Sometimes we get stuck in a place where we don’t want to be, and we believe we have no options other than to remain stuck. We may have unfulfilled goals and dreams – dreams of a new career, goals to write that novel, or the desire to learn to play a musical instrument. Or, we may want to make some kind of a positive change in our lives, perhaps volunteering more, traveling, or doing more interesting things with friends and family. Some people may be looking for a way out of a negative situation but, for whatever reason, feel too powerless to even try. Sometimes all we see are obstacles blocking our paths. Here are some common little fibs we tell ourselves that stop us from moving out of our stuck places.
Little Fib #1: The goal is too big, so forget it. No goal is too big if we start small and begin our journey taking one step at a time. Let’s say we need a certain amount of money to start a business or take a trip. If we think that we’ll never be able to save enough, we will give up before we even try. Years ago, we helped a lady who had lived without water for two years. When we met with her to help her out, we noticed that she had all of the latest bells and whistles on her phone service. She probably figured that the extra $5-10 per month she was paying for those small luxuries wouldn’t put a dent in what she owed on her water bill, so why bother? It’s easy to think that way. So, we fail before we even start. We continue buying our fast food meals, believing that saving the $6 or so we are spending at that moment won’t matter. But it does. And I’d rather achieve a dream than eat a cheeseburger. That money we are spending can be saved, even if it’s one dollar at a time. And even if we don’t save enough money for the purpose we had in mind, we won’t have failed. We will have more money saved than we had before – how can that be a loss?
Little Fib #2: It will take too long, so why bother? Several years ago, I was unhappy in my job. I wanted to do something in the nonprofit or social work field, but every job I applied for required a degree. I didn’t have a degree, in fact, I was a high-school dropout. I was self-supporting and couldn’t quit my job and go to school, and I didn’t have the money to pay tuition anyway. But I wanted a degree. So, I got my GED. and I started going to college at night while I worked full time. I paid as I went and got a couple of student loans. Because I worked full-time, I was going to school part time. I should have never finished, I needed 120 hours! But I started anyway. I took 6 hours the first semester. The next thing I knew, I was talking to my dad on the phone about my latest report card, and I realized I had reached 60 hours. I was a Junior in college! How did that happen? I was halfway through! I should further mention that without any high school training I flunked math and had to repeat it twice. But I stuck it out and not only do I have a B.A., I actually kept going and I have a Master’s Degree. Was it easy? NO. But it sure felt good overcoming the many challenges I faced to end up with a college degree. And the proud look on my dad’s face at my graduation made it all worth it! None of this would have happened if I hadn’t stepped out and tried in the first place.
Little Fib #3: I don’t know how (or, I don’t have any talent). This is one of the biggest misconceptions of all. We can learn just about anything if we put our minds to it. Although I’ve given up on that dream of being a lead singer in a rock band, I’ve managed to learn other things. Recently, I’ve been discovering my gift for photography and re-discovering my gift for writing. I’m learning how to manage websites. A couple of years ago I taught myself to play the congas and the tambourine. Hey, I can’t sing, but I have rhythm, what can I say? Several years ago, I developed a passion for serving in the community. I kept asking my fellow church members what we could do, to the point that I was getting on everyone’s nerves. But I didn’t know where to start. I finally found a church where the pastor was happy to have me serve, in fact he asked me head it up. I had no clue what I was doing, and I told him so, but I wanted to do it. So, I started collecting nonperishable food and taking it to Baptist Friendship House. They suggested that we hand out sandwiches in the park across the street. The first week, we got some people together and made sandwiches. Over time this small start turned into a ministry to homeless people that blessed so many people – servers and served alike. The next thing I knew, I had several members on my team, and I put them in charge of different areas of the ministry because it had gotten to large for one person to handle. I had a meeting with our team one evening, and afterwards someone told me that I was a good leader. Whaaaat? Leader??? That hadn’t even crossed my mind. But that’s what happened, because I stepped out and tried to do something I wanted to do.
What is the moral of these stories? Quit cryin and start tryin. Sure, there will be challenges. If it was easy it wouldn’t be worth it. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve if you just take that first small step.