It’s Yourself That You Need To Conquer (Part 2)

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“You defeated me, but you won’t defeat me again
because you have grown all you can grow …
but I am still growing.”
Sir Edmund Hillary
(first climber to summit Mount Everest, speaking about the mountain)

I’m saying this again (read Part 1 here) because it’s that important: sometimes the biggest mountain you’ll ever need to face is your own self. That’s especially true if you’ve been defeated.

How do you respond to failure? Do you throw in the towel and quit? Do you assign blame? Do you make excuses? Do you hunker down and keep doing the same things that didn’t work, hoping that they will work the next time? Do you learn something from that failure and use that knowledge to come at it (whatever it is) again with more wisdom and perspective? Do you use failure as fuel to keep going or a reason to give up on yourself?

The answers matter. The answers will tell you what you need to conquer in yourself so you can reach your goals/wants/dreams.

Read the first three things you need to conquer here.

4. Criticism

Criticism is another one that’s going to happen no matter what. Even in my comfort zone, I still found people eager and willing to cut me down. Others can keep you small. Others can stop you in your tracks. Others can dictate and bellow and you can spend your life not striving toward your own passions but instead trying (fruitlessly in the end, to be honest) to please other people.

But, I’ve come to realize, others can’t do any of that without your willingness to go along and your permission. So I decided that nobody else gets to tell me who I can be, what I want, or what my life ought to look like. Your life and what you want for it isn’t about anybody else; it’s only about you. Don’t get to the end of it with your own wants/hopes/goals gone unrealized. You’ll know criticism is toxic when it’s characterized by things like these:

  • People complaining about your choices/appearance/habits/etc. not to help you improve but to control you
  • People giving their negative opinion about your work not to help you be better but to diminish you
  • Judgments (both from others and also ones you say to yourself)
  • Labels (both from others and ones you give to yourself)
  • Anything said to shame you so that you stay small and contained
Know this: you’re not alone.
Know this too: the key to conquering criticism is persistence. If you’ll just speak strength to yourself and keep going in the face of criticism, you’ll prove to yourself just how trustworthy you really are (meaning you can trust yourself to: listen and act on your own intuition, take care of yourself, pursue your own dreams, make up your own mind, make your own choices about what’s best for you, and on the list goes).

5. Unexpected Outcomes

All of us have some kind of vision for our lives, I have no doubt. We set out toward goals that matter to us with an expectation of how those goals will turn out once we reach them. Thing is, sometimes the goal doesn’t pan out how you thought/hoped/prayed it would. Or it turns into something else entirely, something you might’ve never seen coming and so couldn’t prepare for. Or you get all the way to the end of that goal only to realize it really wasn’t your goal to begin with.

But here’s the thing, you have very little control over much in this life, including (and especially) the outcome. You can plan, be laser focused, throw money at it, get lots of support, do everything the way you’re supposed to, and on the list goes, and you can still end up with an outcome that you don’t want. What you do have control over is doing the work/life in front of you to the best of your ability and managing your reactions. Some unexpected outcomes can be things like these:

  • You get close to but not exactly what you envisioned.
  • You don’t reach your goal in the time frame that you thought you would.
  • The goal costs you (time, money, energy, etc.) more than you thought you’d have to sacrifice
  • The end result doesn’t produce what you expected (accolades, money, status, relationships, etc.)
  • The goal turns out to belong to someone else (what somebody else wanted for your life)
Know this: you’re not alone.
Know this too: the key to conquering unexpected outcomes is persistence. If you’ll just speak strength to yourself and keep going in the face of them, you’ll prove to yourself just how resilient you really are.

6. Unrealized Hopes/Dreams

One of the hardest things I had to conquer in myself was my disappointment with unrealized hopes/dreams. Again, we all envision something for our lives, something we strive to have/be/do/say. Thing is, sometimes you don’t reach that vision in the time frame you thought you would. Or the vision for your life doesn’t show up exactly the way you pictured it. Or sometimes the door to the future you tell yourself you want so badly just never opens.

The disappointment can turn into disillusionment, which can really derail you (like it did me) if you let it. If you’re not willing to be somewhat flexible, you can find yourself spiraling (sometimes out of control) further and further from where you most want to be. Side note: this isn’t about settling but about being flexible with regards to the way you reach what you envision for yourself. Some unrealized hopes/dreams can be things like these:

  • The path you wanted to take never materialized for you.
  • The path you took didn’t get you to where you wanted to be by a certain number (date, age, weight, etc.)
  • The path you took was much harder than you thought and so you gave up.
  • The path you took forked in a different direction and you chose to follow it.
  • The path you took was a means of settling for less instead of a means of finding a way to more.
Know this: you’re not alone.
Know this too: the key to conquering unrealized hopes/dreams is persistence. If you’ll just speak strength to yourself and keep going in the face of them, you’ll prove to yourself just how tenacious you really are.

What I’ve learned so far:

Whatever it is you need to conquer inside yourself usually remains a constant (or relatively constant) size. You as a whole person, however, keep growing and learning and adapting with every step you take. If you just keep going, you’ll rise higher and higher, gaining ground with every small (tiny if need be) step you take in direction of your goal. Regardless of how big your goal may be or how far away it may seem, you will get there (yes, you will!) if you’ll just: 1. refuse to give up on yourself and 2. keep moving onward, no matter how slowly, until you reach it.


So what do you need to conquer in yourself to reach your goals?


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