of the chapters.
You want to incorporate vegetables and fruit into your diet? Just do one each day – by the time you look up, your plate will be filled with veggies.
You want to go start a business? Do some research in that industry and take notes. It will be much easier to formulate your plan.
You want to start exercising? Roll out of the bed and take 10 deep breaths each morning and then do some stretching.
Want to go back to school? There are plenty of online resources that will match you with your ideal school depending on which major you want.
You gained a new follower on Social Media – Yayyyyy!!!
You wanted to look nice going to work and someone gives you a compliment? Celebrate!!!
How to get started:
First – what is the desire? – Create the actual desire in your mind
Take the opportunity to think about how it may look in the end. This is an important step because regardless of what anyone says, once you can see it first in your mind, you are already one step closer. Once you have that vision, your expectations rise and you become active in the pursuit of it.
Do a tiny step toward it as often as you can – hopefully daily.
Celebrate it with a sigh of release, a deep breath, a smile or whatever makes you feel good.
Keep going until you are there. Everything you need will present itself as you keep moving.
If you feel like you may have failed – don’t stop. Every experience is a training for the next level of success.
And while you are working you will experience a gentle reminder of the importance of finding your happy place of peace and contentment while CHOOSING to be emotionally and mentally healthy first. Because if you are not healthy in those areas because you are frustrated and feeling fear, you can’t reach your goals and you can’t help anyone else along the way.
Feel great about your CHOICE to celebrate the small wins.
Love you all so much and I wish the very best for you and your family.