Big dreams and goals can be a great source of motivation, inspiration and excitement. But NOT achieving them within your ideal timeline can be an enormous source of stress, anxiety, overwhelm and unhappiness.
How often do you read, watch or listen to inspiring content, get all fired up and set intentions, only to come crashing down to earth with a bump just weeks later?
Honestly, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been on this roundabout!
I have notebooks and journals filled with scribbles, ideas, plans, goals, calculations and spider diagrams. Any one of those ideas could have fundamentally been a huge success.
Now, I could talk about how the spontaneity, creativity and big-picture thinking that dominates my astrological make-up simply doesn’t make me a good fit for sticking to a rigid plan or schedule, preferring instead to align to my feminine, cyclic nature and create with ease and flow when inspiration strikes.
And I could share how inner fears, self-sabotaging habits and old belief patterns can shatter dreams before they’ve even begun.
But this morning, while on a short walk after my journalling and home yoga session, I had one of those big a-ha moments that got me thinking not just about my own personal patterns of setting big goals and failing to achieve them, but how this is a fundamental issue for many of us, particularly in the online world of self-help, transformation and running an online business.
Before I share this thought with you, I want to say that ‘a-ha’ moments don’t actually come out of the blue. They’re always a culmination of experiences, thoughts, ideas, discussions, practice and failure. Most inventors throughout history didn’t just one day pull an idea out of the sky that changed the course of evolution or technology. Each and every one of them worked on ideas, processes and inventions over and over again. Tweaking, changing, adapting. Scrapping ideas and starting afresh. Trying. Failing. Trying. Failing. Over and over again.
As a business owner and entrepreneur, I’m well versed in the trying and failing cycle. In fact, I think my long term success is mostly due to the resilience I’ve built throughout this journey over the last 25 years. Sure, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm, curiosity and a never-ending quest for knowledge are important too. But failing, and learning from those mistakes, is the number one way to improve resilience and ultimately to succeed.
behind the scenes…
Over the weekend I watched ‘A seat at the table’ – a series of YouTube videos by Jack Harries, a young British filmmaker and climate activist. His series is beautifully filmed and edited and shares stories from around the world that left me both upset and angry that we’re still having the same climate change conversation and nothing has really changed!
I got this crazy idea that it would be great to start some kind of local, community project for the 100 or so homes close to me where everyone would be encouraged to ‘re-wild’ their outdoor space, planting more local species of bushes and plants, growing vegetables to share and setting up communal composting spaces for those who don’t have a garden.
I get these grand visions every once in a while, but more often than not, they stay in my mind, or at the very most shared with my journal or my daughters.
Now, about that a-ha moment…
As I was walking past all these houses this morning, I realised that before I could succeed at a huge project like re-wilding a whole estate of 100 houses, I needed to re-wild my own garden. And before I could do that, I needed to re-wild myself.
And that’s the point…
We get these incredible visions for the future but forget to look at what’s happening closer to home.
We get fired up about creating a six-figure business, making a million dollars by a certain age or having 10k months – but we’re not consistently creating much smaller amounts on a daily basis. Nor are we looking at our spending habits, our numbing-out with things that cost money, or our money mindset and financial stories carried from childhood.
We dream of getting fit or losing weight, having a specific body shape, shiny hair, flawless skin and a wardrobe filled with clothes that makes us feel amazing – but we’re not consistently taking the small steps every day to make those dreams become a reality. We’re not investing in our health and wellness.
And the same is true with the climate change issues. We all want the Earth’s temperature to NOT increase beyond 1.5 degrees celsius because we don’t want excessive wildfires, raging storms, enormous rises in sea levels or the polar ice caps to melt. We don’t want half the Earth’s surface to become uninhabitable with forced migration on a massive scale. We don’t want extreme shortages of food, water or space. And we definitely don’t want the fighting and death that would accompany all those issues.
In order for all those terrible outcomes to NOT happen, we ALL have to take DAILY steps to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, meat and dairy, plastic, fast fashion, air travel and so much more…
And the fact that we’re not doing those things is the reason we’re still having the same climate change conversation, despite warnings as long ago as the early 1970s. Yes, we can blame governments and major corporations for not doing more sooner, but ultimately, if every single citizen of the world (particularly the developed world) consistently made changes to their daily life choices, then we’d be out of this mess much faster.
Helping you make changes and achieving the success you desire
Now, the main point of this blog was not to have a rant about climate change (although if it struck a chord, triggered you or inspired you to find out more, then that’s a good thing!), but to use it as just one example of how taking daily, consistent, regular action and small steps towards your goal is one fundamental factor for success.
The second factor, is that everything starts with YOU.
- If you want to attract in the romantic partner of your dreams – you first have to love yourself more and treat yourself the way you desire to be treated.
- If you want to change lives or change the world – you first have to make shifts and changes in your own life.
- If you want to make a really big income – you first have to do whatever you need to do to consistently bring in a smaller amount of money.
