Every dream starts small and every grand achievement first begins as an idea.
You’ve probably heard some version of this saying before, and while true, there is a messy middle that is always left out.
This messy middle is the area between the small dream, and the eventual achievement. It’s an area we should all come to learn more about, because it’s the area where dreams die.
If you have a dream or a goal you are striving to realize, you may want to familiarize yourself with this area. Why? Because cliffs are easier to avoid when we know they are there.
For those that want to avoid giving up on their dreams, keep reading.
The Messy Middle
One thing I’ve realized while striving to bring my own dreams to life, is that they are constantly being tested. They are constantly tested by the ever changing shifts in industry, tested by time constraints, tested by changing emotions, tested by consistently changing circumstances. Our dreams are constantly being tested by life. This makes goal achievement, dream achievement, striving…extremely messy in the middle.
There will always be unexpected factors (external and internal) that get tossed into the equation on our journey. These extra factors will always change the landscape of the path towards our intended end. The push and pull of life, ensures that the path is never a straight one.
During my personal STRIVE to create something out of nothing, I’ve been tested more times than I’d like to admit. This test I speak of, always comes in either the form of a loss of enthusiasm, a lack of motivation, or an uptick in self-sabotaging thoughts and self-doubt.
When things don’t go according to plan, we question the very soundness of our dream. Asking ourselves,”is this even realistic?”
We wonder why we feel so unmotivated, or why we lack the fire we had just a few days ago.
Often, when we can’t quickly pin point the answer, we start to wonder if our decision to pursue our big lofty goals was even the right choice. We then wonder if we should throw in the towel and just give up.
Cycles of Motivation
What I’ve come to realize, is that there is a pattern to these feelings of wanting to give up. These feelings come about like clock-work at least every three months. And for some people it could even be a weekly or monthly thing. The duration can be different for different people, and vary based on the types of pursuits we are engaged in.
Regardless of the duration, it is phenomena that you should come to count on. There are cycles to motivation.
This is the way it normally plays out. You begin your journey, you feel supercharged, highly motivated, and ready to conquer the world. You have 100% confidence that what you are doing will work and everyone will love it!
You relentlessly attack your dreams, your goals, for a few weeks. But then, you get your first forms of feedback (or no feedback at all), and an unpleasant form of reality starts to kick in. It is at this moment, that you realize your ideas, products, projects, or services are not receiving the type of fanfare or excitement that you imagined the whole world would have displayed by now. Or, you feel the results you’re getting, aren’t quite measuring up against the amount of effort you are putting in. In short, your effort and your results aren’t on par with each other. When this happens, in minutes, you can go from feeling like hero to a zero.
This feeling, this moment in time of our journey is completely normal. What you are experiencing, is known as the dip, and there are ways out of it. If you are reading this, you may be in a position where you want to give up at this point. Typically, these moments are moments of truth. Moments when you are forced to be honest with yourself and make the decision of whether your dream, or your goal is really worth it.
Know this before you quit; everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who is striving for a big goal will come to experience these dips eventually. The difference between the ones who realize their dreams or their big audacious goals, and the ones who don’t, is that the achievers, make up their mind to find a way through this murky area.
7 Tips to Get You Through The Dips
To help you blast through this swamp, this slog, this horrid place where dreams usually die, I am going to provide you with 7 tips you can use to help you get through these dips.
1-Remember Why You Started
Sometimes, all we need to revive our mojo and our momentum, is a deep dive into why we got started in the first place.
If your motivation is sagging, and you feel like you are ready to give up, don’t. Do this first. Set aside a day if you can, and just deliberate on the very reasons you were so pumped to rock your dream just a few months ago. When you do this, you will reconnect with those initial factors that inspired you to action in the first place.
When you give yourself some time to remember why you are chasing your dream, you increase the likely hood that you will stick to it.
2-Talk To Someone
One of the worst things you can do, is to just throw in the towel before letting anybody know. Trust me, I’ve done this in the past, and I’ve regretted it.
When you talk with someone about what you are going through, you are giving your dream another chance at life.
