There are certain patterns of behaviour that keep people from achieving their goals and living their ideal life. The first step in addressing these behaviours is being aware of them. Do you recognise yourself or the people around you in any of the below?
1. ‘Looking for the catch’
In other words, searching for a reason why you can’t be successful. Some might call it ‘glass half empty’ or a tendency toward pessimism. Expecting there to be a catch in each good thing that happens. You’re not alone - The National Science Foundation has recently discovered that we have between 30,000 and 70,000 thoughts in a day, 60 to 80 percent of which are negative. For example, ‘I didn’t go to the right school, I’m not smart enough, I’m not like that person who is successful, so I can’t do that.’ To change this pattern of behaviour, look for ways that you can model aspects of others that you can use to be successful or add more value to your life. For example, you may not be an extrovert but there are aspects of someone who is a really good presenter that you could model. Instead of saying: “I can’t be successful because x y z (e.g. I’m not a confident public speaker like that person who is successful in my field)”, look for the parts of someone that you can adopt. You don’t have to be exactly like someone else who is successful in your field; you can adopt parts of things they do and fit that in with your own unique style.
Perfectionism is actually a way of not having standards because the standards are so high they are unrealistic. A person with perfectionism is avoiding the courage it takes to get clear on resourceful standards. The people who are most successful in business are the ones who create and perfect in implementation. You can only know if something is useful for your audience if you put it out there to receive feedback from them - nothing is ever ‘perfect’ from the get-go, but if you never take action, there’ll be nothing to work with and improve. A great article on Brainpickings.org reveals why perfectionism is killing creativity, they quote author Anne Lamott: ‘Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism…’
3. The outside world holds you in higher esteem than your inside world
This is when people around you have more confidence in you than you do in yourself. It’s about self-worth. To address this, ask for feedback from your colleagues, peers, friends and family. Write positive comments down and remind yourself of them regularly.
Write yourself a letter praising your achievements and say how proud you are, the way you would for a friend who has just been promoted or achieved success. Get clear on your strengths and remind yourself of the regularly. Challenge your beliefs that are unresourceful for what you want to do in life. You have the ability to choose your beliefs, thoughts and emotions, so choose ones that support where you want to go in life. Here’s a great TED talk on positive psychology and the power of happiness in success.
4. Fear of being ‘found out’
This fear is related to a lack of connection and love for self. Sustainably successful and fulfilled people love ‘to be found out’, to be noticed or recognised and then receive feedback on how they can improve because it means they’re exploring new territories and growing.
If you have a fear of ‘being found out’ - some might call it ‘impostor syndrome’ - remember you need to take calculated risks to be successful. Ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” and “Can I handle it if it did?” If the answer is yes, then go for it! You are the only one holding you back.
5. Significance is a key driver for them
Takers of significance get recognition or attention in an unsustainable way. They end up with relationship and connection issues, which is the opposite of what they want. If you give significance to others then you actually get significance yourself (e.g. being curious about them, encouraging, supportive and interested) means that people are attracted to you, like you and want to work with you. An example of this is someone who talks about themselves a lot or tries to ‘show off’ about what they’ve done/have, etc., to get other people to like them. This actually has the opposite effect and means people aren’t as connected to them. If they were curious about others, asked about others, supported others, then they would be more likely to connect with people more effectively.