Have you had conversations like these in your head?
“The presentation in the morning was alright I guess, I think it could be better? But how much better could I have done? I mean, the room was so hot and I couldn’t even focus!! That wasn’t my fault. And Tommy in front? He’s sooo distracting, typing away on his laptop whilst I was speaking. Rude. But see, my less-than-fantastic presentation wasn’t my fault…”
“I really should ask for a pay rise. I’ve been taking on all these extra responsibilities and my pay isn’t increasing. But…I don’t even think I deserve a pay rise. And even if I do ask they sure as hell aren’t giving it to me. They’ve always been so stingy. Best to just keep my head down and work hard.”
I’m sure these may sound familiar – having heard it from someone or we might have said something similar at some point.
So what are some ways in which we are preventing our very own success? Here are 5 things we could be guilty of.
1. Allowing external factors to determine your success. You give away your power and control when you allow external circumstances (environment, people) to determine your actions. In Psychology, this is known as an external locus of control. Psychcentral defines it as:
The belief that events in one’s life, whether good or bad, are caused by uncontrollable factors such as the environment, other people, or a higher power.
This belief takes away the individual’s sense of power. People who are very externally-focussed believe that things just happen to them, and they are only capable of reacting to events. They are not in command of their lives. Also, people with this mindset are more prone to depression, helplessness and hopelessness.
2. Being unclear about your personal flaws and weaknesses. Sometimes we just are not really sure what is the cause of our failure. It really could be anything. To sharpen our self-awareness, there are a couple of things we could do.
- Ask around. Be open to feedback and ask others what do they think you need to improve on. Ask them to be honest and constructive.
- Spend more time reflecting and noticing. When you’ve finished a big work assignment, immediately assess your performance on it. Was it good? Could it be better? If you are feeling happy or down, stop and ask yourself, what could be the cause of that?
- Keep learning. Even in areas that you are strong in, it never hurts to keep improving and learning more. Research, read more and talk to people who are also in similar situations as you are in. Getting different perspectives and ideas on how to get something done can really broaden your knowledge.
3. Self-limiting thoughts. We sometimes self-sabotage by the negative things we constantly tell ourselves – every single day. “You aren’t good enough… You don’t deserve it… You will never be able to succeed… Others are better than you” etc etc. The list goes on and on.
Nat, author of Baggage Reclaim recommends a really nifty way to start being aware of the negative self-talk we constantly feed ourselves. Get out sheets of paper and write a topic title at the top. The usual ones are – ‘love’, ‘career’, ‘money’ but you can write on anything. Then write a list of negative associations that you have with that topic. It could be something you have believed in since young, something someone else told you etc. After that, every time a negative thought on those lists enter your head, stop yourself and say the opposite instead. Repeat it a few times if you have to.
4. Feeling un-enthusiastic about the goals you’ve set. Are the goals you set really yours? Is losing weight really your New Year’s resolution or did you just write it down cause it’s on everyone else’s list of resolutions? We constantly set goals that aren’t important to us or aren’t really what we want for ourselves. This can really kill off our motivation overtime and result in lots of unhappiness. It is also difficult to really thrive when you don’t feel very enthusiastic about the path you are on and the goal you are working to.
Re-examine all your goals today – both short and long term. Are they what you really want for yourself?
5. Fear of change and the unknown. The path to success isn’t all smooth. It is fraught with difficulty and uncertainty. Dealing with uncertainties and changes can be very threatening to us. The inability to predict what lies ahead of us and thus prepare ourselves for it can leave us feeling extremely uncomfortable. All successes bring some change – and that can feel quite threatening. And we’re often comfortable with our life as it is now – and so we wonder if success will really make us happier.
Overcoming our fears isn’t easy, but is not impossible. Understanding our fears and learning more about the the risks we could potentially face are some of the first steps we could take.
Do you identify with any of the above? Or is there anything else outside of the list which you feel is holding you back from the success you deserve?
Inspiration source: Online Counseling College