“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” – Henry Ford

I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who mentioned that he’d like to leave his very stressful and time consuming job and go into business for himself, but X, Y, and Z were stopping him. Have you ever listened to someone rattle off reasons as to why they cannot achieve their goals, and realize you have been making those very same excuses? As I listened to his dilemma and reflected upon the same obstacles to my own goals, it really struck me that there are only two (yes two!) reasons why we struggle with reaching our greatest potential.

The first is a general lack of knowledge. Sometimes you just don’t know how to get from point A to point B. That’s okay, and it’s also fairly easy to fix. At any given time and for virtually every topic, there are endless sources of information just waiting to be absorbed: books, magazines, videos, scholarly articles. Read. Observe. Seek out experts in your area of interest. Be inquisitive. Be creative.

Once you have discovered and gained knowledge on the “how,” it’s time to address the second and most limiting obstacle: changing your mindset and overcoming your fears.  I hear so often “I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money. I’ll try harder later.” What would happen if you invested more time? Or money? Or got started right now rather than “someday?” It seems, more often than not, the answer is you’d have to deal with a few sacrifices. And sacrifices are uncomfortable. They are scary. They push us out of our safe zones and test our strengths. And to truly succeed, it is imperative to believe in yourself and your ability to overcome adversity. It sounds cliche, but we really can do anything we set our minds to!

As Meg Cabot wrote, “courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear.”  I challenge you to reflect on your life and your goals. Are you living the life you desire? Is there anything holding you back from reaching your dreams? We only have one life to live.  Learn, overcome your fears, and make it count!