Forest, meet trees: 5 ways to maintain your confidence despite setbacks

© Dgmate | Dreamstime.com

© Dgmate | Dreamstime.com

Even though we don’t always admit it, we all have big dreams. I’m privileged to work with people who have the courage to chase some of those dreams. As I ride shot-gun through their journey, I can’t help but notice that it always seems to go through three phases.

Phase 1: The Adventure begins

At the start, the goal seems so far away. You might even think you can’t get there from here. You are full of doubt. It takes great courage to admit you want to chase that goal and take the first step. Tentatively, you take a chance.

Phase 2: Ease on Down the Road

You start on the path, and your first few accomplishments raise our confidence. You see that you really can do this. It feels good. You are energized. You pick up steam.

Phase 3: Aah! It’s on Fire!

Something snaps, and you become impatient to get to your destination. You are less forgiving of your shortcomings and more upset by setbacks. The great feeling you had after your first accomplishments is gone. You start to wonder if you were foolish to try to chase this goal …

DON’T QUIT! You are not foolish, and you are not crazy. It’s a can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees kind of thing.

The closer you get to achieving a goal, the more immersed you get in the present and the drive to make progress. It’s easy, in this hyper-focused state, to forget where you came from and how much you achieved. Being able to step back and acknowledge your achievements again can help you find renewed confidence and energy.

If you are getting ready to chase a big goal, here are 5 support tools you can use to help you regain focus:

  1. At the outset, write a description of your starting state that you can read later, when you can’t remember what it was like before.
  2. Write an encouraging letter to your future self for when you feel low. Describe how reaching your goal will change your life.
  3. Keep a running list of accomplishments, even if it’s just a bunch of sticky notes on the wall.
  4. Keep a journal of early setbacks and how you overcame them, so they can inspire you when you hit the devastating later setbacks .
  5. Create or find a “vision board” to inspire you whenever you need it. It can be something small — a single picture or a word written on a piece of paper in your wallet.

Remember: if you have the courage to take the first step toward your goal, you have what it takes to go all the way to phase 4: Success. Refocus, don’t quit.

PS – Having someone ride shot-gun and help you navigate always helps, too 😊

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