I can’t see that word, spelled out in this manner, without hearing the
battle cry from my grade school days. But what does victory really mean? What
does it look like? Is it defeating an adversary to win the game? Is it crossing
the finish line ahead of your own PR? Or maybe it’s simply overcoming an
obstacle to reach a goal.
Chances are good victory has meant something different to all of us at different
seasons in our lives. But however you define it, when it comes to the seventh
and final step in The Rainbow of Goal Realization, specificity is key.
That’s why it’s important to start at the beginning, developing a full
understanding of our reason for wanting to achieve this goal, and then getting
organized by dividing it into smaller stepping stones.
But unless we have a clear picture of what each of those steps looks
like as well as a precise vision of our final destination, it’s difficult to
know when we’ve arrived and even more difficult to know when to celebrate.
And celebration is an essential part of victory. It’s how we show
genuine appreciation to ourselves and others for a job well done. It’s how we
build motivation and encouragement (again, for ourselves and others), recognize
growth, and stimulate confidence and determination.
The best part is we get to establish our own definition of victory. We get to set the terms. And it doesn’t have to (nor should it) resemble anyone else’s version.
So spell out what victory looks like to you. And every single time you achieve it, I encourage you to do a victory dance, shout that victory cheer, and celebrate. Celebrate your win like there’s no tomorrow.
A couple weeks ago I was working to make some updates to my website. I
had it all planned out, had envisioned exactly how I wanted it to function and
what I wanted it to look like. And so, armed with plug-ins and templates and
instructional videos, I dove in.
Many frustrating hours later, I conceded my defeat. Website: 1; Sandy:
0. Given my greenhorn status, there were just some things I wasn’t willing to
do to get the results I wanted. Like manipulate code or start all over with a
But rather than throw in the towel completely, I wondered if I just
needed to revise my expectations. I had successfully made the changes I wanted
to make without upsetting the functionality or sacrificing the simplistic
styling of my current theme, which were two of the things I liked most when I
initially chose it.
Did my updates match my vision? No. But in asking myself if they
absolutely needed to, I realized the answer was also no.
I find this to be true in life as well. That sometimes we can be so
focused on forcing ourselves and our lives to fit into certain shapes, bending
and stretching and twisting in order to match or exceed expectations—ours or
someone else’s—that we are often either perpetually striving or constantly
Sure, it’s good to have plans and dreams and expectations, but we
aren’t fortunetellers. We can’t predict and plan for every contingency any more
than we can manipulate every situation and variable to mirror our best-case
scenario. And we wouldn’t want to.
In my experience, it is in the moments when we don’t get exactly what we want that create the most growth and wisdom. And sometimes a disappointment in the present leads to an unexpected opportunity in the future. We just need to be open to it. To stop trying to pick the lock on the door that has closed behind us and instead walk through the one that has opened in front of us.
Is there anything going on in your life right now that has required you to modify your mindset or adapt your expectations?
Have you ever been inspired by another person? Maybe it’s a story you’ve
heard about someone who has overcome a struggle or hardship. Or a friend or
family member with the courage and determination to do that thing she’s always
wanted to do. Or perhaps it’s someone who simply has an infectious spirit or
zest for life. Someone with those qualities that you have yearned to see in
Chances are good you’ve said yes. That at some moment (or even several
moments) in your life, you have felt a little tug after spending time with that
certain person. Or you’ve heard from that tiny voice in the back of your mind
after witnessing someone reach for and accomplish a challenging feat.
You can be like that, the
voice reminds you. You, too, can do that
thing that’s been on your heart to do. And maybe their story even fills you
with enough confidence to spur you into action. Because that’s how inspiration
works, right? That’s the point. To share the experience and wisdom we’ve gained
through our own trials and challenges so others can learn from them too.
I believe it’s part of our calling as human beings. To love and serve
and give to each other. To help each other develop and improve skills and grow
into better versions of ourselves and just live our best possible lives. And serving
as inspiration plays a big role in that. It also plays a big role in our own
goals and that’s why Inspire is the
next step in The Rainbow of Goal Realization.
Now if you’re asking yourself, “What’s the point? What do I know?” I
get it. I have been filled with similar fears and doubts every step along this
writing journey. From starting an author Facebook page even before my
manuscript was finished to starting this blog.
The internet is already saturated with so much information that I ask
myself often what I have to offer. And every time that doubt starts to get the
upper hand, I remember something my husband said to me back in September of
2018, a week before I was set to launch that Facebook page.
He said, “Even if something you post only ever resonates with one
person, but you never get to know about it, would that be enough?” My answer is
the same now as it was then. Yes. The mere possibility of encouraging even one
person is enough to keep showing up, to keep opening up, to keep lifting up as much
as I can.
