One of my least favorite games to play as a child was “keep away.” You may remember it by the name “monkey in the middle.”
My brothers would get on either side of me and whatever they dangled and tossed above my head remained just out of reach. As I stretched, jumped, cried and even tried hitting them, they just laughed. They clearly had the advantage and I would become more and more frustrated at their taunts because I’m fiercely competitive.
Even when one of them decided to get in the middle and give me a chance at having the upper hand, it didn’t work out well for me. I wasn’t quite tall enough to make it challenging. A change in position didn’t make me more successful. Why? Because I just wasn’t skilled at the game. I didn’t have a strategy that would make up for my height and skillset.
Ever felt that way about life? With opponents on either side of our dilemmas and decisions, we must be able either jump higher (rise above) the frustrations attacking our focus, or outsmart our opponent somehow.
One of the largest obstacles in life: change. Whether trying to change our weight, or make a physical move from one location to another, physical position isn’t the only barrier. Change comes with opponents on either side, and requires more than a new position. Mindset, skill, and wisdom all play a part. So do endurance, focus, passion, and strategy.
Think about it. I wouldn’t be good at keep away with my older, taller brothers unless and until I (a) grew, or (b) stopped allowing their taunts and my competitiveness to distract me. I needed a plan to win, and as long as I was distracted by what was in front of me, I remained in the middle. And eventually, I quit.
When going through transformation, one of the worst things we can do is quit in the middle. Quitting early on to reassess our investment or timing, can be an effective strategy. It takes humility and can result in a big win down the road. But when we quit in the middle, we communicate a different message to our souls. Once we’ve expended sweat and effort, yet still seem to be losing, the brain messages begin to fire: You aren’t capable. In other words, you can’t do it.
I admire folks who don’t succumb to those messages. And I decided to get some background on what makes them so different. What I discovered was a strong sense of identity. Achievers allow who they are – not their current status or circumstance – to dictate what they can do. Achievers:
- Don’t question their worth concerning the new place/status
- Don’t rely on the assessments of others to determine capability
- Don’t compare themselves or their progress to others
- Work really hard and don’t settle for less than the best
- Aren’t afraid to get the right help, or start over when necessary
So, where do you stand? Are you in the middle, frustrated and tired? Are the obstacles taunting you, attempting to diminish your worth? Look at the habits of achievers. Can one of these help adjust your strategy to hang in there? The finish line of your change may be just around the corner!
But what if you already quit? You were halfway to your weight goal and just decided the sacrifice was too great, for example. I’ve been there. I’m there now. But in other areas of my life I successfully leveraged momentum and crossed the finish line. Therefore, I’m taking that knowledge into upcoming projects. I plan to apply habits of an achiever in these other areas.
That’s what I’m adding to my strategy. What are you adding to yours? Feel free to share encouragement and strategies of success in the comments.