Success looks and feels different for everyone. However, one thing that can be very similar between people is the type of roadblocks that we put in our way to stop us from getting that success. Unfortunately, we tend to be our own worst enemy and not even realize that we are to blame for sabotaging our own success.
However, you can consciously change that direction by considering these 15 common behaviors that block success and learn how you can avoid or alter them.
- You’re not taking enough risks
While it may be prudent to avoid extreme risk, there’s a time and a place for stepping outside your comfort zone in order to generate the change that is necessary to achieve your goals. If you’re typically a risk-adverse person and haven’t been achieving much success, now may be the time to put yourself out there.
You don’t necessarily need to take huge risks; if you’ve been taking the safe route for a while, even small risks can be enough to help propel you in the right direction. Consider volunteering to take on the lead role on a project at work or step outside of your role and help in a different department. Start a side company as the precursor to become a full-time entrepreneur in the near future. Wherever you think you can push yourself farther, it’s time to take the leap.
- You’re playing the victim
You may not consciously think of yourself as a victim. However, if you often find yourself thinking, “He made me do this” or “I had no choice but to…,” you may be giving up more of your power than you should.
While there will always be situations in life where you have little or no control, you shouldn’t consistently find yourself feeling ganged up on, taken advantage of, or unable to change your circumstances. In order to stop playing the victim card, you first have to realize that you are focusing on others’ behavior rather than your own as well as what you can’t do rather than what you still have the power to achieve. If you still truly feel that others are wiping their feet on you, then you need to learn a different strategy for standing up for yourself so you take that power back. If you need to, ask someone else for pointers on the best strategy.
- You try to do everything yourself
It doesn’t matter how smart, educated, or experienced you are, no one can do everything well. If anything, the more you try to do yourself, the more you will actually fail at most of it.
Successful people know they can’t do it all and are willing to delegate to those around them. As a business owner, this might mean letting go of control and outsourcing certain tasks that aren’t in your wheelhouse. In your personal life, it could involve consulting with an expert in the fields of fitness, health or relationships.
- You aren’t able to self-regulate
Research shows that kids who are able to self-regulate their behavioral and emotional impulses have greater success in school. Although we often talk about self-regulation in relation to kids, the concept still applies for garnering success as an adult.
Our ability to regulate our emotions and behaviors is what allows us to act in our own best interest even when our impulses are in the background, trying to push us to do something else. One of the most effective ways we can achieve greater self-regulation is through consistently delaying gratification, focusing on our values and long-term goals, creating a plan that keeps us on track and rewarding ourselves along the way for staying the course.
- You let yourself get too distracted
Distractions can eat up a ton of time — more time, in fact, than you might think. Whether you are sitting in a cubicle or working from home, there are always things around us that grab that time – social media, phone calls and texts, and those YouTube videos.
When you’re distracted from a task, you aren’t just losing the time it takes to switch to your secondary (often less-important) task. Research has suggested that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task after being interrupted. This often leads to lower productivity and ultimately means it takes longer to reach your goals.
Whenever possible, block off dedicated time in your schedule to focus on important tasks as well as allocate limited blocks for those diversions. This will not only keep others from disrupting you, but it will also help you avoid straying from your work and provide essential mental and physical breaks that can help recharge your energy and productivity.
- You’re too afraid of failure
The prospect of failure can turn you into a deer in the headlights. However, in your attempt to avoid the possibility of failing, you may be missing out on opportunities that will actually allow you to be successful.
The fact is that failure is inevitable. As 19th century English historian James A. Froude said, “Experience teaches slowly, and at the cost of mistakes.” You will undoubtedly experience failure on the path to success, but don’t let it dissuade you from making things happen that might not have otherwise if you were still frozen in fear.
- You don’t value your time
As you attain some degree of success, you can count on people coming out of the woodwork who want free advice. These encounters can seriously eat into the time you need to work toward your own goals.
Don’t be afraid to turn down these types of requests when necessary or even suggest a nominal consulting fee. It’s okay to be generous with your knowledge and expertise, but don’t feel bad about protecting your own time. Create your own success first and then you will be able to pay it forward and help others work toward theirs.
