What’s holding you back?

Look back over the last week, the last month, the last year, and ask yourself this question: did I accomplish what I thought I would? Am I happy about the progress I made during that time? Am I likely to accomplish what I think I will over the next week, month, or year?

Truthfully, I can’t say that I’m unhappy about the progress I made over the last year, but it’s definitely less than what I had hoped for. I tend to look forward a year and imagine that things will have changed much more than they have. I imagine that my progress towards various goals will be much more substantial, that my life will look more different than it inevitably does, that I’ll have changed more than I have. Why? Well, probably because I’m an optimist. But also because change is hard.

There’s nothing really profound in this post, just some lessons that I need to remind myself of on occasion. Earlier this evening, I was sitting at dinner, pondering some conversations I had today about opportunities in the real estate market. The real estate market has taken a beating, and right now is a fantastic time to buy if you can make the deals happen. But financing those deals is hard, lenders are wary, and cash is scarce. On top of that, the general feeling in the real estate market right now is one of fear and dejection. The vast majority of people (even experienced investors) would conclude that this is a good time to sit on the sidelines for a bit and wait for sanity to return. But I wonder if times like these separate the timid from the titans. I spent some time today on the phone with lenders and people who are out there doing deals, and I’m much, much further along than I was at the beginning of the day, though perhaps still a long way from doing any deals. But the thing I realized tonight is that lack of capital, connections, experience, etc, etc. are not what’s holding me back. The only thing holding me back is me. The only thing keeping me from diving in 100% and making something happen is my unwillingness to do so, for whatever reason. Sure, lack of capital, connections, experience or whatever else will slow me down and make it that much harder. But it definitely can be done. I just have to want it badly enough.

As I think about what’s truly and honestly holding me back, I’m reminded of a quote:

“After a lifetime of making money and observing better men and women than I fall by the wayside, I am convinced that fear of failing in the eyes of the world is the single biggest impediment to amassing wealth.”
-Felix Dennis

What’s holding you back?