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What to Do When There’s a Valley of Doubt Standing Between You and Your Goal

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: paukrus
The majestic mountains appear close enough to touch until, after putting one foot in front of the other day-in and day-out, you look up only to find that your destination has grown even more distant than when you started…

In between where I am and where I need to be is a large valley of doubt. Sometimes, it needs to be about the destination and not the journey for me. I have to take my eyes off the path, focus on the goal and keep taking another step.

— Cari
BouncebackCafe.com guest blogger

When your destination looms far and large, it’s easy to succumb to doubt.  And even to find yourself sinking into a quagmire of hopelessness.  But there are things we can do that will help us stay the course.

Yes, of course, keep your eyes on the goal! Take the next step! And the next. And the next… And, as you plod ever on, I also suggest you do the following:

Chant!

Laugh!

Sprint!

Keep the dream alive!

Chant!

As you step along the path to that distant goal, remember that you are the artist and life is your canvas… pace yourself with this chant – and, if you must, giggle as you repeat:

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt.
Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.

— Robert Hughes

Laugh!

Why? Because, as Alan Alda reminds us:

Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself.
Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.

— Alan Alda

Sprint!

There’s that deep valley between us and our goal – You know, the one we can’t see into with any clarity. The one our doubts believe is populated with “lions and tigers and bears, oh my”.  Perhaps a change of pace might now be called for – in which case, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run.

— Rudyard Kipling

When that distance run has us winded and wondering whether we will have the strength, the fortitude and the persistence to wend our way beyond all the scary obstacles – both imagined and real – that’s when our dreams are the most vulnerable. When doubt consumes our souls we risk lapsing into hopelessness.  Don’t do it, instead of lapsing into hopelessness, look for the absurdities of the situation instead.

Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity.

— Vaclav Havel

Yep, re-aim that doubt.  Target all the absurdities of life. Absurdities that will have you laughing through your tears as you once again set your feet upon the path; find the certainty of hope in your very own goals and dreams…

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.

— Barbara Kingsolver

Keep the Dream Alive!

Or as Cari herself put it:

Dream a big dream and figure out the small steps you can take to make it happen. Break it down and keep your eye on the goal. If you are looking at the goal, you won’t even see the obstacles.

If you suddenly find that your dream destination seems even more distant than when you started out, it’s time to chant while you laugh. And, every once in a while, break out in a sprint. But whatever you do, keep that dream alive!

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Cup o’ Inspiration

cup with steam swirl

Take a short break and consider the following:

“Be sure to take the most direct route to your dreams. Never take your eyes off your goal, or you will lose course. Never look back in sorrow, or you will trip.”

Joe Brown

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