- If you dream of building an investment portfolio that brings in 5k a month in ‘passive income’ – you not only have to learn about investments but firstly you must make investments in yourself, your family or your home.
It all starts with you.
Invest in yourself.
Treat yourself with love, kindness and respect.
Let go of everything that no longer serves you. Release. Surrender.
Trust. Have faith that once you start working on yourself, everything else will fall into place.
We get caught up in the pain of not achieving the big goals and are blind to what’s in front of us
We’re so invested in the big picture and stress out when we don’t make it, but remain oblivious to the fact that our success lies in mastering ourselves first.
Have you ever seen the movie ‘The 100 foot journey’? It’s a beautiful film starring Helen Mirren as the owner of a well-established French ‘haute cuisine’ restaurant (in France) that feels threatened when an Indian family move to town and set up a restaurant opposite hers. There’s a part in the movie where they talk about learning to make sauces to perfection first before progressing to work in the French Michelin-star kitchen. In essence, they’re saying that if you can’t make a great béchamel sauce, then you’ll never get to work with all the other ingredients. And that a great sauce really ‘makes’ the dish and the dining experience.
Using this as an analogy for everything else I’ve written about today, imagine that learning to create a perfect béchamel sauce is like learning to master yourself. Learning to love, nurture and nourish yourself every day, learning to treat yourself with compassion, create healthy boundaries and invest in your personal growth and ongoing learning or expansion.
You can’t jump straight to owning and running a Michelin star restaurant in France without first taking steps to learn about cooking, running a food business or learning French. Sure, you can take a leap of faith and move to France and buy an old building or take over an existing restaurant, but you’ll still have an inordinate amount of steps to take before succeeding in the way you visualised it.
(And it’s worth noting here that it’s always the journey that is far more enjoyable and rewarding than actually achieving the end goal.)
If you’re feeling frustrated about not yet achieving your big goals…
If you’re feeling frustrated, I get it!
I hear you. I see you. I feel you.
A wise coach recently said ‘frustration is a mixture of anger and sadness’. So if you’re feeling frustrated, reflect on what you feel sad and angry about.
Write it all down. Let it out.
It doesn’t matter if you feel stupid for thinking or saying those things, but trust me, opening up to your true feelings makes life suddenly feel far less stuck, overwhelming and heavy.
it’s time for you to take action…
- Write down your big goal at the top of a piece of paper.
- Consider how many times you’ve set similar goals and not achieved them.
- Reflect on your daily life – what are you doing every day that is supportive of that goal?
- What are you doing every day that is the opposite of achieving that goal?
- Spend some time thinking about what emotions and blocks might lie beneath the surface level action (or non-action). Make a few notes and ask yourself questions. (I always find asking myself questions triggers a ‘download’ of channelled wisdom from somewhere deep within.)
- Then move your body. Go for a walk, dance around the lounge, do some stretches, hop on your bike, do handstands…. or maybe take a shower or a bath, being in water helps this process too.
- Come back to your notes after movement or later in the day or after a night’s sleep. What other thoughts have popped into your head? What else needs to come out now? What thoughts or ideas did you have? Any lightbulb moments?
As I said right at the start, big juicy dreams and goals are inspiring, motivating and exciting. But they have to be driven by internal, intrinsic factors rather than external ones.
I do believe 100% in the power of manifestation and the potency of visualising yourself as a future version of you living your dream life. But, that isn’t enough by itself.
get clear on:
- Exactly what you want to achieve and WHY. What will it bring you? Why is that so important?
- What are your primary motivating factors? Are you driven by what you see on social media or what others in your peer group are doing and having? Or are your goals entirely motivated by your inner desires. If you recognise that some of your desires are coming from outside influences (and clever marketing)
- The connection between your BIG goal and your EVERYDAY LIFE. Are your everyday actions supporting or opposing the success of your dreams and goals?
- Everything that’s blocking your path to success. Your own unique stories, experiences, habits and beliefs that prevent you from truly shining as the most brilliant version of you.
As for me, I’ve realised that the huge community project I thought of is a great idea – and if you want to take it and run with it in your area, please go ahead! But I can’t implement a big project like that until I’ve taken smaller steps to manage my own outdoor space. I want to grow my own vegetables, salad and berries, and create a much greener space around me with local species of plants. On a daily basis I need to take the time to nurture those plants and do all the boring or difficult jobs that come with having a vegetable garden.
Re-wilding myself means more stepping out of my comfort zone. I can’t say that I’ll always take action, but I know that the more often I do, the more it will become a daily habit and the more likely I will achieve my personal garden goals.
And who knows, one day I may just start that bigger project too!
Ps. Are you a small business owner looking to create an extra source of income through packaging up your wisdom and knowledge in ebooks? I’ve recently created a short guide with a customisable Canva template so you can get started creating your own! Whether it’s a short ebook as a free gift to build your email list, or a longer book showcasing your expertise and helping your clients achieve their goals, this guide will help you to take that first step.