As we all know stretching out of your comfort zone is scary. And it should be! Any goal that is only exciting is too small and we will grow out it far too quickly. Any goal that is only scary is too big and we simply won’t go there. So the right kind of goal is the one that is both scary and exciting!

So much for the theory, but what about the practice? When you are sitting in front of a big stretchy goal often one of the challenges is “Can I trust myself to be able to handle this? Will I be able to handle the challenges inherent in this, and succeed?”

Of course there are no guarantees that any decision we take will work out as we want. Once we start walking along a path we often get pushed off course with unforeseen situations or obstacles – that’s par for the course. After all, it is these challenges that help us grow as human beings, and they are a necessary part of life. However, if you feel you can trust yourself, it is so much easier to take that first step.

I was talking with a client recently who was having trouble committing to his big goal. I asked him to mentally take a walk through his life and identify as many times as he could remember when he hit a challenge and what he did to overcome it. When he reported back, the stress was all but gone from his face. He said that he had seen many times (and some he had forgotten about until he did this exercise) when he had indeed hit a challenge, and got himself through it successfully. Sticky situations where he had come up with a solution that, until faced with the question, he would never had foreseen himself finding.

As a result, he saw just how resourceful he was in the face of challenges. And that information was enough for him to commit to following his goal and to trust himself that he would take care of whatever arose.

Sure he then went on to make a clear plan of how he would achieve his goal and what contingencies he wanted in place to move on with it. However, that first simple exercise of seeing that he could trust himself to take care of not only him, but his family too, was a key ingredient in the process.

Your past can often inform and support your future; you just need to go looking.