Updated: Mar 28, 2019

As a child, most of us were told time and time again: “never give up.” From a very young age we have instilled in us the notion that we should chase our dreams wherever they take us and if we work hard enough they will eventually become achievable and maybe come true. The problem is, that most people view this advice and encouragement very narrowly. Most of us hit the first road block, and we power through it to achieve our goal. But then there may be a new obstacle, a new struggle, and a new speed bump. It becomes more difficult to remain dedicated to a far-off goal the more we are held back and challenged. The trick is to know that achieving a goal or reaching success often presents itself in a different way.

Once we discover this trick it becomes easier to imagine success in a unique way devoid of failure.

Someone once said that “success is where preparation meets opportunity.” I believe that embodies a wonderful approach to achieving goals because it leaves room for “failure,” because sometimes we can be sufficiently prepared but the opportunity has not presented itself for us to shine. What we all must do is look beyond the goals we have set for ourselves in two ways.

First, look beyond your goals as stationary and unchanging goals and begin to think of your dreams as an evolution of your own person growth and the changing world around you.

Second, look beyond the achievement of your goal as the ceiling and look beyond to the skies. Do not limit yourself to realistic and practical goals; but instead, set realistic goals as mere bench marks instead of the finish line goal. If you are open to opportunities beyond what you believe to be attainable you might be surprised to find that amazing opportunities are more in your reach than you originally thought.

The wall most people hit on the road to achieving magnificent goals is setting the realistic bench marks as the ultimate and rigid end-goal with no room for alterations. Then, when the end-goal does not pan out perfectly the result is viewed as a failure instead of a learning experience. It breaks my heart to hear stories from people of this happening and unfortunately it happens all the time. I can personally attest that I have had way more "failures" than "successes" if I were to look at the world through the normal lens of success. However, I choose to set incredible goals that people often laugh and scoff at when I verbalize them. For example, whenever I am asked what I would like to be "when I grow up," I tell people I would like to run for governor of the state I call home. Secretly I hope I also win the election, but goodness just running for governor would be a huge accomplishment on its own! Now, a lot of people think I am only joking, and that does not bother me in the slightest. What most people do not understand is that I fully acknowledge I may never run for governor or be elected, but the preparation I exercise over many years towards achieving that goal will likely lead me to many wonderful opportunities where I shall find different forms of success.

Throughout college I ran for many elected positions and lost many more elections than I won. I used each campaign, interview, and election to learn a new lesson and prepare better for the next opportunity that came my way. When the proper opportunity presented itself and I was adequately prepared I was able to achieve success.

"Failure” is in the eye of the beholder. Each misstep we take could lead us to the path we are meant to travel if we are only open to the opportunity and approach each opportunity prepared for anything this world throws our way.

As you journey through every single day of life, keep in mind that every obstacle you encounter my be God's way of redirecting your path. Perhaps I will never run for governor but I trust God will put up the road blocks I need to either challenge me to preservere or change course.

My hope and prayer is that you will be challenged in all your worthwhile goals and those challenges will provide you with insight into God's plan for your life. Never give up. Press on and overcome obstacles but also realize doors may sometimes close in order to bring you an even more fulfilling and fitting opportunity.