Chapter 1: When Inspiration Turns Into an Enemy
Being inspired can lead you to do amazing things. Inspiration can blow the spark of an idea into a raging fire of success. It can be the kickstart that you need to head in the right direction. But inspiration can also become your enemy if you’re not careful.
You Start Out Lost in Your Daydreams
Daydreams are the beginning. They’re the jumping off point where everyone begins. And it doesn’t matter what it is that you’re doing or want to do. It could be that you’re looking to go on a weight loss journey.
You daydream about the size that you want to be and how it’s going to change your life. Or maybe you daydream about changing careers so you see yourself working at your new job and you envision the happiness that you’re going to feel.
Whatever it is that you want, from the tangible to the intangible, it all begins with a daydream. There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming. Having that creative mindset can often help people to imagine solutions, to imagine a life plan and to find success.
When you think about success and you daydream about what it’s going to be like, you can feel an anticipation, an emotional high at the thought of reaching your goals. While there’s nothing wrong with daydreaming and it can actually work in your favor, there is something that can happen that can make daydreaming impede your potential success and happiness.
When people daydream, they tend to see that the success that they’re after is going to happen – that it’s a done deal, that they’ve accomplished everything they wanted. The problem is that the downside to daydreaming is that it can be the enemy of success.
When you daydream about it, you see success in all its perfection. You see it as having arrived. You see a perfect vision of what will be and life doesn’t unfold like a daydream. What you don’t see is the reality.
Your daydreams focus on best case scenarios and never include the down moments and the ugly or the frustrating, sometimes painful path to success. Your daydreams show the complete picture.
So when you look at someone who has already accomplished what you want to do, they fit the image of your daydream. Then you expect to have that completed image yourself – but that person didn’t get where they are overnight.
They had to work and learn and they had to struggle. You will, too – but your daydream won’t show you that. Your daydream will teach you to expect overnight success or to master or complete a task or learn something faster than is realistic in reality.
In a daydream, you compare yourself to someone who’s already a success. But in reality, you’re starting from the bottom. In a daydream, you don’t give yourself room to experience mistakes, setbacks or to overcome obstacles – but those are part of the success process.
From Zero to 60 Right Out of the Gate
Beginnings are always ripe with promise. It’s the road not taken, the anticipation, and the excitement of what will be that burns in your veins. You just know that the start of your journey is going to be a smooth race all the way to the finish line.
You wake up every morning pumped full of energy. You can’t wait to leap out of bed and get back to working on your success. Because you know the urge you have right now is all you’re going to need.
The momentum that you feel, the one that allows you to feel the excitement and take off running toward action steps, is important. You would feel fired up about whatever it is that you want out of life and you embrace that feeling, thinking it’s going to last you all the way to the end.
But the way that you feel right out of the gate, all that energy buzzing through you, is a false high. It’s normal to be that excited. It’s normal to look forward to taking off and just getting started with whatever it is that you’re after.
You have a mental image of that end result in your mind’s eye and you know you’re going to run that race with everything you have in you. When you cross the finish line that you can imagine, it’s going to be with a great sense of accomplishment.
While it’s great to feel that kind of inspiration, it can quickly become your enemy. Because that hyped up feeling keeps you from imagining what’s going to happen along the way.
The reason that you feel like you do right now is because you’re in the honeymoon stage of getting started. Everything is wonderful. All the steps that you know you’re going to have to take sound great.
They’re all lined up in place. You’ve pictured it in your mind and there’s absolutely nothing standing in your way. It’s going to be smooth sailing from here to when you arrive because you just know with all your heart that your momentum is enough.
Nothing and no one can derail your determination. But what you don’t realize when you’re first starting your journey is that beginnings are easy. Everything is shiny and brand new and ripe with promise.
But then comes the actual work – the steps that you have to take to get to that finish line. As you move down the road to success, you’re going to encounter obstacles. These are never singular issues that crop up.
They’re always plural. They will stump you. They will slow you down. They will make you stop moving forward. It happens on every single success journey because you can’t plan for the unpredictable.
That’s why they’re unpredictable. They crop up out of the blue with no warning. So while you can enjoy the beginning of a success journey, just realize that you’re going to have trouble ahead.
That way, when it hits, you can put the discouragement where it belongs as a temporary thing and you can keep on moving ahead.
You Out Yourself as a Bona Fide Imposter
Every person who has ever thought of success does so looking through the lens of achievement. They can. They will. Piece of cake. You think about what you want and you just know that you’re the man or woman who can get it done – even if it’s hard.
Even if it’s going to take time. Even if you’re going to have to learn new skills. Your ideas and your hard work will make your success a reality. You’re counting on your sheer will and your willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve all the goals you set for yourself.
You’re filled with self-confidence and you’re not afraid to share your ideas. You’re not afraid to tell everyone about your brilliant idea or plans and how it’s going to change your life for the better.
Then out of the blue, a thought pops into your head. Just who do you think you’re fooling? What in the world made you think that you could achieve a success of this magnitude? You’re dreaming way too big. That’s what you’ll think.
Those thoughts will sneak in. They’ll blindside you and leave you reeling. All the self-confidence that you once had has wilted like an flower left without water for too long.
You’ll look around inside your head, inside your emotions in an attempt to find that first excitement, that can-do attitude that you started with and it won’t be anywhere.
It’ll be like it never existed at all. The success journey that you couldn’t wait to get started on now looks like it’s filled with deep canyons – like there are steep drop offs all around you and if you make one wrong move, you’ll surely drop to your failure.
You’d never considered that failure could be part of the journey and now here it is right in front of you just taunting you to move ahead. It dares you to even think about it – much less take any action steps.
All that inspiration you had is now your enemy because you thought you could achieve success, but now that seems like it’s meant for someone else, not you. The confidence that once made you feel that success was waiting with your name on it has begun to evaporate.
Questions crowd your mind and they peck away at your confidence, at your ideas, at your enthusiasm. Now you’re filled with self-doubt and you wonder about every decision you made about this journey.
Could it really be for you? What if you fail? You’re not qualified. Aren’t you too old? Don’t you have too much to learn? Those are just some of the self-doubt questions that will start to hammer at you. You realize that you can’t do this. You can’t be a success. You’re an imposter.
Suddenly, You’re Your Own Worst Enemy
Your mind is a powerful tool. It can take you far on the road to success. What you think can help you to find ways around obstacles. You can figure out critical crossroads as you’re on your journey.
For the most part, what you think as you’re working to achieve success works in your favor. You think about the good and all that you’ve accomplished and are going to accomplish.
These positive thoughts that let you paint yourself in the best light can help to give you motivation and keeps your self-confidence high. But everyone has a critical voice. Sometimes the critical voice can be a quiet nag or cause a tsunami of doubt inside your mind.
It might cause you a momentary hesitation – such as when that critical voice says, “Are you sure this is the right step?” That can cause you to pause, think things over, double check things and then get back to work.
When a critical voice is used as warning to help you, that’s a good thing. But unfortunately, most people don’t let their critical voice say something and then silence it.
They allow that critical inner monologue to go on and on – questioning, doubting, until it tears you down to the point that you start to doubt your ability to do anything at all much less be a success.
Your inner critical voice never has anything good to say about what you’re doing. All it points out are the bad things – the problems. It points out the what-ifs and builds them up into huge, fearsome problems in your mind.
You have a choice that successful people have when dealing with this critical voice. You can ignore it. It might not go away at first – especially if it’s used to having the spotlight.
