We all have goals that can differentiate us and great achievements that we dream about. However, we do not progress towards these goals as we get overwhelmed by what we imagine needs to be done. The greatness of our goals intimidates us and we feel safer to embrace our comfort zones. This dangerously strips us the mental strength we need to take the first step forward.
A marathon begins with one step, and another one, until you reach the finishing line. Without the first step, no matter how small, the achievement of our goals will never see the light of day, until we take that determined first step forward.
Any mountain, from afar is very intimidating. Surprisingly, once you step closer to it, its size diminishes and you will realise you no longer need courage to gentle take your first step. By the time you start to feel the strain you will be pleasantly surprised by the distance you have travelled in pursuit of your goal. That is the progress that will motivate you to continue with another step forward towards your dream. No one can prescribe the pace for you, there are no rules. Any pace you set will create your bite-sized chunks towards your ultimate goal.
Let me share with you an open secret of how I became an Author. I always thought of writing a book but this was too daunting for me and I parked this idea for 6 years (from 2007 to 2013). This was a big mountain which I chose to ignore. I allowed it to be covered by clouds (day to day tasks), as if writing a book warranted taking a sabbatical. Then one day, I attended an Achiever’s Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, then I ended up on a free session on how to write a book. That is how I fearlessly approached this mountain.
I learnt that writing a book only needed my favourite music for just 5 minutes a day and not more. To test the concept, we were asked to take a pen and paper, a song “I believe I can fly” was played, and we were asked to start writing whatever came to mind about the content of our ideal books. After 5 minutes, it was pens down and the music stopped.
That was an amazing experience, within 5 minutes most had come up with titles and all the chapters our books would have. I learnt in a practical way that is all I needed to do each day in order to write a book.
In disbelief, I tried that at home, and on day 5 it still worked. After that I was unstoppable. I then became an author of 2 books in a space of 3 years without taking a sabbatical. “The ACE Model” was published in 2013 and “Creating Effective Boards and Committees” in 2016. I could not write one book in 6 years, but since I confronted my mountain and gently taking the first step, I became an Author of 2 books in 3 years.
This proved to me that the greatness of the mountain does diminish as you fearlessly approach it. Once I attended that course, I was not overwhelmed anymore. The 5 minutes a day with my favourite music in my ears represented little steps up that mountain. The progress in number of pages written further fueled me, I started to up my pace, excited about what was shaping up in front of me, and the rest is history.
I then realized this was no different from the “confront and attack” approach that earned me my previous achievements, except I was not aware it equally works on mountainous goals. So for you, what goals, dreams, or possible achievements that represent huge intimidating mountains for you? What clouds (day to day tasks) are you using to hide the sight of these mountains? Remove those clouds, fearlessly approach your mountain and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Depending on your stage in life your mountains might include:
- Writing a book;
- Getting a degree or professional qualification;
- Special certification to become an expert or to speak with authority;
- Improving your symbols at school;
- Excelling at what you do;
- Building a house, or settling your bond;
- Meaningful promotion;
- Starting a business;
- Saving for rainy days or luxuries of life, a new car, lobola, overseas holiday, present for your parents, etc.
- Expanding your business;
- Shedding off your lockdown weight;
- Improving your fitness and your health;
- Improving your parenting skills;
- Improving your critical relationships, marriage, family, etc
The list is endless.
The solution is simple, fearlessly approach your mountain by forcing your mind to spend 5 minutes a day, with a pen and paper in your hand, dotting down all the steps you need to take when charging towards your dream. If you lack inspiration, play your favourite music, and you will be amazed at how your pen will start moving. Spend 5 minutes of another day refining your action plans. Spend 5 minutes a day monitoring your progress towards that goal. As you see your action plan and progress shaping up, you will voluntarily increase your pace. By the time you feel the strain and start sweating, you will be unstoppable. Fire from all your cylinders until you reach the summit of your mountain and the pinnacle of your dream.
It worked for me, it still works for me, it can work for you.