Every journey starts somewhere. It has a beginning and an end. The journey to success is no different, and I believe there are eight distinct phases that we travel through on our way to our desired destination. My intention in sharing these with you is so that you may see where you are on your journey to success, because if you can see where you currently stand, then you will know where to proceed from there.
Phase #1 - I won't do it! The fear of failing can be so strong that we are not even willing to take the risk to try something new or different. If that attitude persists, we may develop a negative and defeated mindset that keeps us stuck.
Phase #2 - I can't do it! If we move from the "I won't do it!" stage, it is common to then move into the "I can't do it!" phase. However, it is still a fear-based position. Rather than being afraid to try something, this is more from the fear of not knowing how to do it. But, if you think about it, we weren't born knowing how to do anything! We had to learn how to do everything we now know how to do. Believe it or not, there was a time when the hugely successful Bill Gates did not even know how to turn on a computer!
Phase #3 - I want to do it! This is where a slight change begins to occur. There is a shift in the attitude that moves past those first two negative phases of I won't and I can't to I want to do it, in spite of my fear of failure and lack of know-how.
A little girl once asked her mother, "Momma, why do flowers grow?" The weary mother replied, "Sweetie, I guess the seed is just tired of being in the dirt and wants to grow out of it." That is the third phase - I want to do it!
Phase #4 - How do I do it? This is where growth begins to take place as you take on the responsibility of learning how to do what it is you want to do. You learn to ask the right questions of those who are already doing it. You find a mentor, go back to school, or read helpful books, doing whatever you can to build your confidence and know-how. This causes you to pick up speed toward your goal and toward success.
Phase #5 - I'll try to do it. Once you have a little knowledge under your belt of how to do something, it causes you to be willing to step out and take a greater chance. You are willing to take the risk, even if failure occurs.
By the way, some would say that we should never say that we will "try" to do something. We either do it, or we don't; there is no "try". And, while I agree with that in principle, it is actually just a play on words. We all are trying every day of our lives. That is part of the learning and growing process. Whether you are trying to learn how to ride a bicycle, drive a car, or get a date with someone, it begins with the "I'll try" attitude. Progress can be made when you are willing to risk, even if you fail.
Phase #6 - I can do it! Confidence now begins to be built in your life. The word "confidence" comes from two Latin words: con, meaning with; and fide, meaning faith. So, with faith you start to move ahead. Faith is not limited to the spiritual realm. We must have faith in our finances, our health, our leaders, and of course, faith in ourselves. When a person has the "can-do" attitude, they can smell success and it will not be long until they taste it.
Phase #7 - I will do it! Now you begin to understand the power of perseverance. You do not easily give up. If you fall down, you get up. If you make a mistake, you learn from it and grow. It is learning to "out suffer" anyone else. It is learning to "stay with the stuff" and do whatever it takes to see the goal accomplished. Success is just around the corner.
Phase #8 - Yes, I did it! The sweet sense of satisfaction sets in as you see what you are able to accomplish. It doesn't matter if the goal is losing weight, writing a book, making money, getting a certain job, finding the love of your life, or a thousand and one other goals or dreams that you have for yourself and your future. Any goal can be accomplished when you have the right attitude and are willing to do the work. And, when you see how you accomplished one goal, you want to set higher ones, bigger ones, and loftier ones. It becomes a way of life.
As I said in the very beginning, if a person knows which phase they have reached in this process, they will know where to go next. I don't know what you are facing today in your personal or professional life, but it would do you well to look through these eight different phases and focus on how to move past where you are currently located.
I find it difficult to jump from Phase 1 to Phase 8 in a single bound. Each phase is different and there is something to be learned from each one. I believe that the eight phases can be experienced over a long period of time, or they can happen in a matter of minutes or hours. The key is to know where you are on your journey and what you need to do to get to your desired end and achieve the success you want. After all, isn't that what life is all about?