I have frequently received calls and emails right out of the blue from people seeking advice on how to make a success of their lives despite the enormous challenges that face them. Often times, they’ve tried just about everything they believe they can try, yet they keep failing; sometimes life happens, unforeseen challenges just get in the way and undermine their attempts; other times they have found themselves in hardships and situations so disadvantageous that the very thought of achieving great success seems like a fantasy; other times they’ve done very little to create success for themselves and are just seeking a quick step-by-step magic formula on how to achieve success.
To the last group that have done little but want to achieve great success, I’m often quite straightforward and indicate that the only magic formula I know for success is the GOYB formula. They ask me what the acronym stands for and I tell them it means Get Off Your Butt – most see the humour in it, few don’t. Irrespective, the fact remains that it’s true.
To be successful you must go out there and earn your right to be successful, taking steps and initiatives and creating your own opportunities instead of waiting for opportunities to materialise. Unless you change something, nothing will change.
As far as the other groups of people are concerned, I tend to empathise a great deal. I can directly relate to the frustration of having a dream that just doesn’t seem to materialise or having to face one challenge after another until all your emotional reserves are drained and everything within you tells you to give up.
I know first-hand what it’s like to start so far from the bottom that your dreams appear impossible to reach or to have people around you question your sanity when you great dreams and ambitions. Before offering any sort of advice, my first statement to this group of people is never to give up on their dreams. As clichéd as the statement sounds, I have found from my experience and the experience of others that it’s true.
I also inform them that no great dream, vision or ambition was borne without its share of challenges. In fact similar to the risk and reward relationship in investing, as with our goals, the greater the goal the greater the challenges. Challenges are life’s way of testing our passion and desire to achieve that goal or vision for our lives. If we truly desire to succeed and really mean business about accomplishing great things, then we must fight for it. Its all about choice – we can choose to back down in the face of challenges when things get tough (implying that maybe we were not really, really passionate about the goal in the first place) or we can make a conscious decision to keep our eyes fixated on the ultimate goal we are going after, grab life by the scruff, take the punches, get back up and keep going. That’s the only way I know how and I know it works.
After, encouraging them not to give up and settle for less, I then examine their belief structure – i.e what they believe about themselves, their abilities, life, opportunities, those around them. Very often, people fail not due to the lack of effort, but they fail because the foundation of all their efforts – their beliefs – are skewed.
Success and failure are symptoms of our belief system. We get what we believe, or what we expect to get. Successful outcomes in life are based on a foundation of empowering and positive beliefs about oneself, one’s abilities and life in general; while failures are often the result of having limiting beliefs about oneself, ones abilities and the ability to succeed. Therefore, the starting point to achieving success is not hard work (though that is a critical, non-negotiable element for success), rather the starting point to achieving success is firstly examining one’s beliefs.
Believe in yourself
If deep down on a subconscious level you truly do not believe that you are going to succeed or have what it takes; then you won’t succeed. If you believe that challenges will arise and the challenges will get the best of you, then they will. If you believe that you are not capable of creating your own opportunities and that for you to succeed you must wait for the right opportunity to be presented at the right time, by the right person – then you will not lift a finger and will wait in frustration as other opportunities pass you by. If on the other hand we believe that we have what it takes to succeed and that we have the emotional resolve to face and overcome challenges, then we will.
Our actions stem from our beliefs and we will always act in line with our beliefs. We cannot act contrary to our beliefs, as our beliefs (irrespective of whether we are consciously aware of them or not) form the basis of who we are and the way we see the world around us. Consequently, while people may be working hard at a conscious level to achieve their goals, they may in actual fact be sabotaging their own efforts at a subconscious level, as a result of their limiting beliefs. As a result, they may find “things not working out” despite their best efforts because their belief system is toxic or inhibiting.
The solution to this is to take a step back and do the following:
- Identify these limiting beliefs and then examine the adverse effects these beliefs are producing in your life. What is it costing you in terms of opportunities, time, success, financially etc. Have these beliefs kept you far from where you ought to be at the current stage of your life?
- Identify times in the past when you succeeded at something and use those instances as your positive anchors when you are feeling discouraged. How did it feel when you accomplished the objective? How did see yourself and what did people say about you? Also outline all your positive attributes and strengths, no matter how small. Then use these as the bases of creating new beliefs about yourself and your abilities. Whenever you experience self-limiting beliefs or suddenly think you can’t achieve something, just revert back to your positive anchors and remind yourself of your strengths and positive attributes.
Empowerment begins with you
Over time, constant focus on the new empowering beliefs will gradually change how you see yourself and what you are truly capable of achieving. Making a habit of continuously taking mental notes of the benefits of positive beliefs and the costs of negative beliefs will further serve to reinforce empowering beliefs in your life and diminish the effects of the limiting and toxic beliefs. It takes time and practice, but it’s always worth it in the end.
Believe you have what it takes, work at it and resolve not to settle for less than the best for yourself. You will not only be amazed at how this begins to change you as a person but more importantly, you will be astounded at the potential and power you had kept buried for so long.