Even though our criteria for success may differ, our definition of success, will probably be similar.
“The favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavours” as dictionary.com describes it, is my favourite definition. Glittering pictures of the end of a journey glide across the screen of my mind, coupled with a pleasing feeling of completion, satisfaction and accomplishment.
Not so, for some people. For them the accomplishment of their goals carries memories of stress, struggle and strain. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Attaining success can be quite simple, though not necessarily easy.
Avoiding the most common mistakes that limit success is the best first step toward achieving new levels of success.
These success-limiting mistakes are:
1. Not having effective habits in place.
Regardless of your definition of success, there are habits that help ensure its achievement and others that create barriers. Ask yourself, “Am I currently living in a way that brings me closer to success each day? What habits do I need to practice each day to guarantee success”
- Great successes tend to take time. It’s the success habits, done consistently, that make the difference and ensure you accomplish what you set out to achieve.
2. A lack of clear and concise goals.
Unsuccessful people aren’t so sure about what they want. If you haven’t set a goal, how will you know if you’re successful? What do you want to achieve? Successful people have clearly defined goals and review them regularly.
3. A lack of a plan.
For some it is difficult to attain success. They don’t really have a plan, nor a direction. The result is they live life reactively. They’re either putting out fires or being passive. Take the time to put a plan in place that moves your life in a positive direction. No doubt you’ve heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
4. Mistaking busyness for productiveness.
Most people focus on activities that provide a limited return on their time. Mistaking 8 hours of activity for 8 hours of productivity is flawed thinking. The Pareto Principle asserts that 80% of your outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given activity.
- Being busy isn’t the same as making real progress. Apply the Pareto Principle. Look at all your activities and inputs, choose the 20% that are the most productive, effective and bring you the highest return, and make them a priority. Have fun, as you let 20% of your input and activities, bring you 80% of your success.
5. A lack of consistency.
Champions are consistent to the extreme. You might not be interested in planning out your day to the minute and living that same day over and over again, but success does require more consistency that the average person is willing to demonstrate. Spend time each day by doing, at the very least, one activity that will move you one step closer to achieving your goals.
6. Not dealing with discomfort effectively.
To make progress and take yourself to your next level of success requires new behaviors. Learning new behaviors can be inherently uncomfortable on some level. The trick is to keep practicing. Practice brings progress. Comfort is only found in repetition, and repeating limiting behaviors keeps your life at a standstill. Successful people embrace the temporary discomfort change brings and keep moving forward.
- As you know, true growth lies outside the comfort zone. It’s the nature of the mind to want to stay in the comfort zone, and it’ll try and keep you there. Over time, what is guaranteed to happen, is you will start to feel uncomfortable in your comfort zone. For some of us our life situation just needs to become slightly uncomfortable, and we’ll spring into action to do something about it. While for others, their discomfort has to escalate and turn into severe mental anguish, even emotional pain, before they decide to move out of the situation they’re in. It’s a given we will eventually move out of our discomfort. However, how long it’ll take, is up to us.
7. Not learning from mistakes and failures.
Many successful people have failed their way to success. When you ask them, “Would they do it all over again?”, the answer tends to be ‘Yes’. Because we’re taught from a young age to develop a negative association with failure, it’s common to avoid failure, and be afraid of it, but this is a mistake. While failure is never the objective, it’s an expected part of attaining success. Your first attempt at anything is merely a starting point. Failure is the tool necessary to learn and make improvements.
- Too many people take failure personally and, worst of all, see it as a reflection of who they are, when that’s not the case. Please remind yourself of this reality: Failure is a result you didn’t want. That’s all it is. It gives you the opportunity to assess your actions, learn from them and adjust them so you can take action again – only this time, with some valuable learnings in your back pocket. Realize that constant improvement includes ‘failure’, yet constant improvement ultimately ends in success.
8. Preoccupation with things that can’t be changed.
Along our path to success, there are a multitude of things that can’t be altered. As I say to some of my clients, “The milk is spilt, you can’t reverse the spillage.” What you can do is clean up the spillage. Look at how it happened, learn from it and make the necessary adjustments, before you turn the page and move on. Truth is we save ourselves a lot of time and energy, as well as mental and emotional strain, when we learn to accept and release what we cannot change and focus on the things we can alter.
Success can be elusive, but it’s much easier to attain when you can avoid these eight limiting mistakes.
Create some meaningful and inspiring goals and plan your success.
Practice habits that support you in reaching your goals.
Be productive and take consistent action.
Deal with discomfort and learn from your mistakes.
Accept what you cannot change and move forward.
Success can be that simple.