“Imagination is the beginning of creation:
you imagine what you desire,
you will what you imagine,
and at last you create what you will.”George Bernard Shaw
As George Bernard Shaw said, imagination is the start of any creation. Be it a new business, new relationship, or just a better quality of something that already exists.
I have met and talked to many people that have vision boards and are pretty clear about the “idea” of what they want and how amazing that would be, once it manifests, some time in the future – and hopefully, soon! Yet, for some reason, their vision is still only on the vision board, even years later, and not happening in their life.
What is missing? Let’s explore it in two stories – one from personal and one from the business world.
Jessica’s Weight Loss Struggle
After the holidays, Jessica is having a hard time fitting in her favorite dress. Bravely, she decides to pull out the scale from under the bed, takes off anything she can to make herself lighter, and steps on the scale.
“What? How?!” Sense of despair and anger come over her. “I need to do something about this. Ten pounds up since October? Unbelievable!”
Jessica decides to “do something about it.” As her friend recommended, she joins the local gym (they do have a January special) and chooses to eat less.
She dreams of being able to fit into her favorite dress without feeling like a caterpillar in a cocoon with the danger of that cocoon (dress) ripping at any time. She imagines how she wants to look good at the summer vacation she is planning with her friends. She is excited about going to the gym!
Action Taking Phase & First Struggle
Jessica goes to the gym for one week. She is sore but still motivated. The second week comes. Her boss gives her more work to do; she needs to get to work sooner to catch up. She decides to go to the gym earlier. Three days later, the thoughts come up “You can take a day off; you have been working so hard! Come on, you deserve the rest. You need to focus on your work.” She sleeps in, skips the gym. “I’ll go tomorrow.” She says to herself.
Tomorrow comes. The alarm clock rings annoyingly in Jessica’s ear. Jessica slaps the snooze button and goes back to sleep. “I feel too tired to get up. Tomorrow”.
What is missing?
Jessica got motivated; she knows what to do to lose weight, he has the image of herself losing the weight, yet somehow, when things get harder, she loses the power to continue. In February, she is avoiding the scale and telling herself once she completes the project at work, she will get back on that gym horse again to ride to her ideal summer body destination.
What would you say she needs to get there? Read on.
Jack’s income growth
Jack has a second part-time income on the side – he is a rep for an insurance company. His car broke down, and he realized that it would cost him at least $2,000 to get it fixed. The $2,000 he currently doesn’t have in cash. Another expense on the credit card?
Jack has to put it on the credit card, and when he sees how much he needs to pay monthly to pay it off – including the interest Jack is getting charged, and fears he is going to get bold even faster from the additional stress. He decides he needs to do something about his financial situation. His current job pays him just essential bills, and Jack doesn’t want to quit because of the long-awaited raise. He decides to network more so he can sell more insurance and increase his income that way.
Jack sits down and calculates how much he needs to sell to have extra income to pay off his credit card debt. He pumps himself up and figures out the numbers he needs to hit monthly so he can pay it off within one year at the latest. He imagines how he could even get the hair treatment with extra income and prevent what’s left on his head from disappearing forever. He is excited and motivated. He looked up the first networking events to go to and has his insurance business card ready.
Action Taking Phase & First Struggle
The first event was a drag. None of the people he talked to were interested in scheduling a meeting with him. “Thank you, but I already have someone I work with.” – that’s what he heard multiple times. Yet, he doesn’t give up – he goes to the second event and the third.
After the third networking event, with only one follow-up meeting and no sale, he is ready to give up. “Maybe this is just not for me.” and “This is so hard! I’m in the wrong community!” are some of the popular thoughts that visit him often. He feels like giving up. And Jack feels cheated by those people who told him he could make money by selling insurance.
What is missing?
What would you say is missing for Jack? What would need to change for him to get back the motivation and inner strength he felt when he started and made the decision and imagined how fantastic it would be to make more money?
How to strategically struggle to success
Every success has a component of struggle in it. Call it focused effort, call it testing & failing before you succeed, call it sucking before you get better, or hassle, which has been the popular word in the entrepreneur’s community.
What word do you use to describe the “struggle”? What was missing for both Jessica and Jack in their process? It was to plan and prepare for their struggle strategically. What does it mean?
