Oh, you’re probably doing OK, and we’re sure not here to rain on your parade. But if you’re feeling a little discontented lately, or if you have this vague feeling that you could be doing better, here are six factors that influence why you’re not already a huge success, and what to do about them.
Reason #1: The Blame Factor. It’s the down economy. Or the interfering government. Or your cut-throat competitors. Or your brother-in-law. It’s all “their” fault. Here’s the secret: there is no “they.” No one is conspiring against you. There are no mysterious meanies who control your success or failure. People often make that stuff up so they don’t have to take responsibility for themselves. Do you sometimes play the blame game? Antidote: Take charge. You and you alone can control your own destiny. Fortunes have been made in bad economies. Why shouldn’t you be making one of them?
Reason #2: The Goal Factor. If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t recognize it when you get there. Perhaps what’s missing is a solid plan. You honestly believe that some way, somehow, everything will just magically work out. Antidote: Have SMART goals and write them down. SMART is a well-known goal acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Let’s say one of your goals is to lose weight, so you vow to lose 25 pounds this month. That’s specific and measurable, all right, but it is not achievable or relevant and the timing is way off. Set goals that are reasonable and realistic and you will set yourself up for success.
Reason #3: The Time Factor. Are you a classic procrastinator, a time waster, a social butterfly who would rather play Angry Birds on your computer or chat about baseball in the coffee room than actually get started on that dangerously overdue project? Antidote: Do just one thing. Most projects (including this blog) seem daunting when you look at the whole. So start small. You need to write a report? Spend half an hour finding appropriate resources and references. You need to develop a budget? Put the necessary column headings into a spread sheet. Then plan the next logical step and do that tomorrow.
Reason #4: The Fear Factor. We’re all afraid. We are afraid to look stupid, afraid of trying and failing, afraid somebody won’t like us. Consider this: all of those things will happen to you (and to all of us) at one time or another. Antidote: Someone published a book several years ago entitled Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I don’t remember everything that was in the book, but I’ve never forgotten the title. Because that is exactly what we all need to do. Pick one thing—anything—that you know is important to your business but that you’re afraid to try. Tackle that. Surround yourself with support. Get input from experts. Seek the company of positive people and go for it. You may be an incredible success and if you’re not, you will learn valuable lessons you can apply to your next attempt.
Reason #5: The Attitude Factor. What do you believe about yourself? What do you say about yourself—to yourself or to others? Whatever it is, that is your truth. “I’m no good at math.” Well, guess what? If you say that enough, before long you won’t be able to fill out a contract correctly or create a spreadsheet. If math is something you need to master in order to succeed, then take a class or get a tutor. If it’s not a critical factor, put it on the back burner for now and move on. Here’s another tip: if you have one of these negative mantras that creeps into your conversation from time to time, shift the focus with the phrase, “Up until now.” For example, “Up until now, I’ve been no good at math. But I’m taking a class and I’m getting better at it.”
Reason #6: The X Factor. Down deep you truly believe there’s something missing. You’re too young, too old, too pretty, too ugly, too short, too tall, too smart, too uneducated. The truth is that people with handicaps of every description succeed every single day. Take Nick Vujicic for example. He was born with no arms or legs, but that has never stopped him. He plays football and golf, swims, and surfs, all without limbs the rest of us take for granted. And even more amazing, he travels the world and earns his living as a Christian motivational speaker!
Think about Nick the next time you catch yourself making excuses. Then think about what you need to do next to move yourself forward. Then do it.