Whether we are preparing for a public speech or a child's birthday party, our intentions are always positive. And, no matter how much success we hope to achieve, we will almost certainly face challenges. When these obstacles appear, we can either avoid them and lose our opportunity, or we can face them informed and prepared.
Although it may appear that the outside world is conspiring against us, these external challenges are simply triggering internal obstacles. It could be that we have memories or beliefs about ourselves that act like mud and slow us down. We can get caught up in our own self-sabotage.
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What would happen if you were aware of and prepared for these challenges ahead of time?
If you knew what you were up against, you might be able to come prepared with just the right tools to get through whatever threatens your chances of success. Perhaps you could take a seemingly insurmountable obstacle and turn it into a molehill in an instant!
Here are the top eight challenges you must overcome on your path to success:
The desire for perfection is one of the most common roadblocks we face. In her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert shared that her mother always used to say, “done is better than good.” Anyone who is prone to perfectionism will find it difficult to stay on track to success if everything has to be “just so” all of the time.
Perfection suffocates creativity, vitality, and unintentional discoveries! There are numerous examples of people unintentionally discovering items that we use on a daily basis. If they had been so preoccupied with perfection, they might not have been able to enjoy the success of their “mistakes!” Furthermore, learning from our errors is how we develop and grow throughout our lives. As a result, striving for “perfection” will never guarantee success.
How can you possibly stop striving for perfection? It takes practice to undo perfectionism, just as it may have taken years of practice to “perfect” a skill you have acquired.
Consider the following:
- Experiment with new things and let go of your expectations.
- Don't complete everything on your “To-Do” list. See what happens if you put it off until tomorrow.
- Learn to prioritize (nothing is equally important all of the time).
- Send an email with a typo in it if you're feeling particularly rebellious!
- Have some fun with it and learn to laugh at yourself. Welcome to the wonderful world of human beings.
When we have the thought or perception that we are not safe and secure, we experience fear. When there is a genuine threat to our safety, this is a very useful tool. When the threat is fictitious, however, fear can keep us from doing the work necessary to achieve our objectives.
As with perfectionism, becoming more mindful is the best way to deal with fear.
Here are some steps you can take to overcome your fear:
Sit with the emotion of fear and pay attention to where it manifests in your body. Take note of the thoughts that accompany the sensation.
- Write down your answers to the questions you have about what you are afraid will happen.
- Visualize yourself going through your worst nightmares. How did you feel when you imagined your worst nightmare coming true?
- When was the last time you felt this way? How did you deal with it at the time? What strengths could you have incorporated into your previous visualization?
- Consider using your strength to overcome your worst fear. What does it feel like to know that whatever happens, you have the tools and resources to deal with it?
We're trying to be okay with the emotion of fear in this exercise. Fear is actually attempting to assist you by keeping you “safe.” It evokes memories of times in your life when you were threatened. However, when we expend all of our energy attempting to prevent the feeling of fear, we amplify it. We also deny ourselves the memories of all the times we have faced and overcome our fears.
Allowing the fear to be present and recalling memories of overcoming adversity helps to convince our minds that, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt put it, the “only thing to fear is fear itself.”
3. Absence of Clarity
Assume you're going on a trip and need to pack. Your suitcase is out, but you have no idea where you're going. You haven't decided where you're going, how long you're going to be gone, or what you're going to do. How simple will packing for this trip be?
It can be nearly impossible to figure out what we need to do to get to our destination of success if we are trying to run our careers or lives without clarity. So, how do we get to the bottom of this?
Simon Sinek, an author and speaker, had some excellent advice for businesses on how to get clarity, and it applies beautifully to almost any area of life. When it comes to clarifying your “message,” Sinek recommends beginning with your WHY. To put it another way, why are you doing what you're doing? Once you've determined your “why,” determining your “how” and “what” will be much easier. Let's return to the packing analogy. Perhaps your reason for vacationing is to get some much-needed rest after being stressed out recently. That suggests that a quiet vacation may be preferable to one filled with museums and crowded attractions. Your “why” tells you that you don't want to be very active, but you do want to take care of your body, mind, and spirit, perhaps by visiting a nearby spa. Less traveling equals less stress. When you look at the spa, you can see that they have a 3-day retreat. You now understand how to pack.
See how easily those details fell into place once you knew why you were doing it? Consider how much success you could achieve once you've discovered your “why”!
4. Making Inferences
It's human nature to compare ourselves to others. That is how we know if we are doing things correctly and how we can continue to improve. When we get into the habit of constantly making comparisons and feeling bad about not being able to “keep up with the Joneses,” it drains our energy. And when our energy is low, so is our motivation to continue working toward our objectives.
As with perfection, it's important to consider how much emphasis you're putting on “keeping up” with what you believe everyone else is doing.
Want to stop comparing yourself to others? Consider the following:
- Take note of the emotions that arise for you when you compare yourself to someone else.
- “What information am I really getting from this comparison, and what is useful about it?”
- Keep the relevant parts of that line of questioning and discard the rest.
