Where are you stuck? Have you begun to follow your dream but feel stymied, unable to move forward? Have you researched it until you are blue in the face, asked every question you can think of and are now more confused than ever?
Take heart. Just know that starting anything is the hardest part. Your dream, though, will stay in dream state until you begin. It’s not easy though. As a matter of fact it can be downright daunting.
When Marcus Sheridan began his successful website, The Sales Lion, it wasn’t easy.
“There were a million reasons why the timing was bad, why the resources just weren’t yet there, and why my lack of knowledge would hinder success,” Marcus said on his blog. “But I did it anyway, and it was the greatest business decision of my life.
“Stop counting the reasons why that prompting you’ve been getting won’t work. Now start counting the reasons why it will be a success. And when you’re done, go launch that baby. . . Listen to your gut. Give heed to your intuition. You were given that gift for a reason—to use it.”
What is your gut telling you?
It’s not easy knowing what to do but I believe Marcus is on to something here. We all have promptings to attain a goal or follow a dream. Maybe it’s losing weight, giving more to charity, getting a degree, learning to knit, taking a course, embarking on a new career, going into business. The sky’s the limit.
I believe many of these promptings are from God propelling us on to victory in some area of our life. After all He is the one that is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask, think or imagine.”
Why do I resist going foward?
So why is it that any time I decide to follow that prompting, resistance kicks in. The resistance comes most of the time from my own brain.
It seems like such a paradox. The same mind that God placed the dream in, is the one that talks me out of it. I know I overthink things. Maybe I’m not the only one with this problem. My brain kicks in thinking and over-thinking a thousand different scenarios. And each one stops me dead in my tracks.
Why do I want to be perfect?
Part of the problem is I want whatever I am doing to be perfect, thought-through and impactful. Again this presents a paradox. If I never start towards my dream, it will impact exactly nobody.
When I sit and sit and think and think, I am only frustrating myself and helping no one. Putting myself out there and “shipping”, as Seth Godin calls it, that book, project, organization, business is the act of actually taking the first step and making it happen.
It won’t be perfect. But through mistakes, we learn what works and what doesn’t. No business was ever started without flaws. This is why every successful business is always changing, evolving, doing things differently.
Back to the question: Why do I want to be perfect? Well, I think I’ve talked myself out of that. I don’t want to be perfect. I just want to make a difference. To do that I have to follow my dream. For me that is writing, publishing, shipping, seeing if this makes a difference. And if it doesn’t, I don’t give up. I write something else and ship it. You determine if it makes a difference to you or not. And tomorrow, I do it over again.
How do you tell the difference between a prompting from God and a good idea?
For me to actually ship something I’ve written, I have to know that what I’m doing is God-driven, that it’s a prompting from Him and not just one of my millions of good ideas. My rule of thumb for determining if it is a God-thing or just one of my great schemes has to do with my motivation.
Most of the time when I say, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea” it’s born out of my wants ideas rather than the greater betterment of society or even myself.
I’ve had a lot of awesome ideas. Some of them panned out. Some didn’t. Somewhere along the way I began to understand there is difference between my good ideas and the promptings that come from the Creator.
In the beginning, it is a subtle difference but as I go along in the pursuit of the dream, it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger until I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is not just my good idea.
A prompting from God many times comes unbidden, out of the blue, dropped into my heart. It also usually comes with a boatload of resistance from my rational mind. Initially the dream resonates with my soul and deep in my being I know it’s what I should do. But then the doubt kicks in.
How do you recognize resistance?
As I get older I’m learning two things: how to recognize resistance and how to recognize a prompting.
In reality, it all comes down to the strength of the second that helps me overcome the first. A prompting for me comes from the Spirit of God. God’s prompting whether it’s through His Word or in the still, small voice in my heart is the only way I know what to do.
Following it helps overcome resistance and makes all the difference in the world.
If I pursue a good idea, is that bad?
Sometimes figuring out if something is just my good idea or an actual prompting from God, comes in the pursuit of the thing. It’s in the going forward, taking the first steps that I believe God directs us, tweaks the dream to become His or shows us we need to abandon it all together.
God directs moving objects. He can’t direct a passive one. Sitting and overthinking things means going nowhere. I’m not suggesting we not use our brain, just not get into a circular thinking pattern that has us going nowhere.
What is God prompting you to do right now today?
So the final question is what is your dream? It may be something small. Maybe it’s to call a friend, volunteer at your church, start a new hobby, pursue a business, make a plan to get out of debt, encourage those around you, pray more, begin an exercise program, start eating healthy, love life, turn left instead of right.
Whatever it is when you feel resistance kick in, don’t despair. Hey, you’re on the right track. Go through and find victory, even if it is small, on the other side. Each time you go through, it will be easier the next time.
The journey of a million miles starts with one step. Beginning is the hardest part.
What are you starting today?