When we open up to someone we trust and whom we know believed in the project or journey we’ve embarked upon, we create an opportunity to release some of the stress and negative feelings we’ve accumulated from our recent dip. In addition to this, we also create an opportunity to receive the slight positive nudge of encouragement that we really needed. That nudge of encouragement to just keep moving forward towards our goals. Don’t kill your dream, talk to someone first.
3 – Join a Mastermind Group
Revive your efforts with the encouragement and cooperative efforts that are typically found within a mastermind group.
What’s a mastermind group? In short, it is a group of two or more people whom you meet with regularly, to brainstorm with and encourage one another. The purpose of these groups is to encourage and help each member of the group reach their goals.
This tip can be a tricky one to initiate, especially if you are lacking motivation. However, if you can find a way to join a free or paid mastermind group, you will gain access to the type of feedback and encouragement that your dreams need to stay alive. A best practice is to have one of these groups already in place, before you desperately need one.
4 – Delay Decisions Temporarily
If you feel like giving up, don’t make any rash decisions. Instead, decide to give your dream a temporary pause. Part of this pause is delaying any and all decisions related to moving forward, or throwing in the towel all together. Many times, all we need is a bit of time away from the grind. When we give ourselves this time, we allow ourselves to gain a better perspective on our life, our goals, and our dreams.
Sometimes, all we really need is a timeout.
5 – Ignore The Discouragement and Take Small Steps
This tip is basically persistence in action. Many times, if we make up our minds to ignore those normal feelings of discouragement, and just decide to take a few more small steps towards your goal, we’ll get over our slump.
This is definitely not a pain free option. To implement it, don’t do anything drastic, don’t make any decisions, just keep taking small steps in your originally planned direction. Action begets action. And some times, all that is needed, is a little kick start of momentum. And you may be surprised to find out that, that small amount of momentum was just enough to allow for you to come to the conclusion that things will work out.
6 – Ensure You’ve Set a Smart Goal
If you’ve tried everything above, and you still feel like ‘it just ain’t going to happen’, try dissecting your goals to see if you set yourself up for failure from the get go. Maybe you just needed to set up a S.M.A.R.T goal, which is a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Many people find themselves discouraged when their goals stop seeming obtainable. And many times, goals quickly seem unobtainable when they weren’t set up as smart goals from the onset.
Maybe you don’t have to give up, maybe you just need to give your goals a SMART tune-up. To do so, make sure you goals follow these rules:
Specific—What, why, who, where, and which?
Measurable—How much, how many, how will I know when it’s accomplished?
Achievable—How can I accomplish this, is it attainable, how realistic is it?
Relevant—Reasonable, realistic, worthwhile, results-based?
Time-bound—When, what can I do 3 months from now, 6 months, today?
7 – Elicit The Advice of an Expert or Coach
Your last line of defense before throwing in the towel should be your sincere seeking out advice from an expert.
Before giving up, reach out to someone who has already done something similar to that which you are trying to do. If you can’t find an expert who has done what you are striving to achieve, you can seek out a coach who has helped others achieve a similar goal.
If you pick the brain of an expert who has gone through what you are going through, you may learn a few key insights that you couldn’t see yourself. And many times, these seemingly small insights can help you improve your results. And more often than not, improved results is all we really need to give us that extra jolt of confidence needed to keep to it, to stay on track towards achieving our dreams.
Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams
There you have it… seven tips to get you through your dips. Seven ways to help you help you avoid giving up.
Yes, dreams start small; however, the ideas that get chased with massive action, persistence, and a resolute determination, are the ideas that get actualized.
If you really want your dream to work, go through each of these steps, one by one.
If you’ve done every single one of these steps to try to revive your motivation, yet your enthusiasm and desire to keep moving forward has flat-lined, then, perhaps a pivot is in order.
Obviously, there are times when quitting and giving up is necessary. But I believe you chose your grand goal for a reason. Which is why I hope this article helps you stick with it to the end.
Use these tips to push through your messy middle, and get back to reaching for your dreams! STRIVE!