Published on 28th January 2014
Have you ever decided not to pursue a career opportunity because you’re unsure if you will make the grade? Or not pushed to get that promotion opportunity you think you really deserve?
With the New Year upon us, we all have resolutions and goals we want to achieve in the coming year. But how can we motivate ourselves to be the very best we can be?
I recently watched a talk by Diane Nyad called ‘Never, Ever Give Up’.
Diane, a world-record breaking long distance swimmer, was the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Some of the greatest swimmers in the world had tried and failed this challenge since the 1950’s and Diane herself already had 4 failed attempts behind her. However, on her 60th birthday she decided she wasn’t ready to give up and set out to train again for the greatest challenge of her life.
She was up against sharks, jelly-fish, extreme-currents and the Gulf Stream, not to mention 50+ hours of swimming without a rest. Yet, after 4 previous attempts, she finally succeeded and fulfilled her dream of becoming the first swimmer to ever make that journey in what became an unforgettable life experience for her.
But what led Diane to success on this epic journey?
It was all about perseverance. Her mantra was ‘find a way’. Whatever challenges and obstacles she faced in achieving her goal, she decided she would find a way to overcome them. Diane believed in her dream, she persevered and she found a way to succeed.
What about you? You might not be planning to swim an ocean anytime soon, but you can adopt some simple tactics to help yourself achieve your own goals. After all, persevering to secure that dream job or promotion couldn’t be worse than facing an ocean full of jelly fish and sharks…
Set yourself a clear goal and visualise it
Be as specific as possible. Understand what drives you to succeed and in what direction to you want to take your career. Set yourself a clear goal, visualise it and then take whatever steps are necessary to make it happen. For example, elite athletes often set themselves a time they want to beat and visualise themselves winning a race ahead of time. This leads me onto my second point…
Break your goal down into smaller chunks
It can sometimes feel overwhelming when the road to success is a long one. Instead of feeling discouraged, break your goals down into small, achievable steps. For example, if you decide you want to become an accountant but have no experience in the field, your first goal might be to find out what qualifications you’ll need to make that happen. Armed with that information, your next goal would be to apply to a study centre or for an internship, and so on.
Make sure that your attitude is based around success. Everybody gets knockbacks from time to time but maintaining a positive attitude is key to bouncing back and persevering when things don’t go to plan. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Believe in yourself rather than comparing yourself to others.
Learn from your mistakes
If it doesn’t happen first time around, learn from the experience and try again.
Get the help you need
Depending on your goal this could mean hiring a mentor, private tutor or coach. Although it is possible to accomplish your goals alone, there is great value to be had in reaching out to others. Remember, even the greatest leaders have teams of advisors behind them and the most successful athletes rely heavily on their coaches. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and encouragement from positive role models to keep yourself on track.
In the words of Diane Nyad: “Never, ever give up”
If you want something badly enough, then you just need to find a way to make it happen, however long that may take. Diane Nyad didn’t achieve her goal until she was in her 60s, David Dick, a great-grandfather who left school at 14 achieved his dream of gaining a PHD at the age of 84 and Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner, didn’t run his first race until the age of 89!
So what are your goals? And what keeps you motivated?
Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.