- You expect someone else to make you successful
We’ve all heard stories of overnight success where a story gets picked up by a well-known publication or a product gets mentioned by a celebrity and a business achieves sudden success.
In reality, these cases few and far between. Success takes work, struggle, and determination. And, nine times out of ten, it’s your hard work, struggle, and determination that does it. While others may provide good advice, serve as connectors, or provide funding, it’s still on you to generate your own success.
- You’re not confident enough
Some research has concluded that people who are overconfident may achieve greater success even though that success may not be merited. Researcher Cameron Anderson explained, “Our studies found that overconfidence helped people attain social status. People who believed they were better than others, even when they weren’t, were given a higher place in the social ladder.”
While you don’t need to be overconfident to succeed you can become more knowledgeable or skillful in your business segment or industry. With that enhanced knowledge and sharpened skill set comes greater confidence. In return, you are likely to earn more respect and prominence at work or with your customers.
- You’re comfortable with the status quo
When life is going relatively well, many of us tend to sit back and just enjoy. It’s good to reflect and celebrate how great your life is going, but it can also block those future opportunities for success.
If you’re not willing to step outside the status quo every once in a while, your business or personal life eventually will stagnate. Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The same goes for success: if you want to achieve the next level of success, then you’re eventually going to need to disrupt the status quo and start implementing different strategies. In work, this might involve tackling a new project or trying a new way to market to customers. In life, this could involve adopting a new hobby, traveling somewhere new, or joining a social club to meet new people who share similar interests.
- Imposter syndrome is holding you back
I don’t think there’s a single person who would deny Maya Angelou’s success. Yet, even she suffered from “imposter syndrome.” She once said, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.’”
It’s natural to occasionally feel undeserving of your current job, relationship, or other successes. Remind yourself that nearly everyone has felt the same way. What if someone like Maya Angelou had let her imposter syndrome hold her back? We wouldn’t have all those literary treasures.
The same goes with you. If you give into the idea that you don’t deserve what you have, then you will not use it to its full advantage, missing out on many future successes as well as inhibiting others from benefiting from what you created or developed.
- You don’t know what success looks like for you
Too many people moan about how they’ll never achieve success. Yet, from what others observe, many of these same people appear to “have it all.” They have great jobs, profitable businesses, healthy lifestyles and happy relationships. However, they may not define success by these criteria or they still don’t have a clear picture of what it means to them.
In order to know what success looks like for you, there must be some planning, reflection, and discussion. You need to determine what you define as success by figuring out what’s really important. While you can work with a coach or mentor to shape this definition of success, it’s still on you to draw that final picture.
- You’re not tracking your progress
It’s one thing to set goals, but if you’re not consistently tracking your progress toward those goals, you may find it easier to just give up – even when you’re on the cusp of success.
Progress on goals can be tracked many ways. Whether it’s using a time tracking app to log every hour and track it against tasks for gauging progress or maintaining a spreadsheet of monthly goals and updates, you need to hold yourself accountable.
As you see progress, remind yourself how far you’ve come. Make adjustments as necessary if you feel as though more needs to be done, but never stray too far from your original goal.
- You’re not surrounding yourself with people who motivate you
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are you spending time with people who are on their own path to success? Are they willing to make sacrifices in the short-term in order to reach their goals? Do you have people around you who are positive and going somewhere themselves like friends with goals?
If not, it may be time to make a change. You don’t necessarily need to be in a formal mentoring relationship to receive this motivation. However, you do need to surround yourself with people who can provide some guidance along the path to success. This motivational circle can be formed with colleagues, friends and family members, teachers and even your own children.
- You don’t believe in yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? This holds true in business and your personal life.
To believe in yourself, you must first trust yourself. When making decisions, stop relying on everyone around you to tell you what to do or waiting for them to reassure you that you’ve made the best choice. Instead, try listening to your intuition (“going with your gut”). You may be surprised to discover you’re actually more insightful than you thought! Remember how many times you may have already said to yourself that you should have listened to that little voice? That’s your intuition and it already believes in you.
What do you think is holding you back from being more successful? Share in the comments below!