Originally published in News.com.au by Alexis Carey
IF YOU’RE struggling to get ahead in life, these four very common bad habits might be to blame.
According to Aussie success coach and author of Read Me First Lisa Stephenson, people who find it hard to succeed in certain areas tend to fall into a few similar traps — and they probably don’t even realise where they’ve gone wrong.
The mum-of-three told news.com.au she has worked with some of the biggest global names — from CEOs to elite athletes and entrepreneurs.
But she said there were four mistakes that could hold back even the most confident and talented people.
“Many people are living in ‘the waiting place’ — waiting for the next job, to finish study, to save money — they’re always waiting for the perfect time to have everything in place, but the reality is there is very rarely a perfect time to create something or be something more,” she said.
“It’s a concept I’ve seen over and over again as a success coach, seeing people expecting something to change — but it won’t unless we take action.”
She said another common pitfall was believing bad feedback which might not be true.
“Sometimes past versions of ourselves and the experiences we’ve had get stuck and the beliefs we have get in the way of success,” she said.
“Often we don’t trust ourselves to be more and do more, and we believe excuses we tell ourselves because the brain doesn’t know it’s not a valid mindset. For example, if we’ve been given feedback that we’re not very good at public speaking in the past we then look for evidence to make that true rather than seek out experiences that will develop that capability. “Our brains are wired to make ourselves right and unless we deliberately seek out new experiences and grow ourselves, we tend to stay the same.”
Ms Stephenson said another mistake — which was especially common in Australia — was talking ourselves down.
“Another really big one is people diminishing themselves and using diminishing language — we dilute ourselves a lot and it’s the biggest way we self-sabotage, by playing small,” she said.
“I see and hear this all the time in conversation with others, people saying ‘I should have been better, faster, more prepared’ rather than really owning their success, and part of it comes down to the Tall Poppy Syndrome.
“We don’t own our strengths when we focus on the things we’re not good at … it’s a vicious cycle. The brain believes what we tell it and people are very self-deprecating in Australia, but it’s important for people to understand we can be really serious and passionate about what we do without being serious about ourselves.”
Finally, Ms Stephenson warned of the dangers of expecting change — without putting in the hard yards.
“A lot of people expect things are going to change when they’re not prepared to do the work that’s required to change careers or have a healthy relationship or get a better body,” she said.
“People get really stuck expecting things to change without doing the work.”
So how can you turn things around if you are stuck in a rut?
According to Ms Stephenson there are a few “golden rules” for success, and the first step is to recognise success is personal — one person’s version of success might be fitting in a 10-minute walk every day, while another’s might be completing a marathon.
In other words, stop comparing yourself to others on social media and listening to what your family and friends think you should do and instead work out what you truly want to achieve.
“The first tip is to create time and space to do work on you — make sure you are your most important project, because we give so much of ourselves to others,” Ms Stephenson said.
“Prepare to be uncomfortable because part of being successful is finding out what you’re capable of and what your real potential is.
“Put yourself in situations you haven’t been in before, talk to people who are not necessarily in your network, and know it’s OK to make mistakes and to fail — successful people are really good at that.”
Ms Stephenson said there was a clear difference between motivation — which is a feeling which can pass — and commitment, which is a long-term plan of action.
She said successful people tended to build healthy habits which set them up to win and to be the best versions of themselves, as well as surrounding themselves with other successful people in their everyday lives.