I was having a conversation with a friend recently about how she wants to quit her job. She’s been feeling less than satisfied for a long time now and wants to do something like I did. She wants to take a leap to “follow her dreams.”
“Do you think I have what it takes?” she asked.
I had so much empathy for how she was feeling in that moment. I remember, before my 50 state road trip, asking myself (and anyone who would answer) that exact same question: Do I have what it takes?
But this time, as soon as the words came out of her mouth, I had a brand new revelation.
If we’re asking ourselves “Do we have what it takes?” we’re asking ourselves the wrong question.
We have what it takes. You have what it takes, and I have what it takes. The human capability to handle stress, and difficulty, and to overcome obstacles is inexplicable. Our strength is so much bigger than we think it is.
This is how we run marathons…
This is how mothers give birth to babies (and then function on dangerously little amounts of sleep)…
This is how a young girl (22) can lift a car off of her father…
We have what it takes.
So what should we be asking instead?
The first question I think we need to be asking is: What am I walking towards?
The reason we can run marathons, and give birth to babies, and summon super-human strength to rescue a loved one is because the cause matters to us. When something matters to us, we’ll find the strength to pursue it.
So what matters to you? What are you walking towards?
If physical stuff matters to you, you’ll be surprised how much you’ll go through to get that stuff. You’ll stay at a job you hate, one that steals all of your energy, where you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning.
You’ll keep doing it, because it’s fulfilling your needs and priorities. Where our focus is, that is what you’ll move toward. If we want to change our trajectory, we need to change our focus.
What we’re walking towards matters.
What are you walking towards?
The second question we need to ask ourselves is this: How can I leverage my current circumstance?
Even if we know what we’re walking towards, that doesn’t mean we get to arrive at our destination right away. There are plans to make and journeys to take and paths to walk to get where we’re going.
So the question we need to ask ourselves, regardless of where we stand today, is this: What is good about my current situation?
How can does my current situation benefit me? How can I use it?
For example, my friend happens to be making really good money at her job. And since she doesn’t yet have a clear plan for where she’s heading next, I suggested she leverage that benefit by living below her means and putting money away in savings.
That money can keep her afloat when she leaves.
Or, maybe it could fund a future business venture…
Or help her start a non-profit…
Or allow her to travel overseas…
All of that depends on where she is heading.
But if we don’t learn to leverage the power of our current circumstances, we will never be able to leverage the power of our future circumstances, either.
If we’re asking the question, “do I have what it takes” I think it might be because we don’t know where we’re heading, and we don’t understand how to leverage the power of our current circumstances.
We do have what it takes.
I’m learning to believe that’s true.
What do you think?