Remember that when you compare yourself to someone else, you are often seeing the potential that already exists within you.
5. Uncontrollable Inner Monologue
How do you converse with yourself? Do you speak uplifting and encouraging words to yourself? Or is your self-talk frequently negative? Many people struggle with an uncontrollable inner monologue.
Many people are raised with the belief that our inner monologue is what motivates us to improve ourselves. We become “tough” on ourselves in order to avoid laziness or sloppiness. If left unchecked, the monologue can quickly devolve into something negative and purely critical. Regardless of our best intentions for self-improvement, the constant habit of pointing out what's “wrong” with what we do and who we are can be a huge energy drain.
Overcoming negative self-talk is beneficial to our health, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Lower levels of depression, improved immune function, and improved coping skills in stressful situations are some of the advantages of maintaining a compassionate inner voice.
Among the activities that can help you become more aware of your inner monologue and make it more compassionate are:
- Maintaining a thought journal (there are so many great apps for this!).
- Negative self-statements can be reframed neutrally or compassionately.
- Consider what a trusted friend might say to you.
- Consider what you would say to a friend if they were in your situation.
- Thinking about EFT Saying affirmations or tapping.
Allowing yourself to be led down the worst-case scenario path by your inner critic (this version may have you laughing at how ridiculous your inner critic's imagination truly is).
6. Uncertain Boundaries
So far, we've discussed several ways in which internal boundaries are necessary for success. Monitoring your fear, limiting your need for perfection, lacking clarity about what you want, making unhealthy comparisons to others, or having a mean-spirited inner monologue are examples of these.
What about the boundaries we need to establish with others in our lives? To be clear, setting boundaries does not imply saying “no” to everything and isolating yourself from everyone. Healthy external boundaries entail communicating with others about what you want, how you want to be treated, and your plans.
If we have ambiguous boundaries with others, success will come only by chance, if at all.
People pleasers and empaths, in particular, understand how difficult it can be to set boundaries with others. Some people's desire for harmony can be so strong that they convince themselves that it is easier to let others make decisions rather than risk causing conflict.
The issue here is that no matter how hard we try to avoid conflict with others, we will create conflict within ourselves, which will create roadblocks to success. If you struggle with setting clear boundaries with others and want to be successful, start slowly building your muscles around this skill.
Here are a few steps to take:
- Identify the minor details that you enjoy and desire.
- Tell people about your interests and desires in life.
- Take note of what happens in your body when you say this aloud.
- Determine what you don't like or want.
Take note of what happens in your body when you consider these things. (When it comes to telling you what you don't want, your body is extremely astute!)
- Tell people you trust what you don't like or want.
- Take note of how it feels in your body to say this aloud.
- Start with something small that you don't want and work your way up to bigger things.
It's like being water and attempting to hold a shape without being in a container. You get to design your own container and watch your success materialize.
7. Unrealistic Expectations
It is critical to have big dreams. It's how we bring inspiration and big ideas to the forefront of our minds. However, if our dreams are not grounded in the reality of our current resources, we may face disappointment or, worse, the loss of our dreams!
Setting reasonable expectations is the key to success. If you haven't been introduced to the concept of setting SMART goals at this point in your life, it's a good idea to give it a shot.
It may not always be possible to determine whether or not something is reasonable, especially if you are embarking on a brand-new project. If a new project is expected to run smoothly without any bumps or glitches, this is likely to be unrealistic. The consequences of this experience may be a loss of motivation to succeed.
If the expectations for a new project include bumps and glitches that contain seeds of learning and growth, even perceived “mistakes” will turn out to be a success. This has the added benefit of increasing your motivation to work harder and achieve even greater success.
Set the bar appropriately—neither too high nor too low.
8. Impossible Definition of Success
What does success mean to you? To put it another way, from what point of view do you seek success?
It's natural to believe that success entails achieving the goal(s) you set for yourself. However, there are numerous perspectives on success. You may be passing up opportunities to truly feel like you are shining in your life.
A limiting definition of success might be one that only allows for one outcome. If that goal is not met, success will not be achieved. However, if we allow for multiple definitions of success, we may discover that success is much more accessible than we previously thought!
To broaden your definition of success, consider the following:
- What would it take for me to feel successful?
- What else could happen to give me a sense of accomplishment?
- Continue to consider all of the possible outcomes that could lead to a sense of accomplishment.
Being successful necessitates overcoming numerous challenges, and many people will fail at some point. The key is to approach these challenges one step at a time. According to Joyce Brothers, “success is a state of mind.” Start thinking of yourself as a success if you want to be successful.”
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You have heard it all before: "Live life to the fullest", "follow your dreams", "be who you are" and "if it is meant to be, it will be". These are all wonderful quotes that are meant to help you live a happy life but they miss the point. Our lives are interconnected with each other and with the world.
No matter how hard you think you try, there’s always going to be a certain level of stress in your life. And when stress gets out of hand, it can start to negatively affect your life. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are some easy steps you can take to improve your life in the long run, and we’ve found a few that can help you enjoy a better life and get rid of stress.