Look on the Internet and you’ll find there is no shortage of articles on “how to be successful.” Millions of eyes scan the tips and most readers then move on and do the same things they did the day before (and the day before that). With so much information at our fingertips, we should be crossing achievements off at record speed. Why then are so many people still sitting in front of a computer reading about how to achieve what they want instead of actually achieving it.
Much of our “success” comes down to the way supporting (or not supporting) ourselves while we work to achieve our goals.
Today, we are sharing 7 reasons you’re not moving forward (and how to get back into your stride).
1| You have a vision but no strategy.
Some people brush off their lack of strategy as “big picture thinking” almost with a sense of pride. Here’s what they learn the hard way: unless you can afford to hire a detail-oriented strategic thinker (and are willing to hand over all of your power because they will have it) you’ll need to sit down and muddle through the details of your vision. Understanding where you want to go is only a fraction of what it takes to be successful. You need to explore ways to get there, partnerships that can enhance your brand and identify potential challenges and ways to overcome them. Just diving right in and “getting it done” without really thinking about the best way to do it wastes time, energy and mindshare that would be better utilized creating a strategy and it kills morale in record time.
2 | You’re starving for a “big break”
It’s good to be hungry, but people who are starving are desperate and will run towards a source of professional nourishment with their fangs out. It’s not hard to figure out how this approach makes would-be contacts feel. The best networkers are those who approach other people with sincerity and a real desire to develop a mutually-beneficial relationship. They sit back and listen and do their best to learn and add value. I have said it many times before: Always offer something when you ask for something. If someone has gone out of their way for you, be gracious: don’t hound them to do more.
3 | You’re surrounded by negative people
They say that we become most like the 5 people we surround ourselves with, but I am here to tell you that one negative Debbie/Daryl downer can ruin the vibe on an otherwise positive and productive team. Negativity is poison and it can ruin any chance of success in every part of your life. Downers drain those around them with their constant critical commentary and often manipulate others into spending their valuable energy to “save” them from their own misery. Worse, team members will start to find creative ways of avoiding them which will hurt productivity in the long run. Spend your time working on projects, brainstorming and figuring out your next move instead of allowing them to bully you with doubt and “meh” mentality. Draw a boundary every time and refuse to engage unless you have to. If managing someone with a negative attitude, it’s your job to have a discussion about the energy they bring to the team and the impact its having.
4 | You believe that working the most hours is the only way to “win”
The competition between people to work the most is surreal and misguided. Think about it: If two people run five miles and one trained, ate well and was able to do it in 30 minutes and another took an hour, which one has it right? There is a big difference between always working, working hard and working smart. When I hear people bragging that they spent their weekends at their desk or complaining that they “worked until midnight,” I usually think of the student who waited until the night before the exam to open the book. Instead of showing how much time you can spend on something, work on empowering yourself with the skills to produce your best possible work in a reasonable amount of time. These skills include good time management, the ability to delegate and say “no”, laser focus and good follow-through in addition to the task-specific tools you’ll need to achieve the best results.
5 | You’re motivated but don’t take action.
We have all heard about the effects of placing your gym clothes by the bed as motivation to get up and go as well as the impact of having someone to hold you accountable for showing up where you say you need to be in order to get to where you want to go. While it’s nice to be motivated, the reality is that there will be days when you just don’t feel like doing what you need to do. This is why you need to have a plan that pushes you to take action. Whether it’s meeting with a mentor every week to go through task deadlines or paying fines for not showing up to a class or the gym (give them to charity), consequences and accountability are great ways to make changes in behavior.
6 | You don’t know the difference between time and energy
Here’s a fact: The better you become at something, the more people will take notice. Many of them will want to achieve similar results in their own lives and reach out to you to ask for advice and help on projects. As much as you want to give, the reality is that, even if we can “make time,” we don’t always have the appropriate amount of energy to give away. Many goal-getters love to help others achieve. They share information and advice, but they also know that it is OK to tell a friend you cannot work for their company for free and they don’t feel guilty for suggesting a 15-minute phone call if they don’t have time to meet for coffee for an hour. They also place boundaries with bosses and lovers because they know they are at their very best when they are not feeling like a drained martyr.
Bottom Line: mental and physical energy are essential for reaching your own goals and giving all of it away to the point of exhaustion isn’t a requirement for being “nice.”
7 | Your space stresses you out.
Make no mistake: Your environment matters. When you think about your day-to-day routine, your home, your workspace and your daily interactions, how do you feel? Are you able to find things easily at your desk? Do you have a designated area of your home where you can relax at the end of a long day? Working smart means creating a space where you can get things done efficiently and feel relaxed enough to be creative and innovative. Take some time to clear your desk and set yourself up for success the next day and you’ll see benefits in your work and your mood.
Have you ever felt stalled? What did you do to snap out of it and move forward?