I’ve always been a daydreamer. I’ve not always been a dream follower. That takes skill, but it’s not out of reach for anyone. When a dream becomes a goal, it’s easy to make it happen. That is, it’s easy to make it happen if you are willing to do the work to overcome your shackles every single day. Every! Single! Day!

If you have ever been to a therapist or watched Oprah, then you know that we carry loads of baggage around with us. When you go on vacation, you unpack your baggage, put it away, and you set off to relax or have fun, right? Do you notice that the more baggage you bring, the more difficult it is (or the more time that it takes) to put it away and be on your way? How about if you don’t unpack? It takes twice the time to find what you need, straighten it out, and use it. Right?

It’s the same when setting off to meet a goal: unpack your baggage, put it away, set off to conquer. If you try to meet your goal without addressing your baggage; it’s going to take a lot longer and you are going to spend more time straightening, undoing, redoing, and getting going.

There are six categories that your mental baggage falls into. These six shackles hold you back from even starting your dream. They slow you down when you do start. They make it harder to accomplish the work. That is, unless you unpack them, acknowledge them, and put them away.


Mental work: self-talk

Fear is an emotion. It can be defined as an unpleasant belief that your actions will cause pain, danger, or a threat. Fears about entrepreneurship and change are usually unfounded, but they can take the most skilled and articulate person and turn them into a confused tail-chasing puppy. Fear should never be allowed to be the catalyst for decisions about your job or your future. Some fears grounded in reality are fear of loss (sleep, time, money, family); fear of success (fame, visibility, polarization, publicity); fear of change (routine, friends, support, networks, patterns, roles, titles). So, ask yourself. Is your goal worth the cost? Write out a cost-benefit analysis, as simple as a T-Chart, and be honest about the risks associated with your goal. If they are worth it to you, you have your answer. Keep this chart handy. Add to it. Make it a part of your daily routine to review it, acknowledge it, and put it away. You control your emotions; they don’t control you.

Time Management

Mental work: discipline

Control your time or your time will control you. As an entrepreneur, especially a pajama-wearing one, poor time-management can seriously derail me. I either don’t get anything done in the name of distraction, poor planning, and overwhelm; or I work myself into a dry-eyed zombie whose words are senseless. Most people work best with one of three scheduling mechanisms: time-blocking, a daily agenda scheduled by minute, hours, or section, or a list process. Personally, I like a list process. My days are never identical and I can accomplish more, meet goals, and allow my creativity to flow if I use a list process. I still use Google Calendar on my phone and laptop for appointments, but I can work up til events and after them seamlessly. Regardless of your scheduling preference, slay the beast of time by being intentional about your daily activities, goals, actions, and tasks.


Mental work: organization & planning

Time management can take a big bite out of the power that overwhelm has over you. However, there is some mental work here. In order for time management to work, you have to learn to manage your projects. Create a timeline of upcoming projects. From there, outline the scope and sequence of the tasks. Fill in your calendar with deadlines, due dates, and soft targets. List your goals, actions, and tasks. Delegate and assign. Incorporate this into your scheduling mechanism so that you have an ongoing checkpoint for project management. This takes your idea from dream to goal to reality.

Competing Commitments

Mental work: analysis

Once you narrow down your goals, actions, and tasks, what happens? Something? Or nothing? Have you ever made progress toward your goal and then find yourself sabotaging your own success? Think of it in terms of a diet. You cut out foods that you know will keep you from your target weight/health/fitness goal. When you start to close in on your goal, you begin allowing yourself more treats. You begin reasoning with yourself: one little bit won’t hurt, one day off won’t hurt, I deserve this, I’m almost there, etc. It’s very clear that you have blocked yourself from your goal. What is usually harder to discern is why. This is the hard part. Figuring out why you sabotage yourself can be tough. A second set of eyes helps tremendously. What may seem obvious can be a lot deeper and a lot more complex that you first realize. In terms of the example of dieting, maybe you go back to old habits because you believe subconsciously that certain foods are comforting. Maybe it’s because you don’t want to deal with people praising your weight loss or change in appearance. Talk with a mentor or peer to help you dig deep and really analyze what it is that holds you back. Then, make a daily effort to acknowledge it and commit yourself to success.


Mental work: persistence

So, you feel really passionate about changing your life. You’ve got a business plan, a vision, a mission. You even have tasks and a timeline. But when it comes down to making it happen, you fold. You stop cold. Are you too comfortable in your misery? If you are in a 2-income family or you have a comfortable, yet unfulfilling, day job, you may be more likely to lack the determination to grind. Sometimes, the amount of pain needed to get the ball rolling just isn’t there. If you really want it, you need to work hard to identify your “why” and list your pain points. Use them in your daily routine. Acknowledge them and keep yourself focused on them. This step is going to be most important for you if you are pretty comfy in your current situation. Be intentional.


Mental work: Reflection

Insecurity is an equal opportunity destroyer. People of all levels of success, degree, status, and circumstance can fall into it’s trap. The good news is that it’s just a mirage. Insecurity is your mind’s way of protecting you from too much risk. Taken to extremes, it can keep us from doing all kinds of amazing things. Harnessed, it can fuel you to new levels of success. What is it that you think makes you less qualified or experienced than someone else? For everyone that you find to be more articulate, better dressed, skinnier, curvier, whatever….there are three examples of people who are equally successful and not as articulate, well dressed, thin, curvy, etc. The point is that each person is a unique and extraordinary individual with a specific story, background, and personality. Your voice and message is needed. Someone is waiting just for you. Reflect on your insecurities and use them to craft your message. Let that which seeks to hold you back be used to strengthen you.

There is good reason for a coaching revolution in business today. The journey from idea to success can be long and confusing. Find a peer, mentor, or coach that you can talk to and tap into their insights for empowerment and growth. It will come back to you in good measure.

Originally published at www.myessentialsolutions.net