People often times begin a venture, such as applying for a job, approaching a romantic prospect, starting a business, wanting promotion or a pay increase and fall prey to 3 main behavioral pillars. As long as these three traits reside in your psyche, success is almost impossible.
# ONE: In 1993, I auditioned for Cirque du Soleil while living in Manhattan on the most meager of budgets. Prior to the Cirque audition, professional rejection had become common-place. Fate tempted me to give up on my dream and head home to the small town of Blankenberge on the coast of Belgium.
At the end of almost 2 years of struggle in Manhattan, I had lost belief in my ability to ever achieve my American dream. Without hope and confidence, aspirations die before they ever had the chance to breathe and live.
My life changed when my attitude changed! When I believed that I could and deserved to fly, my wings appeared.
At the time I'd never heard of Cirque du Soleil. I thought it a silly idea to audition for a circus. I had not sacrificed everything in Belgium to run away with a circus, wear over-sized shoes, a red nose and clean up elephant dung. During the audition I initially felt our of my league and intimidated. When i reminded myself that I had as good a chance as anyone here, everything changed. I forgot about my insecurities and doubts. I felt free and hopeful. I lived in the moment with childlike vigor and performed with the utmost enthusiasm and confidence.
Believing in your potential and that you deserve what's on the other side of doubt, risk and fear will set you free. Believing makes you confident and gives you wings. As long as I didn't believe in me, my subconscious would only attract, disappointment and failure.
What separates achievers from those who never live their dreams is the belief they can and will, even when tempted to give up. They simply can't let go of their dream because their conviction compels them to keep going. they know success will be theirs. They remain optimistic midst the rejection, the "no's" and the failures. The pursuit is relentless. A positive outlook is the constant. It helps them get back up at each standing count, when life has knocked them down. The first character trait that kills dreams is, "lack of belief."
# TWO: During the entire first couple of years of Manhattan life, I was constantly pre-occupied with what others thought about my abilities, what they thought about my "foolish" American dream and what they'd say if I failed.
Being pre-occupied with what other's think or say is kryptonite to the dreaming and ambitious mind.
The more we worry about the opinions of others, the more we are shackled, the harder it is to become our best self and succeed. Our purpose is not based on what other's think. Our purpose is based on what compels us to do what we do; your why? We must not allow our reason for being to be distracted by the values and expectations that others place upon us.
Never feel the need to validate or explain your values, dreams and desires to others. Most won't understand. Others don't care. Not to mention, many are secretly hoping you fail. Deny the naysayers and doubters. It's your dream. The second character trait that kills dreams is, "worrying what others' think or say."
# THREE: When I moved to Manhattan to pursue my goals, it was not on blind whim. I had invested almost four years at a performing arts academy in Brugge, Belgium to hone my talent and skills as a dancer. I spend hours, days, weeks and months envisioning what the dream looked and tasted like. I could smell it.
In order to navigate any journey, a person must have the right tools, a plan or strategy, and the right attitude. At the onset of a pursuit, we usually don't even know which tools to buy, create ourselves and bring along. The more experience and knowledge we accumulate, the smoother the sailing.
As your skills and wisdom develop, you will need to keep your tools sharp and updated. Times change. Darwin and life teaches as the value of adaptability. Leverage your creative genius to overcome obstacles, problem solve and understand which new tools you will need and where to obtain them. Have the attitude of a constant learner. Even the master learns new lessons every day. Growth, development and improvement are never-ending. If you allow your skills and knowledge to plateau, you are inviting stagnation and decay. It's the same as never updating software. In time you will find yourself left behind unable to remain effective or relevant. The third character trait that kills dreams is "outdated software."
When we're equipped with an effective roadmap and a positive mindset focused on ourselves and our destination, we are empowered. Empowered people are energized. Optimism doesn't guarantee success or achievement. It does, nonetheless, increase the odds exponentially. If you are filled with optimism, your approach to life will change, more doors will open and you will experience the power of flying without a net.