If I Can Do This, I Can Do Anything
“Self-help” is an $11 billion per year industry selling books, audio, video, television, and more. Stand in a Barnes & Noble and scan the self-help section and you’ll find two types of books. First, those that help us set big goals, achieve our dreams, and become the most successful version of ourselves. Second, those that help us deal with low self-esteem. A slight dichotomy, it’s true, but also indicative of the problem in our society. We spend our lives attempting to achieve, all the while believing certain things we desire are impossible.
So what’s the solution? Do we spend our lives reading first a book about goal setting immediately followed by a book about self-worth to help us reach the goals we’ve set? Perhaps the answer is easier than that. The best way to enhance our self-esteem and move us towards believers in our own ability instead of being detractors in our own ability is to do something we once believed was impossible.
Think this through for a moment with me. At some point in your life, you’ve started a sentence with these three words, “I could never.” All over the country, there are people saying, “Oh, wow, you’re moving abroad? I could never do that.” Or “Running a marathon! I could never run 26.2 miles.” Maybe it’s, “You’re writing a book…..starting a business…..selling your home…..” The list goes on. But we’ve all at one time said those words, “I could never.” And chances are, as you’re reading this, you know that one thing in the back of your head you’ve said those words about, the one thing that you wish you really could do. Maybe you’ve said you can’t lose the weight, you can’t save money, you can’t quit smoking. But imagine if you did.
If you were able to complete that one task, that one thing you’ve always said, “I could never” about, what would that feel like? I bet it would feel a little bit like this – “If I can do this, I can do anything!” And that feeling will transfer to every other part of your life. Maybe the thing you want most but fear you cannot achieve is a business goal. If you were to achieve it, it would make you better in every other part of your life. And vice versa for personal goals.
This notion is exactly what led me to sign up to run the 2012 Chicago Marathon. In a year where I’ve taken every risk I could imagine, I’ve decided to attempt what I have always believed is impossible for me – 26.2 miles. And afterwards, I hope my mentality will be that elusive, “If I can do this, I can do anything.”
What’s your goal? The goal you’re most terrified to set? The goal you most want to achieve?