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Posted: February 13, 2012

My 3.5 success killer…

...and how to beat them

John Kyle

Everyone I know wants to achieve some sort of success. Some people want to make $1 million a year through their own business or real estate. Some want to get into great physical shape, write a book, earn a degree or travel the world; some just want to kick a bad habit like smoking. The common factor is that we all want something, and we all run into roadblocks to our success.

With that said, here are my 3.5 success killers (and what to do about them):

1. Self Doubt. This one of those negative emotions in life that we all have to deal with from time to time. Here is how doubt works: once a negative event happens that you may or may not be responsible for (a customer yells at you, you lose a sale, you drop the ball when a friend is counting on you, you lose a competition, etc.) doubt creeps into your head and takes up residence. Doubt leads to a state of uncertainty in your ability to accomplish things and your capability to make positive choices. Periodic questioning of our actions and motives is good (we call that "critical thinking"), but when done with doubt and uncertainty, your self-esteem and self-confidence are sure to be struck hard and knocked down a few notches.

The quickest and most effective ways to defeat doubt before it can fester:

  • Accept the fact that you're human and you'll make mistakes from time to time. In other words: put it into perspective. Ask yourself "Am I making this into a big deal when it's not?"
  • Once you have done that, look to see where you can fix the damage and then immediately do so. By taking action quickly and decisively, you'll keep your confidence high. Once you've taken immediate action, you'll then want to...
  • Focus on the next task at hand and how you can make it a success.

By taking these three steps, you'll feel confident again and ready to take on new challenges. We don't have a choice as to whether we will deal with doubt in our lives, but we do have a choice as to how long it stays and how deep it goes.

2. Negative Projection. If doubt gets a foothold, you might negatively project into the future how everything else in your life will eventually fail and fall apart. When you begin to project like this, you cast your negative emotions into the future and paint a bleak picture for yourself of what the end result of a situation will be. You'll see yourself in the poorhouse or 100 pounds overweight or completely alone with no one to share your life -- the opposite of what your dreams and plans are for your life. Unknowingly, you're setting yourself up for failure. Negative projection, because it is fueled with so much fear and doubt, can seem real at times, but it's simply your imagination run amok.

The best way to avoid this trap is to immediately use your imagination in a positive manner: Envision yourself overcoming the negative situation and create the perfect ending. You'll need to take a few minutes to imagine yourself making the sale, coming through for your friend, making the customer happy, or giving a strong presentation with the audience smiling and/or laughing. Whatever end result you're working toward, by using your imagination in a positive and inspirational way, you'll save yourself needless suffering from one of life's powerful success killers!

3. Procrastination. If you have fallen prey to doubt and negative projection, then you'll be feeling pretty down about yourself and your ability to perform. These first two "success killers" will inevitably lead to the obstructive character trait of procrastination. Procrastination is such a powerful success killer because it is the one thing that will help to validate the doubt you feel and the negative projection you see for yourself in the near future. Procrastination leads to a lack of motivation and drive, which of course will destroy any chance for you to achieve your desired goal of personal or professional success. Procrastination will always lead you to a place where you'll have to get something done in a too short a period of time; that will create panic, which leads right back to more self-doubt!

The most effective, and obvious, way to overcome procrastination is to take immediate action on one of your goals or an item on your to-do list. This way, you'll be taking steps out of the negative aspect of your day and onto a path that will lead you to creating a day that finds you as a success. (Even if it happens to be the clean laundry in your closet that has piled up and needs to be folded -- oh wait,  that's me.)

3.5 Justification. This is perhaps the most powerful success killer. Justification leads you into making excuses for your depressing feelings of doubt, confirming your projection of a pessimistic outcome and validating why you are procrastinating. Too many people in our society will justify why they have taken actions that were illegal, dishonest or possibly even harmful to themselves and others. Justification has literally killed people and separated families over the ages. The more often you rationalize your harmful behavior, the stronger your negative justifications will become, until they are nearly impossible to overcome later down the road.

Successful people never justify or argue over their negative behavior: They see themselves and the world realistically and not the way they "think" it should be. They make honest self-appraisals of their thoughts and actions and seek to make better choices that will lead them closer to the success they desire. So take another few moments and look to see if you are arguing for any of your limitations; if you are, you get to keep them!

Having difficulty with any of these success killers? Shoot me an e-mail and we'll see if we can't overcome it together! John.J.kyle@mssb.com

Since 1994, John Kyle has been a successful small business owner, an account executive with a national insurance company, and a sought-after business consultant for other small business owners. John is also a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver and specializes in creating safety nets for his client’s investment portfolios. Contact John at john.j.kyle@mssb.com or 303-595-2021.
 

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