With great power comes great responsibility.
If you’re a pop culture fan, you recognize those words as a directive Uncle Ben gave to young Peter Parker, shortly before he died at the blast of a mugger’s gun.
If you’re an entrepreneur or a leader-in-training, you might be encouraged by them.
Some people, however, find the words stressful.
Wait … power, or success, means responsibility? More things to do? More onus on my shoulders? More grief when things go wrong?
Ugh, ugh and ugh.
Don’t just sit there
You want fame. Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying: in sweat.
There’s another pop culture reference! This one is from the Fame TV series … remember?
We don’t all want fame, but many of us have big dreams. Like fame, those dreams are going to cost us in time, commitment and sweat.
Even though we have big goals, we feel pretty safe where we are right now. We know what to expect out of our morning routine, our 9-to-5 job, our daily lunch break at Subway, our dinners with family and so on.
Going after the brass ring means we have to shake things up, change our routines and place higher expectations on ourselves. We’ve been conditioned to believe that achieving success involves taking risks and, when we take risks, we stretch outside our comfort zone.
That starts to feel overwhelming and even impossible, and that’s when the old monsters of self-doubt and negativity creep through the crack in the window.
We start asking ourselves:
- What if I can’t handle it when I get there?
- What if it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
- What if I fail?
You’ve asked those questions, haven’t you?
Let’s tackle each of them.
What if I can’t handle it?
When you get to the top — or what you imagine the “top” to be — you’re probably going to shoulder more responsibilities. Michael Korda, the editor-in-chief at Simon & Schuster, once said:
Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility. In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility.
Here’s the trick: We’re going to draw a roadmap to your goal and, when we get to the goal, we’re going to do some more planning.
Because the goal isn’t just the end-all, be-all, it’s another step in your journey called life and because …
What if it isn’t that great?
It may not be. You may get to your goal and realize the picture is still fuzzy or there’s more you want to achieve. This is why we have to strive for clarity. You must know why you are going after this dream. Ask yourself “why do I want this so badly.”
There is a danger, though, in always seeing the grass greener somewhere else. If you can never reach satisfaction in your life, or just experience success, enjoyment and a sense of pride along the way, you will be in a constant state of distress.
I believe we have to allow ourselves to dream and allow ourselves to take the next step in life.
It’s our journey to embark upon.
If you’re always satisfied with the status quo *#8212; or wishing for it to be different and taking no action *#8212; you’re flatlining and resisting personal growth.
The great thing about reaching your goals is:
[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#beatburnout #dreamlife”]Success is a terrific high, one that can become a healthy addiction.[/tweetthis]
You’ll never get yourself there if you don’t get out of the grey zone, but sometimes we’re paralyzed by the big one:
What if I fail?
Yeah, you might. That’s just reality.
The fear of success is very closely linked to the fear of failure. Each one holds us back from taking the necessary steps to get where we want to be.
With failure comes pain and disappointment, and it all just sucks. You can’t change your life, your health or your work without doing something different than what you’re doing right now.
We’ve learned to avoid pain as much as humanly possible so we need to rework the language around failure.
When I work with my clients, I don’t use that word. I call it an “experiment.” We’re trying something new and looking for an outcome. If we don’t get the result we want, we look at what we need to change and then we do it again.
Once we adjust the language, learn how to better analyze the path we’re on and make changes to the plan, we feel a different energy.
If you read stories of success from great entrepreneurs and leaders around the world, they talk about the failures they faced along the way. Few of their journeys were easy and I’d be willing to bet they had to make a lot of adjustments along the way.
Amy Morin, the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, writes in Psychology Today that mentally strong people are willing to risk failure over and over again:
They use failure as an opportunity to gain more knowledge. Then, armed with more wisdom than before, they’re willing to try again. They know that failure is an important part of the journey toward success.
Think of it as a road trip in your car. If you make a few unplanned stops or turns, you can still get to your destination. You just have to adjust the route or the timeline.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines
OK, so it’s time for a new journey.
We’re all gassed up, we have our roadmaps and a trip log to record our successes and make notes about what to change.
The road lies ahead and it’s full of great experiences.
Are you ready to embrace this new adventure? Have you given yourself permission to break out of your comfort zone?
I’m hoping you say “YES!” and enjoy the ride.