We women are often our very worst enemies when it comes to success. Probably because we were taught to be realistic, keep ourselves to ourselves, and keep up. But that old advice is outdated.
You see, it has been handed down to us by a generation who measured success by what they had. And now, for many, what they have is just not enough anymore. They’ve gone through the motions of working their tails off to bag the right career, the right man, the right house, and so on, yet they don’t feel even remotely successful. And often they don’t even know why.
Well, after working with scores of women, I’ve begun to recognise that, often, success is about how they see themselves, the difference they make, and the freedom they have. And yet, by the time they get to me, they’ve usually lost all touch with such concepts. The internal dialogue they have, which is typically pretty negative, is often going largely unnoticed, and they believe they are making little valuable contribution, and have no freedom to choose anything different for themselves.
So let’s take a look at some of the horrible mistakes that can keep us from being successful.
1. Having Low Expectations
If you expect very little in life then you will get very little from life!
Every day I hear women saying that they don’t really expect to ever be able to make a full time living out of their side-line business, that they don’t expect to be happy in their work, that they don’t expect to want to jump out of bed in the morning, or that they don’t expect to still be in love with their long-term partners. But, the problem is that if you don’t expect to have the kind of success that helps make life remarkable, then you simply won’t put in the effort to make it happen. Because your subconscious mind will simply wonder, “Why bother?” And, as Les Brown reminds us, “Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit!”
Actually, if you expect to build your business and quit your day job, then you’ll be much more inclined to take extraordinary action to make it happen. And, if you expect to be happy at work or to wake up thrilled at the prospect of each new day, then you’ll seek ways to make sure that you are. And, if you expect to be in love with your partner 10 or 20 years later, then you’ll be a more loving person toward them and will make the effort to keep your relationship fresh and exciting, and your partner will reflect back to you as he recognises that you are still such a generous and intriguing woman.
2. Listening to the Sceptics
If you spend too much time listening to sceptics and pessimists (and yes, it might even be your mum, your colleagues or your best friend) you’ll find yourself becoming very jaded in your opinions about life and humanity. You’ll look at opportunities that come your way as risky or too challenging; you’ll begin to believe that every person is out for herself and will lose touch with the truth of human nature, which is that every one of us is simply doing the very best that we can; and, you’ll fail to recognise the beauty and the blessings that exist in your life right now.
You see, if you look hard enough, you will of course be able to find plenty of things that you can choose to be miserable about but, equally, if you simply change what you’re looking for, you’ll also see that there are lots of fantastic things in your life, and a lot of fantastic opportunities available to you, if you are just willing to drop the scepticism and give them a chance. And, once you begin to give yourself a chance, you’ll begin to pry open the door to success.
3. Keeping a Small Network
Not expanding your circle on a regular basis is tantamount to negligence when it comes to your success. Because virtually everything in life comes down to people. If you don’t know enough people then, when your boiler packs up, you need a photographer for a party, or you want help with your tax return, chances are you’ll not know anyone and will have to blindly rely on Google or the Yellow Pages. And we all know how that can end up. Plus, what happens when you want to change jobs? Well let’s hope those virtual strangers you’ve connected to on LinkedIn will keep you in mind and recommend you for vacancies they know about. Also, how supportive will your friends and family be of your latest business venture? Will they back you or criticise you? And how well will they be able to help you spread the word about it?
You see, leading an insular life, where you only ever see the same people, leads to a very narrow existence. Whereas, when you have a wide network, that you can draw on for support and assistance, the better placed you are to accelerate your success. Because you will know people who can help you and, as you help them in return, they will learn to know, like and trust you, leading them to connecting you with people who can be of even more benefit to you in the future.
4. Not Investing in Yourself
As a coach, I am all too familiar with people who can’t see the value in investing in themselves, because they believe they already have life all figured out. And yet, it is often those same people who spend an awful lot of time complaining about the fact that life isn’t giving them what they want. Because they have given themselves up to the idea that life is happening to them and so they don’t believe that any amount of self-development will be able to make any difference to their success.
Actually, the most successful people in life have realised that life happens to us only when we let it. And that, in fact, by investing in personal development, you can learn to change your beliefs and attitudes, which in turn impact your behaviour and performance. Thus allowing you to start making life happen the way that you want it to.
5. Judging Your Progress by Other People’s Achievements
Using other people as a benchmark for your own success will only ever lead to disappointment. Yes, you can certainly always look around and take comfort in the fact that there are people who are doing worse than you, but you’ll cause yourself an awful lot of stress if you’re constantly looking behind to see if they are gaining on you. And, of course, you’ll also find just as many people who are doing better than you, because there are people in all stages of life, and thus many will already be where you want to be. But judging yourself as not good enough, just because someone else has gotten to the finish line first, is self-defeating. It makes you feel bad about yourself and that will show in the quality of your performance.
Instead, only ever put yourself in competition with yourself. If you constantly work on bettering your best, on accomplishing a little bit more than you did yesterday, then you’ll find you will improve every single day, and that is success in itself. Plus, as time goes by, you’ll be amazed by the compound effect of consistent effort, as you build momentum and go from strength to strength.
If you see that you’re making any or all of these mistakes, then now is a great time to start turning things on their head, and begin claiming your success today!