The most effective way to do it,
is to do it.
Have you ever paused to consider that in every great story or notable achievement there is a footnote behind the headline? The footnote is the hard work, sweat, tears, failures and disappointments that went into preparation for the main event. In effect, the footnote is everything the subject of the story said yes to, the good and the bad that must occur, so they were ready to seize the moment when the moment arose.
Let me share a story to illustrate this point.
Amelia Earhart wanted to be a great aviator. But it was the 1920s, and people still thought women just didn’t possess “the right stuff.” Women’s suffrage was not even a decade old.
Despite her burning passion for flying, she couldn’t make her living as a pilot so she took a job as a social worker. For years, she joyfully gave the best of herself in service to others. Nonetheless, her dream of flying never waned and she took every opportunity to take to the skies when time and money allowed.
Then one day the phone rang.
The man on the other end of the line had a pretty offensive proposition. It went something like this:
“Ms. Earhart, we have someone willing to fund the first female transatlantic flight. Our first choice has already backed out. You won’t get to actually fly the plane, and we’re going to send two men along as chaperones and guess what, we’ll pay them a lot of money and you won’t get anything. Oh, and you very well might die while doing it.”
Now if that doesn’t sound like the worst job offer in history, I don’t know what is.
But do you know what she said to that offer? She said yes.
Why? Because headline makers understand achieving your dreams is never a straight line. If you are intent on making your deepest desires a reality it means saying yes to opportunities big or small. It can even mean embracing an opportunity others would consider beneath them.
Earhart knew that people who become great at things—whether its flying, creating breakthroughs in medicine or science, establishing new records in sports, or blowing through gender stereotypes—don’t defy the odds by standing still or waiting for just the right confluence of events to occur. Instead, you start. Anywhere.
You see, she didn’t care if the conditions were perfect or if she was being slighted. She didn’t have to because she knew once she got started, if she could just get some momentum, she could (and would) make it work.
Which is exactly what she did.
Less than five years, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic and rightly became one of the most famous and respected people on the planet. A place in history she rightfully retains to this day.
But here’s the takeaway: None of that would have happened had she turned up her nose at the offensive offer or sat around feeling sorry for herself. None of it would have happened if she stopped after her first accomplishment or her most recent setback. What mattered was that she took the opening and then pressed ahead. That was the reason for her success.
Why Dreams Matter
I am sure for many of you reading this that life can be frustrating. Long hours, short nights, relentless schedules. It’s very likely a good number of you are being pushed into increased levels of responsibility quicker than you may be comfortable. And though I know it may seem daunting, your inside voice of caution keeps whispering to you what if I fail…what if I fall short? Well let me ask you a question: what if you believe you won’t?
It’s interesting to note that on the side of Earhart’s plane she painted the words, “Always think with your stick forward.” That is: Play to seize the moment. Don’t let up your flying speed. If you do, you crash. Be deliberate, of course, but you always need to be moving forward.
So, if you find yourself becoming impatient at how long it is taking to achieve your own goals, don’t sit there and complain. Don’t get frustrated or flustered when people in your life criticize your choices or critique your tenacity. Learn to appreciate that in every great story, notable achievement, or memorable accomplishment there is a moment, a footnote, that is preparing you for your headline.
Remember, if you want momentum in your career, your marriage, your education, or your personal and professional growth, that you must create it yourself – right now – by getting up and getting started. Resolve to seize the moment when circumstances present an opportunity for you to move in the direction of your dreams, committing to always keep your stick forward.
Never let up on pursuing your dream. You may be closer to a headline worthy breakthrough than you know.