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Leadership Thought #248 – Don’t Talk Yourself Out of Success


More often than not, the biggest barrier to our success is ourselves.  I’ve noticed that people can talk themselves out of just about anything.  Sometimes this is good. Sometimes it is not.  When it comes to limiting your perspective on what’s possible for you in terms of your work life I find this to usually be a bad thing.  Happiness and self-fulfillment in your career shouldn’t be viewed as optional.  The history of the business landscape is full of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things. 

Sure there are individuals who were born with extra special talents and unique abilities, e.g., Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.  Very few of us will ever be blessed and lucky enough to be categorized in this group.  It often does take someone of this caliber to completely transform an industry or period in time.  However, thankfully, the world doesn’t just rely on geniuses to get things done.  In fact, when it comes to day to day reality, most of the positive change is facilitated by average people who were willing to bet on themselves and aspire to something better.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a business owner.   You just need to have a reasonable amount of self-confidence, a good idea, a passion for making it work, the basic skills to make it happen, and the perseverance to see it through despite the inevitable obstacles.  Of course, not everyone is meant to be a business owner, but within every organization there are usually opportunities for growth and development.  It may sounds cliché but your work is ultimately what you make of it.  And, to make something positive out of it you need to think constructively about yourself and the situation or make a change.

I’ve read countless biographies of successful people and two of the most common traits are their ability to see an opportunity in any situation and a willingness to challenge the status quo of what’s possible.  They also embrace the concept that they are the architects of their own life and don’t yield the design work to someone else.  Some of the people I’ve read about were obviously gifted and highly intelligent people, but not all of them.  However, they all believed in themselves and didn’t succumb to the negative thinking that haunts us all.  

I’ve heard that humans are genetically hard wired to sense danger and instinctually practice self-protective behaviors.  From an evolutionary perspective it wasn’t too long ago that our survival literally depended on this.  However, many of these dangers have long since passed and our brains have been slow to catch up.   It doesn’t always do a good job of sorting real versus perceived threats.  As a result, we can be too cautious and critical about our current reality.  

Failure is a part of life but is rarely fatal anymore.  To be successful you must risk failing.  I encourage you to challenge yourself to react differently when your initial reaction is to think things like “I’m not smart (or capable) enough” or “I can’t” or “it will never work” or “it’s too risky” or “it’s too hard” or “who am I to even consider this” or “it’s too scary.”   Don’t be cavalier or simply embrace risk for the sake of risk taking, but broaden your perspective of what’s possible and stretch your comfort zone.  Continually strive not to talk yourself out of success or happiness…

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