I recently had the opportunity to hear Eric Weinmeyer speak. He is best known as the only blind person to reach the top of Mount Everest, and now has the additional honor of being one of less than 100 people to climb the seven summits (the highest peaks on all of the seven continents), and the only blind person to have ever done so. Eric had a number of really amazing pieces of advice, including the importance of embracing adversity and using it to your advantage and how we are all dependent on the people around us (our team) to get us to the top. But, the most profound thing he said, that had an amazing impact on me was when he spoke about the first time he ever climbed. His first climbing experience was rock climbing and he talked about how all he was doing was "reaching into the dark". And, how all of us, no matter what we are doing, are really just reaching into the dark.
In a training class once, they drew 5 dots on a piece of paper and gave us instructions to connect these dots using four straight lines. I drew the five dots and then I started at the paper and came up with numerous ways (none of which worked) on how to do the exercise. About 2 minutes into it, the instructor said, "notice how many of you have not even had your pen touch the paper yet. You will not draw a line until you have the solution figured out." And, I thought, yeah, that just makes sense. But, instead, it was a realization that I really don't like to start anything until I know the entire solution - I have to have the whole blueprint mapped out before I stick my toe into the water. And, that is really hard to do, when you are reaching into the dark. For everything each of us takes on, every challenge, or new growth opportunity, it is a new experience for us. And, in that moment, each of us are taking a step into the unknown. Listening to Eric, I was amazed at how much fun he was having doing just that - trying something new, with no guarantees or assurances that it would work out. Unlike most of the challenges I face, Eric decided to reach into the dark and take a risk with his life. Reaching into the dark when you are climbing mountains, or kayaking in while water rapids, is not a "safe" risk. And, if Eric is willing to do that, then surely, I can try something new, take a risk, a step into the darkness to achieve my dream.
All of that sounds simple enough; and, if you hear Eric speak, there really is no option but to step towards your dreams, since he has not allowed any excuses to get in his way. But, for many of us, the first step is the hardest. Below are five tips on taking that first step to reach into the darkness:
1. Ask yourself "what is the worst thing that could happen"? Understanding of the worst case scenario and more importantly, realizing that you will survive it is powerful. You can spend time thinking about the what if negative scenarios, but, make sure you balance those with the what if positive scenarios. What if you took this step and it led you to exactly what you wanted and needed?
2. Build a team of supporters. Every time I get ready to do something that scares me, I tell a few people who I know love and support me. When I tell them and they get excited about the idea, I am reminded that I can do this and have the skills, talents, and desire necessary. Once I have that boost of confidence, it is easy to tell 5, 10, 20 more people and get the help I need to achieve it. The key step is to always start with the people who already think you are a super star! Once you tell people what you want to do, chances are they will help you think of ways of getting it done.
3. Build your asking muscle. You may have heard the saying that everything you want is right outside of your comfort zone. In order to get to the next level in your business or to get to the next level in your fitness, you are going to have to learn something new or do something different than what you are doing today. And, in order to do that, you are going to need help. Ask people to help you. Most of the time, they will. Most people love the opportunity to do something to help someone else - all of it starts with asking for what you need with the confidence that they will be thrilled to help you. When I teach people the power of asking, I always have them start in a restaurant by asking for dessert for free. It is a pretty easy ask and almost always the Manager will say yes. I once went to a really nice, very high end, sushi restaurant in Los Angeles and asked for free dessert. The waiter looked at me and said, "we don't do that here". Being an asker, I asked to speak to the Manager. Next thing you know, my friend and I were having dessert for free.
4. Take a smaller step (reduce the risk). If the next step seems too big or too scary, start with a smaller step. If diving into the water is too much, start by sticking your toe in. If contacting a publisher to represent your book is too big, start by publishing an article in a local paper. Each step that you take will build the confidence to take bigger and bigger steps towards your goals.
5. Have faith. I believe that the dream that you are given was given to you for a reason. It is your job to take that dream and make it into reality. Have faith that the dream is not just for you but is to be of service to others. Take a moment to think of how your reaching into the dark will help someone else. Being focused on the positive impact your goals have on others is a powerful boost to take a step.
Hi! Welcome to my blog, Lunch with Cinderella. I love writing about my life experiences and the fact that they may help spur some cool experiences of your own. If you are here, leave a comment... I read them all and love hearing from you!
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