Everybody has a number of talents and gifts. And everyone has the same amount of time every day.
So why is it that some of those people accomplish so much while others never seem to get ahead?
The answer can be found in the fact that there are ten major traps that trip people up.
And it doesn’t matter how good or bad your parents were, how wonderful or lousy your education was, or what color, race, religion, or gender you might be. If you fall victim to any of these ten failure traps, you’re not going to go as far as you could or would like to go in life, at work, or in your relationships.
Over the last three Tuesday Tips, I outlined the first seven failure traps:
- Quitting too soon
- Unwillingness to work hard
- Uncontrolled anger
- Not putting things in perspective
- Holding onto self-limiting beliefs
- Inability to handle adversity
- Lack of gratitude
Here are the final three that you must avoid or learn to get past.
► Failure Trap #8. Letting fear get in the way
Dr. Daniel Goleman, the lead researcher on Emotional Intelligence, says, “If you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
And of all the “distressing emotions” out there, fear is the biggest block to success, goal achievement, and having the life you want. Fear can literally stop you in your tracks. Indeed, it may prevent you from even getting off the starting block.
Of course, fear itself is not the problem. As mountaineer Lynn Hill puts it, “Everybody faces fear. It’s a basic human emotion. What matters is how you control your fear.”
So that begs the question: What are you doing to manage the fears in your life? Are you letting them control you or are you controlling them?
Simply put, you cannot have all the confidence you need, make all the progress you want, or keep your energies fired up until you confront your fears. But when you do, expect good things to happen. As UN delegate Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.”
If you tend to fall into this 8th failure trap of fear, take the one-a-day challenge. Every day, do something that you are afraid to do. Maybe you’re afraid to make that call, say no, speak out, or ask for what you need. Start with the easier challenges and work your way up to the more difficult ones. And you will find yourself in greater control of your future and getting more of the outcomes you’d like.
As a follow-up, I find that most people fear TOUGH CONVERSATIONS. To get past that, I invite you to my upcoming virtual program
How To Have TOUGH CONVERSATIONS That Produce Results. The date will be June 22, 2023 … … 9 am ET or 5 pm ET (you choose). Click here for more information or to hold your seat.
Let Me In!
► Failure Trap #9. Perfectionism
When you were growing up, you were probably told something like “Anything worth doing is worth doing well” or “If you’re not going to do it properly, you may as well not even do it at all.”
On the surface, that sounds well and good. But how many things never get done because the concern for perfection trumps the practice of “just do it? Lots.
That’s why I advise my audiences and coaching clients to consider this: When it comes to implementing an idea, things that are worth doing are just plain worth doing. Period. Even if they’re done poorly at first.
As tennis professional Arthur Ashe put it, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Or entrepreneur extraordinaire Richard Branson simply says, “Screw it, let’s do it.”
If you’re a perfectionist, you may vehemently protest this idea. You may even cringe. But I would also guess that you’ve paid a high price for your perfectionism. You’ve given in to paralysis by analysis. Your overthinking has led to the death of ideas, opportunities and in many cases, relationships.
To avoid falling into this 9th failure trap, let me suggest a new mantra for you: Progress is better than perfection. And done is better than perfect. Tell yourself this new mantra over and over again until it sinks in and tones down your crippling perfectionism.
You might even be thankful for the fact that you don’t have to be perfect, like the man who met St. Peter at the pearly gates of heaven. When St. Peter asked him what gave him the right to enter, the man thought and said, “Well I helped out at the thrift shop for many years.” St. Peter answered, “That’s good. That’s 1 point.”
The man remarked, “1 point? Well, I taught Sunday School a couple of times.” St. Peter said, “That’s another point.”
The man continued, “I did put 10% of my income in the offering plate each week.” St. Peter replied, “Good. That’s one more point.”
Incredulous, the man said, “At this rate, I’ll never get into heaven except by the grace of God.”
St. Peter shouted, “Bingo. 97 points. Welcome home.”
► Failure Trap #10. Letting bad people, bad situations, or bad luck drag you down
Everyone has problems. No one gets through life without a host of problems.
So yes, problems are universally distributed, BUT they are not evenly divided. Some people have more than their share of troubles. Life isn’t fair some of the time.
And that’s the exact time when the winners get better while the losers get bitter. Celebrated boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter taught us that.
In June 1966, Carter was convicted of murder in a highly publicized and racially charged trial. The boxer maintained his innocence and after serving 19 years, he was released when the verdict was overturned.
As a free man, people noticed his lack of bitterness and someone asked him, “Wouldn’t anyone under those circumstances have a right to be bitter?”
Carter responded, “I’ve learned that bitterness only consumes the vessel that contains it. And for me to permit bitterness to control or infect my life in any way whatsoever would be to allow those who imprisoned me to take even more than they’ve already taken.” He refused to let bad people, bad situations and bad luck drag him down.
Could the same be said about you?