I grew up as the only child of a single mother during the often turbulent and always interesting 1960s. Early on I had dreams and goals as to what my future could look like. Big Dreams. Big Goals. My mother taught me that education and hard work was the path away from poverty to a better, easier life. She did her best to expose me to a variety of experiences that would broaden my horizons and reinforce her belief that no one should be defined by their circumstances. She also taught me that success takes longer than you think, even though she never voiced this precept. It was a silent lesson, shared in the shadows in pantomime.
Having large visions for your life and the desire for major success will propel you forward. Just remember, it’s probably going to take a lot longer than you anticipate when you start the journey. We are all impatient when we begin to explore life, it’s just human nature. No matter how many people attempt to impress upon us that patience is a virtue, it takes some life experience under our belts to finally accept this concept as being true and beneficial to our lives as a whole.
Create a morning routine that sets the stage for your successful day and you will gain the focus and clarity to forge ahead with new resolve. How you spend the first hour of your day on a consistent basis will make the difference in every area of your life over time. Take a look at your mornings right now, be honest with how they are shaping the remainder of your day, and have the strength to make the necessary changes. This action will literally save your life and make your life experience one that is worthy of living.
In October of 1992 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. After moving through the initial shock I was ready for answers and solutions to save my life. I soon understood that this would unfold, not on my schedule, but on the schedule of the surgeons who dealt with these situations every day. Once again, I discovered that success takes longer than you think it will in every area of your life. Perhaps this success was more sweet because I was forced into developing the ultimate patience during my months of treatment, therapy, and reconstructive surgeries, like watching grass grow and seasons change.
We get a good idea about something we want to be, do, have and the idea captures our minds and emotions. The honeymoon phase is awesome. Daydreaming and brainstorming of your exciting new idea and the world of possibility that will open up once you reach this new goal. You are energized and ready to take on the world.
You cannot purchase success, and it is not a birthright. Instead, true success remains as one of the last meritocracies and you are judged by your performance and results. This seems fair to me, for I am willing to go the extra mile every day to achieve my goals and dreams. I’ve also discovered that the overwhelming majority of people will not make their success a priority, and the fact that I will has become my super power.
Actor and producer Will Smith has become a respected thought leader and I have shared this quote from him many times…
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, but if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. I’s really that simple, right?”
Service to others is a thread that must run alongside you on your road to success. As a younger person I told the story that I did not have the time or the money to volunteer and be of service to others. But that story was one that was born from my feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence, and believing that my human experience was so very different from that of others. Once I began to serve I understood that what makes us more like others is far greater than what separates us. I found myself while feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and listening to the lonely people I encountered.
If you are new to this game of chasing the success you want and deserve, I’m sorry to tell you but you have a steep mountain ahead of you. And no one has ever successfully scaled such a mountain quickly and easily. Sure, from a distance, the mountain may not look that big. It looks like fairly smooth terrain and a manageable grade when you stare at the mountain from a few miles away. You excitedly sprint to your starting point. The weather is just right, you have the right shoes, and your thinking reveals a positive and focused mindset.
That’s when the work begins and within a very short period of time, reality starts to sink in at the difficulty and struggle that awaits you. Each step becomes more laborious than the previous one. Your mind attempts to talk you out of continuing, and as your mind wanders you make every excuse in the world to give up, to quit, to run away and find something easier to achieve. You remember that others promised success takes longer than you think. You didn’t believe them back then and wrote them off as naysayers who did not believe in you. Could they have been correct, after all?
MOST people don’t make it far enough up the mountain to be invested in the journey. And this is also something to remember:
“A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”
They quit early enough that the pain of investment isn’t harsh enough. The sting of quitting isn’t harsh enough. However, if the goal at the summit of your mountain is something that you really, truly want… and you have enough reasons to get there (and enough reasons not to quit), then your first mission becomes the “investment phase”.
You have to put in enough blood, sweat and tears to reach a point where turning around and quitting would be more painful that continuing. Once you reach this point, you gain a whole new perspective on life. The struggle doesn’t go away, but it takes on a new form. You find a sort of peace and “sense of knowing” during your struggle. You know you will make it to your goal… you just don’t know how long it will take. But it almost doesn’t matter because you no longer count the cost. You are focused purely on the journey.
This is an easy metaphor to understand but it applies to anything in life…
Make a point to first be the kind of person who dreams, has big visions and gives yourself the permission to set major goals. Then, make CERTAIN you stay with it long enough that turning around is no longer an option. Even though it will likely take far longer than you think to reach your peak, it will be well worth your efforts.
Patience, perseverance, a productive morning routine, a strong work ethic, and having a vision that drives you to dream and set big goals are the ingredients of a life worth living. This is all up to you, and knowing that success takes longer than you think will provide you with a lifetime of joy, service, and results that have great meaning.
I’m Connie Ragen Green, a fellow traveler along life’s journey and working daily towards success. Take my hand and let’s experience the next adventure together…