But if you keep on tuning it out, eventually, without an audience, it will give up the stage and be quiet.
If you cave in to the voice and you let it have the freedom to say whatever it wants, it could stall or end your journey toward success. You can recognize when your inner voice is being critical because it doesn’t encourage you, never cheers you on.
When you have a decision to make and you’ve made it, the critical voice will begin to tell you all the reasons why that decision was the wrong one and why it won’t work. A critical voice that’s not restrained can cause your journey to success to take longer than it should because you’ll constantly second guess yourself.
Don’t allow your inner voice to become a weapon that can cause you to quit what it is that you desire to accomplish.
Fight Back with Formidable Plans – It’s You Against You
Successful people struggled with setbacks to get where they are today. They had to work hard to overcome problems that cropped up and had to deal with things that they didn’t plan on dealing with.
One thing these successful people also struggled with was self-doubt. When you look at people who’ve reached success, it can be easy to think that they breezed right from the beginning to achievement.
But that’s just the outside and you don’t know what went on behind the scenes. You don’t know the battle that went on behind the point where they are right now. If you could pull back the curtain and see their journey, then you’d know that they share the same burdens that you’ve had or will have on your way.
You must learn how to recognize when you are your own worst enemy. You have to understand that self-doubt is an enemy mindset and it’s out to sell what you have accomplished and will accomplish shortly.
It wants to label you as an underachiever, as a quitter, and self-doubt will plague you until you give in if you allow it. You have to make a choice. Decide that you’re going to label doubt for what it is – a false narrative, spinning stories that aren’t true.
You must decide that you’re going to fight back just as you would if an intruder were holding you as a hostage – because that’s exactly what doubt does to you. It holds you hostage.
It holds your dreams, your abilities and talents and your future success hostage. You must have a strategy ready so that when self-doubt does show up, you’re ready to immediately fight back with some action steps.
By being ready to fight back, you can overcome self-doubt and prevent it from taking root. You need to recognize that you’re not the only one. Others have battled doubt and still gone on to find success.
It’s simply something that can happen to anyone but it’s only something that will stick around if you let it. When self-doubt hits, you’ll be able to point to the person who’s successful and say that they made it and you will, too.
Don’t worry about your future success. A lot of self-doubt can be found in projecting your thoughts ahead of yourself. All you need to focus on is the step that you have to take in the immediate moment.
Have a positivity circle. This is a group of friends or mentors that you can have in your life that you can look to when doubts strike. Optimistic people who have overcome their own doubts and found success can help you to feel empowered.
Be ready to answer self-doubt when it questions you. When it starts doubting your ability by asking what if questions, answer with, “So what if it does happen that way?” Face the doubt head on, defeat it and then keep right on going.
Chapter 2: When Indecision Grinds Progress to a Halt
Indecision makes you go back and forth between trying to make one decision or another. Battling with indecision can block your path to success and it can happen to anyone no matter how well thought out your plans are.
Indecision Can Arise at Any Stage
It doesn’t matter at what point you’re at on the road to success. Indecision can strike you suddenly without warning – even if you’ve been making tons of decisions and moving forward before then.
It can hit you when you’re beginning to plan your path to success. Or it can hit in the middle or ending of the planning stage. When you go to put things in motion, all of sudden, you’re plagued with indecision during the execution stage.
You’ve crunched all the data, know what has to happen and you’ve weighed all your options. You know which steps to take and you’ve gone over all the possibilities before you began.
But now, when executing your success story, you choke. You feel like you can’t think things through, that you can’t see all the angles. Your gut instinct feels like it’s gone on vacation and you don’t know how you’re ever going to make a decision again.
Indecision can occur during the analysis and repetition stage as well – feeling like you’re stuck and can’t move ahead because you can’t decide anything. This can happen when you see something and you start to fret about which direction to go in.
You feel this worry because you’re afraid of going in the wrong direction. You’re afraid of making the wrong decision. You know that if you do, it might make you go around in circles and lose time.
You don’t want to spin your wheels, so you feel paralyzed when it comes time to decide what to do or how to handle something. You may end up struggling with indecision because you’re worried that the decision will end up meaning you’re going to lose money.
So you can’t do anything because the fear is just too much for you to face at the moment. You might be worried that you’re going to end up humiliated by the wrong decision – so you do nothing – not because you don’t want to move forward, but because you can’t.
When it comes to indecisiveness, many people are afraid of losing their way right out of the gate or they’re afraid of losing momentum or something they value. This is the stage when things from the past, especially failures, will crop up and further paralyze your decision making.
You’ll look back at all the mistakes you’ve made in life and start to wonder, “What if I make a decision and it’s one more wrong choice in life?”
Don’t Be Afraid to Use a Pros and Cons List
Indecision can often be caused because a person is looking at all the angles of a situation and going over them repeatedly. As soon as they look at something, they’ll try looking at from a different direction.
This is over-thinking and it always stops success in its tracks. When you over think, you create a vacuum in your mind where things like self-doubt and fear can take up residence and the next thing you know, you’re stuck.
When you spend too much time thinking, it can put shackles on your ability to make a decision – especially if you need a quick decision. There is a simple way to figure out what to do when you’re faced with indecision.
You need to create a pros and cons list. You can make a pros and cons list about anything in life. Whatever the success is that you’re reaching for and feeling indecisive or stuck about, write it out.
Sometimes seeing the pros and cons can help move the decision making process along. For example, say you wanted to lose weight. On the pro side, you would right all the ways that you would benefit from that weight loss.
So you would write things like being healthier, clothes fit better, and energy boost. On the con side, you would write the negative stuff that you might experience. So the con side of weight loss might have things like have to quit eating certain foods, working out when tired and cravings.
Then you look at the two sides and you’ll notice that the pros offer you more benefits than the con side does. You can do this for anything. If you wanted to start a business, your pros and cons list would also weigh the positives versus the negative.
On the pro side, you might have things like: be own boss, set your own hours, make more money and have a better career trajectory. With the con side, you might write down things like no steady income or greater financial risk, having to learn from the ground up, may have to work longer and harder.
You would have to look at your list objectively when it comes to helping you make a decision. It can be easy to look at the pros side of the list and see that you have a lot more of those than you do on the con side.
But having a lot of pros doesn’t mean that you should automatically choose to go in that direction. What you have to look at are the value of each. So if you had on the pro side that you’d be your own boss, be able to determine your hours, and vacation whenever you want, that looks like you have three pros.
On the con side, all you have is that you assume all the financial risk or no steady income – and that one con can actually carry more weight than the three pro points for many people.
Because with the risk and lack of regular income, you won’t be able to afford to determine your own hours right away. You’ll have to put in some hard work to find success.
You also won’t get to vacation like you used to when working a 9-5 job, because when you create a business, the first few months to a year, you may have to sink the profits right back into it.
Ask for Advice from People You Trust
There will come a time on your journey to success that you’re going to need to make a decision that you just can’t seem to make. You could stay right where you are and hope that eventually you’ll figure it out, but in the meantime, you’ll waste time and maybe even money and possible opportunities.
Don’t let yourself get stuck at the crossroads between the need to make a decision and not being able to. Turn to other people for help. You can look to your friends. While it’s true that your friends may not be where you are in life and they may not be on the same journey as you, they’re still going to be able to listen and give you advice.
