Success Mindset: The Top Ten Reasons You Aren’t Where You Want to Be – YET! Part 1 of 2

Introduction

When you look at your life, you may be miles away from your goals and dreams – so far you wonder if you’ll ever get there. This gap can be especially frustrating when you feel like you’re working hard to move forward.

Unfortunately, just “working hard” doesn’t assure success. There are a lot of other elements and factors that determine how far you go and how close you come to achieving the life you imagine. This report discusses ten factors that play a part in holding you back from your dreams. If you can surmount them – or even a few of them! – your efforts will be supercharged, moving you past obstacles that formerly held you back.

Don’t try to tackle all ten at once. Read through the report and see which one or two resonate with you the most strongly, and start there. There’s plenty of time for the rest.

One note: In this report, the words “dreams” and “goals” are used interchangeably. In reality, they are very different things: After all, a dream is a goal without a deadline. But since the principles here are equally applicable to goals AND dreams, I’ve used them as synonyms.

Reason #1: You Don’t Know What You Want

 

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
Jim Rohn

Before you can get anywhere, you need to know where you are going. It sounds simple, but when it comes to life goals or dreams, it’s not so clear. We think, “I want my business to be a success,” or “I want to be happy.” But ask 100 different people to define success, or to say what makes them happy, and you’re going to get 100 different answers.

That’s why when it comes to getting what you want, the first step is to decide – specifically – what you want in your life. Not in generalities, but in specifics. For instance:

NOT: “I want to be skinny,” but, “I want to wear a size 10 and have my BMI, blood pressure, and cholesterol in healthy ranges.”

NOT: “I want to be financially secure,” but, “I want to be debt-free and have $100,000 in the bank by the time I’m 50.”

NOT: “I want a new job,” but, “I want a job that allows me to work flexible hours from home, making $20 an hour, using my skills in word processing and business management.”

Specificity is critical in goal-setting for several reasons:

  1. If you only have a general idea of what you want, you can only get a general idea of how to achieve it. It’s like driving: If you know you want to drive from Portland to Philadelphia, you have a general idea of how to get there – and you may end up in the Schuykill River or on the wrong side of the tracks. But if you want to see the “Rocky” statue in front of the art museum, you can fine-tune your approach to get yourself exactly to the point you want.
  2. Being specific saves time. You will intuitively be able to sort through opportunities that are presented to you and know immediately whether they are in line with your goals or not.
  3. Being specific helps your mind create a vivid picture of what you want. Once your mind can picture it, it’s much easier to achieve it.

If you’re having trouble specifying your dreams, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What does it look like?
  • How will you know when you’ve made it?
  • When do you want to achieve this goal?
  • What does it feel like, taste like, smell like?
  • What would a day in your dream life be like, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed?

Write these answers down and revisit them frequently to see if they’re still true, and to remind yourself of what you’re working towards.

Reason #2: You Don’t Have a Plan to Get from Here to There

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.
Eleanor Roosevelt

You can know specifically what you want to achieve, what it looks like, and when you want it – but without a plan, you’re like a vacationer to Paris who forgot to buy his plane ticket. Whoops!

The next natural step after determining WHAT you want is laying out a plan for getting it. Where many people make mistakes is assuming that having a plan is an all-or-nothing proposition: They need to have a carefully scripted path from A to B, and then on to C and D, with no unknowns, and no changes.

Not so! In fact, ask any visionary who’s achieved anything of merit, and they will say that the path they thought they were going to take wasn’t what ended up happening. But they’ll also tell you that knowing the first few steps and committing to them were critical to their success

Take someone who wants to lose weight. They know what they want to weigh, and they’ve decided to try Weight Watchers combined with walking 30 minutes a day. That’s all they need to get started because it gives them the next steps: To sign up for a meeting, attend the meeting, and begin walking.

What they can’t anticipate, though, is the weather. Or pizza night with the girls. Or the fact that they seem to be having trouble losing weight on the prescribed plan after a few weeks of success and need to shake things up a bit.

Situations change; that’s a given. Rare is the plan that is laid out in excruciating detail on Day One and followed without adjustments. You have to be prepared to make changes along the way, but you also have to know what “the way” is. Without any plan at all, you are a victim of your circumstances, not knowing what’s going to move you closer to your goal and what’s going to take you farther away.

So after you’ve set your end goal in living color, figure out that one next step you have to take. Trust that when you take that step, you’ll see the next one and the next, forward to success. You’ll know when you need to move left or right, but only if you move until the point you see ahead of you. Sometimes it’s only in retrospect that the whole path is clear, like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs strewn behind them.

Reason #3: You Lack the Resources

Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.
William James

Have you ever watched a show like Clean Sweep, Trading Spaces or The Biggest Loser and said to yourself, “Of COURSE they can lose weight/clean out their clutter/redesign their home. They have a team of experts at their beck and call!”

Well, while not everyone – and in fact, very few of us – can have Oprah’s dietitian, Jillian Michaels for a personal coach, and an interior designer to rework our home, we do need to find and use resources to help us achieve our goals. If we find ourselves stymied on the way to success, we just might be experiencing a lack of resources.

Resources fall into several types. Let’s look at each one and discuss ways to get the resources you need to get where you want to go:

Monetary. Usually, when we think we don’t have the resources to complete a goal, we think it’s a monetary issue. It’s true that some goals take cash, but most of the time, we think of money as the solution to all our problems. While it can definitely help smooth the way, there are other methods to getting the resources we need besides purchasing them. For instance:

  • Bartering. Trade your expertise for someone else’s services. If you’re looking for a personal trainer, swap your Internet marketing skills for her training.
  • Borrowing. One of the biggest disadvantages to our geographically disconnected world is the inability to borrow from each other. But why not reconnect with your neighbors? Someone may have a car they’re not using and would be glad for you to use it to get to your night class across town.  Someone else may have a summer house on the shore and would be happy to let you camp out there for weekends in the winter to work on your book. You won’t know until you ask.
  • Renting/Timeshare. Pretty much anything you want or need, from a horse to a car to a ski house, can be available for a timeshare or rental. Go online and google your desire and see what comes up.

