You have a gift to share with the world. Yes, I’m talking to you!
Right now, through the sum of your life experiences, there lies within you an idea for a bestselling book, a groundbreaking business or Oscar-winning movie. It’s planted in your mind, patiently waiting. These gifts have the potential to take your life to a whole new level of breakthrough and set you down a path of purpose and success.
But, the sad fact is most of you will never explore your gifts and talents, and your potential ideas and creations will remain hidden from the world, kept on a dusty shelf in a corner recess of your mind.
So, what holds you back? What keeps you from expressing or exploring your gifts?
Does it come down to access to money or opportunity? No. There are many stories of men and women who came from nothing but, through being resourceful, they managed to succeed and build empires in their respective industries.
Lazarus Zim grew up in apartheid South Africa in a small Free State town. His father was a spray painter and the family lived a modest life. He had the determination to succeed, against all odds. Through sheer hard work and perseverance, he focused on his schooling and studies, on a quest for knowledge. Lazarus went on to become the CEO of Anglo American and has served on the board of many South African blue-chips. In 2010, he was listed as one of SA’s wealthiest businessmen, with a whopping net worth of R1.4bn.
I am sure Lazarus had many challenges to overcome. Hey, we all do – and that is what makes the journey all the more exciting. Along the road, we will undoubtedly encounter resistance and barriers placed in our path. So, here are my three biggest barriers to breakthrough:
These barriers are like trained, lethal killers – kind of like Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. They are skilled assassins, crippling your progress in life and taking out your ideas, goals and dreams, one by one. In full force, they can keep you in a perpetual holding pattern, stuck in neutral – where you feel irritable and frustrated because your life has come to a standstill.
It’s a pretty glum story, right? But, the good news, is that they can be overcome.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Fear is defined as an emotional response to perceived danger. I love this definition, especially the fundamental word ‘perceived’. Oh boy, how our perceptions can sometimes be so off the mark. I can understand fear in the context of walking in the bush and a lion suddenly appears out of nowhere. That’s real. That beast could freaking kill you. Be afraid, be very afraid.
But, more times than most, when we encounter fear, we are far from a life threatening situation. We experience the emotion most when we project into the future; thinking about an event, task or even a state of mind, that hasn’t yet occurred – and may never occur. We fear being alone, feeling inadequate, being judged, criticised or even ridiculed.
9 times out of 10, the thing we fear never transpires. That’s why I like to call fear a deception rather than perception. Most fear is a delusion, a lie we keep telling ourselves until we are convinced it is real – but it is not.
For many years I have wanted to write. Yet, I was held back by my crippling fear of inadequacy. I kept telling myself things like: “Surely I can’t write, I’ve never done a course or practised writing. What if my content is garbage? What if I am judged by colleagues or work peers for exposing my alcoholism and drug addiction?”
For years, I kept telling myself that I just wasn’t good enough. Know the feeling? I didn’t have the guts to even start. Not a single word or sentence made it onto a page. Now, in hindsight, it’s pretty ridiculous, really.
After publishing my first post, I received the most amazing messages – from friends, family and even complete strangers. Everyone was supportive, thankful and even encouraged by my act of vulnerability. It was the opposite of what I had expected when I had been crippled by fear.
To be honest, I wish I had started sooner…
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” – Steven Pressfield
The cliche, unfortunately, rings true. ‘Everything you every dreamed of lies on the other side of fear’. What you fear the most is more than likely the one thing that will bring you closest to your breakthrough, onto the path of your purpose and God-given destiny.
“Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” – Marilyn Monroe
We’ll come back to this topic a bit later. First I need to make coffee and check Instagram. Oh, and I just remembered I need to call my Mum. Ooh, look who just WhatsApped me… Catch my drift?
“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky
Guilty as charged. I am a master procrastinator and this is my biggest stumbling block. Even today. I could not write this post in one session. Instead, between paragraphs, I chose to watch a few episodes of Million Dollar Listing, surfed YouTube and did countless other random activities. I promise I will get better, eventually. So don’t be hard on yourself, we all fall victim to procrastination.
“Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Edward Young
I love this quote because it sums up the sole mission of procrastination. It’s a simple mission. At all costs, it’s purpose is to divert your time, from important tasks that could potentially change your life, to menial tasks that have little or no impact on your growth or success.
“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – Napoleon Hill
Confused about this one? I thought so. Yes, people can be a major barrier to breakthrough – and often it’s the people closest to us.
Pursuing your gift and expressing your creativity takes something from you that you can never get back – time. Think of the vast amount of hours you need to pour into starting a new business, studying via correspondence or practising a craft like writing. It doesn’t come easy and it sure as hell doesn’t come fast.
Now you are placed in a position where you have to choose where to focus your energy and time. Do you go out with your mates, spend time lounging on the couch with your partner, or do you pursue that new idea that’s been on your mind for so long?
Let’s face it, it’s way easier to kick back and chill or socialise. Pushing forward, giving birth to something new and exciting takes effort, energy and hard work.
“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.” – Nicholas Sparks
If your friends, lover, partner or family have not bought into your vision and the path you are on, they will do whatever it takes to get your attention and steal your time. By nature as humans, we are selfish, and if we love someone we want to spend time with them.
A simple remedy
So what is the cure? How do we oppose and counteract the three biggest barriers to breakthrough?
The solution is simple and can be defined in a single word – ACTION.
And that will be the topic of the next post… I promise I won’t procrastinate.
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