“Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth, we deny our own potential.”
We all make excuses and tell ourselves lies to avoid success. I should add, we do that to avoid the challenge, the blood, the sweat, and the tears. It is really taking the easy way out but that is denying us the chance of fame and power. The lies are barriers to achievement and fulfillment. Here are 9 lies that you probably tell yourself to avoid success.
1. I must never fail
People are afraid of failure. They are right. It ruins everything. You tell yourself that failure is not on the agenda.
The truth is that all the greatest entrepreneurs know about failure. They have all experienced it, although they may not talk much about it. But those who do all have one message. Failure was a learning experience.
Just look at J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter books. She was at one point suicidal as she feared she could not make enough money to feed her children! Yet, she persisted and now she has sold over 400 million books and is the second richest woman in the UK. Think of each setback as a building block to success.
Richard Branson has a string of failed projects to his name. Just think of Virgin Cola, Virgin Cards, Virgin Clothes, Virgin Vie and Virgin Vodka!
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
2. I just need a lucky break
As you tell yourself this, you visualize success. The problem is that the chances of this lucky break happening are about the same as winning the lottery. There is another issue here. You are deceiving yourself in thinking that the winners have always had it easy and have never had to struggle. They got lucky and they never had to deal with grinding poverty, unfair competition, and backbreaking hard work.
The reality is a lot different. It takes nerve, determination, persistence, and a vision to succeed. The lucky break may come but waiting around is not going to make that happen.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
3. I do not have the courage
You are basically scared and are not prepared to make that courageous leap. You lie to yourself that fear is holding you back. If you are a manager, you may be avoiding staff problems because of a lack of courage. Your business may suffer. When you are in a relationship, fear may hold you back from expressing your real feelings and emotions. You may lose your partner because of this.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
4. I must do everything myself
If you deceive yourself about this, you will never be able to surround yourself with top level team members who will really make a difference. If you persist in this, you are likely to end up micromanaging. You will never be able to delegate because you do not know the skill set of each of your team members. You will never win their loyalty, trust, and confidence. This does not only apply to your team but also to all your business contacts. This is one of the reasons why Richard Branson is a regular attendee at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate.”
5. I must wait for the right moment
You think that there will be the perfect niche and you will know when to pounce on it to make it into a roaring success. You just have to wait until the time is right and you keep putting things off.
If Gutenberg had persisted in that belief we would never have had the printing press. Nobody wanted books then!
“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”
6. I am not clever enough
So you think that successful people are really intelligent? You might be shocked to know that their IQ accounts for only about 25% of their success. The other 75% is due to their ability to network, their optimism, and their emotional intelligence.
If you are telling yourself this lie, try to assess what your networking abilities and EQ are before beating yourself up about your lack of intelligence or formal qualifications. Common sense and social interaction skills will beat an MBA any day of the week.
“Hope is a talent like any other.”
7. I haven’t got the right personality
If you think that personality is so important, think again! Look at the greatest success stories on this planet. Bill Gates is an introvert, Barack Obama has been described as aloof while Mark Zuckerberg is shy.
There are some fascinating insights into the personalities of people who have had enormous success. Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. is well worth a read.
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, measure your self-esteem. This is what really counts.
“He is shy and introverted and he often does not seem very warm to people who don’t know him, but he is warm,”
-Sheryl Sandberg talking about Zuckerberg to The New York Times.
8. I never have enough money
You probably lie to yourself that all these successful people had loads of money to start with so they had it real easy. But throwing money at a project is not going to make it work. Instead of blaming the lack of funding, think of all the other factors that can make a project work. This may include planning, setting goals and objectives, team building, just to mention a few.
“The manager who comes up with the right solution to the wrong problem is more dangerous than the manager who comes up with the wrong solution to the right problem.”
9. I know what works so I will continue with that
This is a fallacy because it can lead to stagnation. It is a dangerous lie too. The world is changing every minute. There are implications for your competitors and your markets. It also reduces your possibility of saving money on a more efficient solution or at looking at innovation. This is the dynamism of the business world. If you get stuck in a rut, you will never achieve success.
We have seen that success rarely falls into the lap of a person, unless they are born into a rich family. Even that is not a guarantee of achievement. The above examples show that determination, persistence, courage and vision are what really count in success. Time to stop lying to ourselves.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
Featured photo credit: Lies/Ged Carroll via flickr.com