Recently I came across a real-life example of what it takes to succeed. Here is the story first.
Jaquie Goncher of Marietta, Georgia, was 17 years old when she was paralyzed from the neck down due to a swimming accident. The doctors told her at that time that she will never be able to walk again. However, she refused to believe that, so she told Cosmopolitan magazine that “I would go to the gym and get so frustrated that I wouldn’t go back, I was trying to make myself do it, but I kept failing at it, and then I would be disgusted with myself,”
She made up her mind a year before her wedding that she will walk down the aisle. She told ABC News, “Because of my blood pressure, I couldn’t stand for more than 30 minutes,” “I knew I’d be able to walk down the aisle with help, but what I really wanted to be able to do was to stand at the wedding and dance at the wedding without the wheelchair.”
Goncher accomplished her goal on her wedding day. She walked down the aisle, she stood through the ceremony and reception, she also danced at her wedding.
Reading Jaquie’s story got me thinking about success and the journey to achieve our goals. The journey to success is never easy, but most of the time, we look at the final moment of glory and dwell only on the achievement and hope we will have the same level of achievement. Here are a few lessons worth repeating from the life of Jaquie.
Life’s bubble bursts at times
We spend a lot of time planning and preparing to avoid problems in our lives, but time and time again, we see that difficulties have a way of showing up in our lives. It is life’s way of helping us practice what we have learned. It is also an opportunity to learn new things about ourselves and the skills we need to grow. You may not be able to use this perspective when you are in the midst of the crisis, but only after you have passed through it.
We see Joseph similarly reflecting on his life.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. — Genesis 50:20 NIV
Setbacks are not abnormal
In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16: 33
When we are pursuing a goal, failures are a common occurrence. If you are not facing any setback in your life, you are playing it safe. You are well within your comfort zone using only your well-developed expertise. Growth happens outside your comfort zone. It is there you learn more about yourself, your ability, and your potential.
Take on a challenge today that is brand new to you. See what you can do with the challenge. React to setbacks as a learning opportunity. Think about what to do next and not dwell on the failure. Learn from it and move on.
As Jacquie says, dwelling on failure will affect you negatively. She was disgusted with herself. Focusing on what to do next will help you to move forward.
Unselfish goals have a higher success rate
Jaquie intended to walk soon after her recovery but made little progress. She says she would go to the gym with determination to reach her goal, but then, being disappointed with failure, she will not return to the gym.
She set a one-year time frame to walk, but now the goal is to walk and dance on her wedding day. The purpose now includes her fiancée as well as her family and friends. I believe this change in the drive brought about the energy needed for Jacquie to achieve her goal.
In Luke 16:18, Jesus talks about a rich man with selfish goals, “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.” Selfish goals don’t help you reach further in your life. In verse 21, Jesus says, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
What are your goals? Are they all of a selfish nature? How can you repurpose your goal?
Real-life is not instant
Jaquie was injured when she was 17, and she could walk again at the age of 25. It took 8 long years for her to achieve her desire. In that time, however, Jacquie learned more about herself and repurposed her goals to include others.
Even though Jaquie made the final push in the last year, she worked on it for all 8 years. She made minor movements towards her final goal. Though the increments may have looked very insignificant at that time, they add up.
Proverbs 21:5 sums up this idea perfectly, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Jaquie sums her experience accurately by saying, “It’s been a really, really long journey with a lot of ups and a lot of downs as well,” she said. “It’s just all been God in my life and leaning on my faith in him.”
What challenges are you facing in your life right now? Have the experts concluded that nothing can be done in this situation and recommended that you give up? Are you looking at the difficulty, and you are not able to see its end? Are you exhausted from tirelessly working to solve the problem? Think about the four lessons from Jaquie’s life. Take one day at a time and you will be on the other side soon enough.