It happens all the time. You're skimming through LinkedIn, Facebook, or some other social media site and see the announcement that some guy or gal you know just got a new job, promotion, sold their company, etc. At first, you rationalize that it must be a "right place, right time" situation. But then you recall this isn't the first time he or she has announced their success. You think to yourself, "I don't get it. She wasn't that smart in school. And her personality was nothing special. What's she doing that I'm not?" 

Your Successful Friend Thinks Differently Than You 

Let Oprah Winfrey shed some light on this situation with her quote:

"You become what you believe, not what you think or what you want." --Oprah 

Those first five words say it all. You know all those people you see making things happen for themselves? Especially, the ones you secretly think you're smarter and more talented than? They truly believed they could do it. They didn't let negative self-talk plant too much doubt in their brains so that they failed to take action. Additionally, they believed enough to pick themselves up after every mistake or setback, and kept going until they got results. But most important, they also looked at those challenges differently. Here's how ...

Where Attention Goes, Energy Flows

When you focus all your attention on all the things you can't do (i.e., what you believe is holding you back), you squander the finite amount of energy you have on battling negativity. Those that achieve high levels of success train their attention to stay focused on solutions, possibilities, and the positive aspects of their situation. It's the only way they can keep their belief in themselves in check. I'm not suggesting you ignore problems and put on a fake smile. I'm encouraging you to develop the habit of using your attention wisely by approaching each challenge as an opportunity. Simply reframing how you see a situation can keep it from zapping your energy.

P.S.: Oprah Isn't the Only One Who Understands This

Ask all the people you know who are achieving their goals and they'll tell you they had to learn to shift their attention to stay focused on the positive. It's a habit that must be built up and strengthened -- just like a muscle. When I first started my company, I made the mistake of focusing my attention on the challenges. As a female bootstrapping her startup in a small seacoast town in New Hampshire, I was psyching myself out and draining my energy daily with negative self-talk. It wasn't until I retrained my brain to use these things as assets that I was able to take my business to the next level. Today, I teach my staff to do the same. The more they can see each day as a chance to get closer to our goals, regardless of what happened the day before, the sooner we get there. As my team and I say, "If you want to win, you've got to Work It Daily!"