Empires are not built overnight. The best love stories are often written by those who had to overcome tough trials. The most successful people in the world had to push through hard times. Everyone wants success, but very few are willing to work for it. Far too many talented people lose patience with the process and give up prematurely because they don’t see the results as quickly as they would like to or expected that they would. Let’s face it, we live in a “microwave world” where people are always in a rush to get somewhere and hate to have to wait. However, no matter how far technology advances us, some of the best things in life still take time. Cooking and eating fresh, non-processed foods is still healthier than going through the fast food drive thru. Exercising to achieve your body goals is still safer than getting cosmetic surgery. Taking time to build on a solid foundation that will be able to withstand storms is better than rushing into something for the sake of appearances and having it blow away at the first sign of wind.
If there was one thing that college taught me, it was that I am not entitled to anything and regardless of how I feel about it, the world doesn’t owe me anything. I learned that I won’t be able to get what I want without without working for it. The schools that I attended weren’t giving me a degree just because I showed up and looked pretty. It took me 6 years to get my 4 year accounting degree because I spent many of those years unfocused and distracted by things that didn’t matter. It took for me to realize that I could tell my parents that I was working all that I wanted, but eventually time would tell what I was really doing. That was exactly what happened when 4 years passed and my family expected for me to graduate, but I didn’t have any special announcements to make. That’s the thing about looking the part or pretending like you’re winning, eventually time will catch up with you and reveal what you were really doing. I encourage you not to let time catch up with you and reveal that you weren’t doing much of anything or gave up on your dreams.
Here are 3 things to do to stay focused and productive on the road to reaching your goals:
- Stop comparing your “works in progress” to someone else’s finished product. Keep your eyes on your own life and your own goals. Do not compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 10. Never assume that you know what it took or how long it took for someone else to get to the level you aim to be on. Understand that your path, pace, and progress won’t be the same as others because your purpose is different. Embrace who you are, learn from where you’ve been, and have faith in where you’re going.
- Reflect on how far you have come. Feeling a way about not being as far as you’d like to be? First, take some time to reflect on why you feel that way and make sure that those feelings are not stemming from you comparing yourself to others. Then, take some time to reflect on where you were 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and last year. Reflect on how much you’ve learned and appreciate how much you’ve overcome. Realize that you are growing even if its not in the areas where you feel like you need to see more growth right now. Acknowledge your small and large accomplishments and celebrate them. Show gratitude for your blessings. Now, imagine how much more you can grow and how much further you can be next year and beyond if you keep going.
- Do something to move yourself forward every day. One of the best ways to stay encouraged is to keep accomplishing things, no matter how small. There will be days when you feel stuck, unappreciated, anxious, impatient, lost, and confused. Those are not days to sit around waiting for a sign or to give up on your life. You may not know exactly what to do or what direction to go next, but instead of throwing a pity party about it, get out and sow some positive seeds. Help someone else reach their goals. Work on those things you have been neglecting. Spend some time loving on yourself. Complete a project that you’re passionate about. Read a book that will teach you something new. Spend some time with people who inspire you. One positive action leads to the next so eventually your next moves will become more clear to you. Keep your thoughts, words, and actions positive at all times because what you put out will always come back.
For more tips and strategies for maintaining a winning mindset, read She Wins: The Ultimate Guide for Women to Gain a Winning Mindset and Lead a Winning Lifestyle.