The Importance Of Challenging OurselvesAugust 31, 2020
We are nearing the end of another month, and so far, June has been a month of firsts for me, which would not have been realized if I had not challenged myself. I completed and published my first e-book called Overcome Lack and Step into Abundance, Your Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. The book was a dream come true, as I had this desire to be a published author for as long as I can remember. There were several unfinished drafts of stories and a couple books that embody the few attempts to achieve this goal. However, I guess as they say, the timing never seemed right, and I suppose if I am being honest, I didn’t want it badly enough, though it was never very far from my mind. As fate would have it, a few months ago during the initial wave of covid-19 restrictions, I did some introspection, like so many other people I knew. I realized that I had some unrealized goals and dreams that I had yet to fulfil and amongst them was becoming a published author. I knew that if I wanted to turn my dream into a reality, I needed to take it more seriously and do something about it. Anyone who really knows me, knows that whatever I put my mind to, I tend to achieve. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I had to really dig deep and convince myself that it was now or never. Each day I wrote a little at a time, and before I knew it, my first draft was done. Then came the rewrites and the the sleepless nights of trying to get the book just right. I am convinced if I did not challenge myself to write consistently and set certain deadlines to get things done, that I would still be dreaming about publishing my first book. When I was able to submit the book for publishing, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I suddenly felt unstoppable and immediately I started to think about how to introduce my “baby” to the world, which led to another first for me.
After completing the book, I started to think about how to market it and spread the word, which led me to the creation of my first website and the launch of my blog, which focuses on empowering others to fulfil their destiny, walk in their purpose, and live in abundance. Again, I found that I was faced with a challenge of getting things set up and ready to go live, which required lots of late-night work to ensure everything was the way I envisioned the website to be. I can’t take all the credit though, as I had the help and support of my husband, daughter, family, friends and business associates who helped to make my vision a reality. It is so important to note that when you act and move towards achieving specific goals, God will take care of the rest. The things that you need, to help to get you where you need to go, will eventually fall into place whenever you have faith that is combined with action. You just need to put one foot in front of the other, so to speak, and before you know it, you would have reached your destination!
Another first for me which I also achieved this month was finally learning to ride a bicycle! I know, I know! Initially I felt a little embarassed to admit it but I soon realized that many people are in the same position. What I also know is that you are never too old to learn something new, and that includes learning to ride a bike. My husband made me a promise a few years ago that he would teach me to ride, after I told him that I never learnt as a child. He eventually kept that promise as he soon saw how determined I was to finally learn. When I found myself balancing on the bike after several failed attempts, I could not believe it! It took me a while to realize that he was not assisting me anymore and I just can’t begin to describe the feeling of accomplishment that came over me. I had some bumps along the way however, as one night when I was determined to learn after several attempts, I fell and hurt my big toe! I was so disappointed as I had to rest it for almost a week! Did that deter me? No, way! I was even more determined to try again as soon as the pain eased. This journey of learning to ride taught me that anything in life that we set out to achieve may sometimes start out looking difficult, but once we keep focused, we can achieve even the impossible. Sometimes what we choose to pursue may even cause us pain, as it forces us to stretch and grow. It also helps to show us what we are truly made of. It shows us how determined we are, or if we tend to give up at the first sign of discomfort or whenever we may face a challenge. I also found that it is good to accept the assitance from others, especially when we need someone to lean on and who can help us to maintain our balance. Sometimes we may just need to take a break and start again. There is no shame in taking our time. If we are determined to see it through to the end, then eventually it will become a reality.
So, yes, this was the month of many firsts! How did I do it all? I still have to pinch myself to believe it’s not a dream. I can even recall falling asleep one night and waking up the next morning feeling like I accomplished what seemed like an impossible feat. Then I would reflect on what I had achieved. It is important to take time to look back on where we started, especially when self-doubt creeps in. Whenever we are faced with fear or anxiety, which can make us think that something is impossible or that we can’t achieve it, just remember all the things that we ever achieved and that we found difficult at first.
