No one starts out successful. It takes hard work to get there, just ask anyone that has achieved any level of success in their life. I am confident they would be happy to share with you their story. Being persistent, consistent and focused is on the short list of traits needed to be successful, even if you have plenty of support, guidance and leadership in your life. A series of hurdles may come between you and success, regardless of your station in life, status or the type of success you are trying to achieve. Often times these hurdles present themselves as excuses you tell yourself.
“I’m not good with people."
Some of the most successful people I know would consider themselves introverts. As they began their professional journey, they were challenged by the fact that they would actually need to talk to people, communicate regularly and build relationships with others. Living life in a figurative bubble is not a very good strategy if success is your goal. If you have products or services in need of being sold, promoted, marketed, administered, purchased, researched or developed, the statement, “I’m not good with people,” must be removed from your life. The solution is somewhat simple - get good with people. The best way to do that is to be yourself but put yourself out there. Put yourself in situations where you have no choice but to open up. Networking meetings, association gatherings and office projects are all good avenues to help you practice getting your people on.
“I don’t like to speak in public.”
Even if you are not looking for a career in public speaking, learning how to present to others is a key hurdle to jump on your way to success. Defined, speaking in public is far more than standing on a stage and delivering a presentation with charts, Powerpoint and an audience. Public speaking involves presenting your ideas in a clear, precise and responsible manner to more than one person. The more you present your ideas to others, the more confident you become. As your confidence grows, you become more sure of your subject matter and people will develop a higher level of trust in you. Stay true to your word, remain confident without having an ego and keep presenting your ideas to others. Mastering the skill of public speaking will take you very far professionally and personally and definitely a hurdle worth jumping on your way to success. Practice makes perfect, so find your public and open up.
“I’m afraid I will fail.”
We all do it at one time or another in our lives, but don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Many of us have let this hurdle stop us dead in our tracks multiple times. Once you get up close to this barrier, you will see it isn’t so tall after all. Fear of failure has a close associate called the comfort zone. And your comfort zone has a forcefield around it that protects you from failure. Often times it’s disguised as Netflix and a comfortable sofa. Other times is can be accepting a cost of living increase raise at work, or even a familiar cubicle at the office. You know it, you’re used to it and it’s not so bad. I would challenge you to stop settling for mediocre, average or just okay. What’s holding you back? Probably nothing more than an excuse and fear of failure. The timing will never be perfect and honestly, failing is only permanent when you quit. The greatest part about life is that we all have opportunity in our lives, uniquely hidden inside every challenge. Replace every negative word in your vocabulary with positive words. Keep your brain focused on all of the wins you have had and eliminate “loss” thinking. Be the best you can be at everything you do and failure will have a very hard time taking grip.
“I’ve never been much of a goal setter.”
You are either a part of your dreams or a part of someone else’s dreams. I would encourage you to be a player in your own dreams and not someone else’s. Life is much more fun when you are in control of it. Goal setting is a critical component. Without it, you are adding a hurdle that will be nearly impossible to jump over on your way to success. The great visionaries including Steve Jobs (Apple), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google fame), Steve Case (AOL) all pushed hard to make sure their goals became a part of not only their personal lives but also a part of their company’s corporate culture. In its simplest form a goal is a promise you make to yourself with an actual plan to get you there. Start dreaming and start living. Your dreams will come true if you set a few goals for yourself.
“I’m not really sure how to get where I want to go.”
This hurdle can stop you dead in your tracks. You may think you are moving forward but in actuality, you are only getting ready to move forward. Since you are moving things around your desk, setting up unproductive appointments, pacing your office, prepping for action and letting distractions, well, distract you, you probably think you are actually doing something. You are not. Stop fooling yourself. The best way to get started is to get started. Purposeful action will help you jump this hurdle. When in doubt of the action step to take first, find someone who is where you want to be, invite them out for a cup of coffee or set up a face to face meeting and open up to them about your plans, goals and dreams. Now is not the time for an ego; now is the time to shut up and listen to what they have to say. Once you have listened, write down a handful of action items and get moving.
As you leap over one hurdle another may come into view. Don’t allow it to slow you down. Use the confidence and the momentum created to help propel you forward. I’m excited most for anyone that recognizes that it won’t be easy, but that it is possible to be successful. Keep moving forward, keep jumping high and get to the success line, it’s just around the corner.