Posted on October 13, 2014 by Debra Burdick
Recently I hiked up to the top of a small mountain following a steep trail through the forest. The loose rocks and the unevenness and steepness of the trail made the going tough. When I stopped moving to figure out where to place my next step I discovered that it was harder to get going again than it was to just keep going. When I stopped, I hesitated and tried to find the best place for my foot. I worried that I would fall or that the rocks would slide and I would lose my balance. I found that I just needed to take the next step and once I got going again it was easier.
This made me think about my journey along my path to success in life. I have always been good at setting goals both in my personal and business life. In fact my book Mindfulness Skills Workbook for Clinicians and Clients is now a #1 Best seller on Amazon. But the journey has sometimes been fraught with starts and stops, rethinking, wanting to learn, worrying about the next steps, and frustration with the outcome.
Hiking the mountain trail reminded of me some important secrets I have learned along my life’s journey. It was helpful to compare how I hiked the trail with what has worked best in my life and business to reach my goals and achieve success.
Here are five secrets you can use to navigate your path to success.
1.) Set A Goal
In anything that we want to achieve it is important and necessary to start with setting a goal. This goal is related to setting an intention about what we are working towards, why we want it, and what it means to us. In hiking the trail, my goal was to reach the top with the intention of being able to enjoy the spectacular view of the whole area and to be able to see familiar landmarks from a larger perspective.
In my work with clients and through my books my goal is to help others achieve their goals with the overall intention of helping people improve their lives.
What’s your intention and what goals will help you stay focused on your intention?
2.) Be Willing to Take a Risk.
There is no way to be totally sure of the outcome of anything we do before we do it. Each step of the way towards success involves some risk. In hiking up the steep trail there was the constant risk of slipping, falling, hurting a knee, or twisting an ankle. I had to accept this risk in order to make it to the top and reach my goal.
In order to start a business the entrepreneur may need to assume some financial risk. In each step of building a business and making business decisions risk is always involved. When building a relationship with a love partner there is always the risk that the relationship won’t work out or that we might get hurt.
What risks are you willing to take in order to achieve your goal? How can you moderate risk? What risks would you feel too uncomfortable to be willing to take?
3.) Keep Moving
No matter what your goal is you need to keep moving in the direction of meeting that goal and achieving the success you desire. When I stopped on the hiking trail I lost my forward momentum and had to overcome some inertia to get myself moving again. As I stood still the hill seemed steeper, I was more uncertain about where to take my next step, my fear of slipping increased, it was hard to get moving again. Once I did get moving again it was easier to keep moving.
The path to success is not always a straight line. That’s okay. Just like sailing, you may need to tack to make the best use of the wind while continuing to move closer to your destination. But if you stop, you lose your forward motion. So while you may need to do some things that seem to be somewhat off task along the way, don’t stop moving forward.
When have you stopped? What happened to your overall success? What do you need to do to keep moving forward?
We don’t need to know everything before we take the next step. On my hike up the mountain I had no way of knowing how much farther it was to the top, or whether the rock I was about to step on would hold me securely or slip. If I stopped and tried to figure out the best next step and consider all the options of where to put my foot I became paralyzed. It was impossible to know all these things. In order to keep my forward momentum I simply had to keep walking, one step at a time, and trust that I would be okay.
In business we often have to make decisions and take actions before we know everything there is to know. Some people get stuck because they refuse to move forward before they spend many hours (maybe even years) gathering information, or earning another degree, or waiting for the economy to change before they take action.
Some people who would like to find a life partner may feel they must first lose weight, wait until their kids are grown, or move to a new town before they even take any action to meet someone.
What steps can you take right now regardless of not: knowing enough, having enough information, being sure of the outcome, being thin enough…? You get the idea. Trust yourself and the process. Take the next step.
5.) Ask for Help
No matter who we are and what we know there are others who know more than we do. And there are people who can help us do what we are doing. When I went hiking, I first needed to know where the trail was. An article in the newspaper gave the general location but when I was in the parking lot I asked some other hikers who had been there before where the trail head was. As it turned out I never would have found it on my own. Then while I was hiking back down the trail after enjoying the magnificent view from the top I used a walking stick to help me balance and stay safe on the steep trail.
In business, learn from those who have more experience and knowledge than you do. Don’t spend your time reinventing the wheel. You can always find someone who has already done something similar to what you are doing. And don’t waste your time doing tasks that could best be done by someone else. Hire assistants who can help you do tasks that don’t require your expertise. Focus solely on providing excellent service and building your business. Let others do the rest.
If you are trying to find or build a love relationship, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Psychotherapists and relationship experts can be very helpful in improving your ability to find and create a healthy relationship. And there are plenty of online support groups and dating sites to boost your progress.
What could you use some help with? Was there a time you should have asked for help but didn’t? Is there someone you can learn from who has more knowledge than you?
6.) Rest When You Are Tired
Be mindful of your energy and make sure you rest when you are tired. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But so many of us don’t take time for this. On my hike, the trail was steep and the weather warm so I needed to rest a few times going up the trail. I found a nice rock and sat and waited for my heart rate to slow and for my energy to come back. If I hadn’t done this I would have reached a point where I couldn’t go any farther.
In business as well as in our busy lives it is easy to fall into the trap of taking care of everything except ourselves. This doesn’t work in the long run or even short term and typically leads to various stress related illnesses. Be mindful of your own needs for rest and rejuvenation and respect them. Realize that taking a rest along your path to success is necessary and will help you achieve your goal faster and in better health.
Do you rest when you are tired? How will you incorporate this into your life?
I would love to hear your personal experiences with this topic.