Your friends already know you and know what you are and aren’t capable of. They’re often able to see beyond the place that has you stuck. Just make sure that you’re not going to friends who won’t be completely honest with you about something for fear of hurting your feelings.
When it comes to needing to make a decision, you can also run your dilemma by a mentor – that person who helped you in life or on your success journey could be able to show you something that they’ve gained through their own experience.
It might turn out to be the swaying thought or idea that you need to get started again.
There might be someone in the same field or industry that you’re in. Even if you don’t know them that well, there’s often a sense of connection between people who are the same path.
You can ask them your questions and they can guide you to what they’ve already learned going through the same or similar experience. You can also ask your relatives when you get caught in indecision.
Even if they don’t know anything about what it is you’re trying to do, like your friends, they do know you. They know your personality, your habits, your strengths and your weaknesses.
So they’ll be able to look at the whole picture. They’ll be able to pick up on the fact that maybe your indecision is caused by fear. Or maybe it’s caused because you haven’t thought completely through the situation.
Go to an advisor if you need help deciding. Or if you don’t have an advisor, you can turn to people that you don’t know online. While it might seem odd turning to online strangers, you’ll find the wisdom of a collective group can help guide you in the right decision.
You’ll find people of various experience levels and who may each approach a situation from a different angle. Learn how to ask the questions that lead to the right answers. Asking, “How do I make money?” is too general and too broad to be specifically applied to your situation.
You would need to ask something like, “I need to buy this machine or invest in this software or hire this person to do this job and I don’t know which one is best” and these strangers will be able to tell you their experiences with a certain machine or software or what qualification to look for in a potential employee for that exact position.
If in Doubt, Trust Your Instincts
When indecisiveness has you in its grip and you’re doubting which is the right way to handle something, you can always trust your instincts. The reason that you can trust your instincts is long before you can overcome indecision with a well-thought out list of reasons on what to do or not do, your instincts can tell if something feels off or not.
A good example of this is found in the news. Many times, you’ll see stories about people who didn’t take a certain route to work or didn’t get on a plane or a train. Or they changed their course just because their gut told them to and it turned out to be a lifesaving decision.
Making a decision by trusting your instincts is like that. There won’t be any scientific fact or logic behind it. You’ll just know. Your comprehension skills, and your intelligence all take a back seat to your instincts.
Your instincts don’t come into play that often because most people drown it out in the hectic busy atmosphere of life. It’s only when you’ve come to a stop and need to know which direction to go that your instincts get your attention.
It’s not a loud inner shout. It’s a quiet feeling that urges you to make a move or to change direction, to join something or get out of a place. Your instincts, though quiet, are actually more powerful than you think.
Most people get accustomed to running their lives based on decisions they make automatically – such as the drive from home to work and back. The daily chores, the interactions with others.
You’ll know when your instincts are speaking because you’ll sense them, but you may not understand what’s going on in that moment. For example, you might be stuck because you can’t decide which move to make for your business.
On one hand, decision A looks like it’s going to save you a whole lot of money and decision B is going to cost more. So you go back and forth, unable to commit to either when your gut instinct urges you to choose B and gives you the uneasy feeling that something is wrong with decision A.
Later, maybe you find out that decision A would have been a money saver, but could have damaged your reputation. How is it that your instincts can help you choose when you’re indecisive?
Your instincts are deeper than intellect. They’re buried in the belief that you have in yourself and in the decisions you’ve made before and in the person that you are. Your instincts can accurately sum up a situation long before your intellect or your list of pros and cons can.
So when you’re stuck and everything you’ve tried just hasn’t helped you to come to a decision, trust what your gut instinct is telling you to do – or not do in certain situations with work or your personal life.
Create a Long-Term Forecast for Every Option
Indecisiveness can impede every single forward movement that you’d like to make. What happens more often than not when you’re faced with various situations is that you feel like you’re walking blind.
You can’t see where the decision will take you. So that makes you afraid of doing anything because you don’t want to mess up and have the future of your success affected by the choice you’ll make today.
Reaching success is going to involve you making multiple decisions and each of those decisions will feed into the end result. It’s like tributaries that feed into a lake. Each of these smaller bodies of water head toward the same goal.
That’s what it’s like for the decisions that you’ll be making. You want them to head toward the end of what you picture your success will be. To do that, you need to look ahead.
Look further down the road than you are at the moment. Picture how it could pan out. Then look at how you’re going to feel if it pans out that way versus a different way. Think about all the possibilities that are going to happen as a result of one decision versus the other.
You can figure this by weighing the information or the knowledge about the projected outcome that you currently have available. Next, look at the accuracy of that information or knowledge.
Is it current? Where did it come from – and what’s the value of that information? If you gained your information from an expert in the same area of success you’re opting to succeed at, that would carry more weight than the person who isn’t.
Then weigh the length of time for each decision to reach the desired outcome. After that, look at the risk benefit ratio of each choice. Finally, picture the cost and the effort against the potential payoff using various possibilities.
You might get stuck in indecision, but don’t stay there. Some people are afraid to make a choice and they become indecisive because they fear the consequences of that decision. Just remember that your decisions will always have consequences – but so will your lack of decision making.
Chapter 3: When Fear Throws You off Your Game
Everyone is afraid of something. Fear managed can make you sharper when it forces you to push ahead and conquer what you’re afraid of. But sometimes fear can stop your progress. It can make you afraid to make a move for fear of what might happen.
Everyone Is Nervous About Trying Something New
There’s something that you should know about fear when it comes to trying something new. You’re not alone. That’s because new represents change. It’s a deviation from the old way of doing things and branching out into something that may be completely different.
People get stuck in a habit and the reason that they stay within the confines of that habit is because they’re comfortable That way of doing things is so familiar they can do it automatically. Their response is the same and their results are the same.
But your way of doing things doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way. Not trying a new of doing things could mean that you’re preventing the very change that could catapult you into the next level.
You could also be short-changing your journey to success.
The problem with feeling fear when it comes to a new thing is that people feel alone. They fall into the mistaken belief that they’re the only ones in the world who feel the way that they do.
This happens because when they look around, successful people or people who are always up for trying something new always seem so confident. Just remember that you don’t know what goes on under the surface.
They could have had or may even still be experiencing the same nervousness that you are. When you’re trying something that’s completely foreign to you, you might instantly get those butterflies in your stomach and you feel nervous and unsure.
That’s normal. Change represents letting go of your hold on what’s familiar to branch out into an area of the unknown. This is also a reason why many people fear the future rather than embracing it.
They don’t know what’s going to happen or if they’re going to like or be happy with what happens. Sticking with what you know allows you to feel like you’re the one in charge – that you’re able to control everything because you know all the steps and actions in your life at the moment.
New stuff means you won’t be in control. So you try to avoid change because it means the life you have right now is going to be different. But you can’t prevent the future from coming.
It’s going to arrive anyway, so you might as well open yourself up to something new. That nervousness that you could be feeling can make you want to pull back and not change anything.
It can make you doubt yourself. You might think that surely if you were on the right track you’d feel assurance and not fear. But that’s not true. Don’t believe that fear is a sign that you need to stay where you are. It’s a sign that the change you’re making is a positive one and what’s coming will be better than what you currently have going on.
Do It Afraid and Let Courage Come Later
When taking steps toward success, it can be scary. There are a lot of variables, a lot of what-ifs involved and that’s why you feel the fear that you do. People who want success are often afraid of being inadequate.
