by Fawn Germer, 2012 speaker
Oprah told us we could imagine anything. We could drop everything, chase our passions, imagine big things and – voila! –we’d find success beyond our wildest dreams.
There is an asterisk that needs to go with the “imagine and you will manifest” line: *Expect obstacles. Don’t go calling me Eeyore for telling you that you will be tested in many ways if you want to achieve something great. That’s a fact.
Your obstacles ultimately give you the greatest opportunity to stretch and define who you are. They make you strong and viable, but when you are staring at an obstacle, it can be frustrating, demoralizing and personally devastating. It’s not until you have faced and overcome many obstacles and looked back that you can see how the obstacles actually drove you to even greater success.
Learn to quickly identify the obstacles and tell yourself, “Okay, here’s an obstacle. How am I going to get around it?”
There are so many people who come up with brilliant business plans and expect everything to fall right into place. When the dream doesn’t happen according to plan, they get discouraged and give up. Well, weak people see obstacles and stop. Strong people see obstacles and find a way. If you aren’t strong enough to face adversity in chasing what you’ve imagined, then all you have is a dream that will live in your imagination. But, if you boldly confront your obstacles, you are earning your success with your heart and soul. That will manifest success in reality.
Don’t judge yourself by what you achieve that comes easily. Judge yourself by what you’ve done when things got hard. That is the measure of your individual strength, and that is the ultimate achievement.
I am a big believer in the “Law of Attraction,” which got so much attention when The Secret was published. It is a concept that has been ripped off and contorted by authors and speakers for more than a century, but it’s older than that. It’s even in the Bible. The idea is that you create your reality with your thoughts. If you expect trouble, you’ll get it. If you expect success, you’ll manifest success. This is not some woo-woo, new age b.s. It is a fact.
My own path to success started with a great flash of imagination. I wanted to make women stronger and more successful. I wanted to inspire them to put their self-esteem issues aside and dare to do what generations have feared to do. It started with my plan to write Hard Won Wisdom, my first book. I knew it would be a monster bestseller that would be a fast and mighty bestseller. What I didn’t expect was that I would hit the wall again and again and again. My first book was rejected by every major publisher in the U.S. When I finally got a publisher, it was released one day before 9-11. Those obstacles exhausted me, but something gave me the strength to persevere. I knew that the goal in my heart mattered. I kept fighting when it looked like the universe was telling me to quit.
It was only when I got to the other side of my obstacles that I realized they made me much more successful than my original plan would have made me. I’m convinced my book made it to Oprah because of 9-11 because so many other authors had given up and mine stood out. My second book was better, but she didn’t feature it. Not that I got discouraged.
I learned my lesson. Stay in the game. Seize the lessons that your obstacles will offer and you’ll create even more success. Persevere – no matter what.
2012 Massachusetts Conference for Women speaker Fawn Germer speaks globally on women’s leadership issues and is the best-selling author of seven books – one of which was an Oprah pick. She is a four-time, Pulitzer-nominated journalist. .