As your visions and mission call you to step into higher truths and power, you will stretch in ways you never imagined. It’s an exhilarating feeling. At the same time, painful experiences may come your way that will make you want to give up completely.
The "unsuccessful" people I know spend their lives trying to avoid these experiences at all costs - doing whatever they can to avoid criticism, fear, disappointment, and failure. These people either live disconnected from reality with their heads in the clouds, or they call themselves "realists" and see everything through a filter of potential pain and negativity. However, though the external pain may be lessened by this avoidance, internal pain is inevitably magnified. Over time, an increasing amount of anger, bitterness, and self-criticism builds up inside them, because, on some level, they know they’ve let their “inner demons” win, and they hate themselves for it.
The "successful" people I know accept that criticism, fear, disappointment, and failure come with the territory. That’s not to say they enjoy, agree with, or are resigned to these things – they simply accept them as bumps on the road to achieving their personal visions of success. They also use them to build character, courage, wisdom, and compassion. The successful people I know are optimistic and realistic. They accept what-is.
The 8 Realities You Must Accept if You Truly Want to Succeed at Anything are not “crosses to bear”, nor are you doomed to cause eternal suffering. They are simply realities that stop most people from fully stepping into their truth and power, whatever that means for them.
Too many people in this world are running away from
their highest joy and success because they don’t accept that
these experiences are just a natural part of the process -
a process designed to help us discover, witness, and expand
our own inner power so we can live the lives we are called to live.
However, all of us who've achieved some amount of success in our lives have had to face them at one time or another. Some of us face them every single day.
Therefore, the path of living your vision of success is not to avoid, judge, suppress, or in any way resist these 8 realities. The key is to accept and embrace them as helping you to succeed and grow into the leader you truly desire to be in the world.
With that said, let us begin.
1. Accept that you will be criticized.
It’s just a fact. You will be criticized. Not everyone will understand what you’re doing, nor will they get what you’re about. And you know what? That’s okay. They don’t have to. Only you do.
The world is full of disappointed, fearful, angry people – people who gave up on their dreams a long time ago. You may know some of them personally, and they may be trying to dissuade you from setting sail. Remember this:
Those who’ve abandoned their dreams will discourage yours.
Can you make people stop criticizing you? No. Can you live your life in such a way that they never will? Possibly. But then who suffers? You do.
Other people’s anger, fear, and disappointment are theirs to work out – not yours. Your only job in this lifetime is to be the presence you desire to be in this world – whatever that is for you.
The more you accept that you will be criticized, the easier it is to accept it when it comes, and the easier it is to see through it – to discern how much of it truly is about you and how much of it is simply a projection of that person's own fears and disappointments.
The bottom line is this: You can spend your life playing small to protect yourself from criticism, or you can just accept that you will be criticized and move on with it. It’s your choice.
2. Accept that you will be disappointed.
Some people live their lives expecting disappointment, and, for that reason, don't try. Others live their lives expecting the path to their dreams to be pink hearts and roses, and they stop at the first threat of disappointment. In both cases, the pain and fear of disappointment are what stop them from achieving their own idea of success. You want to know what happens? They all die disappointed!
Not everything will go as planned. Not everyone will support you the way you want them to. The friends who promised to be at your event will suddenly back out, fault you for their actions, and imply that you’re a fraud. (Yes, that happened to me.)
Here’s the reality: You will be disappointed – in people, situations, stock prices, the weather. Personally, though, I would rather live my life accepting the disappointments – and growing a great deal – than giving up on my dreams and dying disappointed in myself. I know how it feels to live with severe self-loathing and disappointment in myself, and it’s far worse than the alternative.
3. Accept that you'll feel blocked and scared.
The journey to success can be full of some pretty gut-wrenching, terrifying moments - not because you're truly in danger but because, as my friend Dr. Matt Mannino says, your nervous system thinks you are. Its job is to protect you no matter what, and a “nervous” nervous system can be a very powerful and persuasive thing.
The body associates fear with pain and pain with the threat of death. Therefore, simply stepping into a new level of activity, exposure, money, identity, or environment can trigger nausea, feeling blocked, anxiety, over-reactivity, and the desire to run away as far and as fast as you can.
We also create clever ways to negate or change feelings, such as making compulsive purchases, risky behaviors, chemical addictions, and serial relationships.
You know who doesn't have fear? Psychopaths. Hence why our world has been screwed up by so many of them – because loving people like you and me who do have fear have allowed it to win more than we should.
