“Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.”—Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
Tim Collins was studying hard for his Series Six license. To become a financial planner, he needed to pass a complicated test in order to receive his license to buy and sell securities. He had tried six times already, but had not passed. He knew the material perfectly, but a deep-seated fear of tests prevented him from achieving his goal. With each defeat, his determination to succeed grew stronger—but so did his fear of another disappointment.
He began each test with high expectations that yes, this time he would pass! But somewhere about three-quarters of the way through, the knotting fear would grip his throat like a noose, and the internal demon voices would scream, “You can’t do it! You’re not good enough!”
One evening, he was pouring over his books and his notes, when his teenage son Robert pulled up a chair and sat down beside him. “Dad,” he said, “I know you’re going to pass the test this time. Seven is a lucky number and this is your seventh try. I want you to remember, when you’re half way through the test, and the going gets rough, it doesn’t matter—because this time you are going to pass. Visualize yourself on the seventh green at the Pebble Beach golf course and putt the ball in the hole.”
Tim had tears in his eyes as he told me this story. His dear son had, in one of Tim’s darkest moments, held out to him love and hope and faith. Robert had created a vision for Tim to hold on to, so that he would be able to create sunshine and a green fairway in the midst of anxiety.
On the day of the test, Tim sat in front of the computer with some trepidation, but determination as well. the first part of the examination went well, and his spirits soared. Then, as before, after passing the half-way mark, the test got tougher, and Tim sagged in his chair. The negative voices started ringing in his ear, “See? It’s too tough for you. You’ll never make it.” But Tim remembered his son’s words, closed his eyes and turned his inner vision to the seventh green at Pebble Beach. He saw the bright sun, the green grass and the sparkling ocean. His golf ball lay on the green in perfect position. With a deep breath, he reached back, swung, and perfectly putted the ball into the hole. “Yes,” he whispered to himself, “I can do it!” With renewed energy and optimism, he opened his eyes and finished the test.
Of course, he passed.
“I can” will triumph over “I can’t” every time. You just have to focus on the outcome you want instead of the outcome you don’t want. Like phantom monsters under the bed, our fear demons lie in wait, ready to terrorize us with horrible “what if” pictures of disaster. But they are always banished to the shadows when we shine the light on our goals. When we choose to see the battle won, the goal achieved, and the ball sunk perfectly in the hole, our reality starts taking shape in that direction.
And we don’t have to do it alone. There are life support teams of dolphins swimming by you every moment. They could even be your children. Park their words of wisdom in your mind and let them cheer you on.
The seventh green is waiting for you.
“I am safe and successful on the seventh green!”
My friend, Harriet Cohen, sent me and article from one of her newsletters. It’s a good reminder that we all have a hopeful future if we rise up to meet it!
I recently read Seth Godin’s blog, http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/12/the-worlds-worst-boss.html and Chellie Campbell’s quotes for day 362 and 3 from the “Wealthy Spirit” speak about purpose and that on our journey there will be rough patches that are important to recognize and move on.
Then I see the Judy Garland quote posted by Jodi Michele Cooley, “Always be a first-rate version of you, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
So now the question that keeps popping up is are you being the best for you or are you grumbling about why others seem to have it better, easier, or nicer?
What are you doing to recharge you to see your purpose and your strengths to be who you were meant to be and the best you deserve?
All of our roads have bumps and pot holes, and even garbage. We can get stuck there and complain or we can, and this is the hard part, regain our value, be a better boss for ourselves and realize the road to success is wide open. We just have to be willing to do our best work.
This time of year often causes more angst and stress and we lose sight of all we are, have done, and can be. Joan Rivers once told an audience to have their pity party, with or without the ice cream but after 2 days get out of bed face the world and get back on track. I encourage you to write a list of all you accomplished in 2011 and recognize your strengths as you begin to plan your goals for 2012. Add one goal about being a better guide for yourself and know that the opportunities are waiting for you and your success.
Harriet Cohen is a terrific coach and business consultant. Her company Training Solutions provides clients expert assistance in the various disciplines of business development, strategic planning, human resources, training and development. You can find out more about her and her services at www.trainingsolutions-hlc.com.