Does this sound familiar… If I had a magic wand my business would already be successful. If I had a magic wand I’d have money to hire someone to do my marketing and branding. Or.. if I had a magic wand I wouldn’t have to make compromises in my career but would be in a job where I can fulfil my potential.
I can certainly relate.
When we started DrivenWoman 2.5 years ago, for a long time I was feeling very frustrated because things were moving very slowly. I had drafted a brilliant business plan and had projections on how our new network would grow rapidly. Every day I felt frustrated and defeated because I was comparing my results to what I wish would be. I was trying to live in the future, not in reality.
Let me take another example.
Sarah is working in a large insurance company, and even though she is happy she has a job, she feels disappointed she can’t fulfil her potential in the role she now has. She feels disappointed and unmotivated. Every day she is comparing her situation with her dream situation and feels she is lacking.
Maria, a passionate gym instructor, always wanted to open her own gym. She started writing a business plan, talking to investors and researching potential retail locations in the area. She was feeling extremely frustrated and negative on a daily basis because she so desperately wanted her own business, but all doors seemed to be shut tight. The money she needed to start her own business was simply too much.
In all of these examples the problem is not in the actual situation, it’s with the perceived reality.
Many people start from where they want to be and what they want to have and then look to see how far off they are and become demoralised. To them, every day is measured as still being behind and lacking.
Sarah has two options. Every morning when she goes to the office she can think “I want to be in my dream job where I can fulfil my potential.” and every day she will realise just how far away she is and how much she is lacking. She will get stressed, unhappy and in the worst case feel like a failure.
Her second option is to accept the current situation and think “This may not be my ideal job, but everyday I’m learning something new which will make it easier for me one day to find my dream job.” She can be happy with the progress she makes every day.
Once you realise you have been comparing your daily struggle with your dream situation you can start changing things.
By accepting your current reality you can start changing your future.
In the case of my own story, I luckily realised this and changed my perspective. I decided to make most of every situation that came my way and stop comparing my progress with any expectations. I could have felt like a failure, but realised my only failing was being unrealistic! Now I feel happy, energised and fulfilled as I look at the small progress I make every day, in reality, not compared to an elusive goal. And as days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, I can see how far we’ve come, in what is after all not such a long period of time.
This is also what Maria realised.
Rather than giving up her dream, and feeling like a failure, she started moving slowly forward taking much smaller and more realistic steps. First she negotiated one extra day off at the gym where she worked. That one day would allow her to start with some private personal training clients, working with them in parks or in their homes. She quickly got booked up and is now looking to expand her business. She keeps putting money aside and building her brand. In a few years time she will have enough clients and money to go back to her original plan and find a physical space for her dream gym.
Here is Padma’s story about bridging the gap.
Padma, a DrivenWoman member, recently took the plunge (oh I hate that term..) and started her own business. Soon she realised that money was much slower to come in than she had anticipated.
“I am super pleased to inform you on accepting a job offer with a technology company. It’s totally unrelated to what I was doing earlier or now as a business. But I accepted this as this is going to be the bridge which we discussed during one of the monthly meetings. This is a home office environment which allows me to save time from travelling every day to work which can be channelled for continuing my business. Before I would have looked at this as a step back and a failure, not being able to move forward with my new business as I had planned. Now I’m looking at this whole situation positively as I know this will benefit me and my business.”
If you don’t accept what you have now you can never build the bridge and your dreams will remain broken.
There are always many ways to bridge the gap to your dreams, and move without stress from where you are to where you want to be. The moment you accept it, ideas will start to flow in!
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
5 steps that will help you to bridge the gap when you are feeling frustrated and lacking:
1) Accept your current situation fully.
2) List creative ways to either generate more time or earn more money, even if the income stream would be unrelated to what you want to do ultimately.
3) Invest your time to learn new skills, explore new opportunities and build on ideas that will lead to your ideal situation.
4) Work on a side income project and save money (and invest it!) to build better resources for future dreams.
5) Be proud of every small step you make. You are enough and every little step of progress you make is a victory, not a failure.