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How to Get Out of Your Own Way on the Path to Success

Are you the biggest obstacle to your success? Here are five tips on how to stop the self-sabotage.
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Over the years, I have heard many excuses for people not getting the success they want or believe they deserve from an opportunity. I have been known to use a few myself here and there. 

"The opportunity wasn't really there." 

"The timing wasn't right."

"I just didn't fit with those people."

"I'm just not lucky."

It's not that the excuses weren't ever valid. It's just sometimes the excuses come whether or not they are valid. Many people start excusing themselves from incredible opportunities before they have the chance to fully explore the possibilities.

When you find the right opportunity, the one that can take you to a whole other level of success, you want to be able to grab it and run.  The last thing you want is to trip on your own feet and let it get away or worse, be the immoveable object in the path to success.  Here are five tips for getting out of your own way on the road to success.

1. Be disciplined. If you truly want to win the big game, you can't be sloppy.  You are competing against people who train and learn and practice. You need to be in control of your own destiny and that means being in control of your daily activity. Have your priorities figured out. If you don't know them, you'll be prone to distraction. If they're wrong, you'll get off track. Be able to focus the right amount of thought, energy, and activity on the actions that will get you close to your goal. Learn to focus and dismiss distraction when it's time to get to work.

And most importantly, learn how to rest. No one can work all the time without being exhausted. You need time to recharge if you are going to play at your best. Burn out is a poor excuse for failure.

2.  Be confident. I have battled my own share of insecurities. When you are blazing new trails, it's hard to be 100 percent assured, but you have the control. I was whining to a friend when I was younger that I wished I were more confident.  He looked at me and said: "Kevin why don't you just decide to be confident." I did and have not looked back since. Confidence comes from preparation and a decisive state of mind.  When I am speaking and presenting, I feel most confident when I have done my research and have practiced my speech at least a dozen times in front of people. Give yourself what you know you need. Whether it is practice, prep time, food, sleep, or funds take away the material excuses so you can move forward without concern.

3. Be bold. Many people just stare on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity to drag them into success. Being timid brings very little value when chasing your dreams. You need to take action and jump two feet in. Be bold

However, this does not mean be careless. You have to do your homework and analysis.  The most successful people have shown their boldness by waiting while everyone rushes an opportunity too early.  Study, prepare and assess, but know when it is time to stop analyzing, theorizing, practicing. Then make the decision to jump in or launch and just do it and do it big.

4. Be gracious. Graciousness is not just about being nice. It's also about being humble. True success and best served among friends and teammates who share in the glory and accomplishment.  Start getting out of your own way by admitting when you're lost, behind, or overwhelmed. Accept the greatest achievements come from the combined work and thought of many. Invite smart, energetic people into your journey and share the wealth and the credit along the way. Revel in their growth happiness and success, and they will celebrate yours.

5. Be grateful. Every day, I feel blessed. I have had my share of challenges and difficulties throughout my life, more than some, fewer than others. But with those turbulent times came growth and opportunity. I always seem to find myself further down the success path. Even after complete loss and reinvention I still managed to find opportunities that made it worth getting out of bed and smiling.

Those times of loss make me more sensitive and grateful for the blessings in my life. Be it people who love me, good health, positive cash flow or just the chance to laugh daily, I never forget to share my appreciation with those who support me along the way.

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IMAGE: Shutterstock
Last updated: Mar 31, 2014

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York.

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



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