Neither of them dedicated time and energy before their action, taking to considering a few key questions that I ask my clients after we clarify the goal and action steps needed.
“What could get in the way of you accomplishing your goal?”
“What support do you need?”
“How and when are you going to get that support?”
They were hoping that motivation and knowing what they want will take them to where they want. When the first struggles, obstacles, and even rejections came up, they didn’t have the plan and support system in place to get them over it.
Choose your struggle strategically.
Many of us get caught up in the excitement of imagination and dreaming about the future and how wonderful it can be. It is an integral part of any process and growth – yet beware that it doesn’t become your escape route away from the struggle.
Any human, in any situation, will be faced with obstacles and struggles. It is a part of life, and of any creation, business or personal. The baby needs to struggle out together with the mother to get out into the word. The caterpillar struggles to get out of the cocoon.
If you want to reach your goals, prepare for the struggle and obstacles. Accept that struggle is part of any success. That will give you the freedom to choose your struggle.
“I start early, and I stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.”Lionel Messi. Argentinian professional footballer, often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards and a record six European Golden Shoes.
What struggle do you choose?
Is it struggle NOW so you can have the results later?
In Jessica’s story, she can choose the struggle of getting up earlier, even when all cells of her body, with the help of her brain, scream, “Sleep longer! Don’t get up! Do it tomorrow!” Once she trains her body (and mind) that that’s the new routine and habit, the struggle gets easier. And, later she can reap the benefits of feeling comfortable in her favorite dress! As a result of regular exercise and eating healthier, she will start feeling more energized during the day, which will also improve her work performance and possibly increase her income. Her support system to help her through the tough transition phase of creating a new habit is her fitness coach that she hired that is waiting for her in the gym. And who also tracks her performance and weight so she can see the difference and progress.
In Jack’s story, he can choose to struggle with facing rejection, and “Go for No.” Instead of being drained after an event, he can consider a win the number of “no’s” he has got and stay in the game longer. As a support system, he can choose to talk to other people in the company and take additional sales training classes and ask for mentoring. He decides to overcome his “I need to do it alone.” tendency and chooses to struggle with feeling vulnerable by asking for help and mentoring and facing possible rejection. He knows that this is what can take him to the next level, in his finances, and even in his current job – he can finally ask for the raise, instead of waiting for the management to give it to him.
Or do you choose to get back to the comfort zone NOW and face the struggle LATER of unpleasant consequences?
Both Jessica and Jack could choose to get back to what they know – even though not pleasant.
Jessica could continue blaming her job for her weight gain and lack of energy and be in the vicious circle of not getting much exercise – feeling sluggish and tired daily, which then gives her another reason to skip the gym. Isn’t it a struggle, though, you ask? Yes, but it is “familiar struggle,” and even though painful, it is “the devil that you know.” She chooses in this scenario to avoid the “new” struggle and stay with the familiar one. Without any accountability or support system that would support her in getting out of the known habits and take on the “new struggle,” her future probably holds more “struggle” than just struggling to get into her favorite dress. And that struggle, she will not be able to choose as easily – health issues may bring medical bills, her feeling tired may reduce her work productivity and ultimately, income. The cost of not accepting the “right struggle” can be high.
For Jack, if he gives up on networking and stays in the mindset of “I’m a failure.”, the chances of him getting a promotion or making more money in the future are bleak. And, if he never asks for help because that he sees as another sign of “weakness, that he cannot do it alone,” will keep him stuck. No support system, no new training – no mentoring & guidance to get out of the “familiar zone.” What do you think his future will look like if he chooses to avoid the “new struggle”? What kind of struggle will he probably face in the future?
The final question is for you.
Which struggle are you choosing in the area that you haven’t reached your goals yet?
.© LUCIE TESAROVA, MA, BCC
Interested in my own take on it and what inspired me to write this blog post? Watch the short video below:
PS: If you have a goal that you have a hard time reaching or are unsure about your next steps, and how to choose in a way that supports your success, I have helped clients that were in that spot. Uncertain, confused, anxious about the future, even exhausted from working hard but not getting the results that they wanted. Through coaching together, we not only established a stable support system but also clarified which struggle and goals to pick, which lead to the desired results.
Schedule a fee-free discovery call with me and find out how I can help.
To your success,
Lucie Tesarova, MA, BCC