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7 Things That Will Prevent You From Being Successful

7 Things That Will Prevent You From Being Successful

Success is a beautiful word that tingles in our ears. Many desire to be successful, yet success seems to visit just a few and closes its door to many. Perhaps only few people are willing to make their environment conducive enough to welcome in Success. Success doesn’t care how much you wish for it, if it did, everyone would be successful. If you want success to find you attractive and be associated with you, avoid these 7 things.

1. Procrastination

“I will do it later” is often equivalent to “I will never do it,” though that is never the real intention behind procrastinating something. The person who doesn’t want you to succeed is not your ex, neither is it your co-worker, nor destiny, but your dear habit called procrastination! Procrastination is not only the thief of time but the thief of your health, destiny, life, and success. If you continue to live with procrastination, you will continue to push the gym and eating healthy to “later,” you will continue to push starting your business, going to school, or writing that book to “later”—which never really seems to arrive!

If you do not take procrastination to court and have a divorce today, it will live with you forever and make you unsuccessful. Procrastination and success can never live together. Where there is procrastination, there is no success; where there is success there is no procrastination. If Bill Gates had procrastinated with Microsoft, he wouldn’t be a billionaire today. Instead of procrastinating your multi-million dollar idea, start now!

2. Fear of Failure

If you are afraid to fail, then you are not ready to succeed. Failure is not an obstacle, but a stepping stone to success. The more you fail, the higher your chance of reaching success if you do not give up. Failure is a teacher—it teaches you what didn’t work out and, if you allow it, it will motivate you to find other ways that will work out. Unsuccessful people allow failure to cripple them. They give up in the face of failure and remain stagnant. If you want to succeed, you need to give up that fear of failure.

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People who are crippled with fear may have an amazing idea to start a project, but they are often afraid it may fail, so they don’t start at all. But instead of feeling intimidated by the voice of fear and failure inside of you, ask yourself: What if it succeeds?

Failure is not the end of the road, giving up is! Be persistent.

3. Ignorance

The world is continuously changing, if you refuse to learn, you will be outdated. Knowledge is power. Learning doesn’t end in school. Whatever field you are in, you need to learn and update yourself with information constantly. Successful people have a habit of learning. If you find yourself constantly failing at something, don’t convince yourself success is on the way. No! Genuinely ask yourself whether your failures are not self-inflicted as a result of your ignorance. If you want to open a coffee shop, but know nothing about coffee, no amount of determination and persistence will make you successful at it.

Persistently approaching your dreams in ignorance will persistently give you failure and defeat as results. Find time and learn first. Whatever you want to endeavour in, spend 90% of your time learning about it. Do not do anything without first learning, do not go into a business you do not fully understand.

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4. Lack of Purpose

Everybody has a plan for you. Your TV cable company has a plan for you; they know you will help them increase their sales this year. Your internet service provider has a plan for you; they know you can’t afford to live without it. Your landlord has a plan for you. Your grocer has a plan for you. Your boss has a plan for you. Mark Zuckerberg has a plan for you; he knows you will log on to Facebook and help build his company. Everyone has a plan for you—except you!

If you want to be successful, you need to have a plan for yourself. If you do not plan to succeed, you automatically plan to fail. Every day you wake up, you need to know exactly why you are getting up. You need to have a purpose and plan for your life. Successful people plan their life, they have a budget, they have dreams and aspirations. In order for you to succeed in life, you need to have a good plan and a sense of direction.

5. Lack of Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to take action regardless of the circumstances. To be successful, you need to have courage to bring your dream to reality in spite of obstacles. Courage is having confidence to take bold decisions regardless of storms. Courage is action taken in faith and expecting positive results regardless of the situation. There will always be reasons why something cannot be done, but courageous people see things as doable and find ways to do it. They do not allow intimidation and fear to dictate their actions and decisions. They are results-oriented.

6. Fault Finding

It’s okay to see the fault, but if you want to be successful, don’t end there. Rather than complaining about what is wrong with something, find out how it can be made right.

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Successful people are problem solvers. Instead of complaining about the rain, they invent an umbrella.

7. Lack of Self-belief

When the Wright brothers decided to make the plane and informed their dad, he said “If God wanted us to fly, he would have made us with wings.”

Engineers were told that building the Hoover Dam would be an impossible task—it’s too high, there’s too much water to control. They were told: “You are crazy, you shouldn’t even attempt such a job.”

When the scientists decided to visit the moon, more than half of Americans thought they were crazy. Newspaper articles were written to tell them how impossible it would be to go to the Moon. Other scientists also criticized them for believing such nonsense, explaining to them how it is impossible it would be.

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The Wright brothers carried on despite the lack of confidence. Today, all those who criticized joyfully fly around the world. The Hoover dam was witnessed by the nay-sayers. When men landed on the moon, it was broadcast for all to see.

The point is to believe in yourself—it is enough. Don’t allow people to talk down on your dreams and tell you that they are impossible. Believing you can do it is all you need. What dream do you have today? Who is telling you it can’t be done? Go do it and prove everyone else wrong.

Featured photo credit: Photostream via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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