This article was last updated on December 30, 2015
Success for me is meeting my own expectations. Now, before you go thinking that is a pretty flimsy definition, let me assure you that those expectations are quite high and often involve taking risks. You have to define your dream work for yourself, because it really is a personal thing, and only you can know what will give you great satisfaction. And that’s the ultimate end game – satisfaction. So, define it for yourself, and then commit to giving up the 10 behaviors that will keep you from reaching your dream.
10 Things You Will Have to Give Up to Reach Success!
1. Fear of Failure
Every really successful person has had failures – it “comes with the territory” on the path to success. But when we fear that failure, we are paralyzed, unable to move forward at all. Fear questions go like this: “What will they think of me if I fail?” “How embarrassed will I be if I fail?” “What if I let (insert anyone) down?” Notice that all of these questions relate to others outside of yourself. The question you need to be asking is, “How sad will I be someday that I didn’t try to send this resume?” Now you are focusing on you, not anyone else, and success has to be your own measure, not someone else’s.
Everyone can tell the tale of Thomas Edison who failed over and over again, and we are all grateful that he finally got the job done. Bill Gates had early failures, but he didn’t stop. Richard Branson recently had a major failure when his prototype space craft crashed and burned. Eventually, he’ll get the job done, because he uses each failure to push him forward.
2. Sitting in “Negativity-Land”
So, life has not always been great to you. Tell it to Stephen Hawking, to Oprah Winfrey, or to Malala Yousafzai. And they will explain to you that to focus on the negatives in your life will stick you right where you are. The key here is to focus on the good in your life and in the things that you do well right now. You need to find a way to stop the negative thoughts as they come to you. One person decided to get into his mind’s eye that a negative thought was a crawling insect. Every time one of those little devils came into his head, he pictured that insect and himself stomping it. Then he immediately put his thought on something good in his life – even if it was only the sandwich he was eating at the moment. This takes practice, but negative thinking is a habit, and it can be broken.
3. Excuse Making
It’s so easy. “I don’t have the time,” “I’m stuck in this job,” “I need more education,” “I don’t have any support.” All of these “conditions” are outside of you. You have choices to make, and you have to stop justifying not making the choices that will move you forward. If you need more education, for example, how can you get that? My goodness, there are all sorts of possibilities, if you really want to get it. Stuck in your job? Really? Are you sending out resumes? Are you getting the additional training you need? If you really want this, you will find the time and the means. You have to want it badly enough, so check yourself.
4. Looking for the Easy Way
Setting bold and challenging expectations for yourself means you don’t take the easy way – the “path of least resistance.” This means you don’t put yourself on “auto-pilot” and just let life take you where it will. Nothing worthwhile really get accomplished without hard work. What do you really want to do? Are you willing to make the sacrifices that it will entail? Think about the Williams sisters, or any other accomplished athlete. What were they willing to do to achieve success? What are you willing to do?
I love the sound of this word, but it really is a negative thing to do. People who ruminate either continue to play scenarios in their heads of the past, of things over and done with that can’t be undone, or of the future, things that could go wrong and crises they may face. The problem with this is you never live in the now. You never accept exactly where you are and then make a logical plan to move forward toward a goal that means success for you. How many times are you going to replay that terrible conflict you had with someone, thinking of things you could have said or could have done.
6. Getting Distracted
So many interruptions! We make plans; we set a goal. Then along comes life to take our attention from them, and we never quite get back to following through. Don’t let this be you. If you are busily writing a business plan for the venture you have dreamed of for years, stick with it. Don’t let even little distractions deter you – you know, Facebook, emails. Set a goal to finish just one section of that plan today. It will drive you on to the next one!
7. Lack of Gratitude
This one is a killer, and a thief. It kills your enthusiasm and it steals your joy. And you can’t achieve success without these two things. Every day, force yourself to repeat to yourself three things for which you are grateful – repeat them out loud so your ears hear them too. If you do this first thing in the morning, it will change your day. And when you change your day for the better, moving towards those goals becomes easier.
8. Living without Purpose
This is counter to everything you should know about success and getting ahead. Just strolling through life isn’t what successful people do. Start with a small purpose. Call and make that appointment to speak to an advisor about taking that college class; finish that business plan you started 3 years ago – the idea is still there waiting for you to make it a reality. Just do something – anything – that generates a spark that you lost somewhere along the way.
If you have achieved your success by being selfish, stepping over others, and never giving back, you won’t be happy with that success. As you find your passion, your enthusiasm, and your personal definition of success, take others along that path too! Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
10. Giving Up
Don’t you dare! No matter how you define success, doing the absolute best you can to attain it is what will give you satisfaction. When you face an obstacle, look it square in the eye, say to yourself and to that obstacle, “I will defeat you.” And if you can’t defeat it, go around it and move forward anyway. You can always come back for it later!
Featured image source: Efrén