I know that right from being a young girl, dreaming of success on the stage, I was focussed on studying everything I could to become the best.
This trend continued as I set out on an unexpected change of career in business. I had such a hunger. I learned everything I could. Worked across as many different departments as was possible. Studied at college in my part-time and read every book I could get my hands on.
I took promotions and new opportunities as they arose, all providing perfect fodder for growth, development and ultimate success.
Fuelled by a deep desire to make a difference, I stepped out into a brave new world of self-employment. Fifteen years on, I can see that it is not just about what you do but just as much about what you do not do.
Why not take a read of the habits I’ve identified that I believe delays progress, results and success.
All Talk and Little Action
It’s so easy to fill up with excitement. You are so creative. With a head crammed with ideas, the first thing you want to do is tell the world.
Now, I do believe it is good to share goals, but sometimes the celebratory nature of doing so creates a feeling of accomplishment in your brain. So after all the positivity of the announcement, you feel flat and can’t summon up the motivation to take action.
Share your goals with the right people (see point below). Those who will encourage you to keep going when it is tough, won’t condone with you when you try and reason out any in-action.
Once you’ve taken some action steps in the right direction then celebrate, you’ll then come to associate the feel-good factor with hard action.
Letting Fear Dominate
In many respects, you can say that the survival of the human race is down to our instinct for fear. It’s what kept us on our toes when we were out hunting. It’s what makes us aware when we walk into a deserted dark location. However, fear for most of us is now just a bunch of unhelpful thoughts, that hinders us from ultimately living our most fulfilling lives.
I urge you to get out of this debilitating habit. Challenge your thoughts. What is there truly to fear? Look at it from a new perspective. Is it true? What are the worse consequences you could suffer?
It doesn’t matter how big and beautiful your dreams are. If you allow fear to get the better of you, then you are just not going to achieve the goals and success you desire.
Setting goals means there is always much to action. You create a plan and a to-do list. Any goals that lead to a more fulfilling and abundant life will be stretch-goals. These goals, by default, will require focus, attention and application. You may be utilising skills that you are still developing, that don’t yet feel natural to you. Distractions provide the outlet you need at this point.
Distractions are everywhere around us. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Follow them at your peril!
Whether it be today or tomorrow or sometime next month, the job in hand needs to get done.
Distractions delay achievement. They make the day to day operations less effective and certainly less efficient.
Recognise those that have become a habit for you and look to eliminate them. Reward yourself when you do.
Surrounding Yourself with the Wrong People
Being around the wrong people will hamper your progress. If you want to get fit, but are surrounded by people who love their couch, it is going to be hard for you to break away and push yourself to be active.
Likewise in business, seeking advice from the wrong people will only hinder as they do not have the experience or are not your ideal client.
Join new groups. Make new friends. Surround yourself with people that can share your dreams and passions and who you can brainstorm and swap advice with. The best kind of group is one that includes a few people who are in the position you aspire to be in, as well as a few who are where you were a while back.
Believing Your Current Skills & Experience Is Enough
Yes. You are enough. But, if you want to grow, develop and achieve more success, then you need to be constantly working in improving your own skills. The skills you needed to set up your business are different from the skills you need to grow it.
People are changing all the time. Technology is affecting our lives on a daily basis. It’s just so easy now for any one of us to acquire the information we need. So it’s vitally important to keep learning. Staying ahead.
One of the ways I do this is to build reading into my morning routine. I generally try and read a chapter of the personal development / educational book I have chosen, but set a limit of 20 – 30 minutes so I get to complete all my other tasks too.
I will also join in online challenges, many of which are even free of charge! Plus I have my own coach and mastermind group which means I am constantly being challenged and developed.
Adopting a Negative Mindset
We all have a choice in how we decide to view the world. We can choose to see the good, or opt for the bad. Some people tell me that they would rather think negatively about situations so they can avoid disappointment.
However, it’s hard for you to achieve your dream life if you focus on all that is negative in it. How can you raise your game? How can you achieve any goals that truly stretch yourself? How can you even motivate yourself to take action if you are already expecting a negative result?
What are you like to be around? Do you attract other people with a similar approach? If your success is dependent on clients or customers, how can you create a positive buying experience with a negative attitude?
Nothing positive comes from a negative mindset.
If you feel negative about yourself. If you compare yourself unfavourably to others. If you focus on your weaknesses, your fears, your limitations, you are doing yourself a massive disservice.
You have skills, experiences, abilities, assets. These all have a positive value. You have dreams and desires.
Make it your mission to swap negativity for positivity. It’s not hard. YOu don’t need any special tools or training. You just need to decide and commit.
Giving Up Too Soon
When the going gets tough, as it often does, you often feel compelled to give up. You tell yourself “it’s not meant to be”. Maybe you believe you have done all you can. Maybe you are telling yourself there are too many other people already doing this. That they are better than you. That there is not a market for it.
But, can you honestly say, hand on heart, that you have tried absolutely everything? Have you made a 100% commitment? Or just dipped a toe in?
Trying different things and giving up too soon, is just a habit.
Maybe you are like me and get too impatient to see results too soon. Maybe you have underlying fears that need to be addressed. Maybe you are fearful of success.
But, if you keep giving up before you have exhausted all you can possibly do, then your ultimate success may stay just a little out of reach.
Why on earth do we put off taking action when it can bring us that bit closer to our dreams?
Why do we create unnecessary stress and pressure for ourselves to get tasks done right at the last moment?
If you procrastinate then you are not alone!
There are just so many reasons why so many of us practice this totally unhelpful habit.
Fear, lack of clarity, lack of direction, focus, difficulty…
I’ve also noticed that people often use it as a “badge of honour”. Almost as an allowable excuse for not taking action.
All procrastination does is delay success.
If you know and acknowledge yourself as a procrastinator, then do something about it. It is your choice. Get results, or delay them.
Overcome this bad habit by getting back in touch with your big reason “why”. Remind yourself why you want to achieve your goals then set a plan of action, so you know what you need to be doing, why and when. Stick to your plan. Focus on how you will feel when you’re making progress.
Talking More Than You Listen
I was politely reminded a short while ago, that I have one mouth and two ears. It was possibly the best advice I had received in a long time.
I was so caught up in wanting to work with this person yet I probably nearly lost the chance because I didn’t shut up.
I get overly enthusiastic and I can certainly be impatient for a result or an answer, so I keep talking, keep communicating.
However, the real treasure comes from listening. To really hear what is being said. You only know what you know. When you listen to others you expand your knowledge and understanding. You also acknowledge the value of whom you are listening to.