The only thing that impedes your success is you. Life may throw you curve balls and put up obstacles - as I’m sure you are protesting - but you control how you react and you control your actions and attitude. Deceiving yourself is one of the largest factors in hindering your own progress. Self- deception is a tricky talent, yet so many of us seem to have it nailed. We lie to ourselves in all sorts of ways, here are a few examples:
“Just because I am eating this BigMac and fries [for the third time this week], does not mean I am not dedicated to my weight loss goal. I should be able to enjoy life and not have everything revolve around my diet”.
“I know I should be spending time on my proposal, but I haven’t seen my friends since last weekend and I don’t want to miss out on the party”
“I’m just going to do some cleaning until inspiration strikes, then I will get down to business and clock in some serious writing time. I can’t write when I’m not inspired”
“I’m never going to be successful, I just don’t have as much talent as other people and the likelihood of me being chosen from all the thousands out there, is a slim chance”.
And so on and so on, ad infinitum.
As I say to my clients who quit early on their reps, or cheat on their nutrition, “at the end of the day, you are only hurting yourself”. Lying to yourself, giving up before you have really started, failing to put in the work you know is required, only effects you. Sure, the world will miss out on getting to know you, hear your voice, be inspired by your talent and story, be informed by your knowledge, but the reality is, if you don’t make it, someone else will. I don’t mean to discourage you, quite the opposite really. I want you to understand that your chances are as good as anybody else with some talent and a monstrous work ethic and commitment. Why shouldn’t it be you? Certainly, the powers that be in the universe have some control, but if you never bother to show up? That’s on you.
I am a master of self-deception and it took me awhile to realize how it was negatively impacting my life. Step one is admitting you have a problem, right? Once I did that, I had to get to work on turning things around. My self-deception involves telling myself I’m not good enough and because of that fear of failure, I would lie to myself about the effort I put into a project or goal. If I never put in my maximal effort, I convinced myself I couldn’t be as disappointed when I inevitably failed, because I could rationalize that had I tried harder I could have made it. Now if that isn’t a huge steaming pile of bull I don’t know what is. If I truly believed that if I tried a little harder in the imagined after-the-fact, then why not put in my best effort from the beginning and actually make it. One of the great joys of life is that you never know what is coming your way. You have no idea if you will be a massive success, but I can assure you, you never will be if you don’t try.
There are times when I still struggle to give up my reign as Queen of Procrastination and Master of Distracti….oooo shiny. I have to call myself on my own bullshit all the time. Nobody is perfect. We are all prone to self-doubt and fear. The difference between me a few years ago and me now, is the difference between letting my fears and self-doubt control my life and learning to recognize them and exert control. When I hear those voices of self-doubt, I follow them down the rabbit hole until I can find the root cause. I play the “so what?” game my mother taught me as a child, until I can show myself the irrationality of my self-doubt. I try harder. When I sense I am procrastinating, I stop what I am doing and return to the task I am meant to be doing. I have to-do lists, calendars and goal sheets to help keep me focused. I have recognized my weaknesses, called myself on my shit and found ways to move past them towards success. You have no idea what you are capable of if you only tried. Get out of your own way; call yourself on your own bullshit.