Can you remember a time when you were younger and wanted desperately to achieve something that was going to take considerable effort and where you were going to face considerable risk?

Can you remember a time when you absolutely had to succeed at something or face dire consequences?

I think of these times as “one shot moments.” These are the times in your life when you have an unique opportunity to succeed at something which matters deeply. These are the moments which define you. These are the moments where your self-esteem can either soar or falter.

We often see these moments dramatized in the arts. Lately, I’ve been mesmerized by the play, Hamilton. Alexander Hamilton, a poor orphan from the West Indies comes to New York City at the time of the American Revolution. He wants to fight at the side of General George Washington. In the play, he sings: “I am not throwing away my shot. I’m not throwing away my shot. I’m young, scrappy, and hungry, just like my country, and I’m not throwing away my shot.”

Hamilton, of course, succeeds. He not only fights with General Washington but becomes Secretary of the Treasury and is still venerated today.

While we often think of “one shot moments” occurring primarily when we are young, I believe that if we stay awake and aware, one shot opportunities present themselves to us throughout our lives. So yes, while I see my students having one shot to get a job, or to make the NFL, or to date that special person, I also see my adult clients experiencing “one shot moments” when they are going after their dream job, or taking on an important cause, or even when they have to fight a life-threatening illness.

Young or old, I’ve noticed certain strategies that work best for people to “not throw away their shots.”

  1. They notice when those moments come along and recognize the opportunity to achieve something great.
  2. After careful consideration, they make a serious commitment to themselves to go for it.
  3. Once they have committed, they create a plan for achieving success.
  4. They can visualize what success will look and feel like. They can describe it to themselves and to others.
  5. They recognize that while fear may get in the way, fear is only a feeling, and they go ahead and do what needs to be done anyway.
  6. They recognize that they are going to have to sacrifice some major things to be able to achieve what it is that they want.
  7. Selectively, they share their dream with others who will support them.
  8. They recognize they will have to take care of themselves while they are pursuing their dream. This means getting in mental and physical shape.
  9. They practice what they have to do to succeed.
  10. They recognize that they will have to get out of their comfort zone to do everything that is necessary to achieve their goal.

We’ve all had them: now I’d like to hear about them from you.

What are some of the “one shot moments” you’ve had in your life, and what have you done during those times to ensure success.

Learn more about my new book Self-Aware

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