Time. Time may be even more of an issue than money when it comes to reaching your goals. We often say, “I just don’t have the time!” when we mean, “It’s just not important enough to me right now.” The truth is, we all have the same number of hours in the day. You don’t have any fewer hours than the person who’s out there training for an Ironman, or staying up late to work on her new business idea. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way.

Support. Our cheering squads are resources, no doubt about it. And while the people closest to us may not understand why we want to build a log cabin in the woods or start a summer camp for disadvantaged ferrets, there are people out there in the greater world who would gladly cheer you on. All you have to do is find them.

There really are no valid excuses when it comes to lack of resources. Put it this way: Whatever you think your excuses are, someone else in a tougher position than you has already found a way to achieve what you want to achieve. You can do the same.

Reason #4: The People Around You Don’t Support You

I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
Muhammad Ali

In the last section, we discussed lack of resources, including lack of support. In my experience, that is the biggest obstacle for people reaching their goals. Isolation, or even downright discouragement, can thwart even the most dedicated individual. To put it bluntly, you need a cheering section.

Few people like change, especially change they don’t ask for or control. Those closest to us in our everyday life have a vested interest in keeping things – including you – the same as they’ve always been. After all, if you lose weight/get out of debt/get a new job/quit drinking/start a new business, what does that say about them?

There will be three groups of people in your life:

  1. Those who are avid encouragers. They get up early to go to the gym with you, find magazine articles on starting your own business, and offer to house-sit while you go to a conference. These people are golden!
  2. Those who don’t get it and don’t talk about it. They watch from the sidelines, scratching their head, as you start eating green, talk about SEO or autoresponders, and wonder what you’re up to now. They won’t actively discourage you, but the fact they don’t even ask about your latest accomplishments can leave you feeling bereft and slightly depressed.
  3. Those who are out to make you fail. That sounds harsh, but it’s true; a certain group of people will not want you to quit smoking, or find a new job. They like things just as they are, and they take it as a rejection of them and their choices if you succeed. Note: Unfortunately, these are often the people who are closest to us.

The solution is to minimize your contact with those who discourage you, and maximize your contact with those who want you to succeed. Avoidance can be tough if you happen to be married to a discourager; this is when you’ll have to make a decision about what’s most important in your life, maintaining the status quo or reaching your dreams.

If you need more supportive people, you can find them! Here are some resources online to track down like-minded individuals:

  • Meetup.com. Type in your city and your interest and find other small business owners, organic farmers, or model train aficionados.
  • Yahoo! and Google Groups. Search for others who are interested in the same types of things you are.
  • Twitter. Search by hashtag (#) for your area of interest.
  • Facebook.com. Tons of pages on everything from mothers who run to pet groomers.

One other way to find supportive people: Find a coach! A personal trainer, a business coach, a dietitian… there are tons of experienced professionals who can help get you where you want to be. The benefits of their experience can save you time and money as you pursue your dreams.

There’s no need to go towards your goal alone. Whether you hire a coach or find a virtual buddy to back you up, there are people who would love to see you succeed.

Reason #5: You Don’t Really Want What You Think You Want

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask.
Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Thomas Jefferson

Everyone wants 2.4 kids and the white picket fence… right?

Everyone wants a vacation home in the mountains… right?

Everyone wants to look like Jennifer Aniston or Brad Pitt… right?

Everyone wants to run their own business and be their own boss… right?

Wrong.

When it comes to dreams, one size most definitely does NOT fit all. Our dreams and goals are as individual as we are, and adopting someone else’s goals as our own can feel like wearing someone else’s shoes: It looks okay to everyone else, but to us, it feels awful and gives us blisters.

There are thousands, if not millions, of people out there striving for the wrong goals. Wrong not because there’s anything inherently bad about them, but wrong because the goals they’re aiming for are wrong for THEM.

There’s the med school student who loved her accounting and finance classes in college… but set any thought of being an accountant aside because her mom and dad are both doctors.

There’s the successful salesman who would really love to chuck it all and teach English, but he’s making too much money and only a crazy person would throw away a six-figure paycheck.

There are frustrated dentists, bakers, and candlestick makers. There are frustrated sheep farmers, personal trainers, bail bondsmen and police officers. Frustration knows no geographic, socioeconomic, or race or religious boundaries.

The only way to know if the goals you’re aiming for are the right goals is to figure out if they are your heart’s desire. Sometimes it takes some detective work to peel back the layers of societal and family expectations to get at what YOU really want.

There are clues all around you: If you fall asleep dreaming about something, wake up thinking about something, and find yourself perking up whenever you meet someone doing what you’d like to do, you’re on the right track. Meanwhile, if you get a sinking sensation when you pull into the garage of house with the white picket fence, or find yourself calling in sick to that six-figure job “everyone” would kill to have, then you may be in the wrong place… for you.

So what do you do if you find you’ve been chasing after the wrong dream? You readjust. You find ways to move your current life closer to the one you really long for. Maybe that means getting up an hour early to work on your mystery novel. Maybe it means spending your weekends teaching art to inner city kids. Maybe it means volunteering to do taxes at the senior center. Take a small step and see how it feels. Then take another, and another, until you know deep in your heart you’re on the right track. If you are, the momentum will carry you forward.

 

 


 

 

 

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