How many times do you back away from a new challenge because you don’t think you have “what it takes”? How many times have you told yourself, “I don’t deserve this, someone else can do it better,” or “What if I’m not good enough?” We’re all guilty of limiting ourselves at one point or another. But what if that negativity is what’s holding us back from our true potential?
The truth is the key to success isn’t outward; it’s inward. “The only person who needs to give permission to be successful is you,” says Mark Wiggins, a motivational speaker who held the “Permission to Succeed” workshop during the 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.
The theme for the convention and expo, “Grow,” fits in perfectly with the message Wiggins tries to convey to his audiences. “If you want to be successful, you have to grow,” says Wiggins. “You can’t always be chasing around the old stuff and expecting to move forward.”
That’s easier said than done, as there are a lot of barriers to success. Frustration, over planning, discouragement and fear of success or failure are all capable of taking the wind out of anyone’s sails and holding them back.
Lao-tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In fact, the journey toward success doesn’t necessarily start with an action, but rather the moment when you decide that you want to do something.
So how does one take that first step toward success? Start by empowering your voice. A little bit of positivity can go a long way; what you say and think impacts your body, mind and soul. It’s not always easy to be optimistic, and there are going to be times when we all have doubts in our abilities. Remember, “I am, I can, I will.”
“Begin where you are – starting over is not an option,” says Wiggins. Maybe it’s a supervised agricultural experience you want to improve upon, and you just want to scrap the entire project and start from scratch. Don’t.
Imagine if a relay race was run by having each member of the team dash back to the starting line, and then sprint back to hand off a baton. The race would take much longer and would require more energy and effort from the runners, only to have them get to the same point they would have reached had they just started from where they were. The same goes for completing a goal. Going back to the beginning will only require more work, but may not necessarily result in more gain.
Lastly, make SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing your chapter’s president position in the next officer election. Instead of just casually thinking of running for the office, take it to the next level and develop concrete details. How are you going to run for president? How will you measure your success of achieving the goal? How much time do you have to complete the goal? Simply outlining these details will help push you toward achieving your goal.
So whether it’s a new FFA crusade you’re thinking about taking on or a new sport you’ve always wanted to try but have been too scared to actually do, challenge yourself to empower yourself.
You are. You can. You will.
Hannah Kleckner is an agriculture sciences major at Penn State. Originally from Annville, Pa., Hannah was a member of the Little Dutchmen FFA Chapter but now serves as a member of the Penn State Collegiate FFA.