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8 Pitfalls on the Path to Success

Avoid these eight "traps," and your long-term success is assured.
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I recently received an e-mail from the motivational speaker and real estate investor Paul LeJoy. He's been wildly successful in real estate sales and has mentored and worked with dozens of entrepreneurs.

In his e-mail, LeJoy identified eight pitfalls that lie athwart every pathway to success. His thoughts were so deep and insightful that I edited them and condensed them:

1. Timidity

Every path to success begins with a great idea. There's only one problem: Great ideas are a dime a dozen. What really matters when it comes to becoming a success is not having the idea but having the courage to transform that idea into reality. This usually means a risk of losing the security of a regular job and risking a steady paycheck. Only the brave ever overcome this first of the pitfalls.

2. Laziness

Even with a great idea and the courage to pursue it, your efforts will be for naught unless you're willing to take massive action. Write down your goals and (more important) the action steps you'll take to pursue those goals. Post your vision and plan in your bedroom, bathroom, office. Share it with others, so they'll hold you accountable for delivering on your plan. Make yourself accountable and become the master of your destiny.

3. Complacency

Without passion, even the most compelling vision will wither on the vine. Without passion, your energy and enthusiasm will flag when you encounter inevitable obstacles. Make your passion into an almost physical characteristic of your personality, an inexorable force that keeps you engaged every moment of every workday, bringing you one step closer to the measure of success that you desire.

4. Distraction

The modern world clamors for your attention in ever-louder ways, a deluge that can distract you from your course. It takes self-discipline to persevere amidst the noise and haste, to assert your willpower over casual desires and instincts. Channel your emotions, behavior, and desires toward obtaining the reward of success. Remember: Living a life of self-discipline is less painful in the long run than regretting "what might have been."

5. Doubt

Once you've made a decision, doubt is a worm that eats away at your ability to succeed. Life and work can be hard and even cruel. Remember, the race is not for the swift but rather those who persevere. Rather than allowing doubt to seep in and poison your process, you owe it to yourself to remain confident in your vision and your plan. Adapt as needed along the way, but always know that success will ultimately be yours.

6. Disconnection

The old sayings "no man is an island" and "there's strength in numbers" may sound corny, but that doesn't make them any less true. Even with self-discipline, in the long run, you'll need contact with kindred spirits and mentors. Meeting regularly can be a great boost to your morale and provide new perspectives on your approach. The Internet makes it extraordinarily easy to find a coach, mentor, or mastermind group that can provide the emotional support, experience, and wisdom to help turn your vision into reality.

7. Dishonesty

As you begin to be successful, you'll be tempted to lie, exaggerate, and deceive in order to move your agenda forward. However, taking the easy way of dishonesty has a tendency to sneak back up on you. In the end, it causes far more problems than taking the risk of telling the truth. True success comes when you are a person of your word, when you have a pure conscience, and when you have not cheated others on your way to the top.

8. Ingratitude

The final pitfall is by far the most dangerous, because it's so easy to miss. When your vision becomes a reality, you are still a failure if you cannot remember your humble beginnings or recognize the contributions of those who helped you along the way. Remember: There is no such thing as a self-made billionaire. If you can't experience gratitude, you might as well have stayed exactly where you started.

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Last updated: Apr 15, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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