Just thought I would share a story which is a great example of someone going after their dream and sticking with it.
A good mate of mine had a dream for a number of years to take his family and work overseas (managing a substantial project). We worked together on a project for over a year and during this time had regular conversations on this topic. We would discuss the type of company, the places he would like to work, when he wanted to do it by. I had no doubts that he would make it happen, such was the clarity he saw it all with.
I must admit though, that it did take me by surprise when he showed up to work one day and advised me out of the blue that he had received an offer to work overseas. An opportunity had come up for him, and he was going to seize it. It was like it had all played out as if written to script, except for one thing.. the position was in the Middle East. This wasn’t really in his plan, but nevertheless he decided to go right into checking it out. He and his wife flew over to check the place out over the period of a few days and find out as much as possible about it quell any doubts that they might have had.
It all checked out, and their decision was made. He had the job, managing a substantial project and on pretty good bucks to boot. They were off to the Middle East. It happened very fast. He left within a couple of weeks, and was to come home and take the family back with him within 6-8 weeks.
Prior to him leaving I had enjoyed listening to him talk about how what they were going to be able to do, the places that they would be able to visit (everything they want to see is within a few hours flying time). It was all very exciting for them, and I couldn’t help but be a little envious, but also nervous for them.
Things then got difficult. 6-8 weeks became 8-10 weeks, then turned to months. Turns out that visa’s aren’t so easy to get in his new country. The project also turned out to be very difficult, with substantial complications with contracts and delivery. The project looked shaky at points, and it could have fallen over. Every day was difficult for him workwise. He was missing his family, working ridiculous hours without a day off for months, in a foreign country where things are done very differently to what he was used to. I could tell by talking to him on skype that it was really wearing him down. He was doing it tough… and it was not just affecting him, it was affecting his whole family.
For the last month and a half or so, he has been ‘supposed’ to be coming home to finalise things and take the family back. It kept getting put off which made it all the more difficult for he and his family. After over 6 months apart, he ended up flying his family over to see him there which has been great for him, and he is due back in a couple of weeks now.
Here’s the kicker to this story – very recently he was offered an opportunity to take up where he left off before he went to the middle east. With all the shit he had been through, how worn down he was, and with all the stress he was dealing with, it was the perfect opportunity for him to throw it in and come back and chalk it up as experience. He thought long and hard about it, and even discussed it with his wife.
But… he said no. They went back to their dream. They remembered why they had decided to go in the first place. They had done it tough to date, but they hadn’t given themselves the chance to do the things that they had set their hearts on doing. It would have certainly been the easy thing to do to come back, but they are sticking it out. He has a fantastic attitude – he told me he will go through the tough stuff and it will make him a better Project Manager, and that he will learn from it all and come out better at the other end. And, he has his eye every firmly on the prize that comes along with the sacrifices. They have big plans for travel and experiences for themselves and their kids and they are determined to see it through.
This is a fantastic example for people. It is so common for people to set themselves lofty goals that they really want to achieve, but lose sight of their desired outcome when the going gets tough. When they lose sight of the outcome, they give up and accept it as ‘not being meant to be’. It can take a lot of mental fortitude to stay on track, to stay focussed on the outcome, especially when the tough day to day grind chips away at that picture. But, using my mate as a perfect example – if you are crystal clear on what you want and why you want it, and remind yourself of this on a regular basis, then you CAN do it.
Some lessons from the story:
- Be clear on what you outcome is, and what the purpose/reason for doing it is
- Remind yourself of the goal along the way, check in with those feelings of excitement of the outcome by visualising it on a regular basis,
- When the going gets tough, don’t automatically take the easy option. You may be only a short way from the pinnacle of the tough stuff and on your way to the downhill run
- Challenge your comfort zones – with lofty goals you really need to or you aren’t going to make it. This bloke has been so far out of his comfort zone that it’s not funny, but he and his family have hung in there through a great attitude and great mental language.
Have a great week!
PS, if you are reading this mate – good on you for sticking it out. Very bloody inspiring.