They fear that they don’t have the talent or the money or the intelligence or the skills to reach success. This is actually a normal thing. Everyone who wants to do something different from their ordinary way can feel like this.
The key to eliminating fear caused by feelings of inadequacy is to get to the root of why you feel that way. Once you can label what the issue is, you’ll discover that it’s not something that should hold you back.
You may not know where you’re going or how to accomplish the steps that you need to take, so it can cause you to feel fear. And that fear can keep you from success. What you have to do is to hold on to the excitement that you first felt when you envisioned your future success.
The funny thing about fear is that it can project itself forward. People feel fear over things that haven’t happened and think things like, “What if I fail?” The fear of everything falling apart makes you afraid because you fear it would mean the death of your dreams.
When it comes to thoughts of failure being the root of your fear, you have to realize that you might have moments where you do fail. But that won’t keep you from failing permanently.
It only means that you have to shake it off and try a new direction. You might be someone who fears doing something because you’re afraid that your idea, your hopes, your plans or what you want out of life will be rejected by those whose opinions matters to you.
Just remember that they’re not the ones living out your life and you owe it to yourself to chase your dreams – to live out your passion. Maybe you fear what will happen if you do step forward and head toward the success that you want to achieve.
You know it’s going to cause some things to change and you’re afraid of that. Fearing change is something that a lot of people experience. It means that what was once your safety net has shifted and you don’t feel like you have anything to catch you if the new thing you want to do doesn’t succeed.
You can sit back and allow fear to talk you out of doing what you’re passionate about. You can let that fear put your dreams on the back burner. Maybe you understand the fear that’s holding you back but you don’t know how to fix it.
You fix it deciding that you’re going to make a commitment to move forward anyway. You don’t let the fear hold onto you. You shake off the inertia and you go for it. The entire time you’re taking action steps, you might be afraid – but keep going.
In the end, by following through, you’ll discover that you’ve gained confidence. That confidence will help you to face your fears and move forward from that point onward toward the success that you want.
Are You Afraid That Success Will Chain You to Something You May Not Like?
There’s nothing like the thrill of chasing success and achieving it. You made the decision to try something new and it’s surpassed everything that you imagined it would.
But instead of being over the moon happy and satisfied with having reached the success that you worked for, you don’t feel that it’s what you wanted after all.
In fact, you look back and think that you were happier then and that you liked how things used to be. All of a sudden, you experience a tightening in your gut because you fear that you’ve made a huge mistake.
It wasn’t supposed to feel like that.
Before, when things were the old way, you lived your life and you knew what was expected of you. You could do what needed to be done almost on autopilot. It was that simple – that easy – and back then, you only had the dream for something else, this new thing that you’re now living.
And what you’re worried about is that people have seen this success, this change, this new way and now more is expected of you. You’ve leveled up and shown others that your achievements are better, that you can handle more, and that you know how to shake things up and make a change.
It might be that you’re not happy where you are but the people expecting more of you will disappointed if you turn back. You don’t want to let anyone down so you feel stuck.
Maybe you figure that you’ll just stick with it – that you made the change and you’re just going to try to do the best that you can with it and how you feel about this way.
You worry that the pressure to do more, to do better, to reach higher is now aimed in your direction. You see the applause, the praise, and you feel pressured to reach for bigger goals when deep inside you know it’s only going to make you more miserable.
A good example of this is people who go to college thinking that if they get their degree in one area, that it’s what they want and life is simply going to be great all the way around.
Then they graduate, start working in that field and discover that it’s not for them after all. But they have all those years of learning behind them – maybe a huge college debt – not to mention proud friends and relatives.
How could you possibly change direction and disappoint them? What you have to do is realize that it’s your life. You have to recognize that you’re the one in control. When something is or isn’t right for you, then you’re going to know it.
And you have the power to change direction or return back to the way that you used to do things. Don’t allow fear or the worry about what other people will think determine how you live your life.
Do You Fear Ridicule By Your Peers?
When you try something new, it can be a time of fun and excitement. But it can also be a time of anxiety and stress when you think about the people who are watching your efforts.
You might feel like there’s a giant spotlight shining down on you and everything that you’re trying to accomplish is exposed in that glare – the steps you take, the mistakes that you make, and even the doubts that you have.
When you think about that, it can make you feel like what you’re doing isn’t as good as it should be. You feel like you’re just fumbling your way through. Even the things that you do accomplish, you feel like they’re somehow lacking because of that glaring spotlight exposing every angle.
You might even start to look for mistakes and judge yourself harshly. The excitement and pride you thought you’d feel is non-existent because all you can think about is the possible ridicule that might be headed your way.
That can make you feel self-conscious enough to start shying away from taking the steps that you know you should be taking. What you have to understand is that reaching your goals isn’t going to be a winning process all the time.
You’re going to have days when everything goes right and you feel like you can do no wrong. Everything you touch seems to turn to success. But then you’re going to have days when you’re achieving goals, but it feels like a big struggle – like one loss after another just to get to where you’re going.
You’ll think you can’t do anything right. When you’re going through that and you think that there’s a spotlight on you with a cast of people just waiting to point their fingers and laugh at everything going wrong, it can make you feel like giving up.
But what you have to realize is that while it might feel like the whole world has eyes on you, no one is waiting in the wings to ridicule you. The people who care about you aren’t standing by just waiting for you to mess up.
They’re not waiting to enjoy seeing you struggle. The people who matter root for you to succeed and when the losses do come, they root for you then, too. When you struggle and you fear ridicule, that’s something that you’ve created.
You’ve built up an opinion of what’s going on as you strive for success. You worry that you’re going to be laughed at because the goals you’re trying to reach feel like a part of you.
They’re important to you and they feel personal. So you think that everyone is going to feel the same way about what you do. You think that they’re going to be upset or make fun of you when the losses happen.
But that’s something that’s true only inside your mind. No one is waiting to jeer and no one is waiting to see if you fail. Everyone has their eyes on their own goals and set of problems, and they usually don’t have time to wallow in yours.
Do You Fear the Process of Success Because It Inevitably Involves Failure?
Success is something that waits at the end of the line. It’s there at the end of all your action steps, waiting for you to claim it after you’ve worked hard and made changes.
It’s like the brass ring that everyone wants to reach for but not everyone can obtain.
But some people know that the journey isn’t always going to be a pleasant one to travel.
The path to success is never a smooth one. That’s just not the way that life works. As you head toward success, you’ll discover that some things work well for you and they move you forward.
But you’ll discover that other methods don’t work for you and they either slow you down or stop your progress. That’s all part of the journey – figuring out what’s going to work and what’s not going to work.
Some people are so worried about the part of the success journey where they might fail that they decide they’re not going to pursue what they’d like to. They don’t care that success is within their grasp and if they’d just try, they could have what they wanted – they won’t do it.
While they’re okay with the ups of the journey, the down parts scare them to the point that not doing anything at all seems like a better idea to them than trying and possibly failing.
However you try to achieve the success you want, there’s always going to be a mixture of both failure and success. The failures are necessary because they teach you about success.
You learn from every problem, from every mistake, and from every obstacle that stands in your path. But some people decide that only if the road is completely smooth will they venture out toward success – and that’s just not realistic.
What you have to do is to learn to look at failures in a new light. Stop seeing them as an albatross that hangs around the neck of success and can end it. Instead, learn to see any kind of failure, no matter how big or how small, as stepping stones that you lay down on the path to success.
