Is there a goal you want to reach – start a small business, rekindle an old friendship, run a 5K? When you think about reaching a goal and the inevitable changes that go along with it, perhaps you wonder: Where do I begin? How do I access my strengths? What can help me grow? Who will I be when I get there?
What follows are short vignettes about people whose names you probably recognize. In their stories, you’ll find practical tips about drawing on your own strengths to create the life you want. Read them and see how they can work for you:
Take, for example, Captain Sully Sullenberger, the pilot who landed the passenger jet on the Hudson River. Bravery and humility – often at the heart of fairy tales – are qualities that can inspire all of us to be the best that we can be. And, with the doom and gloom of the economic crisis, we want to feel hopeful again. Learn to be as prepared as possible ahead of time. Sullenberger was ready. He’s a former air force fighter pilot, an expert in safety reliability methods and has 40 years of flying experience. Although you may not need training for an emergency landing, you can become equipped for what lies ahead. Are you making an important presentation at work? Setting guidelines for your kidult who can’t find a job and is moving back home? Or talking to your dad about giving up the car keys? Find out as much as you can about the issues by researching the subject. Write out talking points and get feedback from those whose opinions you value.
What about champion swimmer Dara Torres who, in her early 40s, won a medal at the Bejing Olympics? Don’t remain a spectator – jump into the game of life and become a winner yourself. Why question whether you’re too old to reach your goals or to balance family and career? It’s never too late to challenge yourself. With maturity, drive and focus, you can achieve your dreams. Excellence comes with hard work and practice. Learning about the training schedules of athletes reminds us that accomplishments don’t come easy. Repetition is the handmaiden of success. Set long-term goals as well as realistic and incremental steps to reach them. Give yourself credit when you achieve an objective and move ever closer to your ultimate goal. Strive for your personal best – and remember the most important competitor you have is actually you.
British singer Susan Boyle, in some ways, is everywoman. Her first appearance onstage, with the initial negative reaction from the audience and judges, taps into insecurities we all have. Who hasn’t felt frumpy or unattractive, unsure of ourselves or at a loss for words? Susan lived a simple life, caring for her elderly mother, singing in the church choir and practicing her music. When you notice the initial rejection she received, it makes you wonder if society is focused on the wrong things. Let your creativity run wild so that you see yourself from a different perspective. The first step is just to begin the process. Then your positive experiences will soon provide the incentive to continue. There may be some stumbling blocks along the way, but never give up.
And then there’s Sen. Ted Kennedy. His life was marred by tragedy and scandal – from the assassination of brothers John and Robert and the earlier death of his brother Joseph in World War II, to the deadly Chappaquiddick crash. Despite his personal losses and failings, Kennedy persevered. He served alongside 10 United States presidents and was well known for his political insight. Another significant role he played was as patriarch to his brothers’ children and grandchildren. You, too, can gain perspective, whether you’re hit in the face with a crisis or making a slow transition into the next chapter of your life. Expect a cascade of feelings – anxiety, the desire to hold on, resentment, sadness, fear, even a sense of freedom. The emotional roller coaster ride is normal. If you have the fortitude to step back, take a deep breath and face the situation squarely, you can’t help but grow from the challenges.
So do you think it’s time for you to take the first step toward reaching your goals? Go ahead, give it a try – you can do it. Here’s to the courage to begin re-writing your own story.
© Her Mentor Center, 2011
Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. is a family relationship expert with solutions if you’re coping with stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang kids or difficult daughters-in-law. Log on to http://www.NourishingRelationships.blogspot.com and sign up for a free ezine,’ Stepping Stones,’ and ebook, “Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals.” Visit http://www.HerMentorCenter.com for practical tips & learn about “Taking Control of Stress in a Financial Storm.”