While discussing high school course selection, my grade 8 teacher said something that crushed me. She said “based on your marks in elementary school, you’ll probably never go to university.”
A single comment can dramatically affect the course of a person’s life. Fortunately, I was blessed with other important teachers. Difference Makers. People who listened, coached, and nurtured my goals. Who stuck with me when things were difficult. They believed in me. This is what we need when we step out of our comfort zone. Discomfort is a natural part of growing and stretching as human beings.
“If I have the belief I can do it, surely I can acquire the capacity to do it, even if I didn’t have it at the beginning.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi
Since that comment by my teacher, I have attained three degrees, and have counselled, taught, and coached thousands of students and clients, all with their own insecurities and fears. Those who succeed learn to push through fear.
Be a Difference Maker!
Do you know someone who wants to achieve their goals and dreams? Whether overcoming a destructive habit or reaching a career goal, you can help them overcome fear by teaching them these 8 things:
1) As they work to achieve their goals and dreams, you will be there for them!
The biggest thing someone with a goal or a dream needs is to have someone “be there” from start to finish. That doesn’t mean every day, and it doesn’t mean doing it for them.
We can help by encouraging them, wherever the path leads and however long it takes. What is learned through success or failure is far more important than the goal. Just knowing they are supported, will give them the confidence to try again and again until they find success.
Nothing is more important than knowing someone is in your corner!
2) Help them Develop Long-Term Perspective
Success favors those with a long-term perspective. Achieving a goal takes time, and without a clear vision it is difficult to stay on track. A clear vision will enable them to set shorter, measurable objectives. Sit down together and map it out. Help them envision what it will look like. How will they know when they are there? What’s the next immediate step?
Be sure to help them consider all 5 Areas of Wellbeing: Career, Social, Physical, Financial and Community. What are their goals for each area? What has been important in their life until now? What will be important in the future? When we have balance in all 5 areas, challenges in one area don’t seem so overwhelming.
3) Connect them to like-minded people
One of the biggest obstacles to achieving what we want to achieve is feeling alone. We are never alone. There are always teachers. Help them learn to seek out teachers, people who have gone before them and walked a similar path. Help them connect with like minded individuals, mentors, teachers and experts interested in the same things.
Long-term goals take time to achieve. Help them build confidence and momentum by doing activities and being part of communities that will sustain them over time. Along the way they will be building skills, and meeting others that will keep them motivated and inspired.
4) Encourage a Growth Mindset
No matter how talented, intelligent or “smart” people are, there is no guarantee anyone will achieve their goals and dreams. The people who struggle often have a fixed mindset, a belief that their intelligence or ability is limited. As a result they tend to see obstacles as evidence of those limitations and give up.
By contrast, those with a growth mindset believe that intelligence and ability are developed. They don’t get discouraged by obstacles, and simply see them as evidence of where they need to grow. Learn about Mindset, and share this Mindset Assessment with those you want to help.
5) Teach them to Avoid Dream Killers:
Dream Killers are people who have learned to stop setting and achieving goals and stretching themselves. They are defenders of the status quo. Dream Killers attempt to undermine other people’s goals and dreams because they themselves have suffered some kind of setback, and are still suffering.
“You’ve got a dream, you’ve gotta protect it.” – Christoper Gardener (Will Smith). Watch this clip from The Pursuit of Happyness.
We can support people with big dreams and goals, by helping them recognize that real suffering doesn’t come from failure, it comes from not embracing change, facing our fears and pursuing those things that are truly important to us.
6) Encourage humility and commitment
Nobody is entitled to success or to achieve their goals and dreams. The only things we are truly entitled to in life is change, aging and death. No matter how good we are, how healthy we are, how much we want something, we are human and subject to human problems and challenges. Remind them that everything in life is temporary and impermanent.
Change is constant, and each day they wake up and commit to their goals, they are bringing about the future they envisioned.
7) Teach them to practice self-compassion and the mind of a beginner
Regardless of the support we have, nobody can do it for us. The most challenging part of the journey is facing ourselves, and the fear of our limitations. When we begin to make changes, we start to see how difficult it is to change lifelong patterns and beliefs. We need to be patient with ourselves. When things don’t go right, or progress happens more slowly than expected, we need to learn how to avoid falling back into a fixed mindset “see, I can’t do it.”
Teach them how to be compassionate with themselves. Remind them that when they have doubts, they are experiencing what every other person who achieved their goals and dreams had to go through. Teach them to love themselves for just being there, taking the risk. When things don’t go well, encourage them to begin again, and again like it was the first time.
8) Teach them to take good care of their own Wellbeing
Wellbeing is a practice and it cuts across all areas of our life. If we ignore wellbeing we will suffering in other areas too. The road to doing the things we want starts now, and lasts a lifetime. Without our health and wellbeing we can’t sustain our effort over the long-term.
What do they need to stay balanced? What keeps them feeling strong. Reconnecting with friends, family, children? Getting out in nature? Playing a sport? Time alone? Help them discover what it takes to restore their energy so they can sustain their effort over time.
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