Recognize that failure doesn’t mean that your story is over. It’s not the end. Your dreams and your hopes and the goal you hope to achieve is still very much alive.
Recognize that failure is just a momentary blip.
It’s a an obstacle that presents itself as a way for you reach success with just a little more effort. Maybe you’ll have to take an alternate route or use a different way of thinking to approach the problem.
But just remember that the failure is only temporary. You will get around it and you will be able to continue moving toward your success if you stick with it.
Chapter 4: When the Competition Looks Insurmountable
A little competition can be helpful. It can work to keep you sharp and to make yourself ready for the challenges that are coming. But if you’re not careful, you can allow fear to make you believe that your competition can’t be beat.
Never Let the Competition Intimidate You Out of Your Plans
Your plans have made you so excited and you can’t wait to get started creating your own success journey. You know you can do this and that it’s going to happen for you.
Then, you get a good look at the competition.
You start comparing where they are and where you are on the journey. They look like they’ve cornered the market. Self-doubt creeps in. You don’t see how you’re going to compete with that.
Maybe they have a bigger budget to work with. They have dozens or hundreds of employees. They have someone to answer the phones and email and to handle any problems that arise.
You look at them and then back at your plans. You can’t see how you can possible gain an edge – not when they’re all over the place and not when everyone knows who they are.
It would be like a drop of rain trying to compete with the force of ocean and maybe you just shouldn’t even try. If you think like that and you don’t stop it, your competition will intimidate you right out of your plans without lifting a finger.
You will have taken yourself out of the running all by yourself. Don’t be your own worst enemy. Don’t stop your success just because you think that someone else is better. There’s plenty of room for every person who wants to try in the marketplace.
There are hundreds of opportunities in the same niche. In the same field. What you have to remember is that consumers are always the unknown factor when it comes to business or any kind of success you want to market.
Just because your competition seems to have all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean that you don’t have something to offer. Just because it seems like they have thousands of loyal consumers buying from them left and right doesn’t mean they don’t have thousands of consumers who don’t want to do business with them.
Every single person or business who’s your competition is going to have someone out there who doesn’t like them, who wouldn’t do business with them if you paid them to. You have a wide open opportunity no matter how fierce or how much better you think your competition is.
As the new guy on the block, you can introduce things to people with a new twist. You can get them to see things differently because you bring a difference to the table. You can be the one who shows the consumer that there’s a new way of doing things that works better for them.
You could be the one who has the charisma and the personality that connects with consumers when your competition failed to do so.
To Beat the Competition, Become Their Customer
You don’t take a test without studying. You need to know the material in order to know the answers. When you know the material and give the right answers, you ace not just the test, but the entire class.
You need to beat the competition and to do that, you must study them. In order to study them, you have to get an inside look at what your competition is bringing to the table.
Obviously, if they’re successful, they’re doing something right.
You want to find out what that is, but you can bet if you simply asked them, they’re not going to tell you – not when they know they’re going to be competing against you. So what you have to do is study them with the mindset of a customer.
Find the inside track with the competition by allowing the competition to treat you like someone they want to sell their product or information to. For that, you’re going to need a way for them to connect with you.
Check out their site and if they have a sign up box to get information, sign up. Let yourself get put on their mailing list. This way, every time they send out any information, it’ll come right to your inbox.
You’ll be able to see how they talk to customers. You’ll get to see how often they announce a product that they have. You’ll be able to see when they talk about discounts or sales.
You’ll also see how they handle bonuses. You’ll also be able to tell how often they send out their list to the customers. Study all of this. Take a look at what’s working in those messages.
Pay attention to what’s grabbing your attention. Do they have a way of phrasing something that makes you want to rush over and buy the product? What makes you want to ask for more information?
You’ll need to spend a little money on their products. Buy whatever it is that they’re offering for sale that you’re going to be competing with them on. Break the product down by what makes it good or bad.
Look for the cost. See if the value of the product is equal to the cost of if there’s room for improvement. If so, find that improvement and implement it in your own product. Check out the competition’s product for ease of use.
If you feel like you need an owner’s manual just to figure out how to use it then you’ll know to make sure your own products are easier to use. See if the product delivers on its promise.
Sale pages can hype up a product that doesn’t quite meet expectations. This can teach you to make sure that your own products exceed expectation. Finally, look at the results of that products and determine that you’re going to deliver more value to the customer with your product.
They’ll want to choose you over the competition because you’ll have a product that was created with them in mind. And it will all thanks to the decision you made to become a customer of the competition.
If You’re Not Competitive, Do Something About It
When you’re after success you must have something to offer that’s as good as or better than what the competition has. If not, you won’t be the one consumers choose when they have a need.
You might be someone who doesn’t really have a strong competitive streak. When you look at the competition you think that there’s no way you could ever measure up. You compare your skills, your knowledge and your plans to the other guy’s and you feel like you’re falling far short.
This is the point in your success journey where you’re going to have to make a decision. You can stay immobilized and think about all the ways that you’re not competitive and wish you were or you can do something about it.
There are always going to be people who can do something more than you can. There will always be people higher up the success ladder. People who know more. People who have more talent.
That helps them get ahead. It helps them deliver products that consumers want. But it doesn’t mean that you’re left out in the cold with no hope of changing the game. What it means is that you’re going to have to pursue the skill that gives you the edge.
You’re going to have to become competitive in order to succeed. You already know that you don’t know everything that you need to know in order to succeed. You already know that your competition probably has a leg up.
But there’s a huge difference in knowing and doing nothing and knowing and deciding that you’re not going to let that stop you. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to narrow that gap and surpass the competition.
It means that you can’t just sit idly by and wish you had the skills that you need. Being competitive means that you have to first be willing to take action. By taking action you can learn what you’re missing.
You can discover what it is that you need to know. When you do this, you’ll gain the knowledge and the skills that you need to better yourself. You become competitive when you recognize what your strengths are, and you learn how to use those to your advantage.
But you also learn what your weaknesses are, and you take steps to overcome them so that they don’t hinder your efforts.
Forget About Being the Best – Try Being Unique Instead
If you look around, you’ll see that someone is always telling others how they can be the best. Have the best body. Be the best at strength training. Be the best at your job. Be the best at dancing.
Or performing. Or in other creative endeavors. Push yourself. Be better. Never stop striving to achieve the title of the best. If that sounds like something you’ve been following in your life, now’s the time to forget all about that.
Being the best doesn’t work.
It’s not that the competition to be the best is too hard. It’s that you shouldn’t care who the best is and it’s not a position that you should want to aspire to. That might be shocking to hear, but the truth is that the world is full of voices all crying out to be the best or that they are the best.
They tell people they have the best idea, the best product, the best way to fix something. So what happens is that all these bests get lumped together. They fall into a giant vat of everyone’s ideas and then no one actually stands out to the consumer.
If everyone’s the best, including you then you’re no different than your competition.
Consumers are tired of hearing that. They’re tired of getting the best because it’s the same old, same old all over again.
Nothing to get excited about. Just more of the humdrum.
Be different. Be uniquely you. By setting yourself apart, you become what the consumer wants. They’ll chase after what’s different because you’ll shake up the landscape. Upset the status quo.
You’ll make them view things with fresh eyes. You’ll make them want what you have. You’ll capture their attention. You’ll make them feel. When they see you, they feel like you’re the answer.
What you have to offer is what they need. That’s why you need to tap into the difference that you bring to the table. It’s about being your true, authentic self in a sea of people all saying that they’re the best.
