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The Hills in Your Head

I recently went on a jog in my hometown with a close friend from high school. As we were headed out, I warned him that I was out of training and that I probably wouldn’t be able to do the huge hill at the end of our path.

The whole run I was dreading that hill. I remembered it was towering and intimidating. In my head, no one could jog up that hill, let alone an amateur runner like myself.

As we neared the hill, I realized something shocking – it was much smaller than I expected; we were both able to successfully conquer it. Don’t get me wrong, my heart still felt like it was going to explode from my chest when we got to the top, but we both did it.

One of the greatest challenges that many developing leaders face, whether you are committing yourself to making a difference in the third world, steering your team in a new direction, or just trying to become a better person, is finding the courage to actually begin an ambitious project. All of the barriers in front of you – fund-raising, motivating other people, facing potential failure, and maintaining long-term vision – seem so daunting and insurmountable, that few people ever take action.

What I have learned, and what you will learn too if you have the audacity to chase even one of your dreams, is that the giant hills that we imagine are much more daunting in our heads, than they are in reality. In other words, the barriers that you believe are holding you back are most likely mental barriers – not real ones.

What will really hold you back, on a run, on your path towards making the world a better place, or on your mission to become the best leader you can be, is you. Sometimes the going will get tough, but just like running, you can always slow to a walk. Even while walking, you’re still making progress. And if you can’t complete the course your first time out, you can always go back, rest, and try again the next day. In fact you can keep trying (and probably should) until you succeed.

The trick is simply this: start.

Start now. Commit to volunteering. Commit to improving yourself. Commit to making someone else’s life a bit better (and here’s a secret: doing so will also make your life better). Commit to whatever it is that you really want to do for yourself or for the world and start doing it now.

As you begin to take action you’ll realize that many of the obstacles you expected would be insurmountable, were merely hills in your head – not hills in real life.

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