I am a big dreamer guys. I imagine big things. I set aggressive goals. I have a tendency to tell myself that I can do it all, all the time. Then life happens.
I once killed myself training for a half-marathon during a particularly busy period at work and 9 months after having my second daughter. I ended up with a diagnosis of bronchitis about 2 days before race day. I had to repeatedly remind myself that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to try competing anyway. I remember feeling so disappointed. It was as if I had failed myself and not achieved what I set out to. Never-mind that I had spent 12 weeks following a stringent training routine without fail, was physically capable of running 13.1 miles when healthy and had achieved balancing an aggressive goal with the busyness of life/motherhood.
I’ve experienced similar challenges lately. I went away for a 3 week holiday to Gambia and Senegal. It was amazing. I fully rested, recharged and reconnected with my extended family. However, I came home and got incredibly ill with what turned out to be hepatitis A. Scary right? Apparently my childhood vaccination didn’t “take” and I was unfortunate enough to discover that the hard way. I spent the better part of 2 weeks in which I “should have been” working, launching my podcast, building my business, etc. in bed. It gave me a lot of time to think about balancing life’s curveballs and my goals.
Nothing ever goes 100% according to plan. There are inevitable deviations and curveballs. The true test of your plan and resilience is whether you are able to adjust your plans and course-correct based upon your new reality. Asking yourself “where is the gift in this?” in the midst of any setback is particularly important.
This resilience is also so crucial in terms of your finances. You make plans, come up with a strategy and a projected timeline. Then life happens and there’s a job loss, an unexpected baby or some other setback that could be perceived as a personal failure. It turns out you won’t be able to go to Disneyland or pay off that small student loan next year. What you do in the face of that reality will determine your overall financial success.
If you take the fact that you will need an extra year to pay off your student loans and make it mean that you’re a failure and less successful than your classmate Brian, you’re just injecting negativity into your financial life and mind which WILL negatively impact your life overall. Instead, I invite you to examine areas you might not have achieved your goals(financial and otherwise) and ask yourself the following questions:
Did I set an appropriate, achievable goal and come up with the right action plan to achieve it?
Did I overshoot my goal and fail to account for a predictable conflict?
What is the story I’m telling myself about my perceived failure to achieve this goal?
What lesson can I learn about myself and how I set goals?
If this goal is no longer achievable, then what IS? What quantifiable steps do I need to take to get there?
This is not an invitation to play it safe and not set big, audacious goals for yourself. What it IS, however, is an invitation to be flexible and not make your failure to achieve a goal mean that YOU are a failure. Your actions might have failed you, or some other circumstances that are outside of your control may have prevented you from achieving what you set out to. That’s okay, and a natural part of life. How you respond to that and what you make that mean will ultimately determine how successful you are in achieving all your other goals.
So, if you’ll excuse me I’m off to continue making up for the last 2 weeks and continue to build my business. Happy executing!!!