The authentic voice is louder at a whisper than the combined shouts of hundreds claiming they’re the one on top. When you are true to yourself, then you’re someone that no one else out there can be.
You’re not trying to fit in. You’re trying to stand out and people respond to that. Think about what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. Brainstorm how you can achieve your goals by being unique.
Your Biggest Competition Should Be Yourself
Having some competition is healthy. It makes you want to do better, to be faster, to be at the top of your game. But the biggest competitor in your life should be you. That might sound strange, but it’s true.
The person that you need to concentrate on beating is you. Just like in the game of golf, you should focus your concentration on trying to better your own game. While it’s tempting to always keep an eye on whatever your competition is doing, if you focus on being your own competition, you’re going to end up being a huge success in whatever it is that you decide to do.
When you work on improving yourself, you improve how you do things. It’s a by product of getting better and that’s something that just watching the competition won’t give you.
There are areas where you need to compete with yourself.
One of these is with goals. You should have goals that are always leveling up. Once you reach one goal, aim for another, higher, bigger goal. If you sell 2,000 units of a product, aim to sell 4,000 in the same time frame.
Compete against yourself when it comes to progress too. Determine that the place where you’re going to be in six months is going to be greater than where you are now.
Decide that whatever you do now, you’re going to improve on.
You’re going to be faster, better, and you’re going to find ways to learn even more about the same things you’re doing now. Whatever records you set for yourself, don’t stop until you break them.
Make today better than yesterday. Tomorrow better than today. As each day unfolds, work harder than you did before. Increase your ability. Look for ways that you’re able to take care of stuff smarter with less time, effort and money involved.
Polish up the skills that you have now until you level up from beginner to experienced, then from experienced to expert. Improve on the what you know and seek out what you don’t know.
Keep score with yourself and check to see if you can beat that score. The reason that you want to focus on being the competition that you have to beat is simple. When you do that, you’re going to beat everyone – all your competition – because you will have raised your skills to a level that’s beyond theirs. Your skills will have improved to the point that you’re able to do more and do it in a way that consumers take notice.
Chapter 5: When You Look at Your Choices and Regret Sets In
Life is a series of choices. You make decisions based on the information that you have on hand but sometimes, you have to make choices based on what you’d like the projected outcome of your decision to be.
There is always a chance that you’ll end up regretting the choices that you do make. That’s just a part of life, and most things aren’t permanent – so never let it keep you from pursuing your goals.
You Never Have to Live with Regret Permanently
Regret can make you feel disappointed in your choice, but it can also make you feel disappointed in the end result of your choice. When regret hits, it can hit in your personal or in your business life.
Sometimes both and even at the same time, especially if you’ve tied your business to your personal life. Regret is an emotion that’s rooted in negativity. You have a negative feeling about something or you experienced a negative reaction or you’ve had a negative end result to something that you’ve attempted or done.
While regret is just a feeling, it can fill you with sadness, grief, loneliness, anger or a host of other emotions. Regret can weigh you down. It can cause people to wish that something hadn’t happened or that they hadn’t made the choice that they did.
You might have heard people say they wish that they could rewind time and undo what they did or wishing that they could start over again. What makes regret feel so heavy and sometimes like you can’t come back from something you did or didn’t do is that you feel like it’s a choice set in stone.
You feel like what’s done is done and you can’t fix it. You believe you don’t get a chance to do anything differently. But feeling that way is normal and it’s actually a side effect of regret.
But regardless of how regret makes you feel, you have to realize that you can change course. You don’t have to live with regret or the things you did or didn’t do that brought on the feeling.
You can start right where you are in this moment and you can make a change. You can change your personal life and you can change your business life. If you can’t undo something, then you can just create a new path.
One of the biggest reasons that people end up living with regret is because they feel like they’re stuck. That the choices they made are permanent ones and no amount of altering the course is going to change that.
It’s not true. You are never permanently stuck with any decision that you make or any action that you do. So if you’re dealing with regret about something and thinking the situation or decision is too big to change, it’s not.
If you think it’s too expensive and that it will be too hard, it’s not. You don’t want to live your days filled with regret when you can easily just make the decision to change whatever it is you don’t like.
Regret Is a Normal Part of Life and Serves a Purpose
Just because you feel regret doesn’t mean that something’s wrong with you or that something’s wrong with the actions you’ve taken. It just means that for you, the decision or the action isn’t the right one.
Feeling regret for a personal or business reason isn’t something that should stop your progress. The feeling is there to protect your future. It’s not something to be used to hound you or beat yourself up over stuff that happened or that you did in the past.
But instead of learning from the feeling of regret, what most people end up doing is letting it beat them up over and over again. They use regret to blame themselves and that’s a bad thing – not just because of the negativity of constantly beating yourself up – but because the power of regret is being wasted.
Regret has the potential to be used for good. It can help you have a better future and end up happier and more fulfilled. The emotion, though seen as a negative one, actually has a lot of positive qualities.
Everyone does stuff that they wish they hadn’t or they look at their choices and feel like they wish they could have a do-over. Your regrets should never shackle you to one decision or to one action.
It should be used as a tool to help you reflect on what led you to make the choices that you did. And by reflecting, that’s not beating yourself up. It’s looking at what you did to find the lesson that’s hidden with the regret.
When you look for the lesson, you gain the take-away moment. That gem of knowledge that allows you to learn from it in a way that can help you in the future. No regret is ever wasted because it teaches you something.
It could be something like knowing you should never do something again because it was painful. Or it could be that you learned a way that’s not going to work in your business so you know not to go in that direction again.
If you feel regret, you should be glad about that because it means that you have the ability to know that what happened or the decision you made was not the right one for you.
You know that something isn’t connecting with your authentic self. You see that what was done, or the decision you made doesn’t measure up to what you want for yourself. You recognize the lesser value of the regrettable action or decision and it teaches you not to settle for anything.
Something else that regret teaches you is that you’re on the wrong path. It’s a signal to stop, to rethink and turn around or try something new. And believe it or not, regret is an experience that will never leave you poorer.
The emotion enriches your life because it allows you to gain the knowledge and experience you need to have the next time you’re faced with a decision or action along the same lines.
Two Kinds of Regret and How to Deal with Them
There are two kinds of regret. You need to know what they are so that you recognize them, but you also need to know how to deal with them. These regrets are feeling remorse for stuff you did as well as for stuff that you didn’t do or action versus inaction.
But keep in mind that you can always fix whatever your choices were and you can pursue whatever it was that you never did. Regret for the things that you did is one that a lot of people are familiar with.
This one is the most often recognized because you feel the heavy impact from it. Sometimes these can be errors in judgment or regret from poor decision making. What you have to realize about regret for the things that you did is that those mistakes really are building blocks that are part of creating the whole you.
Mistakes or wrong decision making are part of the foundation of a life. Everyone makes them, so you’re not alone there. The problem that goes along with regret for the things that you did is if you reach a point where you refuse to learn from it.
You won’t let it teach you so that you can grow. Let your regrets be your teacher and not your end of the road toward success. Keep in mind that regardless of what happened or what you decided that turned out to be wrong, you can always bounce back from it.
You deal with it by starting over – by learning from it and using that knowledge to be better. To do better. The other kind of regret is all about stuff that you didn’t do, but you wish that you had.
You wish that you could rewind the clock and have a do-over. If you were given a second chance, you just know that you’d go for it. What you don’t realize is that the stuff you didn’t do can haunt you if you keep looking back at it.
