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4 Things That Hold You Back from Success

4 Things That Hold You Back from Success

Imagine you are walking down a street in your local neighborhood. Suddenly, your eye catches a breathtakingly beautiful rose garden on your right. It is vibrant, bursting with a variety of bright colors, and emits a heavenly scent. You notice how beautifully manicured it is, with bright, colorful roses lining the garden and yellow sunflowers poking their heads out in the back.

But then, suddenly, your attention gets drawn to the garden directly next to this. It is an awful sight, completely overgrown and wild. The garden is dull and full of weeds with many ‘unwanted plants’ that have grown. It looks sad and miserable.

Life is very much like a garden. Each garden looks very different and every garden holds within it unlimited potential. What have you been sowing in your garden?  What are the results you have reaped?

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Perhaps you have been trying your best to create your ‘dream’ garden but you are just not seeing the results you want. Is there too much sun, too much water or too much shade? Getting a successful garden to grow, is not easy and you may be doing a few things that are holding you back from having success.

1. The law of weeds

What are you planting exactly? If you don’t plant flowers, weeds will grow for sure. In other words, if your thoughts and actions are not geared towards success, they will bring you results you don’t want.

Identify the weeds in your garden and spots the wild shrubs that are strangling the roses from growing. Every bad habit, limiting thought or action, does not only hold you back from success, but reinforces what you are not happy with, making it harder to change each time.

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2.  A half-grown garden

What will your garden look like if you only spend a few hours a week gardening? Some roses might grow here and there, but it will most likely be teetering between success or failure. Most people want to have more success in life but they don’t want to actually work for it. You can see it every day, people put comfort before results and that is definitely going to hold you back.

You also have to do some things you don’t like and no half jobs. You are going to have to prep the soil, get your hands dirty, etc. Put results before comfort, success is not about staying in your comfort zone.

3.  Always digging up your seeds

You need to be patient to see the results you want and to be successful. When you plant a flower, you believe and trust that it will grow. You don’t dig it up every day to see how much it has grown. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough time to produce the results we really want or we half halfheartedly try something and we give up too easily. We live in a world where instant gratification is possible and we assume this means every area of life. Patience could be your missing link to success.

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4. Every flower is different

Every flower is different, unique and special in its own way. Just like you. Most people struggle to have success in an area because they are too influenced by outsiders. Do you feel torn between doing what you want and what others say you ‘should’ or ‘need’ to do; you must look, act and talk a certain way to be successful. Ironically, it is when we don’t give ourselves permission to be ourselves completely that we actually fail.

You cannot separate who you are from the success you achieve and you need to give yourself permission to do it ‘your way’, you already know what is right for you.  You need to remain impartial sometimes to other people’s words and actions and how much you allow them to influence your success.

Lastly, if you really feel that you have been spending hours gardening, and you have applied what you have learnt, but your garden is still not growing, how can you identify why your garden is struggling?

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It isn’t easy to see your blind spots, so asking yourself similar questions to these could be your best next step

  • If you viewed things from another person’s point of view, what new information would that perspective give you?
  • How do you normally sabotage or hold yourself back – and what will you do differently this time?
  • What might you have to give up in order to be more successful?

We tend to focus more often on what is going wrong, rather than what is going right and sometimes we forget our small successes. Remember that success is a journey, not a destination!

To your success!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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