Sunday, January 18, 2009

Success is a course of action, Don't You Give Up Now

We are often so much closer to achieving our goals and dreams than we could imagine. The Bible says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". Find out all that it takes to to reach every goal and dream.

At midnight on January 1, I wonder how many people renewed the same resolutions they made the New Years before and the New Years before that? Why is it so hard to follow through on the list of things we say are most important to change in our lives? Why do we find ourselves repeating the same mistakes that end us up in the same place of failure year after year? Why do we hit the ground running toward our goals every January 1st and within weeks we are right back in the place we were the previous December 31st?
I think we set ourselves up for both failure and success. Neither of these things just happen to us. One way we set ourselves up for failure is to fail to prepare. Someone once said "To fail to plan is to plan to fail".
Take dieting for example (I don't know about you, but it seems to appear every year on my Things-I-want-to-change-this-year list). When I'm walking into the kitchen famished is not the best time to decide upon a healthy, well-balanced meal. I'm more likely to grab the quickest, closest thing in the fridge at that moment. The time to prepare for success in my diet is the night before. Writing out a meal plan for the following day only takes a few minutes but it can be a great tool for success in reaching my weight-loss goals.
I like to think of life as a series of snap-shots. A professional photographer doesn't show up to take wedding pictures with a quick-shot instant camera. He knows you can get a quick picture with an instant camera, but it is not going to be the quality of photograph that a wedding photo deserves. Using the "Diet" analogy again, we too can get some quick results with fad diets or pills if we are more concerned with getting it done quickly than getting it done properly. The goal of the photographer is to eventually enable the newlyweds to see the beautiful images that he alone is now viewing through his lens. Let's compare the process of reaching our goals to the process of photo development.
First of all, the photographer must Focus the camera. Just as I must Focus on my target goal. If I do not know exactly where it is I want to go, how will I know when I have arrived? The dictionary defines the word Focus as: "Clear and sharply defined, A central point of attraction, attention, activity, to concentrate or focus ones attention".
No wonder so many of our resolutions fall by the wayside within days of our making them. How much Focus are we giving to achieving our goal? How "Clear and sharply defined" have we made our target? Is our goal "The central point of our attraction, attention and activity?" Can I truly say I'm "Concentrating" on my goal at all times?
After the photographer has Focused his lens, he takes the picture. At that split-second, the shutter opens and the light hits the film creating an exposure of the image onto the film inside.
If we are to meet our goals, we must also get Exposure, and become Enlightened on the subject we are aiming for. If my goal is to become the owner of a pizza shop, I need to expose myself to the business of pizza-making; read books, listen to cd's, expose myself to people who have succeeded in doing what it is I have decided to do. This applies to any goal we may set for ourselves. Don't just "Hope" to reach your goal, get informed and equipped in the subject. Find every resource available to support and encourage your success in this area. If you need to lose weight, find friends or on-line support groups who can hold you accountable and encourage you when you feel like throwing in the towel and running to the nearest ice cream shop to buy all 31 flavors!
Now that the photographer has the image on his film, the film must be "Processed" or "Developed". There is one and only one reason you have not reached every single one of your goal yet, and that is because without fail, somewhere along the way you have lost your focus and given up on the goal during the process of reaching it!
We must submit to the process of development in the area of our goals. Again, when we diet, each temptation we are able to say no to strengthens our resolve and better equips us to greater focus and determination each day. Every time we push ourselves in exercise we stretch our muscles, breaking them down only to find that the result of our pushing and pain produces bigger, stronger muscles than we had before. The Process of creating bigger muscles is a hard one and not many people either attempt it or follow through with a long-term commitment .

The film can only be developed in "A dark room". How many times have we heard, "It's always darkest just before the dawn" The Dark Room is a place of seclusion. It's not a place where people are running in and out and exposing the film. We too, will find times in the process of changes being made in our lives, when we feel alone and secluded from others. They are all going out for pizza and bread sticks and you are left behind with your weight-loss goal and menu planner, or everyone is out partying all night while you are left at home making phone calls or doing paperwork or reading up on the next step to building a successful home-based business. The dark room of life is not a lively, exciting place but it is a necessary part of the process of success. This is what separates the men from the boys, the dreamers from the achievers. This is when it is easier to follow the path of least resistance. And though some do for a while, not many are willing to sacrifice comfort-zones and put fleshly pleasures on hold for the long haul.
After pouring the right solutions over the film in the dark room, the photographer now finds himself holding what is called "A negative". The negative is an interesting stage of the process of the photograph. When the photographer holds up the negative, the bride, which he witnessed in a snowy white gown, is now dressed in black, and the groom, who was wearing a black tuxedo, is now dressed in white. The negative is the complete opposite of reality. Have you ever been in the 'Negative" stage of your business? You've been working harder than anyone you know and so far nothing seems to be changing, or worse, you're losing accounts. Or you've stayed on your diet perfectly all week only to step on the scale and find not only did you not lose any weight, you actually gained 2 lbs. This is the "Negative" stage. This is when people, even the ones who seemed to be determined to tough it out before now find they just don't have it in them to continue.

The "Negative" stage is the most discouraging and difficult stage of all, but if you can see the "Negative" for what it is, you will understand that it is the complete opposite of what is happening in reality! You ARE succeeding, you just have to persevere a little bit longer and you will see on the outside the things that have already started to change on the inside. That negative can never convince that photographer that the bride was actually wearing a black wedding dress, he knows that after the process is finished, he will see things as they actually are!
The photographer then pulls the negative out of the solution and hangs it to dry. Have you ever felt like you've been hung out to dry? Things are not as they appear, not to those who persevere. You see, it's not what you Do, it's what you Keep On Doing that will get you to your goal, so stay focused, continue to do the next right thing and you will without a doubt reach your goal...hell or high water couldn't keep you from it!
Finally the pictures are fully developed and the photographer presents them to the bride and groom. Everyone sits in awe of the beauty of each captured moment. Each photo is a moment in time that will be forever treasured, yet how many will ever consider the Process it took to produce such beautiful images? Few if any.
Today let me remind you that Life Is Not An Event, It's A Process and so is the act of reaching your goals and dreams. And if you will learn to embrace the process, you will eventually find yourself having attained each and every one of your dreams and goals.
I am Vickie Jordan. Author of the soon to be released fantasy novel, The Chronicles of Cambrlon,. I am a wife, and mother of 2 beatuiful daughters. I love writing and reading what others have to say. I am an avid reader, ever learning and love sharing what I learn with others.

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