You don’t overcome fear by fighting it.
You overcome fear by facing and embracing it.
When Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he sounded very noble and poetic. But he was wrong. Fearing fear simply leads to more fear. To be truly successful, the only thing we have to embrace is fear itself.
4. Accept that you're going to screw up.
Again, most people live their lives in fear of failure (which is really the fear of disappointment). Here's the reality: You're going to screw up! You're going to f#$% up royally! You're going to disappoint people. You're going to miss deadlines. You’re going to say the wrong thing.
And it's going to suck. And it's going to hurt. And you may spend some time beating yourself up.
Guess what? That's okay. Why? Because you're going to survive. In fact, not only are you going to survive - you are going to emerge stronger and wiser. The more you can accept the mistakes you make, learn from them, and move on, the faster you will succeed.
5. Accept that your "inner demons" will either try to stop you and/or make you spin out of control.
We all have parts of us that we judge as bad, weak, wrong, shameful, and out of our control. And that is why we struggle with them.
As you step into your power, those critical voices, screaming little kids, and angry aggressors inside will rear their ugly heads, and it won’t be pretty. Some of them will use criticism, doubt, and oppression to stop you. Others will push you to do more, have more, and be more to the point of anxiety, exhaustion, and disconnection from others.
The bottom line is, “inner demons” tend to become magnified when we step into our power. Like that “nervous” nervous system, though, they are simply doing their very best to protect us – whatever way they know.
Here’s the great news: all of them can be overcome.
There is no peace in denying any part of who you are.
Accept all parts of you, and you will know peace.
Before we get into the final 3 realities, I want to share some wonderful news with you.
For all of the disappointments, criticism, fears, and obstacles you may endure along the way, you will also get the exact opposite.
Praise. You will relish a great deal of love, support, and praise - sometimes from the least expected people and places. You will be truly admired you for who you are and what you do, and your presence will inspire others to take risks as well.
New Friends. The people who you thought were your "friends" will fall away, and other people will come into your life who love and support you in ways you desire to be loved and supported. And they'll feel so good to be around!
Self-Respect. This is huge. When we avoid our truth and don’t step into our power, that's when self-criticism becomes overwhelming to the point of debilitating. However, as you take greater actions on your dreams, your respect for yourself will expand because you will finally be doing those things you've have been called to do for years. You will be on-path and on-purpose. And you will love yourself more because of it.
Self-Empowerment. As you face and embrace your fears, magical things happen. You will discover that 1) what you fear is not so scary and that 2) your “inner demons” are simply parts of your power, in disguise.
Success. Whatever that means for you. And your vision of success is the only one that matters.
Now, for the final three realities.
6. Accept that you can't just dream - you must also do. And vice versa.
For some people, doing is the scary part. They’d rather bounce around in their visions and dreams because they feels so tantalizing and exciting. However, staying in this space also protects them from the pain of disappointment, should those visions and dreams fail to come true.
For other people, dreaming is the scary part. They're too afraid to get their hopes up for fear of being disappointed, so they fill their days with busy-ness and practicalities, never honing in on why they’re doing any of it and what it is they truly desire.
If you are dreaming about the life you desire but are not matching your dreams with actions, then your dreams will wither and die. And so will you. If you are constantly doing-doing-doing without allowing yourself to envision and dream, then you’ll burn out on things that don’t fulfill you.
We are co-creators with God/The Universe/The All-That-Is/whatever you choose to call It. God doesn’t do it all, and neither do we. We do it together. How? By dreaming and doing – doing and dreaming.
7. Accept that you are enough.
It's an oft-quoted saying, "God doesn't give you any more than you can handle." By the same token, God didn't give you a bigger vision than you can achieve.
You were divinely designed for your mission. You may not entirely know what that is, and that's okay. Just know that your presence here on Earth is valuable and necessary.
Whatever it is you are going through, what it is you desire, know this: You are enough. You are strong enough, wise enough, beautiful enough, intelligent enough, talented enough, funny enough, thoughtful, and powerful enough.
You have all of the power you need to be everything you desire to be.
8. Accept that it will all be worth it.
For all of the fears, obstacles, disappointments, setbacks, and scary detours on your journey – even if you don’t reach all of your goals and dreams – at least you will have been on one amazing ride! You will also discover how fulfilling and joyful it is to live a life facing and embracing these realities rather than running away from them.