We all understand the importance of setting clear goals, both near term and long term, in order to accomplish important objectives in our lives. There is a fairly sizeable body of evidence in both academic circles and practical experience to indicate that we build strength to persevere towards our goals when we can see clearly what we are trying to achieve.
As we continue on our own personal journey to build and strengthen our character, there is a common and persistent adversary that we all face in trying to reach our goals and make meaningful progress toward our own personal vision for our life.
The common and persistent adversary that comes against each one of us at various points in our journey has numerous descriptions, but it can be summarized as fear, anxiety, and worry. This adversary has the potential to drain that precious energy we need to keep moving forward towards our goals and many times, this adversary can be forceful enough to get us off track and switch our long-term view entirely.
We all have various coping mechanisms to deal with fear, anxiety, and worry. Some of us are nail-bitters, some toss and turn through a sleepless night, some repeat simple, routine tasks, some take pills, some overeat, some don’t eat, and some drink alcohol a little more often during the rough times in the journey. Regardless of our coping mechanism, the reality is that we still have that persistent adversary attempting to sabotage our efforts to reach our goals.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, below are a few ideas to deal effectively with our common, persistent adversary:
- Acknowledge the Reality. We all face fear, anxiety, and worry. We should possess the courage to call them out directly and not deny their existence. No matter what phase of life we are in and no matter what level of worldly accomplishment or “validation” event we have passed through, we will still face fear, anxiety, and worry as we transition into the next turn in life.
- Take Action. The best-known antidote to fear, anxiety, and worry is action. When we take small steps toward goals, the adversary loses its grip. Just like the ‘butterflies’ before a big game, after the first play, they are gone and we are focused on the task at hand. The biggest risk we face in dealing with fear, anxiety, and worry is that we don’t get out of bed and get in the game. The simple task of just getting up and facing the challenge is often all we need to do in order to weaken this persistent adversary.
- Keep the Faith. The very fact that we are still standing is testament to the fact that we have already passed through some difficult challenges in the past. Whether they were in school, in the home, in the workplace or in some other endeavor, we faced this adversary before and we overcame. Whether we describe our faith in terms of a relationship with God who knows the whole story or we have faith in the truth found in principles like perseverance and courage, we should rally our faith to keep moving forward against this persistent adversary.
We will continue to face struggles as we journey towards achieving our goals. When we possess the courage to stand up and face fear, worry, and anxiety, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to make meaningful progress towards achieving our goals and motivating those around us to overcome their own challenges.