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Obstacles can stand in the way of fulfilling your life’s dreams. But did you know only one thing is usually holding you back from finding your better you?

Is it lack of money, or connections, or opportunity, or credibility? 

Nope! These aren’t the real reasons for stumbling in your quest. They’re all excuses.

Look closer and you might spot an elephant in the room.

The huge reason why you aren’t where you imagined you would be is staring you right in the face. You’ve resisted looking into its eyes for so long, you no longer know it’s there.

Privately, you know it’s the one thing you must address to take control and master your own psyche. Only then will you become the person you were always meant to be.

So, what is it? 

Bob Hawke Knew

Let’s get some context around your challenge. I recently watched a documentary about the challenges of our former Australian PM, Bob Hawke.

I remember the history of the events well. It was early 1983. I had just turned 16 and had started work at my first real full-time job.

I was all starry-eyed about my future and thought I could achieve anything.

Whether you loved or loathed Bob, it was hard not to admire him. But there was a hidden story around him that few knew at the time.

Before becoming PM, Bob loved a drink. No, he REALLY loved a drink. He would start the day with a brandy at 10am and then push on throughout the day, driven by more alcohol.

Then the Fraser Government was crumbling after seven years in office. It was clear that they could no longer govern, but there was no obvious clear alternative on the other side of politics.

Change concept.

Ultimatum time

And Bob faced an ultimatum from his party.  Give up the drink – permanently – and become the nation’s leader.

The alternative? Keep drinking, miss your opportunity and fade into obscurity.

Bob had been thinking about running for Parliament for a long time. So he decided if he was to become the man that he had imagined – the man to lead the country out of the doldrums – that he must be prepared to give up drinking.

He chose to remain sober, rather than risk making a tainted decision which could have dire consequences for the nation.

He set aside the behaviour that had served him so well in the past – which had allowed him to behave like a larrikin in order to get what he sought – to lead the country.

Seize the moment

He seized his opportunity. And it paid off handsomely.

He became the leader of the Labor Party in early 1983. A few weeks later, he won the highest office in the land in what was regarded as being an unwinnable election.

He chose to set aside a lifetime behaviour – in what was then considered to be a socially acceptable practice  – in order to achieve his vision. 

What this demonstrates is a real and practical reminder to all of us. If you want to achieve greatness, it will not just happen. You must seize it.

Greatness ahead road sign.

Greatness doesn’t just happen

Because, usually,  the one thing holding you back from success is what you are hiding behind to dull a painful experience in the past.

The pain is now long gone. But you’re still holding on to the behaviour you’ve adopted to cope with it.

For some, that means turning to substances such as alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. For others, it’s an addiction to the security of your regular paycheck.

Alcohol and drugs dull the senses and prevent your mind from operating at peak capacity. So you miss the opportunities and miss out on achieving success. 

This is no sermon. At various stages of life, everyone is guilty of not addressing weaknesses or hiding behind such conditions.

Sometimes you just feel like you need permission from someone to help you take control.

Even if you can’t put a name to it, I’ll bet that your five closest friends all can – and probably have to your face on occasion.

Some people will never draw the line in the sand to take the action required.

Ask who you really are

Is that really who you are? Are you the type of person who can’t commit to your purpose to do whatever it takes to overcome the obstacles? Of course you are, which is why you are reading this.

So, at the end of the article, we have a challenge for you. We dare you to take it.

As the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, wisely said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

So, if you’ve been waiting for permission to act – if that’s the one thing you need to start – here it is.

I give you permission to take control of your life.

Now get ready to take that single step. What are you prepared to do to become a better you?

In one word, think of the one thing you need to confront now in order to succeed?

And, by committing to overcoming it, I promise that you will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Go ahead, take that first step. Don’t think, act! Do it NOW!