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10 Common Excuses That Lead You Nowhere To Success

10 Common Excuses That Lead You Nowhere To Success

To be successful, you must have some kind of super power, know the right people, or have certain degrees. Those were just a few examples of what most people believe when they think of what it takes to become successful.

However, success isn’t just for the lucky and elite. It’s for anyone who wants to work hard and is prepared to strike when opportunity knocks at the door. Plenty of resources are available for people to become successful, it’s people’s responsibility to seek these opportunities out. Here are 10 excuses that you should immediately flush down the toilet.

1. I approach situations in life telling myself I’m too old

What do Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, Tina Fey, and Sylvester Stallone have in common? None of them achieved major success until they were over 30 years of age. Sylvester Stallone even starred in a pornographic movie just to keep his dream alive. (Talk about dedication)

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The point being is that age is just a number; it doesn’t have to define you. Age is used as an excuse for you to stop chasing your dreams and throw your creative spirit in the toilet. Stop using age as an excuse to settle and start making those dreams a reality by taking small steps each day. Dream big or go home, that’s what I say.

2. I approach situations feeling defeated because I have no qualifications

Just because you don’t have a fancy diploma from a prestigious school doesn’t make you any less capable than someone who has a degree. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of school, and they seem to have done alright for themselves. Having a degree is one of many ways of getting your foot in the door. If one door closes, then keep moving and knock on the next.

3. I approach my dreams with the mentality life is too busy to chase what I really want

In case you didn’t realize, everyone has the same 24 hours to work with. What one does with those given hours is what separates the successful from the people who fantasize about being successful. The majority of time when you hear people say, “I’m too busy” or, “I don’t have enough time to work on my side business,” they are either lazy or suck at time management.

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If you have enough time to watch TV, gossip at the water cooler, play Candy Crush, waste time on social media, and go party to be hungover the next day, then you have plenty of time to chase after your dream. If you work a 9-5 and want to eventually quit and start pursuing your passion, then shut the TV off and use the extra evening hours to kick-start that dream.

4. I approach situations waiting for all the stars to align before taking action

The perfect time is right now. Not tomorrow, next week, or next month. Putting tasks off is pure procrastination. This can primarily be attributed to laziness, fear or lack of confidence. Stop sitting on the sideline and get on the playing field. Time is precious, so make every moment count.

5. I approach life worried people will laugh at me

People will always look strangely at someone who does things outside of the norm. This is because most people are afraid to think for themselves and instead play the role of follower. Embrace being different from everyone; successful people are never a part of the majority. If your friends are laughing at you for taking a chance, they’re lashing out in frustration at how they wish they could be as bold as you.

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6. I approach my goals and always stop because I think they’re too difficult

Anything worth pursuing is going to have it’s ups, downs and challenges. If becoming successful and living your dreams were easy, then there would be plenty of less people complaining on a daily basis. Embrace the challenge; it’s only going to make you a better individual. If the goal seems daunting, chop it down into smaller blocks that are more manageable.

7. I approach life thinking having no money means game over

Instead of thinking of how much money you don’t have for a goal, change your thinking to, “What can I do with the money I have currently that will put me closer to my desired outcome?” Successful people work with the resources they have. Before pulling your hair out about money you don’t have, develop a game plan. All the money in the world is a waste if you don’t have a game plan. Eliminate all non-essential costs in your life, start a budget, and then get to work.

8. I approach life scared of the unknown, so I stay in my comfort zone

The only way to become ultimately successful is to leave your warm and cozy comfort zone and venture out into the unknown where failure and embarrassment is a high probability. Successful people are the ones who take risks, not afraid of making mistakes, and willing to put their ego aside. Life is meant to be filled with unknowns, chaotic at times, and full of possibilities.

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9. I approach life thinking only the ‘special few’  make it

Successful people who get what they want aren’t a secret society of individuals, nor superhuman. They are people who worked their butt off and took action, instead of only talking about it. They didn’t rely on some magical event to ignite them to start, nor rely on the internet for daily quotes. They had determination, consistency and willpower to achieve their goal.

10. I approach life with a small and simple outlook

Having an idea about where you want to go in life is one of the key attributes successful people possess. Instead of focusing on what your life currently looks like, take a moment to picture what it could be a year from now and beyond. Just because life isn’t awesome right now doesn’t mean it has to suck in the future.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

What do you think is the most important characteristic someone needs in order to become successful?

Featured photo credit: sillydog via flickr.com

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Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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