We all want to be successful in life.
But what is success? How exactly is it defined?
Success in modern society is commonly measured by fame, wealth and power, but actually these are usually just by-products of successes and one person’s actual definition of success is likely to be very different to another’s.
For me, true success is about achieving a defined goal that makes you happy and self-satisfied.
This might be related to your work, your relationships or your own personal interests and passions.
If you have not achieved whatever type of success it is that you are looking for, continue reading below to see if one or more of these 13 reasons might be presenting an issue.
NB. This list has been compiled with business-oriented goals in mind, but you can apply a lot of the reasons to personal and athletic goals.
And what we’re talking about here is usually the fear of failure, criticism or ridicule.
But remember that there is no failure – only learning.
If you don’t go for it, you’ll never learn and you’ll never know what you might have achieved.
You’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say!
The hardest part for a lot of people is actually getting started, but just put your fears aside and get stuck in.
It’s your life and don’t let fear of anything stand in your way. Accept that there will be failures and there will be criticism, but you are not going to let that stop you from being successful.
This may come across as harsh, but some people are just too lazy to be successful. They want it all, but are not prepared to put in the work to get it. They’re talkers and not do-ers.
Success almost never comes without some damn hard work and commitment, so quit your whining or get to it.
Successful people are rarely negative people – they are up-beat, positive, enthusiastic and passionate. So get out of that negative state of mind now. Quit with blaming others, the cynicism, the lack of self-belief. These can all contribute to your downfall.
The other part of negativity is those toxic people around you. The unsupportive naysayers, the pessimists, the cynics. Ditch them now!
4. No plan
It can be difficult to reach a destination without a map. But it is even harder if you don’t even know the destination!
Make sure that you are clear on your goal and you can define exactly what that goal is. Once you have that, you need a plan to get there.
No doubt that plan will require tweaks and adjustments, but if you don’t have a roadmap, you will end up in the wilderness, wandering aimlessly towards something other than your true goal. Or possibly working to help someone else achieve their goal.
It really is the thief of time and the older you get, the more you recognise it.
Wasting time on unproductive stuff (insert your own list here, because I am sure you know what that stuff is) is not walking the path to success.
Thinking about things too much over taking action is another form of procrastination. ‘Analysis Paralysis’, they call it.
If you have your plan, that’s great. But remember that a plan is nothing without action – it’s just a dream.
6. You don’t really want it enough
Sometimes, to be truly successful, you have to really want it – especially if you are competing against others who want the same thing. If you are not completely obsessed with achieving success, there is always going to be someone else who is.
And that someone else may well prevent you from achieving your goal.
7. Not seeing projects through to the end
Success doesn’t usually happen overnight. It takes time and perseverance. Stay focussed on what you are doing and don’t get distracted by other projects before you have seen the current one through.
Shiny object syndrome can leave you jumping from one thing to the next without achieving success in any of them.
8. Focusing on the wrong stuff
This is another form of procrastination.
So many people become obsessed with minor and irrelevant details that ultimately make little or no impact on overall success.
Yes, attention to detail can be important in many areas of life, but if your success relies on, say, making phone calls and closing sales and you spend all your time making the spreadsheet that records those calls and sales look pretty, you’re focussing on the wrong bit.
9. Throwing the towel in too early
Persistence is the mother of success and success is the persistence through failure. The road to success is unlikely to be a smooth one. Mistakes will be made, unforeseen events will happen.
You may experience criticism, rejection and all kinds of setbacks.
To be successful, you’ve got to learn to filter it all out and keep your eyes on the prize.
And keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! (Name that film quote.)
So many people throw in the towel at the first setback, not knowing that they are inches away from a breakthrough.
10. Or you don’t throw in the towel when you should
There is a flip side to persistence and that is knowing when to call it a day.
There are times when it makes sense to walk away, move on and try something else. Just because you couldn’t find success in one arena doesn’t mean you can’t find it in another. The most important thing is to take the lessons you learned with you and apply those learnings to the next attempt.
11. You refuse to learn new stuff
This might be learning from a failure or learning a new skill that you need to progress. Successful people are always searching for ways to enhance their lives by learning new skills and absorbing new information.
That might be through reading a book or studying for an exam or attending seminars or simply asking for advice. Always take the opportunity to grow as a person. If you’re not learning, you’re stagnating.
12. You don’t network
Networking doesn’t have to be one of those contrived local business networking events that are just full of salespeople all trying to hand you their card and pitch their services. Networking comes in many forms and there are all kinds of ways to make useful connections.
Success usually requires the input and help of others, so don’t assume you can do everything by flying solo.
13. Poor money management
There are all kinds of varying statistics stating how many new businesses fail in their first year. I don’t know which are a true reflection reality, so I am not going to cite any.
Suffice to say, many new businesses do fail very early on and that is often due to cashflow problems.
On the road to success, while there are many factors that may be outside of your control, money management is not one of them. So, whether we are talking about your household budget or the income and expenditure of your business, make sure you have a handle on it.
We love to ask successful people about the formula for their success and in a nutshell, it generally comes down to all of the items listed above. And the great thing is that all of these elements are within our control, if we choose.
But there is also one further element that is often disregarded and that is one that is beyond out control: luck.
Successful people often won’t acknowledge luck as a factor, simply because it implies something over which they have no control, unlike hard work, determination and smart moves.
Yes, yes – there’s the whole “you-make-your-own-luck” thing, but let’s agree that uncontrollable events can be a factor.
However, be clear that good luck alone will rarely bring you success.
And bad luck will not necessarily destroy your chances, so don’t use that as a cop out if you’re not doing the other things right!
The moves you make to capitalise on some good luck and how you react when faced with some bad luck can also determine your success.
So, make sure that none of the 13 reasons listed stop you from achieving whatever success you are after and . . .
I wish you good luck! 😉