by Dr. Kate Siner
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day
saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'" ~Mary Anne Radmacher~
When I read this quote, I cry. Some days it is easy. Some
days, all we can hope for is the quiet voice that says I can try again tomorrow. That might
be one of the most important differences between our successes and our failures -- this
quiet voice that persists.
Tears formed in my eyes because I know how challenging it is for all of us who
are trying to make a difference in the world. With our big hearts and our desire for big
change we sometimes have big pain.
It is our persistence more than anything else that will ultimately lead to our making the
world a better place.
Below are five common obstacles to dreams and how you can overcome them. If you
get stuck in any of these five ways, it will take persistence to overcome the challenges
they pose. If you are not able to do it, I again recommend you take the words of Mary
Anne Radmacher to heart and try again tomorrow. If you sustain this effort you will see
How do I pick the right step? Ask yourself: What is one step I can take today
that will lead me closer to where I want to be? Remember, there is no substitution for
doing. If you want to be a writer, write every day. If you want to lose weight, then
commit to using the stairs every day at work or skipping your morning snack.
I can't get started: Perhaps you picked a first step, but day after day goes by and
you are not doing it. Did you pick a first step that is something you hate doing? Did you
say you are going to work on your business plan at six in the morning when you like to
sleep until at least eight? Or did you decide you are going to tackle the hardest part of a
project in order to prove it is the right way for you to go ahead? Make it easier. Pick
something you know you can do fairly easily and then make it your number-one priority.
After you have some successes, these challenging steps will become easier, too.
I quickly lose interest: There are lots of reasons people lose interest. One is
perfectionism, which leads to setting very high goals that quickly burn the person out.
Sometimes people, with the best of intentions, decide they are going to go to the gym
for two hours each day or they are going to have their first solo gallery exhibition
in six months when they just started painting last week. Such ambitious plans are not
necessarily bad. It is great to dream big, but not when that holds you back instead of sets
you free. Consistent small steps are almost always more effective in the long-term.
I'll never be good enough: Julia Cameron describes this predicament through the
following short story: There is a sixty-year-old woman who has always wanted to play
the piano. When asked why she does not start learning, she says, "Do you know how old
I will be when I finally learn?" And the answer, "The same age you will be if you don't."
If you really want to do something, start today.
An outdated dream: Sometimes we hold onto a dream we have held onto since
we were twenty, but the truth is that you wouldn't want it now if you got it. Sometimes,
it is hard to let go of something that has inspired us for so long. But if you let go of the
dream, a new one can come in that is in line with the person you are today.
If you are still not sure how to go ahead, don't worry. This is a time to seek
some outside support. Coaching, mentoring or even talking to a trusted friend is sometimes enough to give you the breakthrough. If you have a dream, it is possible.