Look at it as something that you didn’t take action on, but you know that you made a mistake by not doing so. You have to let it go. No one can move forward in life looking in the rearview mirror.
You only have the future in front of you because the past is already gone. You might be at a place in life where you’re questioning the road not taken, the opportunities that you feel like you missed.
What you must remember is that that the choices you made in the past were made with the knowledge and experience that you had at the time. The thing about this kind of regret is people tend to have an all or nothing kind of fatalistic mindset.
They feel they had a choice and didn’t do it and now they’ll never get the opportunity again. But that’s not true. Opportunities and chances do come back around and you may have a second try to make something happen.
Deal with it by recognizing that nothing you missed is ever set in stone and seeing what you can do to make a choice in the future that will present you with the same or similar chance for what you didn’t do.
When Regret Surfaces, Take Time to Analyze It
You might feel regret and not fully understand the meaning behind or it just how powerful a tool it can be to shake things up or change direction. If you’re someone who’s dealing with regret, don’t just let it flit through your mind, give it a second and then move on.
Pause and examine the reason that you feel regret. Ask yourself why you’re dealing with it now when it may not have bothered you before. Look into specifically what you feel the regret about.
What area of your life or decision is it that the regret is pointing to? You want to understand why you feel regret because otherwise, it can hinder your progress as well as your self-confidence.
If you feel regret and it bothers you emotionally, then not knowing why you feel it can impede your healing in that area. Once you understand why you feel regret, look at the root cause.
You can do this by thinking about what could have turned out differently than the way it is now.Some people experience this in their personal life, some in their business life and sometimes, it’s a little of both.
You can spend a lot of time looking back at what might have been. While you might think this is a waste of time, it’s not. As long as you don’t get stuck in the regret, you can learn from it.
It can show you the roads taken or the roads not taken to where you currently are in your life. It allows you to reexamine choices as well as mistakes. Doing that can make you more confident or give you the insight to tread more carefully in the future.
Look at the regret that you feel as parts of a whole. Take the time to break it down. Regret never just shows up. When you feel it, there’s always a reason behind it. So search the regret that you feel to find the redeeming quality that it can have on your life.
When you do that, it’ll help you be able to identify something that you may need to change. Regret can often points us to the exact spot where you need to do something different.
Not taking the time to examine why you feel regret and what it’s all about is a mistake.
When you don’t look at it, you can lose numerous chances to grow or the opportunity to gain a new sense of direction.
It’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater simply because if you don’t analyze it, you won’t understand the regret. And you’ll have missed the opportunity that it could have afforded you. Remember that regret is never wasted if you allow it to be part of your personal or professional growth.
Don’t Plan on Avoiding Regret “Someday”
If you’ve never dealt with regret, then there’s something that you need to know. It’s not a comfortable feeling. It can make you feel really bad about some areas of your life – like causing you to look back and feel like you missed out on what was better for you.
It can make you look at where you are right now and doubt that you’re where you need to be if you regret the decisions that you’ve made that have led you there. No one really enjoys dealing with regret until after they’ve gone through it and dealt with it.
Then later, they realize that facing it has made them stronger and given them a sense of peace – like throwing a weight off their shoulders. There’s a problem that a lot of people have with regret.
They haven’t developed it yet, but it’s on the way based on the inaction of their lives today. More people than not tend to put things off. They push it to the back burner where it becomes the someday goal.
Someday they’re going to reexamine that thing. Someday they’re going to pull it from the recesses of their minds and take it on. They’re going to make a decision. Take action.
That starts with a good intention, but the follow through for someday has a poor track record and it usually ends up sitting on the back burner for good. The problem with someday is that it never comes until it’s too late and then you end up dealing with regret someday in the future over the stuff that you didn’t do today.
Many people don’t realize that someday always affects today. There are several areas of life that tend to fall into the area of someday. It’s losing weight. Leaving a job you hate.
Getting out of a bad relationship. Getting a handle on finances. Going back to college. Sometimes it’s pursuing a business. People who want to start their own business have a tendency to put this in the someday category.
The timing never seems right today. There’s no time. Or no expertise. Or no money. Or no idea how to get started. These people don’t realize that going after a business they’d like to do can stay stuck in the someday pile until they take that first step.
For other people, it’s learning how to balance life and work. Someday, they’re going to make it better. Someday, they’re going to have the time to make it all work smoother. Someday they’re going to give the people in their lives or their career more attention.
The problem is that someday is a wide open bag just waiting to collect your future regrets. If you know that something should part of your future or if you have a dream or a passion for something that you want to do, don’t wait. Avoid the someday regrets and just jump in and get started right now.
Chapter 6: When Work and Life Intrude on One Another
Most people try to live their lives in such a way that their business and personal lives don’t collide. It takes a lot of effort and it does take balance. But sometimes, despite trying hard, you can end up with work and your life overlapping. When that happens, you get out of balance and that can create a recipe for stress.
The Ultimate Success Is to Have Work-Life Balance
No matter what kind of success it is that you’re striving for, there’s one that’s more important than all of the rest. The top tier of success is having a work-life balance. You might have heard the words work-life balance tossed around and thought you had a handle on exactly what it means.
If you thought that it meant making sure that you have the exact same number of hours to spend on your personal life as you do your professional life, you’d be wrong. That’s simply a division of hours.
And your life needs to be more flexible than that because no two days are exactly like the one before it. You can’t keep a work life balance to the exact hour when the variables aren’t set in stone.
Things happen that are different from day to day, that will change your work-life balance if you set it up by trying to keep equal hours between the two sides. The balance that you have planned for one day can change based on what goes on throughout the day.
What a work-life balance means is that you prioritize what’s important to you on both sides. So for your work, you might decide that starting your own business is more important than moving up in the career where you’re at now.
You’d focus your time and energy on creating your own business and it would take precedent over things associated other work related things. You would prioritize in your startup the areas that needed to be in balance.
This might be things like company growth, implementing a new product, hiring staff, or getting advertising. If you weren’t going to start your own business and you have a career you love, you’d prioritize and balance your life in that scope.
You might decide that learning a new skill so you can get a promotion is more important than taking part in one of the projects. It also means taking care of both sides of your life and making sure that you’re taken care of as well.
In your personal life, a balance means that you prioritize time to spend doing the things that you like such as hobbies, relaxation, vacations, time with family and your health.
You should also keep in mind that finding a work-life balance is going to change based on your lifestyle now and the people in it.
The balance is different for someone who’s in a relationship over someone who isn’t. It’s also different for someone who has children or for someone who’s young versus for someone who’s elderly.
The key to a satisfying work-life balance is found in what you do and loving what you do. It’s found in the success that you strive for and the way that you benefit from that effort regardless of which side of the line it falls on. When a work-life balance is found, you’ll be happy and satisfied with your life in all the areas that are important to you.
Don’t Feel the Pressure to Prioritize One Over the Other
Your work is important. Your life away from work is important. You might realize that but are currently doing your best to juggle which one to pick and feeling like you’re not doing such a good job at either side.
When it comes to having a solid work-life balance, you have to learn that there is no choosing to lift one up above the other. You might have stressed in the past or maybe you’re stressing now because you have the idea that you’re supposed to give each side the exact same amount of your time.
It’s not just your time that’s important – it’s you being fully present when you’re involved in either aspect of your life. When you’re away from your business or your career, you should make sure that your priorities and your time and attention aren’t spent on things related to that side of your life.