“Surround yourself with like-minded people who support your goals“
Take time to appreciate the people in your life who encourage and support your dreams. I have to say that my husband always saw the real me, even before I knew who the real me was. He always encouraged me to step out in faith and challenge myself. From encouraging me to pursue a new sport so that I could learn self-defense, to supporting me in the pursuit of writing my first book and learning how to ride a bicycle. There are several more things I could add but that would take another book!
“Strive to Be the Best“
We all know the story of the famous Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt, who rose to fame because he would not let go of his passion for sports, specifically track and field. He would constantly be seen practicing. In several interviews with him since being crowned “the Fastest Human in the World”, he has always credited being consistent and disciplined as his personal habits. This would mean waking up very early for training and to practice, even when he didn’t feel like it. This is a reminder to never take our skills and talent for granted. For Bolt to remain “on top”, he needed to pay attention to his diet, fitness and training regimen. Even when faced with competition he did not “rest on his laurels”, so to speak, but would always spend time perfecting his skill. Usain Bolt continues to chart a legacy for his family and country through his many business ventures and endorsements. His philanthropic efforts have resulted in the upliftment of his community, as well as the nation of Jamaica where he hails from. He focused on being the best, and he achieved his goal.
Here are Some Steps We can Take to Challenge Ourselves:
Set Unrealistic Goals: I know that this step goes against the usual advice. It is often said that we should set realistic goals. However, if we are being honest, if we set realistic goals, we are not challenging ourselves. Take for instance a muscle. It does not get toned or strong by lifting the same weight every day. By lifting more weight than what it has become accustomed to, allows the muscle to grow and increase its strength. Therefore, if our goal is to lose weight, then aim to lose more weight than we need to lose and once we follow through and remain consistent, we will soon find that we may even surpass our initial goal. Think about it for a second, if we had not set that unrealistic goal, we may find ourselves still trying to lose the weight and end up feeling fustrated.
Think Outside of the Box: Do what has never been done before. Don’t be afraid to get creative. People who usually get things done sometimes have to challenge the status quo and find innovative ways to accomplish certain tasks. Such persons sometimes face being ostracized or criticized for going against the grain, so to speak. However, it is just this thinking that is required to break barriers and help humanity. The persons that come to mind are Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Garrett Morgan, just to name a few. Seek Out the Advice and Knowledge from Experts: It is best to seek counsel and direction from someone who has already been on the journey that you are about to embark on. For example, this is no time to ask that friend who has nothing going on, or who has no business experience, for advice on how to start a business. It is recommended that we seek advice from someone who has a track record of building businesses from the ground up and who has experience in what we may be aiming to achieve. It is vital to seek out the counsel of an expert in the field we are interested in and I also encourage having a mentor or coach. This person should be someone who can hold us accountable and ensure that we keep on track with our goals.
“Don’t Give in to Fear“
Instead of letting our fear get the best of us, we should face it and let it drive us. I remember on two occasions where I almost drowned! Did I fear swimming? Yes of course! It took me a good few years before I was able to get into a pool, let alone a large body of water! However, eventually, I hated the feeling I got when I would visit the beach or a pool and not be able to enjoy it to the fullest. Additionally, I also did not want to ever find myself in a position where I needed to be able to swim and couldn’t. This fear of not being able to swim gave me a deep desire to overcome it, and eventually I decided to take swimming lessons. Before I knew it, I was being coached to swim competitively. Eventually, I became a fast and efficient swimmer, which is more than what I was even aiming for!
If we are ever to overcome our fears and doubts and live the life that we deserve to live, we must keep challenging ourselves by setting unrealistic goals and striving to be the best. I know it may seem like a tall order, but the aim is to find out what stuff we are made of and in doing so, there is no limit to what we can achieve! Always remember that we all have the power within to do great things, which can only manifest itself when we are faced with challenges.