1. EXPECTING TOO MUCH, TOO SOON:
We now live in a world where we are used to instant gratification. We want it all and we want it now. You just need to watch a series of adverts on television offering you all these amazing and immediate results; if you just take one of their supplements you can lose weight, or buy one of these gizmos and you can have the perfect clean house, perfect body or more cash – all by next week. The reality is anything worth having takes time and effort. You need to change your thinking from short term to long term, and expect there to be a couple of “hiccups” along the way. One of my favourite quotes from Anthony Robbins is, “God’s delays are not God’s denials”.
2. BURN OUT:
Starting out too fast and too hard. This links into the first point. People start out full of enthusiasm and energy, expecting to make an immediate difference. The reality is, making a decision to take action is only going to make a difference if you are prepared for the long term, so pace yourself.
Recently I completed my first Ironman and experienced this first hand. I had made the decision to pace myself and it became very clear while cycling what a difference that made. On the way out I had a number of cyclists come “flying” past me, and I will be honest: it was tempting to push harder. However, I stuck at the pace I had set for myself before the race. On the way back it was amazing how many of those people I passed. The sad thing for them is they were exhausted and looked like they had very little left in the tank to finish the marathon section of the event.
3. WAITING FOR EVERYTHING TO BE PERFECT:
Life is not perfect, and if you keep on waiting for the perfect time, mood or opportunity it might never come. This leads to procrastination, which means you not only lose time but you feel more stressed, which can lead to being overwhelmed.
As my mother always says, “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”. Take action now. Using the analogy of driving a car, it’s always easier to turn the wheel of the car when you are moving forward. Get moving; you can make adjustments along the way.
4. BEATING YOURSELF UP:
What do you say about yourself, to yourself, when you are by yourself? If one of your friends spoke to you the way you speak to yourself, would you still consider them to be your friend?
At times we all do the “wrong thing” or make a “wrong choice” or just make a mistake – it’s part of life. Accept it, and fix it if you can, but most importantly learn from it and move on! Everyone makes mistakes; successful people learn from their mistakes and move on, they don’t spend too much time thinking about what happened. You can’t change the past, and what you do right now can change the future.
5. TAKING YOUR FOOT OFF THE GAS TOO SOON:
The biggest effort is to get something moving, yes even yourself. You need to overcome the initial resistance, and this can take considerable effort. Think of when you first start pushing a roundabout full of kids. The first couple of revolutions are hard work; you really need to push hard. As the roundabout starts to build up speed and momentum it becomes easier and easier to push, much to the kids’ delight.
In Jim Collins’s book Good to Great he refers to the above example as the “fly wheel effect”, which is one of the key factors in turning good companies into great companies.
When you start to make progress, it is so tempting to relax and let go and enjoy the fruits of your labour for a while. The problem is, as soon as you slack off the momentum starts to slow down and you stop progressing towards your goal.
Keep on going right until the end, until you have achieved your goal, and then make sure that you keep on doing what you need to do to keep the momentum. Going back to the analogy of the roundabout, once you have it going at speed, it’s much easier just to give it a little push every now and again than to start from a standstill again.
6. NEEDING PERMISSION FROM OTHERS TO SUCCEED:
One of the biggest desires people have is to be liked and to be accepted. For many people being admired for their achievements makes them feel good.
The challenge is that what other people might want you to do or achieve is not what makes you happy. They might not agree with your goals or how you want to achieve them, and this can then cause you to doubt yourself and even consider changing what you are doing.
True friends want to see you succeed and become the best you that you can be. Sometimes as you start to improve and achieve goals it can make other people feel uncomfortable because it highlights their lack of growth and accomplishment. When this happens you need to be aware that they might just try to pull you back down because that is easier for them to do than to get themselves into gear and go out and make changes.
When we moved to Australia one of the things that we were warned against before we left was the “tall poppy syndrome”. Our friends who warned us of this – and many other things – had good intentions, but I also know that our decision to immigrate also made some of them “uncomfortable”. Was staying for them the right thing to do? If we stayed that would reaffirm their decision, while us leaving would mean they would need to confront their own choices. When we go back to visit, our friends often ask us if we think they should immigrate, however that is a decision that they need to make and we always try to provide a balanced view.
Back to the “tall poppy syndrome” – apparently it does exist, we have just chosen to be in a field where the poppies grow really tall! We have chosen to associate with people who celebrate each other’s successes and who are constantly improving themselves and encouraging others to do the same.
Make sure your goals are your own, and that achieving these goals is what is going to make you happy. You can enjoy recognition and compliments when you get them, and they will mean more when they align with your values.
7. HICCUPS AND BUMPS IN THE ROAD:
Everyone has an “off day”, where you just can’t get into the flow, you are tired, sore, stressed out, frustrated and more. You have a choice: you can accept it, or you can spend a lot of time and energy fighting it. If you fight it, chances are you will just end up being more frustrated, confused and ultimately making a mountain out of a mole hill!