Have you ever sat back and wondered what happened to your dreams and goals? I've had some God-sized dreams over the years that just seemed to disappear -- they were so close at one point I could almost touch them, then something happened: I got derailed and the dream disappeared or seemed so unreachable that I quit.
I was looking back over some content for today's #tbt blog, and I found this one, detailing 5 dream killers that those wishing to live the Overboard Life must be aware of. Have you found any of these in your life?
(Originally appeared on January 11, 2012)
Gary Ryan Blair asked this question in his 100-day challenge program: "If your goals, dreams and hopes could speak, what would they say about you?" I took it a step further and thought about this question: “What would they say about how I operate and the passion with which I pursue them?”
What keeps me back from achieving the goals God has put on my heart?
I thought about this question for a little while and came up with five possible answers. Each of these is a personal reflection from my own life, especially thinking about those times I set out to do something, but failed to complete it. Maybe you can relate to a few of these. These are not necessarily listed in order of importance or significance, but the first one is definitely the top problem area for me.
- Lack of decision: I can clearly see some big objectives in the past that didn’t get completed simply because I failed to set my course. I said, “I want to achieve [X]” but then did nothing to actually push myself that direction. It’s like saying, “I want to lose
weight and get in shape” but then continuing to eat junk food all day and failing to start my membership at the local gym. (By the way, if you need help with food and tackling it from more than the perspective of ‘just another diet’, let me encourage you to get connected with my good friend Amber Thiel and her amazing program, The Healthy Edge!) Saying that I want to do something, and making the decision to start shaping my life towards that goal are two very different actions. The words are easy to say, but it’s another thing entirely to step out and start. I have had more than one venture in my life begin strong -- but unfortunately I’ve had many of them never get past the start. I think I have 5-7 unwritten books on my laptop alone, each of which got a great start, but none of which were finished because I never made a choice to go after them. Project Joseph was the first book I finished, and it too had 3-4 month stall period. This is a big one for me.
- Fear: It’s not often that I’m afraid to try something, but if I’m being entirely honest and transparent, then I have to admit that fear has sidelined me more than once. Fear kept me from starting Overboard in early 2010. I was afraid the money wouldn’t come in (which it didn’t when we first started). I was afraid that people would think I was a cheeseball for starting my own “publishing company” (and many of them did). I was afraid that I wouldn’t pick up any other authors and that editors wouldn’t be too interested in helping out. All of these were legitimate concerns, but none of them were valid fears. Thankfully, because of how God used my amazing wife Traci and my dear friends Danny Ray and Kevin Flier, I was able to overcome those fears and step out of the boat. Still, fear has kept me out of the game from time-to-time. It’s good to note, too, that on occasion, the fear of success has put me out of commission. Fearing what people will do/think if I succeeded at something. Kinda of weird, but just being real.
- Excuses: Excuses are the best. I can play the blame game as well as anyone, and when I make excuses, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Blaming the economy, the weather, the publishing industry, my editor, my graphic artist, my distributor, my printer, my kids, my tennis shoes with a hole in the bottom and my mail man for never bringing me "checks in the mail." The list could go on and on, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming everyone else for my problems, instead of owning what I’ve done and who I am. When starting Overboard Publishing, one of my best excuses was, “But I don’t know anything about publishing a book...” It was true, but it was also easily remedied. Excuses make us feel safe. They become a huge wall that surrounds us so that no solutions can get in, and certainly no good ideas will get out. Excuses are warm and comfy and they long to sleep around us and keep us comfortable, but as my friend Andy Hartfield says, "Excuses are like armpits. Everyone has them and they stink!"
- Lack of Discipline: Here is another zinger for me, personally. This would be number two on my list if I were listing them in order of impact. I can blame my ADD (there goes those excuses again!), but reality is that discipline, more-often-than-not, boils down to choices. Choices to do one activity over another. Choices to stay up later than I need to, thus making it harder to get up for my personal growth time in the morning. The longer I live, the more I realize how discipline doesn’t have to be a straight jacket. I always strayed away from discipline because it seemed to cut off the circulation of life. In reality, a healthy discipline allows us to enjoy life more deeply, while living it more eternally. When I’m rightly disciplined, I get more done, and enjoy more time with my family doing the things we love to do together. But discipline requires work and it requires diligence in the little things. Check out this blog on that topic.
- Lack of Focus: Some would put this with lack of discipline, but I think it’s another topic entirely. In my world, discipline is about making right choices when options compete; focus is about intensity. I can make the right choice, but lack the intensity to maximize the benefit. For example, I could get up at 6:30am with the goal of writing. I could open up my lap top, open up Scrivener, and begin my writing for the day. However, if I have the curtains open in the front room, it’s easy for me to find a squirrel and get distracted from my task. I’m still somewhat disciplined (I got up on time and started writing), I’m just not maximizing my writing because I lack focus. This is another big one in my life.
Today I will review and assess my goals. I will see if there is some course correction that needs to take place as I long to keep the course on some big goals. I’ll let you know what I come up with, but I’m curious if any of you would add any other obstacles you face that I didn’t list here? Leave comments and help your fellow readers!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!