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5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Success (And Don’t Know It)

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Success (And Don’t Know It)

Success is the end-goal du jour. We’re all striving, climbing, achieving our way to success. We’re working hard to achieve the lives we’ve always dreamed of. But success always seems just out of arm’s reach. No matter how far we climb, we never seem to be able to catch success. It’s always just around the bend or at the next milestone–five more clients, 50,000 more dollars, one big newspaper article. It’s frustrating. It’s discouraging. And it’s just plain inefficient.

Success has always been right in front of you, just waiting to be taken. You’ve just been sabotaging yourself to stop you from getting there. Here are five ways that you’re sabotaging your success (and just don’t know it).

1. Always striving for more.

There’s never enough. We always need to fill the bucket higher. We want more money, more fame, more clients, more partnerships–just more of everything. Because we feel like we’ll be successful once we hit a certain metric. And then we hit that metric and still don’t feel successful, so we extend it just a bit further. The truth is that you have to decide when you’ll give yourself permission to be successful and enjoy. There will always be more that you could do. There will always be more success to achieve. But when are you going to let yourself enjoy the success that you have right now?

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2. Trying to be prepared.

We work our butts off to make sure everything is ready before we take a step forward. We edit and re-edit, we hesitate, we doubt our abilities. We stop ourselves from doing anything because we’re afraid that it might not be perfect. We’re a culture of perfectionists. We don’t want anybody to see our vulnerabilities because that will show just how not good enough we are.

But nobody who’s ever changed the world started by feeling ready. They’ve just done it. They’ve gone forward and taken a step and learned along the way.

Self trust is the most important skill you can have to be successful. If you’re waiting until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting a long time to let yourself accomplish your dreams. Nobody is ever ready. It’s about digging deep, trusting yourself, and jumping off the cliff, anyway.

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3. Putting a limit on your worth.

Early on in life, we sized ourselves up and decided just about what we think we’re worth–how much love we should receive, how much money we should make, how much abuse we have to put up with. Any time we start to creep above that line, we shoot ourselves back down. Because we don’t feel like we deserve more than we’re worth.

If you are having issues raising your rates, asking for a raise, or just applying to that dream job, take a look at what you think you’re worth. Why are you afraid to raise that limit? Why don’t you think you deserve more than you’re getting?

It may seem outside of us, but the truth is that we’re the ones who decide our own worth, and then we tell the world what we’re willing to settle for. Don’t settle for anything because you’re worth way more than that.

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4. Misunderstanding failure.

The number one fear holding people back from success is the fear of failure. We’re all terrified that we’re going to fail. But who is the judge of failure? If I trip while I’m walking, did I just fail at walking? If I get fired from my job, did I just fail at business?

We’re the only judge of our failures. We can choose to see them as failures, or we can choose to see them as minor setbacks. We have the ability to keep getting back up when we fall down and learn new ways to do things. Failure is only what you decide it is. And, if you’re not ready to throw in the towel and fail, then you might as well take the lesson and try something new.

5. Waiting until you get “there.”

There is this magical place that we’re all trying to get to. All the time, I hear from clients, “When I get there, I won’t have to work so hard” or “When I get there, I’ll raise my rates.”

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The truth is that there is just an arbitrary milestone. We don’t need anyone’s permission to be as successful as we want to be. All we need is to decide today that we’re going to do what we want. Maybe we want to take off half the day and get a massage. Or maybe we want to raise our rates because we think we’re worth it. Or, better yet, we might just want to take a vacation.

We have the ability to do anything we want with our lives. We don’t need to wait for someone to tell us it’s okay. We don’t need to wait for a certain milestone to give ourselves permission. We can choose to be successful right now.

It has more to do with how much success you can allow into your life and less to do with how much you can achieve. If you want to be successful, commit to doing it right now. Do things before you’re ready, try and fail at everything, know how much you’re worth, and allow yourself to be successful today.

The only person who’s been sabotaging your success is you. And it’s time to change that. Because you deserve it.

Featured photo credit: Carbon NYC via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

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