During my service in the Special Forces, I’ve pulled triggers literally thousands of times. And when placed in circumstances where weapons should be fired, pulling the trigger seems like it would come naturally. Sometimes, though, a soldier freezes up and doesn’t fire, even though he knows he should. Some thought, some psychological obstacle, some fear, prevents him from pulling the trigger.

In everyday terms, “Pull the trigger!” is another way of saying “Take action!” We make a plan or a decision, and then we act on it. We “pull the trigger.” Usually, we force ourselves to move forward. 

Usually, but not always. Just like that soldier, sometimes we freeze up and just can’t pull that trigger to act on that plan, make that decision, or pursue that big goal. 

As a young man, I had a dream of joining the Special Forces. I DID that! I achieved that dream! 

About that same time, I began to form another dream: to help people get in better shape and improve their health. Early in my Special Forces career, I spent a lot of free time helping people get healthy and in better shape. I had a PASSION and love for helping people!

I developed a DREAM of having a MASSIVE gym. I wanted to be the BEST fitness trainer in the U.S. I wrote out all the details, with a complete, full-on business plan. I talked to anyone and everyone about it. I even had guys, six-figure earners, who wanted to invest in my idea. The pieces were all there—knowledge, plan, passion, investors. . .

But I didn’t do it. I couldn’t pull the trigger.

My excuse at the time? I didn’t have enough money. 

So I went to work for Merrill Lynch, where I was very successful. I even advised three different people on what they should do to become independent fitness trainers, and how to get their own clients and businesses (ironic, right?). All three of them did what I told them and became EXTREMELY successful. Two of them opened their own facilities and have since EXPANDED. Two of them didn’t even have a fitness background (go figure). 

I still had MY dream. I successfully helped others achieve that same dream. But, after fifteen years, I still had not acted upon it myself! WHY NOT?

I was afraid of failure! What would I do if I failed? What would people think of me? My fear caused me to doubt myself and to question whether I could make it work.

Finally, my wife, CJ, encouraged me to go for it it, and I DID. AND, just as I had dreamed, I became extremely SUCCESSFUL!

Where are YOU not reaching your full potential? Is it because of FEAR and SELF-DOUBT? As men, we often won’t admit when we have doubt and fear, but any number of events can occur in our pasts that lead to the fears we develop. In my case, my accomplishments were never good enough for my parents. No matter how much I excelled in sports or other areas when I was young, it wasn’t enough. I carried over these feelings of insecurity that were formed at such an early age, and I let them hold me back. But with the encouragement of someone I knew had my best interest at heart - someone who could see the real me (drive, doubt, determination - all of it) underneath all those fears - I was able to achieve one of my biggest life goals. 

If you haven’t pursued your dreams, is it because of fear and self-doubt? Be HONEST and objective with yourself in examining your reasons. Whatever your reasons are, deal with them and then TAKE ACTION to accomplish them. Make your plans, and then put them into action.

To pulling the trigger, 

Bill McDonald

P.S. If you don’t have someone who can speak into your life like CJ did for me, I strongly encourage you to join me in The 13 Codes Academy. It’s an online learning opportunity that I created to help men GO for their goals - particularly in the areas of work, romance, and physical fitness. The doors are opening soon for the Founding Members of the program. Will you be one?