Not convinced? Here are a couple more reasons why inspiring others also
helps us to reach our own goals:
of good habits. Sharing our successes not only offers others some tried and
true footsteps to follow in, but it also helps to bolster the daily practices
we’ve found useful in our own pursuits. Think of it as a kind of
accountability. After I started blogging about the obstacles I’ve encountered
in writing my novel and the steps I needed to take to overcome them, I became
less likely to fall back into those old, unhelpful patterns. Having voiced my
struggles, it was much easier to see them for what they were and avoid getting
repeatedly snagged in the same traps.
equal new growth opportunities. When we share our best practices with
others, they are more likely to share theirs with us, and if we can remain
open-minded enough, we can simultaneously learn more about them and ourselves. For
example, although it is possible to write a book without any outside feedback,
it’s probably unlikely to be the best that it can be. When we are really close
to our goal—when we take ownership of it and it becomes a part of who we are—it’s
difficult to see where our process might benefit from a few tweaks. But being
open to receiving another perspective means garnering wisdom that we may not otherwise
acquire on our own.
Now, as you prepare to take this next step
toward realizing your goal, I encourage you to think about how you might
inspire others. Is there a part of your journey that might resonate with your
neighbor? Or maybe you have a certain gift or talent that would be beneficial
to a local nonprofit. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to share it. Choosing to
uplift and cheer for others creates movement that eventually completes a full
circle and it won’t be long before you notice that your efforts to inspire have
left you feeling, well, inspired.
Last month I had the opportunity to experience what I’m calling phone deprivation—a period of time spent
without using my phone. (Have your hands started to shake at the mere thought?)
Yep, ten whole days without a single glance at email, texts, apps, or
alerts of any kind. (What about now? Any nervous twitches? Heart palpitations?)
Truthfully, I’d known in advance about this break, had planned for it—supplying
family with an alternate avenue of communication and scheduling blog/social
media posts ahead of time—and was actually looking forward to it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some things about our digital world that
I do enjoy. For one, the ease of staying in touch with family and friends. For
another, the convenience of connecting with readers and other writers from all
across the globe.
But sometimes the constant distraction of the rings, tones, and
notifications is just that. Distracting. If we let them, all of our available
screens can steal our focus away from other important things. Real things. Like
the people we encounter on a daily basis. Or progress on our goals, rare
opportunities, and just experiencing life.
That ten-day timeout reminded me how much I miss uninterrupted interaction
and meaningful conversation and looking into other people’s eyes. It reminded
me that I need to pay attention to my own screen time habits and that I have the
power to limit them. I have the power to set (and stick to) office hours, to
embrace the benefits of social media without sacrificing my sanity, and to take
daily and intentional screen breaks to breathe, listen, and wholeheartedly notice
the world around me.
What about you . . . do you already take or have you ever considered
taking routine breaks from your phone?
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “you are what you eat,” meaning the
health of our body is largely dependent on our food choices. But when it comes
to goal realization, I believe a similar sentiment is also true: we are what we
do. To realize any goal—especially those big, long-term, scary ones—we need to
become the goal.
Let me explain. When I first set out to write my novel, although I did
spend some time at my desk writing, I spent even more time doing other, less
essential tasks. I’d let fear and doubt take hold and take over, get distracted
by thoughts like I can’t or I’m not good enough, and rather than
powering through, I’d run away from my computer to do something easier.
Something I could complete, control, and cross off my to-do list without having
to deal with feelings of discomfort or vulnerability.
My husband and I had moved during this period and so I used that as an
excuse for a stretch of time. I became a packer and unpacker, a painter, an
organizer, a landscaper. But even after we were mostly settled into our new
home, I found many more clever ways to avoid writing. And in the midst of these
months and years of little to no progress, I was still adamant that I wanted to
be a writer, and many days, even claimed I was one. But if I was being truly
honest with myself, I’d have realized that the only thing I was successfully becoming
was a procrastinator.
So how did I turn things around? How did I finally start achieving my
goals and subsequently finish writing the novel I’d wanted to write? Simple. By
actually becoming the writer I wanted to be. What that required of me was
adopting and embracing three important traits: courage, commitment, and
Courage. One of the most difficult things to overcome in goal realization is fear. Fear of failure, fear of appearing foolish, fear of rejection and criticism and judgment. There is so much uncertainty that goes along with stepping out of our comfort zone to do something different and make a change, but doing so is almost always a prerequisite of reaching a goal. And unfortunately, the courage we need to do that usually only comes AFTER we’ve taken that first step. The good news: courage begets courage, so once one step is behind us, we’ll have developed more courage to take the next. But courage is not enough. We must also possess a certain level of commitment.
Commitment. What we want to achieve is what we will make time for, but that desire is not enough. It must be accompanied by the motivation, determination, and endurance to stick with it for the long haul. Much like a marriage, if we truly want to achieve this goal, then we must be devoted to it. We must give it the time and attention it needs to grow and progress even on the days we don’t really feel like it.
Consistency. Progress creates progress which creates more progress. The more consistently we do something, the more it turns into a habit. The more habitual the work on our goals becomes, the more those goals (and our growth and development and effort in reaching them) becomes a part of who we are.
Courage + commitment + consistency = the pathway to becoming our goal,
and this equation is the next step in The Rainbow of Goal Realization. Go ahead
and take it.