I was watching planet earth recently and David Attenborough spoke of how the growth of one single tree, that broke through the canopy, gave life to thousands of other plants and wildlife. The same goes for us. We all are fighting to break above the canopy of mediocrity in different senses and when we do break through it, not only do we fulfil our dreams, but we also give to others in ways we could never have imagined. It is this growth and this journey that provides life to others, ourselves and serves as an example of the possible. Here are the three ways this works.
1. Breaking a trend
As you step out into the arena, as Brené Brown puts it, and commit yourself fully to the journey you most desire, you ignite the same drive in others. You are the result of the people you spend the most time with, so if you can step into the arena against all the odds will it not serve those closest to you? The more people you meet, the more people you share your best self with, the more people who hear of you or see you from afar, the more you give to others and all simply by stepping out into the arena and doing what you love. Nothing is as inspirational as seeing someone on their path to outstanding. The only way this can happen is by putting your work out into the world and letting it and you been seen without a “fear of judgement”.
2. How do we do this?
I have found, on countless occasions, that trying to push yourself towards a goal is nigh on impossible until you reach a point when you find yourself pulled towards it inadvertently. Your goal has to scare you, it has to make your stomach turn (in a good ish way!), it has to be beyond your current self so that when you reach it you have become someone that has changed in ways you couldn’t foresee.
Now, having ambition and goals is fantastic, but as Steven Pressfield says, to actually Do the Work, is where the tough part starts. You need to surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do. If you are most innovative or most ambitious person in your peer group, you need to put yourself out there and find a new group. Leaving and moving on is one of the hardest things to do, but it is always worth it if you know you need to do it.
I recently did this and moved school having found myself stagnating and losing that buzz and a new environment completely turned that around. Oftentimes, it is much easier to change your environment and peer group than it is to try and force yourself to change and grow with mere willpower. So move on if you need to, but don’t run away from something that you need to face – ask yourself the question:
“Am I moving towards something new that I need or running away from something old that I can’t face?”
3. Selfish or selfless?
I had a long chat with one of my best friends over whether a seemingly selfless deed is inherently selfish. It is fair to say we disagreed! Even though it is controversial and something that I don’t claim to have the answer to, I do have a suggestion: only you know whether the former or the latter is true. I propose that it is only when you consciously commit to your wildest dreams from a place of abundance and selflessness from the start, that you will ever feel truly fulfilled.
Often I have found myself so caught up in the frenzy of an enticing goal, only to find myself realising that I don’t want for that “success”, but rather for the person I would be if I had that “success”… Are you chasing a goal or a feeling?
“Think not over what it is you desire, but rather over who you have to become to accomplish what it is you desire” – Tony Robbins
If you commit to becoming the person capable of fulfilling your dreams, the deed cannot be selfish. For your journey will feed the imagination of others, inspire them on their own journeys and ultimately accomplish what you desire having grown and given all the while. You will become a person who helped others on the way, a person that gave back and a person that opened the door of the possible to the world.
This is why we all need to seek to become the person who can fulfil our wildest dreams, rather than blindly grasping at the object of “success”, which ultimately will elude us all if our personal growth is not part of the journey.
“Success without fulfilment is the ultimate failure” – Tony Robbins