You can’t win the game sitting on the bench. It’s hard to impact results standing on the sidelines.

You have to get involved. You have to overcome your doubts, your fears, your inertia. You have to take action. You have to commit. You have to move forward.

Most important, you probably have to change.

Why do you have to change? Because if what you are doing is working as well as you’d like, or as well as it could, you would be where you want to be and happily planning your next achievement, your next triumph.

People ask me the secret of success. Well, I’ve got lots of answers to that one including a shrug of my shoulders and replying that they know it already, it is deep inside themselves, so go find it. But most of the time I allude to the basic foundations of success:
– Work hard
– Work smart
– Have a burning fire in your belly, find your passion and follow it with intelligent persistence

But the number one reason why people fall short of their potential?

They stop short of the ultimate leap, the leap of faith into the chasm, that defining moment when to be your ultimate greatest self, you let go of all you hold dear and launch out into the unknown, trusting in fate, instinct, and your own abilities to bring you down safely or at least quasi safe. Life may not require you to let go of all you hold dear, but to reach the greatest heights I assure you it will require that you put it at risk, that you gamble your comfort and security, that you forsake the known and put yourself out there either emotionally, intellectually, or financially.

Not many people are willing to make that leap into the abyss. The good news is that much success can be achieved without wild leaps. But life will always require little leaps of you, little acts of courage that require you to master your fears, overcome your doubts, and move forward to your dreams. As you practice daily overcoming your doubts, refusing to listen to your inner critic that forever counsels endless caution (aka permanent planning mode), then you will be able to make bigger and bigger steps and who knows? Maybe someday the moment will come when you begin to leap chasms. In the meantime, every fear you walk through, every doubt you successfully challenge, means a greater you and thus a greater community of humanity, and in a small but still significant way, a better world.

So what fear will you vanquish today? What doubt will you dissolve? How will you end the day a better you? As you lay your head on your pillow, how will you have left the world a tiny bit better place than when you awoke?

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive. Originally posted August 8, 2008.