Have you ever said, “I could never do that!” Maybe a friend just told you about something they did, or an achievement conquered. They finished a marathon, made partner at their firm, raised triplets, or what I usually garner that reaction from, did an all-day bike race. Pause for a minute and ask why could you never do that?
The internet will probably tell you there are exactly 4 steps to doing anything, or 8 ways to do everything, etc. Really though, some people simply cannot do certain things, and the ones who can will have 50 different methods of accomplishing the same thing.
However, from what I’ve seen, there is nothing particularly special about those who can do the things you say you NEVER could. In fact, they all seem to only have one thing in common, and otherwise are all completely different types of people. So what is that common denominator? They want it. Whatever they’re after, they want to get it, and they do what it takes to get there.
Think about it. You’re so far down the ladder from partner, the other partners don’t even know you work for them. But you want it, so you start working, upping your game, impressing everyone around you. It tires you out, and you get exhausted. You want to quit, to relax, to dial it back. Then you realize people are starting to notice your work. You keep at it. Promotions come. Suddenly you see the track is unfolding in front of you. More pain, hard hours, tough clients, but you make it. Dreaming about it wouldn’t have gotten you there, but wanting it badly did.
Maybe you’re pregnant and about to have triplets. Parenting three, same-age children simultaneously may sound impossible. But you want your kids to survive, to grow up healthy, and to not kill themselves in the process. You want that BADLY, so you do what it takes to make it happen. Sacrifices, blood, sweat, and many tears. But you do it. Was it hard? You know better than anyone! Doable? Yes. When it got hard, you put aside your fears, ignored the pain, and made it happen.
Maybe running a mile leaves you exhausted and wheezing. It’s actually laughable to think you could run 26 of them in a row. But you want to, if for no other reason than to prove yourself wrong that you can’t. Each day, you get up an hour earlier. Tired, groggy, you hobble out the door and run that mile. A few weeks later, you try to do 2. But you can’t, and you have to walk. The weather turns and it’s 35 and raining, but you go run anyway, even though it’s horrible. Months go by, more failure, more pain, more wheezing. Then one day, you wake up, and realize it’s race day. And you’re ready to run 26 miles. It took two years to get in shape, but you got there with a TON of work, that was always hard. Wanting to finish those 26 miles propelled you through all the hard runs, the aches and pains, the small voice telling you to give up.
People often think difficult challenges are accomplished by “natural talent”, or something genetic that they don’t have. What they don’t seem to get though, is just how HARD it was. They don’t know about those long nights, trying to get three kids to go to sleep. Or all the extra work you put in to make yourself stand out above the rest of your colleagues. Every run you did in the dark, when it was cold and miserable. They only see the result, and presume it was easy, that it was handed to you, that you didn't fail along the way.
Wanting something drives you, it gives you strength, motivation and creativity to get things done in ways you couldn’t have dreamed of. Inevitably, someone will read this and think, “no, you don’t understand, I’ve tried this or that, and can't do it.” Really? You’ve tried every possible thing? You’ve tried harder than everyone else who’s done it? The worlds a big place with a lot of driven people. Chances are VERY good, someone has worked harder, from a more challenging position to accomplish more than you have. And there is nothing special about them, they just WANTED it more.
Don't write off people as being gifted, a "natural", or more privileged than you are. Those are excuses, and realistically, you have no idea what hurdles they had to overcome to do what they have. You focus on you, and what you need to do in order to accomplish what you want. And to be clear, I'm not suggesting that you can do whatever you want, or achieve anything. You can't, and it's a common lie said today that you can. But when you boil it down to it's very core, there are very few true limiters in the world. Pick the goals you want and go after them with all you've got.