Les Brown is one of the world’s most renowned African-American motivational speakers, Les Brown is a dynamic personality and highly-sought-after resource in business and professional circles for Fortune 500 CEOs, small business owners, non-profit and community leaders from all sectors of society looking to expand opportunity. Les was a quoted as saying, “Every man dies. Not every man lives. The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the “buts” you use today.” In other words, the only thing that can keep a person from going forward and climbing higher in life is when they keep standing at the bottom of the mountain and repeat the same phrase over and over again, “I should start climbing, but…..”
Kari Farmer, the owner of Manifest Connection, a website focused on personal growth and self-improvement for the body, mind, and soul, tells her personal story of three things that almost kept her from exploring the possibilities that were there just for the taking. She was successful at what she was doing but had settled into a comfort zone that had little potential of helping her business grow. Wherever she would see an add or read about new adventures, she brushed it aside. But while she was sitting comfortable tied up in her little harbor, others were branching out, making new contacts, and seeing their businesses grow. Finally, she decided to give it a try. And man-o-man what a difference it made!
Here are some of the obstacles that kept her from taking the challenge before. First, there was the fear of “rejection.” Rejection can lead a person to feel like they’re not good enough, since it often leads to criticism, from oneself or someone else. But such criticism can be used to learn how one can improve in order to succeed. Once a person knows what they must do to grow, they can work on those areas and keep trying. If a person keeps learning and growing, they will succeed.
No matter what criticism or lack of enthusiastic response a person may get for a project they are very proud of, use it to improve the project and make it better. When a person continually rejects and advise or constructive criticism, there’s little possibility of advancing and doing better. A person can learn from what others may be doing in the same area adapt some of those ideas into their own. With some practice and persistence, they will finally get the kind of response they were hoping for. A little rejection is inevitable, but if a person is willing to keep trying, they will see both progress and results.
Then there is the fear of failure. Such unfounded fear holds so many people back in life. Fear of the outcome, fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough, and fear of failing – we all go through them all. If a person keeps piling fear on top of fear, eventually they will find it easier to just forget the whole idea and try something that makes them more comfortable.
Fear stems from our beliefs about ourselves, which come from our experiences and feedback from family and friends. If we have had a negative experience with something, then we may fear experiencing that negative feeling again. If we have been told that we can’t do something, then we might be fearful that we really can’t do it.
We need to remove these limiting beliefs and push past the fear. We can do this by using positive affirmations about ourselves and consistently using positive self-talk to boost up our confidence level. It also helps to surround oneself with people who believe in us and our abilities and push us forward to face our fears.
Also, there is the sense that we are just not capable of doing what we what to do. This then exaggerates our sense of inability. Yes, sometimes we know that we can’t do something, and sometimes we have tried to do something before and failed. For instance, if you have never tried writing an article before, then taking on the challenge of having a book published may seem unrealistic. On the other hand, if you have tried to write an article or story before and failed, then you may hold the belief that you just can’t do it.
Fortunately, inability is something that everyone can push past. With enough effort, we can learn almost anything we set our minds to. We just have to find the information or help and start learning and practicing. For example, we can take a writing course, even if we need to start with the simplest instruction. Eventually, we will move on to more advanced writing lessons, and soon we will be writing on our own. Then we can practice writing longer articles until we feel confident we can finally start thinking about a magazine article or a book. We may have to start small and keep going.
Don’t let your comfort zone hold you back from taking risks, reaching your potential, and experiencing success. The more you push through your comfort zone, the larger it will become. Soon it will come much more naturally and easily to do things that move you toward your dreams! And don’t forget, the Word of God says that we were all created in His image. He is the great Creator.1 That spirit of creativity is what has pushed the world from sailing across the ocean to flying across the ocean.
Not only that, but in the Bible, we read where the Apostle Paul tells us that since we are the work of His hands, then we should let Him work with our hands. And since we belong to Christ, He is the one we’re working for. That was part of God’s plan for our lives.2 So remember, whatever it is you want to do, just think, “I’m doing this for my Master.” You may be surprised at how much courage He will give you to do what you never thought you could do. That’s why Paul also tells us that with God’s help, we can do so much more than we dreamed was possible.3 The Apostle made that clear when he declared that in his own life he found out that he could do things that he never could have done because of the strength he received from Christ.4
Listen to how the Apostle Peter put this. We weren’t created just to wander around like animals looking for food as they try to stay alive. We have been chosen by God to be something special. We have received a calling in life to be more than a physical being, but also a spiritual being. Look at it this way, we are God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made in our lives. We went from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. So every morning that we wake up we can say, “Here I am Lord, ready for Your use. Do something great in my life that will help make others great in Your eyes!” – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 Genesis 1:27
2 Ephesians 2:10
3 Ephesians 3:20
4 Philippians 4:13