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 ships, steering them toward whatever they desire, while others float the boat without a compass or a captain. They go along with wherever the boat takes them.
Certainty is one of the necessities of life. We all need certainty to be happy. We must 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 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 have 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 behaviour issues or working with students who had extreme deficiencies.
To be happy, we need to feel we are growing and 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 vilified me for presenting anti-bullying assemblies in Halton schools. The superintendents were forced to contact the schools I presented to respond to these nay-sayers. My Kids 4 Kids business was 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 passed, I realized that I had to jump in and focus on my Kids 4 Kids work, which 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. No one on this planet is successful who hasn’t failed. Failure is part of success because you can grow and learn every time you fail. You get to the next level. I suggest changing how you look at failure. Instead of seeing it as a weight that prevents you from achieving, see it as an opportunity to reach your goals through the knowledge you receive from failure. John Maxwell says it best, “Fail Forward.”
Taking risks is The only way to get to the next level in life. I was speaking with a young man who wants to become a filmmaker. He saved his money for two years to finance a film, which he was to use to show what he could do. When I began to write books, I hoped to get a publisher to finance the expense of producing a book. I got tired of waiting, so I financed all six books myself. They are all at bestseller status. I wanted to offer a free leadership anti-bullying conference for students. I kept receiving excuses for not doing 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 yourself and take risks. The greater the risk, the greater the gain. So what gets in the way…..certainty. You need to be certain to do it. I suggest taking risks so you can make gains.
Could you figure out what you want in life and make it happen? There are many people out there who know what they want but need a plan to get there. They dream of becoming an author but don’t take the time to write; they want to be a singer but need to learn to sing. Nothing would be worse 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 were well-spent. I developed skills that help me now. I can present in front of thousands of people and 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.