When I see people stand fully in their truth, or when I see someone fall down, get back up,
and say, “Damn. That really hurt, but this is important to me and I’m going in again”
-my gut reaction is, “What a badass.”
Brene Brown, PhD. LMSW, Rising Strong
This blog is dedicated to Angela Nelson, a daring young woman who recently accomplished a five-year goal of winning the #1 status in her athletic endeavors as a Professional Pole Dancer.
It is dangerous and mindless to be anything but honest regarding the hard work and grit it takes to achieve lofty goals. It takes courage to move through the ambiguity of the “middle ground” one must cross in order to reach our destination.
We see examples of bling-gilded willpower and pseudo-trophies posted all over social media. Rarely do we dive deep into the beautiful story, the truth forged in the tenacity, grit, and valor that it takes to make it through the ambiguous neutral zone. The zone (a.k.a. the dark night of the soul) entrenched between setting our sights on grandeur and wrapping our sweaty victorious self in the banner of completion.
Often, we recognize the beginning—when goals are first a flicker in an eye when the fiery part of our soul senses an audacious desire to do or be something far beyond our current reach. We may push through the temptation to falter and negotiate ourselves away from victory by listing all the reasons why it’s best not to begin such a huge undertaking. We can even resist the urge to plug up our system with doubts and mental sewage that asks, “Can I do this?” Or “I don’t know where to begin.” But we may not understand how to navigate the next steps, something Brené Brown calls the “second act” or middle ground of goal acquisition. This is the time to keep on swimming, stay humble and be dogged. To help you get through this period of being “in the dark,” I offer the following strategies:
- Have coaches, mentors, and experts on your sideline.
Let them support you to stay in the game and be mentally and emotionally strong.
- Take risks.
Keep moving through fear and doing the scary things. Even be willing to fail and fall. When you do, get up and keep going.
- Stay fluid.
Always have creative activities play a role in every week. Small doses of play and creative fun keep the juices moving just when you need that sort of energy the most.
- Remain mentally open and maintain a beginners mind.
Let the flow of learning feed you. I often find what I need to know comes to me right when I need it. This information arrives in unexpected ways if I just stay open and keep learning.
- Don’t give up.
Falter if you must, but keep on moving one step, one exercise, one moment at a time.
- Surround yourself with positive, smart people.
Seek out higher ground in terms of those you hang with. Gravitate to people with growth mindsets.
- Track your progress.
Have the ability to see when you are trending up and moving forward. This is important. Let a coach or mentor assist you in setting up a tracking system.
- Push yourself.
See what’s really inside of you. Go beyond what is safe. Test your limits and surprise yourself. You may find you can do something you never thought you were capable of.
I’ve written this blog for many reasons but one in particular is this: do not give up on those things that spark the fire of your soul. Especially when you find yourself in the dark night of the soul and too far from the start to turn back, stay the course. Experience and success don’t come without a test of grit. Neither do championships, first-place medals or major accomplishments. It is my belief that every single person has the capacity to become a champion—to be the first or the best at one thing or another. and exceeding your own expectations is a possibility for everyone.
So, here is a call to the hero inside us all. Take action! Show yourself what you can do!
Here’s a real live example of what one client found possible. I’d love it if you too would share your big-goal-getting story with us as she has.
Watch Angela Nelson’s award-winning performance of the 2016 U.S. Aerial Female Pole Champion.
StrongStart with SoulSalt. Learn more about “The Reality of Setting and Reaching Lofty Goals” by watching Lyn’s Facebook Live (Here) and download the corresponding Facts About Goal Setting worksheet.