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Our inner critic whispers thoughts to keep us “safe,” and also stifles ambition. Many feel the conflict between what they want and what they believe the can have. The path to success starts by silencing the critic. Here, in no particular order, are ten of its lies and the truths successful people embrace.
Popular Lies Successful People Don’t Believe
Lie #1: The system is rigged.
There are many paths to what you want. Believing the odds are against you is just another way of saying, “I don’t want to fail” and therefore you do not try. Have a new container idea for baby food? You don’t need to start a new company and figure out how to manufacture it. Take the idea to a company that makes containers. This happens more often than you think. Who doesn’t want to buy a better product? Not only do people want to buy it, companies want to sell it.
Successful people do take note of the obstacles and figure out how to overcome them. Do you refuse to play a board game because you don’t like the rules? Navigating obstacles is a necessary skill for success.
Lie #2: You have to be connected.
People at every level in every industry are willing to connect. The only limitation is in your approach. You have to ask for what you want and you have to ask the right people. If you don’t have the right connections, go out and get them.
The question many ask in this situation is, “Why would so-and-so want to talk to me?” There isn’t any single answer. They may think you have something of value to offer, or perhaps they remember someone helped them. If someone refuses to talk, they weren’t the right connection.
It is remarkably easy to find people with the resources we have today. Successful people don’t waste their own time counting reasons why not to contact someone. Reach out, ask friends, look at corporate web sites; someone is waiting for you to call.
Lie #3: It takes luck.
When someone describes a successful person as “lucky,” it is only because he or she did not see what happened along the way. Success requires drive. That doesn’t mean it is all hard work, it simply means you know what steps to take and have the will to stick with it. “Luck” is making the tenth call when someone else gave up after nine. Don’t think of it as extreme effort, when you do what you love it doesn’t feel that way at all.
Leaving something to chance doesn’t produce positive results. Success is visualization of a path, then implementation of your vision. Sometimes you repeat the steps to get the desired result, but that isn’t luck.It’s determination. Then it’s your turn to hear someone say, “Wow, you’ve been lucky.”
Lie #4: There is too much competition.
You saw a need, right? You work or have an interest where you saw a need for improvement. If the competition saw the same thing, your need would already be satisfied. See what I mean? You’re sitting on the sidelines ready to change the game, and here’s the thing: not only are you a player, you’re the coach. You decide when or if to enter the game.
Fear competition at your peril. You offer something unique and the competition, as such, only serves to highlight your difference. In other words, competition is an illusion. When Starbucks opens a store next to a local coffee shop, what happens? More often than not the local shop prospers. The “competition” draws new interest to the store. Successful people know competition helps their efforts to be better.
Lie #5: It’s too late.
There is no perfect time, nor a perfect age. There is no perfect economy, nor a perfect location. It’s that simple. It is here the inner critic says, “Yes, but…” The truth is you are either committed to doing something or you’re not.
The best way to ensure you don’t succeed is to make no attempt. Success is borne of inspiration and opportunity. These things have no regard for timing or place. “House Hunters International” featured a couple leaving their self-made business of over 30 years to retire to Costa Rica. What was the first thing they did upon taking up residence? They started a new business. In a related example, many police officers and teachers have successful second careers in real estate after they retire. Success doesn’t factor age or place.
Lie #6: I have too much to lose.
A good job, benefits, retirement contributions and the like represent security. Listen to policy debates and many other ideas and you often see the root of the matter is people feeling secure. You feel secure, but are you satisfied or happy? Security for yourself is one thing, but maybe you have a family.
Two things: first, the issue truly is a fear of failure. If security is the goal, what waits on the other side of an opportunity is security beyond anything in your experience. Second, what is truly assured? Companies are purchased and reorganized often, even local companies. What is safer than controlling your future? Follow your interests, chart your own path, it is the only way to be truly secure.
It really is a matter of how you look at it. Successful people see opportunity where others see risk. Seeing the risk means you’re smart. Weighing it and pushing forward is the courage we see in all successful people.
Lie #7: I don’t have the skills.
Most people do not have talent in every area of business. If you meet someone who claims this, don’t give them money. You aren’t supposed to go it alone. Even independent contractors receive resources, support, and direction from the organizations that hired them.
And why did the company hire them? To do a job the company couldn’t do. If there is a skill you lack, obtain it. It is just another problem to solve and probably the easiest. A partnership, training, or consulting with an expert are all ways to get the knowledge you need.
Successful people know what they don’t know. They obtain or ask for help when it’s needed.
Lie #8: I don’t deserve success.
Success—achieving what you want—is the natural way of things. Why do you believe it is not attainable? This is something you must explore.
Successful people either overcame personal hang ups or had nothing holding them back when they started. The people to whom it seems to come naturally simply weren’t told they couldn’t succeed. The only limits we have are those we personally create. Put another way: your fear is manufactured and as such it can be deconstructed.
Somewhere along the way you obtained an idea that holds you back. Successful people either did not acquire this limiting belief or they learned how to shed it.
Lie #9: No one believes in me.
This is a frequent theme of some of the most notable minds of history. For some, it’s a battle cry. “No one believes in me, but I see what they don’t.” No one around them believed, but they did. Time and again we see how their belief won.
The true feelings here are doubt and fear. These come from within and not from others. If your idea has flaws, adjust to make it work. When you believe in yourself these adjustments are just part of the path to success.
Your belief is contagious, whether good or bad. That is how a startup CEO lands million-dollar contracts, or a self-published author secures a partnership with a billion-dollar company. If you believe, others will too.
Lie #10: My success hurts others.
Success affects some relationships. The people around you determine, partially, your outlook. As success takes hold, the people around you, and the people whom you prefer to be around, change. You want people around you that support your efforts; it is only natural.
There sometimes is resentment. Some longtime friends and even family members may not like what you’re doing. That is their battle to fight, not yours. It is not your responsibility to make everyone happy. Everyone is responsible for their own feelings. Nothing you do controls another’s happiness.
If you’ve been in a room with someone you regarded as successful, you already know this. Likely, that person was a bright star within the room, not just in terms of his or her achievements, but in terms of personality or spirit. That is no accident. They are in control of their perceptions. Successful people know that how they perceive themselves is infinitely more important than how others regard them.
The Common Thread
These statements have one thing in common: they are self-limiting thoughts. These are the thoughts that hold us back from what we want. They are fiction. Repeat that to yourself: they are fiction. Something within ourselves and our experience made us believe, but we have a choice. When we choose to move beyond these feelings and ideas, we grasp the success we desire.