This is the message that is drilled into our heads in today's instant gratification focused world, but I have a problem with it. There are words missing. Important words that as a result of being omitted cause many people to lose hope, stop believing and eventually give up on their dream. This quote should read:
Think big, dream big, believe big and the results
(after a lot of hard work, many failures and
countless small victories)
countless small victories)
will be big.
Don't get me wrong, there are many people who have the extreme drive or simply the luck to leap from point A to point Z in a single bound. That is not me. How many ideas have I had that I have taken the time to sit down and write out that have never made it off the paper? How many times was a new diet "the one" that would melt away my extra pounds? How many times have I cleaned off my kitchen counter proclaiming that it will never be piled with junk again? (OK - that one may not seem too "big" to you, but it is a big dream in my house.)
Why is it that I have the dream or the idea, but as soon as it doesn't happen right away or the way I thought it would, I give up?
1) I FEEL like a failure. I have the image in my mind of victory and happiness - a big celebration! When something doesn't turn out the way I've imagined it in my head, my excitement is deflated. Instead of the bubbly happy feeling, I feel like I have a rock in the pit of my stomach. I don't like that feeling, so I'm not going to try again.
2) I'm too IMPATIENT. I'm starting at Point A and am aiming for Point Z. I don't want to travel through Point G or Point N or stop at Point T. I want to get to Point Z and I want to get there now. That's why when I'm craving French fries I'm not going to go to the grocery store, buy a 10lb bag of potatoes, come home, wash them, slice them, season them and then wait while they bake in the oven. No - I'm heading to the drive-thru!
I find it so sad that many people are missing out on their BIG dreams because they give up. It IS possible to dream BIG and achieve BIG results. We simply need to recognize that the path to accomplishing them is not one HUGE leap, but rather one filled with many SMALL steps. For me, making two changes helped me find joy and achievement in taking many SMALL steps to find BIG results:
1) Celebrate every victory regardless of how small. When I'm running and I get to the point that I don't think I can go any further, I'll set a small specific goal. I will say to myself - "Lisa, run to that red mailbox" or "Lisa, finish this lap." When I reach that mailbox or complete that lap, I'll raise my arms in victory or shout out "YES!" (Yes, I do literally shout out loud. Yes, I do get some strange looks. No, I don't care.) That small physical action of celebration pushes me to run to the next red mailbox or complete another lap. I FEEL victorious! That is a good feeling. I celebrate every partial pound lost on the scale, every item crossed off my To Do List, every goal accomplished whether it is with a mental hi-five, a victory dance in my kitchen or a trip out for Fro-Yo with my family. Celebrating helps me maintain a positive outlook. It keeps me motivated to take the next small step needed to reach my ultimate goal.
2) Enjoy the journey. I'm starting at Point A. I want to get to Point Z. I'm ready to hit the road and get this journey started. Hey - wait a minute, I've never been to Point G. This is a nice place! Let's pause here and see what it's all about before we continue on. If we are solely focused on the end result, we miss out on everything along the way. One of my lifelong dreams has been to be a published author. Last year I was presented with the opportunity to achieve that dream. I honestly thought that I would hand in my manuscript and the next week be handed a shiny sweet-smelling hot-off-the-press book. It doesn't work that way. Publishing a book is a journey. A couple of weeks ago as I sat around a table with my fellow authors laughing, sharing life experiences and building friendships, my breath was taken away. What an AMAZING afternoon. I was at Point G and I was soaking up every minute of it! Had I given up when I realized that I wasn't jumping from Point A directly to Point Z, I would have missed out on this wonderful experience.
My point is not that we should stop dreaming big. I do believe that there is no limit to what I can accomplish. It simply took me some time to figure out the best way for me to get there.
We each have our own journey. My path from Point A to Point Z is probably different from your path. Though our paths have obviously crossed here. If you are feeling a bit lost on your journey I invite you to join with me for a bit. Try what worked for me to keep myself focused and moving forward - those two SMALL steps may be just what you need to find your BIG results!