Hopefully you’ve now had time to heal your heartbreak over England not winning the Euros (although, I’d guess you’re probably still devastated about the racism and domestic violence). But whatever your thoughts on football, daring to embrace your dream only to have it snatched away is painful. A proper stomach sinking, tightness in the chest, type painful.
For some, the fear of failure will be a block to even attempting to achieve goals. Disappointment just hurts too much. But the truth is, if you have a dream, and the gumption to go for it, then mistakes, mis-steps and failures along the way are guaranteed. Some failure really is inevitable. However, it doesn’t always have to be quite as crushing as an England defeat. There are ways of managing and minimising disappointments so they’re more like pebbles on your path to success. And not massive insurmountable boulders.
1. Own your actual, genuine dream – not something near to it
This tip is from Julia Cameron’s book the Artist’s Way. Which is a great book, and well worth reading, whether you’re the ‘creative type’ or not. She believes that embracing our real dream, can be so overwhelming and scary that we pick a shadow dream, instead. A shadow dream is something similar, but not quite. So for example the woman who really wants to write a book, but becomes a librarian instead. Or the women who dreams of being an entrepreneur, but settles for an executive assistant role. One of the hardest things about achieving our ambition, is admitting exactly what it is and the scale of it. Once we’ve done this, it’s normally just about taking a series of small and large steps in the right direction.
2. Celebrate every step and failure in the right direction, not just the wins
It feels okay to celebrate when we get the job, but not when we attend the job interview but aren’t appointed. However with every failure there’s usually feedback. And with job interviews and auditions it’s normally the case of getting slightly better, and more practised each time. So every job not gotten, every article not published and every idea rejected actually deserves some small reward. Because eventually they all become bricks building into a much bigger success. And that loser’s medal is only one step away from the gold cup.
3. Keep the end objective at the front of your mind
In the day to day melee of work, childcare and domestic emergencies it can be hard to keep your goal in mind. But really remembering why you are doing things, and how they will ultimately allow you to embrace your dream has been proven to make a massive difference. Research by Michigan State University showed that people are more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down, and regularly refer back to them. The study showed that 76 percent of participants who wrote down their goals and actions, and then scheduled a weekly check in with a friend, successfully achieved them. That’s 33 percent higher than those participants who didn’t write their goals down.
And if you don’t like writing or find that it doesn’t inspire you, other methods may work equally well. Some people swear by spoken affirmations, some prefer the aesthetic appeal of a vision board and others find creative visualisation more their thing. Generally, the right method is whatever works best for you.
Your dreams are there for the taking, and for the daring. If you’d like to share the methods you used to achieve your goals then I’d love to hear them.