Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Problem is not the Problem.

When it comes to not reaching your goals the problem is not the problem, never has been, and never will be. What do I mean? What I mean is that we like to find something, or someone, to blame when we miss our goals. Often we choose not to set goals because too often we have been disappointed by not reaching them in past attempts. So, those "obstacles" we want to believe are our "problems" that keep us from reaching our objectives. Are they really the problem or are they excuses? Or is there something else that is the true "problem" that we have never before identified, to they seem to be the problem?

The truth is that those things can't possibly be the true problem. If they were there would never be anyone who has accomplished similar goals with similar situations. We may say "I'm too young, or too old, too educated, or not educated enough, too this or too that." It might be "If I had more money, more supportive parents, a better spouse, better health", you name it there are at least as many excuses as there are people. So if others have accomplished such goals and dreams with such obstacles, how can those obstacles actually be "the problem?"

It was explained to me in this way in a, let's say we're sitting at a diner and we take a salt shaker and a sugar dispenser and separate them with a napkin holder, (think old school stuff.) Now say you are the salt shaker and your dream or goal is the sugar dispenser but you are too short to see it over the napkin holder, if you can't see it, how can you focus on it? What I am saying is that your dream isn't big enough to keep you focused on it. You need to find something that moves you, something that excites you, and makes your passion come alive. What you need is a big enough dream or goal to be able to "see" it over the obstacles. Your focus needs to be on that dream, and not on the obstacles or problems. They are always going to be there, but what you focus on, you will get more of. If the dream is big enough, the facts simply don't matter.

Consider this, if you are standing at one end of an auditorium full of tables, chairs, and other obstacles, and your goal was a flag at the other end, and all the lights are out, but there is a spot shining on the flag. If you just keep focused on that flag and walk toward it you will run into tables, and chairs, step on conference attendees, maybe even fall down. However, if you never take your eyes off that flag you know that you will reach it. How many times have you heard of stories of people climbing mountains who came just short of the peak, or swimmers swimming the English Channel, because they "couldn't go on" when fog set in? They lost sight of their goal or dream and couldn't go further.

Let me tell you a story of a friend of mine who changed my life forever. Paul Ramsey and I were in a MLM business together in early 80's. Paul had worked his entire life in a factory, but had a dream to own his own business. He was having modest success, but something happened to galvanize his dream into his very being. Paul was diagnosed with a very rapid spreading terminal cancer. He then decided that not only would he fight it, but he would fight to build his business to a level that would take care of his family after he would be gone. This was not an easy goal to reach, night after night his wife Peg would drive them to another meeting where they would share the dream with another couple, or group of people. Many nights Paul would be so sick from chemo that he had to lay in the back of the car, holding his head out the window to vomit so she could keep driving to meet their time deadlines. Once they arrived he would clean up in a gas station, the go in and get in front of those living rooms full of people and speak for an hour or so, meet and greet after, help people set their goals and work with them. He would encourage them through their own obstacles that they thought were stopping them, without scolding them with what he had to consider as trivial problems. Then back into the car, Peg behind the wheel, as he collapsed in back once again.

There is a night and image in my mind that will never leave me. It was the night at a convention where Paul and Peg were recognized at the level that he set as his goal. When Paul came up to speak. I can still see how his skin was nearly the same color as was his gray suit and wig that hung on his skeletal body. I was standing next to his oncologist who had to see this speech himself, he too fell in love with Paul's passion and drive. The doctor stood there with tears streaming down his face, as they were on mine, and told me that there was really no way that Paul should be standing there. He told me that Paul had too little muscle left to stand, walk, or even hold his head up, but seemed to be doing so out of his steely will. Paul reached his dream, his goal, he spoke to all of us lucky enough to know him that night. Who could ever make an excuse after knowing and watching a man like Paul fight through something most of us, thank God, could never fully understand? Paul went to be with the Lord before the weekend ended. I miss him, but he will forever be with me, speaking from that stage.

Remember, The Problem isn't the Problem. The Problem is that you are focusing on the obstacles not the dream. Focus on your Dreams!

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