Love it or hate it (and I know a few people who hate it) the Olympics has been a mind-boggling showcase of endurance and ability.
But let’s be honest. In some ways it’s a bit intimidating looking at these superhumans with their barrel chests and kangaroo thighs running, leaping and pumping their way round tracks, pools and assault courses.
There’s that niggling voice in your head that says: “I could never do that… I’m too old… too out of shape… I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH”.
I’ve been the worst culprit. 5 or 6 years ago I was in a job that wasn’t paying very well. I remember groaning to friends about how awful it was, creating scenarios where other people didn’t deserve to be rich and I did. Nothing was my fault, everything was other peoples’ fault.
Friends are supportive, that’s their job. But I’m sure none of them went away thinking: “Wow, I’m really impressed with the way Tom’s moaning about his situation. By not doing anything about it and playing a waiting game he’s definitely going to wind up enormously successful”.
That niggling voice which says “no, “can’t” or “don’t bother” is the reason so many people don’t fulfil their dreams. It constructs invisible barriers that stop us from succeeding in anything.
It takes guts to grab that self doubt, that fear and say: “screw this, I don’t care what the world thinks” and to try to succeed at something.
A lot of people have felt inspired by London 2012 and it’s easy to see why…
4 years ago Helen Glover didn’t know her oar from her elbow. She just decided to ‘give it a go’ after hearing about an ad in a newspaper from Steve Redgrave calling for ‘tall women’.
Now she’s one of the first women in history to win an Olympic gold medal in rowing. Her partner had been doing it just 6 years.
In the Equestrian, 54 year old Nick Skelton got gold in the team show jumping and narrowly missed another in the individual event. Hiroshi Hoketsu from Japan was competing at the ripe young age of 71 years old.
And just today Ed McKeever, an accountant from Wiltshire, won gold in the 200m Sprint Kayak.
But I’m not just talking about sport here…
Entrepreneurs believe in the impossible. They seize opportunities, take risks and pay no attention to what they supposedly should and shouldn’t be able to do.
Richard Branson’s first business venture involved breeding budgies and growing Christmas trees to sell at the age of 15. Both failed.
He then tried importing cheap music records from the continent and selling them in the UK. To begin with he sold them out of a car boot, then by mail order as business increased… and then through his own shop in Oxford Street. Soon he had his own record label.
He tested out some different ideas and latched onto the one that stuck. People don’t want the budgies? Ok try something else.
And after he’d already become wildly successful what did he do?
He leased a single Boeing 747 and took on the airline market with Virgin Atlantic. Everyone said he was mad. He gave himself just a year to get in profit and he did it. The rest is history. He’s now busily building spaceships, owns a 74 acre island in the Caribbean and is one of the most influential men on the planet.
This is a man who started out selling budgies. This is a man who made his money selling music and then suddenly decided that he could take on British Airways with a single plane.
It’s easy to laugh at other people’s dreams and even easier to shun our own dreams.
It’s easy because it takes no effort to let that voice in the back of our head that smirks, criticises and says “don’t bother”.
If you don’t try you have 0% chance of success. Days pass, weeks pass and nothing happens – your life hasn’t improved, you’re no richer, no happier and no more fulfilled.
It’s not your boss that holds you back, not the government, not the guy across the street. It’s not the rest of the world conspiring against us…
It’s that niggling voice.
Trying and failing is great, it teaches us what we need to do to be better the next time. Not trying is the crime.
Visualise your goal, break it down into chunks and then make it happen step by step…
I’ve laboured this point because it’s important. The problem with realising success, in any field, is that almost all of the barriers exist in our own minds.
Think of it this way, you can spend 100 hours thinking of reasons why you can’t do something (and not doing it) OR you can spend a 100 hours working towards achieving your goal.
We are extremely lucky in that we live in a time where we can take lots of risks often without actually having to risk lots of money.
You may want to be a successful Internet marketer. Great! How can you go about it? I mean it, how can you really go about it? I’m not talking about day dreaming about which sports car you’ll be driving.
Which niche are you going to choose? On what day exactly are you going to register your website domain and build your website? Think specifics. How long are you going to spend every week adding content?
It doesn’t have to be about money. Let’s say, for example, you want to become the next gold medalist in rowing how would you go about it?
If you were to break it down into small steps you could:
Step 1: Visit your local rowing club, register your interest and talk to an expert.
Step 2: Find out how you need to train (diet, exercises and so on).
Step 3: Set aside how many hours a week you need to practice.
You get the picture. Each step is realistic and manageable. And that’s the secret.
Success is about concentrating on the little steps which build and build and snowball into something amazing.
What do you want to achieve and how are you going to set about doing it?