You Are Closer Than You Think

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
~Thomas Edison

You’d be surprised how many people come to see me for career guidance who are sure they are completely lost at sea in a fog, only to discover they were only a mile from shore.

And then there are often tears at the discovery — both for the relief, and for the grief of having tread water for so long.

I feel like leaving a moment of silence here, for honoring that grief. It gets to me. You can see why I’m on a mission to help people find the shore.

You ARE closer than you think, to whatever is feeling stuck right now. Oh my, that is even hard for me to believe in this moment. Do you feel that doubt too? Whatever feels stuck can feel so daunting sometimes.

And yet, I know it’s true. We are closer than we think to getting unstuck. Think back to a year ago and recall things that felt so hard or confusing. Notice the ones that are flowing fine now.

I see this same pattern with other parts of our career or entrepreneurial journey. We get so sure we won’t get to that next goal, feeling like we’re swimming upstream again.

And then we finally take the weekend to rest, and bam, the answer is right in front of us on Monday morning. We find the downstream feeling again. (Reminder to self: Rest really helps!)

It Takes Stamina for the Big Stuff

It’s true that it takes stamina and patience to realize a big goal. One…step…at…a…time.

Edison tried 6,000 different components to create the filament for the light bulb. He trusted he would get there so he just kept experimenting. He wasn’t a lucky guy. He was a determined guy. I’m so glad. 

And It Can Require Receiving Help

Often it takes getting help from outside our own spinning brains. If it feels too hard and it’s staying stuck, it’s time to get help. That’s how you know it’s time. It’s not a failure, it’s a blessing that you are hearing the signal.

Special thanks to Mass Marketing Resources for posting the Edison quote on Facebook and inspiring me in an uninspired moment. That in turn inspired me to write this post.

Think About It

I invite your comment about this idea, here on this post or on my Facebook Page.

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  • Amber Ladley

    Val, this is such a great post. I always appreciate the reminder to rest and revitalize. Also, this line especially resonated with me: “Think back to a year ago and recall things that felt so hard or confusing.” It’s so important to take a moment and soak up all the goodness that has come from our efforts…especially when we are feeling stuck. You are such an inspiration — thank you!

    • Val Nelson

      Yes, thanks for reminding me back. Looking back and noticing how far we’ve come is SO important. So easy to miss.

  • Janet Curley

    Nice! Thanks Val!

    • Val Nelson

      I’m glad you liked it Janet! ;-)

  • Melinda Moses

    The Edison quote is so incredibly inspiring Val. Thank YOU for putting it out there, and for wrapping it in your own words of inspiration. Getting to the point where you finally understand what you need to overcome the next barrier is such a huge step. Finding the right person to help you through it … priceless. I can see how you are successful at what you do. Looking forward to seeing you at PodCamp West. (and btw love your site. very cool).

    • Val Nelson

      Thanks Melinda! See you soon.

  • jasonturcotte

    Great post Val!

    • Val Nelson

      Thanks Jason! I’m touched you stopped in.