Do you ever feel like no matter how bad you want something, you just can’t seem to make any progress towards achieving it? Does it ever feel like there is something holding you back, but you just can’t put your finger on it?
This has always been something that I have struggled with. I have very high goals, and tons of ideas that I think could be huge, but many times I never make much progress on them. There has to be a reason right?
Of course there is. In fact there are a number of reasons…
Many of us struggle with taking action on our goals and ideas at some point in our lives. It is easy to find yourself dreaming about what it could be like to achieve success, rather than actually using that time to work on achieving it.
So what causes us to do this? Why would we waste time this way, when we could be using that time to actually work on our goals and dreams?
At first appearance it seems like there is something holding us back. Some people will blame illness, the economy, or even say “if it was easy everyone would be doing it,” but all of these are just excuses.
You see, all theses reasons allow us to give ourselves a pass because they are all situations that we cannot control. If we would admit that it is us that is the problem, not outside forces, we wouldn’t have the excuse anymore. We would be forced to take action.
So what are the real reasons that we fail to take action and achieve the success that we want?
3 Reasons You Stink at Making Progress
I believe that there are 3 barriers to progress that we all experience at some point when we are chasing after success:
- Fear of failure (and success). Many people don’t take action due to having a fear of failure. Maybe they failed at something they really wanted before in life, and the pain from that experience comes to mind every time they think about going after their new goals. This makes sense, nobody likes to fail. But without putting yourself in the position to fail you can never succeed. However, fear of failure isn’t the only fear that holds us back. Fear of success can be just as crippling. How so? Success brings with it a lot of responsibility. Once you have succeeded you can no longer make excuses, you have to own up and realize that you have been the one holding yourself back until this point. Fear of success can be even more powerful than a fear of failure. So how can you overcome this fear? First of all you need to acknowledge that it exists. Then once you have done so, talk about the fear out loud. Either to yourself or someone else. When you do so you will realize how silly most of our fears are, and it will help you overcome them.
- Trying to take on too much at once. This is the one that gets me the most. I have approximately 1.2 million ideas bouncing around my brain at any given time. I may look calm and composed on the outside, but my mind is going a million miles per hour nearly all day long. Maybe you are the same way. The problem is not that we have all these ideas bouncing around in our heads, but that we think that we can take them all on. No matter how great an idea is, the execution of the idea is what will determine its success or failure. Due to the fact that we all have a limited amount of time in the day, it is important to focus on the most important things each day. Try capturing the ideas as they come to you, but then don’t do anything else with them at that time. Focus on the opportunities that you are working on, and only once they are done is it time for you to pick new opportunities to chase.
- Aiming for “perfect” rather than “finished”. Ok so to be honest this one gets me too. I am somewhat of a perfectionist. In my mind the idea of doing something in a way that is less than perfect is unacceptable. And many of you may be the same way. The problem is that “perfect” is an unattainable destination. No matter how great you think something is, you will always be able to find flaws or things that could be made better. Rather than focusing on creating something that is perfect, focus creating something that is good and finished! Aim for the minimum viable product, which is the product that has the very essentials of what is needed and nothing more. Once you have shipped the product (this applies to services as well as products) and have achieved some success, you can then work on improving it and making it better for your customers.
We all have things that hold us back from achieving our true potential. Whether it is fear, taking on too much, or trying to be perfect, we all have something standing in our way at times. The good news is that you are in control. You can make the decision to overcome these obstacles.
By taking responsibility for these barriers you are giving yourself the power to overcome them, and chase down the success that you desire. Don’t make excuses anymore. Look out for the 3 barriers mentioned above in your life, and when you see them don’t ignore them.
If you face these barriers head-on you can overcome them. Don’t let fear stop you from taking action, face the fear and do it anyway. Focus on the most important project (and task) at hand. And last but not least get your product or service out the door, and then work on perfecting it later.
If you do these three things I can guarantee that you will make more progress than you ever have before!