Why is it that just as we are about to reach a long, sought-after goal, we falter in those final moments?

Here’s one scenario:

You are about to enter a meeting to clinch this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ve researched all the relevant information and every pertinent detail. You’ve given yourself pep talks; you stand tall and confident. But just as you take the last strides towards the conference room, your self-doubt rears its ugly voice and you begin to waver ...

Here’s another one:

You’ve finally built up the courage to challenge the bully who has been tormenting you. You’ve been encouraged by your closest friends, and you’ve carefully rehearsed your speech. You know this confrontation is necessary and could establish a more balanced relationship. But just as you approach her, your courage wanes and you make an about face ...

This week’s Torah portion, Balak, begins with the Jewish people at the threshold of the Promised Land. Just before entering, they are contested by their final enemy: the Moabite king, Balak. Balak hires the gentile soothsayer, Baalam, to curse them, but each time Balaam opens his mouth, great blessings emerge.

The word balak means “cut off” or “dead” (Ohr Hatorah). It represents those times when we feel dejected or worthless just as we are about to enter our personal “promised land” and accomplish a vital goal. We feel cut off from our true selves—from the fount of our soul that provides us with the courage, inspiration and motivation to complete our mission. We feel enveloped by a curse of negativity that taunts us and prevents us from actualizing our dreams.

In those moments of despair, we need to remember that just as Balam’s curses were turned into the greatest blessings, so, too, can our negative mindset. We can be our own worst enemy or our best ally. We can choose whether to listen to this deadening doubt that cuts us off from our inner potential or to reconnect with our infinite G‑dly capabilities.

Balak, as it turned out, was actually the ancestor of Ruth, the Moabite convert, who became the grandmother of King David and the progenitor of Moshiach. The soothsayer that he hired revealed the ultimate blessings that will occur in the Messianic era.

We can view our world as an accursed place of pain and corruption, or we can see beyond the veneer to view these evil episodes as merely futile attempts to cut us off from G‑d’s vision.

When you feel cut off from your potential, try to focus on your inner redemptive qualities. Transform your negative, accursed self-talk and become your greatest advocate to bring more goodness into your life and the world at large.