Many years ago, I was hired to coach a leader in an organization who by all accounts was successful, but he felt like he was hitting a wall in getting to the next level. What I noticed when I worked with him was that he was reading some great books on leadership, he attended excellent workshops, and he even had a mentor who was willing to help him in any way. But what I observed was that he was not putting any of this information or advice into practice. So that begs the question, if he had been given all these gifts and tools, why wasn't he able to put what he was learning into practice? We eventually uncovered the problem: his belief about success. He held a core belief that he did not believe he could have the level of success that he truly desired.
Everything starts with a thought. Thoughts repeated over time become beliefs. We operate our lives from our beliefs -- they run the show. This is why having an unyielding belief in your success is a critical first step. Without it, you'll hit a wall or become stagnant, and unable to reach your goals.
Success titans such as Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban, J.K. Rowling and others like them, have one defining trait in common. They all possess an unwavering belief in the possibility of their success. This may be an obvious notion, but here is the prerequisite: You must be able to consistently uphold the belief that you can, and will, succeed.
A steadfast belief that you can be successful requires an unyielding confidence that, regardless where you are or what has happened to you in the past, anything is possible. Those who struggle with success are often doing so because they are straddling a fence. They have one foot on the side of possibility and the other foot on the side of "I'm not good enough." Therefore, they cannot make significant progress and there is no momentum.
All the resources in the world can be at your fingertips -- ample funds, innovative ideas and a solid game plan to get there. But the best preparation and expert guidance is all for naught if you're not able to hold onto the belief that genuine success is attainable and sustainable.
It takes a lot of courage to look in the mirror and own up to your limiting beliefs about success. Here is a breakdown of the process to get you started:
Recognize that you have particular beliefs about success.
Acknowledge that your current level of achievement has a lot to do with your beliefs about success. The tendency is to look outward instead of inward -- blaming others for your difficulties. "I can't get good employees anymore" or "I don't have the time" or "The significant others in my life are not going to support me." These factors may actually exist, but these are simply excuses for not getting what you want. They are only external factors that you need to manage. Once you acknowledge the fears and beliefs going on within you that are becoming obstacles to your success, then you can begin to identify ways to work through them.
Commit to a new way of thinking.
If your belief about success is limiting, let it go and move through it. Notice where this belief has benefited you and how it has held you back. It's important not to judge or be too harsh on yourself. Reframe the old belief into a new one. Your history is your history -- it's not what it is today -- and today you can choose to move beyond limiting beliefs that do not serve you.
Create an action plan.
Design a plan that identifies ways that you can live with this new reframed belief about success. It can be helpful to work with a certified coach, mentor or other health professional to guide you through this process. Mindful meditation, journaling and self-reflection are essential tools to keep tabs on your thoughts. When you catch yourself diving into the pool of an old belief about success -- quickly turn that thought around to your desired outcome. It won't always be easy, but it will be well worth the effort.