You need to focus on you when you’re away from your work. You need to focus on family and friends – on relaxation and on enjoying your life and the time that you have away from work.
You can be there in body, but not there in mind emotionally if you don’t prioritize a balance between the two. You shouldn’t allow yourself to feel pressured like you have to pick one over the other.
You can love both sides of your life. The priority should be both of them equally as far as the amount of you that each side gets. You need to have your business or your career in order to provide for yourself.
You can’t keep a roof over your head or food on the table if you don’t spend time prioritizing the work side of your life. You must also make sure that you take care of yourself physically and mentally.
You can’t provide for your family either if you don’t do this. It’s important that you spend your work time not feeling guilty or like you have to divide your time because that’ll just stress you out.
What you must do is realize that your family and yourself have needs that are equally as important as the work needs. You have to keep in mind that you can’t sacrifice work for family and you can’t sacrifice family for work.
Both are intricately tied together, which is the reason that you can’t choose one over the other – and you can’t let others pressure you and you can’t pressure yourself about that and suffer guilt from not overworking yourself.
Is Your Work-Life Schedule Out of Whack?
The thing about a work-life schedule is that there is no one right way to create one. What’s balanced for you might not look the same as it does for your colleagues or your neighbors.
But that’s okay. You have to have a plan that works for you. That might mean changing work hours or changing hours for family time. You can tell if your work-life schedule is out of whack if those who love you say that you’re always working or that you’re always goofing off and never working.
You can also tell based on how you feel physically. When your life is out of whack, there will often be physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches and stress. What you need to do first to gain a balance is to make sure that you have boundaries in place with your schedule.
This would be things like where you stand on taking on extra projects or having to put in overtime. If it’s something that you know you’re going to have to do, then find a time when you’re willing to give in to that extra time at work, but protect the rest of your time.
You might have to be firm with your boss or with yourself that you’re available for certain hours and no more. If you happen to be your own boss, you’ll have to work your schedule to keep a balance so that you don’t have family distractions when you’re working.
You should keep in mind that regardless of whether you work for someone or yourself – the balance will always change. It’s going to shift depending on what you have going on.
Your schedule can suddenly and without warning change depending on what’s going on in your personal or professional life.
When you’re at work, you need to make sure that your schedule leaves you time to get your stuff done, but has built in safety nets or flexible spots in case something changes abruptly.
Contractors have learned to build in extra time for building something because there are things that are out of their control. Things that have yet to be discovered that can change the rate of progress.
It’s the same with your work life. You have to have some flexibility built in. You also need to have a built in keep work going plan when one area slows. That way, you keep on moving forward toward whatever goals you have to reach.
If you work better at night and prefer to spend time for yourself or with your family during the day, then see about fixing your schedule so that you’re home during the day and working in the evenings.
When you’re off work, leave it behind. Go through an exercise where you’re mentally switching hats from working to off the job. Give yourself a few minutes to make the mental switch.
Leave work and immediately change out of your work attire. Then spend time with your family or friends. Or go hit the gym. Have a routine that you follow with your family – such as always eating dinner together.
If work encroaches on that time, then plan a fun event on the weekend as a trade off for the quality time you had to forego.
Don’t Let Stress from One Area Seep in to the Other
Your home and work life are part of the same circle, but there needs to be a distinct division between the two. Unfortunately, most people allow the stress from their job into their home or the stress from their home life into the job.
Either one can affect your relationships, your performance and your health. There’s no doubt that work stress exists. Many people have high pressure demanding jobs. When you add deadlines, the barrage of constant online communications, long commutes, and haphazard eating schedules, it’s no wonder that the stress levels are the highest that they’ve ever been.
If you’re not careful, one area of your life is going to pay a heavy price for the other if you don’t keep the stress separate. When you leave work, really leave work. Don’t bring the problems home with you to sit and dwell on.
Don’t think about the tension between you and a coworker. Or agonize over a step that you wanted to take but you weren’t able to. Let go of the obstacles and the problems that caused you to feel frustrated.
Don’t talk about work things at home – and that goes more so if you have the kind of job that deals with a lot of difficult subjects or situations. If you don’t leave work behind and you carry that stress home with you, what happens is that when you’re home, your mood is affected.
You might begin to take how you feel out on your family or friends. Before you know it, your relationships will all suffer. If you’re single, you end up taking what happened out on yourself.
You can find that you’re too stressed to hit the gym and instead you hit the fast food place for a little comfort food at the expense of your health. Stress is a two way street. It’s not just work stress that can affect your life.
Home stress can affect your work life. When you’ve got stuff going on at home that’s upsetting, it leeches over. It might be something like being unable to get everything done to having an argument with a loved one.
You find yourself unable to concentrate at work. It can impact your emotions and you find that you’re short-tempered or you’re struggling with anxiety because you keep replaying what happened when you were home in your mind.
You have to learn to keep the two separate. One tool that you can use is to set limits. Practice self-control over your thoughts when home issues crop up in your mind. Set boundaries such as not talking about home situations while you’re at work.
Don’t take calls from home unless they’re an emergency in order to protect the dividing line between home and work.
Organization and Communication Are Skills That Help with Work-Life Balance
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to messing up a work-life balance is a lack of organization. The next biggest culprit is a lack of communication. If you take control over these areas, then both of these things can help keep your life in a healthy balance.
What you can do is to make sure that both sides of your life run as smoothly as possible
You can start at home by making sure that everything is organized. Being organized is a known stress reducer as well as being a time saver which can then free up some more time in your schedule.
Begin by being well organized for your meals. When you don’t have a meal planned or you’re just going to wing it, it can lead to chaos. Because when everyone’s hungry, it tends to cause emotions to run high and it causes people to say things they don’t really mean.
It can cause little kids to get cranky and adults to get short tempered. Organize your meals by making sure there’s someone on the menu planned or something that’s already made and is just waiting for you to heat up.
Know what days are worse for you at work and plan your meals accordingly. On busier, more stressful days, streamline your meals so that they get on the table fast with a minimum of effort.
Create a schedule for home for knowing who has to be where at what time. Block off portions of time for family fun. Have a list of everything that needs to be done at home like cleaning, laundry, dishes, homework, pets and so on.
Delegate the handling of these duties so that no one person is trying to juggle everything. Make it so that chores can be swapped out among family members if someone has an unexpected event or need arise that clashes with their turn to handle something.
You should do the same at work. Create a schedule for yourself and make a timeline of when something has to be done. This will help you to stay on track. The duties at work that can be delegated to someone else? Pass them onto someone else without a shred of guilt.
If something can be moved around on your work schedule so that deadlines are not all piling up on you at once, then do that as well. Besides the organization, you have to make sure that you’re keeping the lines of communication open.
Some people just do what they think is suffering silently when they’re stressed but it’s never really silent. It’ll always come out. When you need something or something is bothering you, talk to your family.
Tell them what it is and open a dialogue. If there are things going at work, communicate that to your boss or colleagues. If you need a hand, let someone know.
It’s easy to get mired in failure when you’re trying to change your life and achieve goals you’ve set for yourself. The key is to systematically work through the issues that are holding you back and push through the mental barriers until you free yourself from a negative way of thinking.
Once you’re able to identify the problems with your mindset, it will be much easier to implement action steps that can push you toward your goal with more ease. All you need is perseverance and commitment to make it to the pinnacle of success!