I was in New York on business this week and finished my meetings early. I changed into work-out clothes and trekked up to Central Park. Near the place where I had entered the Park I noticed with great delight the young people playing atop one of the many large rocks throughout the Park. I kept on walking through the Park taking in the sights and sounds of New York City on a beautiful Spring afternoon, but the laughter and images of those kids stayed with me. I wanted to climb up there and join them! But I didn’t. I couldn’t.
I walked for another forty minutes or so and the thought kept coming to me, “so why won’t you climb?” I had to come to grips with the things that were keeping me from climbing to the top of that rock. I was a little embarrassed. Ok, I admit it. I was afraid of looking childish. I was afraid of looking foolish. And I was afraid of falling!
The more those thoughts came to me, the more it dawned on me: negative self talk and fears are the things that keep you from climbing and achieving your goals and dreams.
Well I circled back on my way out of the Park and walked past a rock that was smaller than the one I saw near the entrance to the park, determined to climb it. I placed one foot in front of the other, looked for solid spaces to place my feet and up I went. One step at a time. Exhilarated, I laughed to myself as I reached the top.
After I climbed back down that rock, I continued walking my path. I eventually approached the large rock where folks were still hanging out and playing. I pushed aside all the negative self-talk and fear and made up in my mind, I was going the top!
As I drew closer to the rock, I studied it looking for just the right place to start my ascent. Just as I was about to place one foot on a smooth section of the rock, I saw it! There was a path that led around and behind the rock and apparently to the top. There was a way up that had opened up for me. Parker Palmer in his book, Let Your Life Speak, talks about the Quaker teachings on “way” opening. The old folks of my faith tradition spoke of “God making a way out of no way.” Both adages speak of the truth that as you are discerning direction for your life, you will face obstacles or rocks. Your way up may be to climb. Or it may be to follow a path that you had not before seen. But you must take the risk to go to the top believing you will find the way (or the way will find you!).
As I gleefully walked that path, I excitedly reached the top. I experienced a childlike joy of getting to the pinnacle. At that point I didn’t care if I looked foolish and I was no longer afraid of falling. The view at the top was spectacular and a memorable experience of joy! I didn’t care if I looked childish. In fact the young lady who agreed to take my picture told her friends to get out of the way so they didn’t photo bomb my picture. I told her not to worry about it because I was in good company with those kids and the other adults hanging out enjoying the view. They spoke to me of the creativity and joy that gets released when we are courageous enough to follow our dreams and climb.
Today I urge you to think about the goals and dreams you’ve not tried to meet because of fear or because you can’t see how you can meet them. Here are five things I learned that day about reaching goals that I want to share with you.
Change your self-talk.
If you are easily discouraged when trying new things or trying to reach your goals, check out what you are saying to yourself. Every time a negative thought comes to mind, challenge it and replace it with a positive truth about yourself. Remind yourself of what you have done, and can do. Speak life to your dreams.
Face your fears.
Fear will inhibit you. Fear will paralyze you. Fear will stop you in your tracks. Fear will turn your dreams into nightmares. You’ve got to face them. Ask yourself what’s the worse thing that can happen if what you fear happens? Then move forward anyway.
Encourage stems form an Old French word that means, “to make strong, to hearten.” Think about it, when you encourage yourself, you put courage in your heart. Look deep inside your heart and remind yourself why you want to achieve your dream, and strengthen your resolve to achieve it.
Break the big goal into smaller goals.
No one achieved a dream over night. And no one reaches a large goal without first breaking it into smaller goals and action steps. Start with a smaller goal. Then the next. And then the next.
Look for the way to open.
Look for your way to open. There is a way or path that is designed just for you to achieve your goals and dreams. You co-create that path often times. But expect to find the way. And as the way opens in front of you, walk in it. And if that way closes, then believe that another way to the right goal for you will open!
Here’s me at the top of the rock. Joyful. Happy. Excited. Expect that feeling to come with your success in reaching your goal.
By the way I posted a bunch of pictures from my walk that day on my Facebook Page. Check them out and enjoy the scenery!
© 2016 Dr Jeanne Porter King