Don’t quit. You are closer than you think. Did you know? The average ‘overnight success’ takes between five and ten years to occur (in the case of Steve Jobs, it took almost two decades.
Yep. Annoying, isn’t it? If you have launched your own business or are halfway into the start up process, it’s easy to become discouraged. It’s easy to doubt your sanity.
You may be one of those folks who has “harbors aren’t what ships are for,” ingrained on a permanent loop in your head. Good. If you have a spark of vision for What Could Be, don’t lose it.
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” ~ William Feather
A visual of independence that I hold in my head: a lone hiker at the summit of a great mountain. From this height, she is able to look back at the obstacles she has overcome; the challenges she faced and the solutions she generated in order to circumvent them.
She had many opportunities to rest, and there were some switchbacks taken. Some shortcuts that turned out to be dead ends… but her vision of reaching the mountaintop was the fuel that kept her going when it would have been easier to turn back.
There may have been other climbers along with her that would encourage her to do so, saying, “You’ve come so far! You’ve already achieved so much. You should be proud and happy of doing so well.”Â
Persistence and belief in her goal are the keys to her blasting through those well-intentioned thoughts and attaining the summit.
This week prior, I had an opportunity to refocus and recommit myself to “the summit.” I had landed a great meeting with a CEO of a nonprofit that has a direct connection with employing the women we serve through Women With Drive Foundation. Going into the meeting, I had a vision of connecting our organization with businesses who would need a workforce.
I left with an appointment and an assignment to do some work on our organization in order to fit the scale of a metropolitan area the size of Chicago. Cue the deflating Pac Man sound, right? Wrong. This was a gift.
“…But the moment you turn a corner you see another straight stretch ahead and there comes some further challenge to your ambition.”Â ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
How many times have we begun a project only to be thwarted a few days, weeks, months or years into the task? Anyone who has attempted a goal has met with unexpected delays, unforeseen outcomes and misjudged reality.
These obstacles are tools meant to not only test your mettle, but to help you flex your independence muscles. At this stage in the game, your ability to assess and distill the lesson from the obstacle determines your next steps.
Â How creative can you be?
Â *Have* you been going in the wrong direction?
Â How skilled are you at sifting out opportunity from chaos?
Â What lessons will you learn?
Â What will you leave behind as you make your ascent to the mountain top?
Â How badly do you want your vision to materialize?
“A door opens to me. …I go in and am faced with a hundred closed doors.”Â ~ Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
This quote reminds me of a movie reference from Cinderella. Two intrepid mice, Jaq and Gus, get the key to Cinderella’s room from the pocket of the stepmother. On the other side of the door that the key unlocks, they encounter a mind-numbing spiral of stairs that reaches the top of the turret, where they plan to free Cinderella.
Sometimes, we work so hard toward a goal that when we finally achieve it, we are dismayed to find that it is merely an intermediate goal. Upon “succeeding,”Â we are faced with yet even more challenges. It can be very easy to feel discouraged at this point.
That is precisely why, at this time, that we must review our ultimate goal, our motivations for achieving it and refresh our vision of what it will mean for us to realize it. We must begin again, refocusing and persevering until we finish what we started.
Obstacles are not only ‘those frightful things that we see when we take our eyes off our goal,’ they are the very things that develop our muscles that help us achieve our goals. Pay attention to the obstacles that present themselves as you “climb your personal mountain.” These are your opportunities for growth and development.
That is the way to independence. What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are? How did you do it?
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter asÂ @mckra1g orÂ @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive) or like them on facebook.