The Single Thing Holding You Back From Finding Success

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Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Succumbing to your hidden fear of rejection and approval will stagnate your chances of being successful.

  • The successful ones are those who chose to keep on going despite setbacks and continue to maintain momentum towards achieving success. 
  • By socializing your thoughts with peers, specifically those who will objectively analyze your idea and provide honest feedback, you increase the chances of creating a spark that can start a fire.  
  • If you continue to work hard at developing your idea (quantity informs quality) and have a support team to help sharpen the idea, the only thing left for you to do is to TAKE ACTION.

The Quantity versus Quality myth. If you think about any great sports athlete, the number of hours spent practicing far exceeds the amount of time played during official games. There is a foundation of hours behind the handful of seconds it takes for a basketball player to nail the game winning free throw or an olympic weightlifter to set a new snatch world record. This foundation includes layers of failure, struggle, and doubt. The successful ones are those who chose to keep on going despite setbacks and continue to build the foundation and maintain momentum towards achieving success.  The same model can be said for musicians, scientists, chefs, or any chosen activity. It is not practical to only create experiences that focus on those moments that will put us on the podium of greatness. The journey of experiences that include both successes and failures will help find the courage to take action more often and build the confidence to perform when it counts.

Ideas grow best in public. The study of why (and why not) certain media reaches viral status is fascinating. Various elements of human behavior and information processing have been analyzed, yet no single, agreed-upon formula has been established to figure out the phenomenon. If the formula did exist, everyone would be able to follow the path to achieving the desired effect of unfettered attention. One element that seems to make the most sense is to not shelter an idea you have, but rather solicit for valued feedback to help shape your raw thoughts. “Valued feedback” means finding the right audiences that can provide constructive discussion to help focus the idea, identify the key successes and potential challenges, and who can assist shape their spheres of influence to continue to add value to the idea. Reaching out for feedback on an original idea can be intimidating, but this fear of rejection must be overcome to allow the creative process to gain traction. This is most important when ideas seem to be contradictory to the currently established status quo. By socializing your thoughts with peers, specifically those who will objectively analyze your idea and provide honest feedback, you increase the chances of creating a spark that can start a fire. More than likely, portions of your idea already exist within the universe; you just need to gather the courage to take action and find the right team to bring your dream into reality.

Successful original ideas can be traced of action, not thought. More often than not, you may find yourself in a position to witness someone else’s success and say “I had the same idea!” Those fleeting moments of creativity can be inspired by numerous sources: wishing someone invented a solution for your current problem, wanting to start/own your own business, or just being passionate about a hobby. Spoiler alert: you probably aren’t the first to have this same idea. However, you do have the opportunity to bring about the idea from your unique and personal perspective. If you continue to work hard at developing your idea (quantity informs quality) and have a support team to help sharpen the idea, the only thing left for you to do is to TAKE ACTION. Furthermore, your idea doesn’t necessarily have to be original, but it should be practical. Drawing more sports analogies, it would be impractical to hit a home run with every at bat or trying to set new personal records on every squat day. Avoid falling into “paralysis by analysis” by learning how to foster the courage to take advantage when the opportunity presents itself, not when it only safe to do so. Maybe that means seizing the moment, maybe that means letting the next decision point marinate for a bit. Each situation should be analyzed for opportunity for action, just make sure that you establish a plan for action and stick to it. State lottery mottos have it summarized best: You can’t win if you don’t play.

*Note: I credit my beautiful and loving wife for helping me overcome my own fears. She believed in me and encouraged to me to write for the sake of writing and not focus on trying to be “great”. Best advice ever.

A photo by Jared Erondu. unsplash.com/photos/j4PaE7E2_Ws

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