I have always wondered why some people succeed at achieving their goals while others settle for whatever comes their way. Some people are the captains of their ship, steering it toward whatever they desire, while others float the boat without a compass or a captain. They just go along with where ever the boat takes them.
Certainty is one of the necessities of life. We all need certainty to be happy. We need to know we have enough money in the bank to pay our bills. We need to know that our source of income is secure. Once you have found a sense of certainty it is hard to risk it to pursue what you really want; your passion; your purpose in life. My certainty was my job as an educational assistant. The pay was decent and the benefits were good. I was able to work as an educational assistant in the morning and run my Kids 4 Kids programs and anti-bullying assemblies in the afternoon. I had worked as an educational assistant for 27 years. The job used to be extremely fulfilling as I felt I was growing my skill level and helping the students I was assigned to. Somewhere down the line, the job changed. I was no longer able to share my gifts with students. I was restricted to a role that involved dealing with behavior issues or working with students who had extreme deficiencies.
To be happy we need to feel that we are growing and that we have a purpose. I was no longer growing as an individual in this job, nor did I feel I had a purpose. So, why was I staying in a job that no longer served me? I did enjoy the sense of community, as I loved the individuals I was working with, however, I no longer enjoyed the job. The school board was being harassed by a specific educational group, who actually vilified me for presenting anti-bullying assemblies in Halton schools. The superintendents were forced to contact the schools I presented in as a response to these nay-sayers. My Kids 4 Kids business was being negatively affected by the politics of the school board, which was frustrating. All I wanted to do was help children deal with bullying and to inspire leadership.
Everything in me was telling me to JUMP. To leave the school board and focus solely on my Kids 4 Kids programs, summer camps, and presentations. What was holding me back from leaving?
All of a sudden the perfect storm hit. The educational assistants I enjoyed working with took jobs in other schools. My educational assignment also changed from the morning to the afternoon, which I couldn’t do. I no longer had to jump, as I was pushed! I did have the option to apply to other morning positions or take supply work. As time went on I started to realize that I had to jump and start focusing on my Kids 4 Kids work and this is what I did.
One thing that stops so many people from pursuing their dreams is the fear of failure. I see this in children all the time. They see failure as a weight that prevents them from trying new activities, pursuing new interests or going for gold. They would rather be certain and not risk failure, not realizing that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. There is no one on this planet who is successful who hasn’t failed. Failure is part of being successful because everytime you fail you have the opportunity to grow and learn. You get to the next level. My suggestion is to change how you look at failure. Instead of seeing as a weight that prevents you from achieving see it as an opportunity to reach your goals by the knowledge you receive from the failure. John Maxwell says it best, “Fail Forward.”
The only way you get to the next level in life is by taking risks. I was speaking with a young man who wants to become a filmmaker. He saved his money for two years so that he could finance a film, which he was to use to show what he could do. When I began to write books I hoped that I could get a publisher to finance the expense of producing a book. I got tired of waiting so I financed all 6 of my books myself. They are all at bestseller status. I wanted to offer a free leadership anti-bullying conference for students. I kept on receiving excuses for why I couldn’t do the conference, so again, I got tired of waiting and produced it myself. We had 1600 students in attendance. Quite often, the only way you get things done is to do it your self and take risks. The greater the risk the great the gain. So what gets in the way…..certainty. If you are not certain you think you cannot do it. My suggestion is to take risks, so you can make gains.
Figure out what you want in life and make it happen. There a lot of people out there who know what they want, but don’t have a plan to get there. They dream of becoming an author, but don’t take time to write; they want to be a singer, but don’t they don’t learn to sing. Nothing would be worst than getting to the end of your life and not realizing your dreams. I dreamt of being a famous rock singer and almost got my wish. After singing in a successful rock band for six years my dream changed. I realized I didn’t want to be famous. There were too many restrictions. Those six years weren’t wasted. I developed skills that help me now. I am able to present in front of thousands of people and I absolutely love it.
Develop a plan for your dreams, take a risk and go for it. You may or may not accomplish your dreams. but you will develop skills that will help you create other dreams.