Manage the Evil Twin Destroyers of Success

Posted by in Books, How the Top 10% Do It!, Self-Management Strategies for Optimal Performance

Most people want to do a good job, in both business and life and they desire to reach their full potential and achieve more. Sometimes they are sabotaged because, in the process fear, doubt, and insecurity chime in to fill them with doubts. They chide themselves with negativity, well, maybe you could do it, but maybe you can’t; they believe this adverse mantra and so don’t even try. They have thoughts such as: you can’t, you’ll fail, you aren’t good enough. Maybe this is true, but the point is that if you are willing to try, to do the best you can, then you succeed whereas the perfectionist lags. It’s passion, courage, and competence—not confidence—that creates success. As I’ve already said, show me a courageous person and I’ll show you a successful one.

The Evil Twins of Success are perfectionism and procrastination. If you show me a perfectionist, I will show you a procrastinator. Both states are the different sides of the same coin. A procrastinator wants to take that next step, but they want to do it just right 100% of the time. A perfectionist is someone who does what they’re good at repeatedly because repetition has given them confidence. A procrastinator with a messy house may be a perfectionist because they want to do it perfectly—if their home can’t remain pristine; they won’t even try.

The programming to create perfectionists probably stems from childhood. Even as children we are told, “if you are going to do a job, do it right the first time”, or, “a job worth doing is worth doing well”. Nothing could be further from the truth! We can only do the best we can do. If we can only do 22%, then we do 22% and improve from there. But if we wait to be 100% perfect, we will never take that chance. Success comes to the people who take chances and improve even if it is only 1% at a time.

Let’s imagine a perfectionist who wants to take a chance by doing something new. They timidly venture into the unknown and begin to put their ideas into practice. They have some initial success, but then they experience a failure or a setback and spiral downwards, and so revert to the comfort zone where they were before. Worse, they can end up even lower than where they were because now they feel bad about themselves and determine not to take unnecessary risks again.

Mastery comes from working towards a goal and taking one chance after another. Even if a person only knows 1% of the necessary facets to succeed at something, they need to jump in. Undoubtedly, they will make a mistake or experience a failure. They will recover from that, and then make another mistake and another failure and recover again but there will come a time where there will be some success. During each of these failures, they have gained, at least, a seed of knowledge. And that’s how it is for the rest of our lives; we continue to make mistakes repeatedly, but because we intend to live a fruitful life, we accept the inevitability of our mistakes. We may make fanatical decisions that even cause us financial insecurity, but we will recover. My ardent desire and suggestion to you is to be willing to improve yourself and skill set even 1% at a time.

If you are willing to improve 1% at a time, you are much further ahead than the person who wants to be completely capable, competent, and sure of the outcome before they take that next step.


This article is an excerpt from my upcoming publication:

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Sara Haynes, P. Eng.
President
Sigma Solutions

“I took advantage of Alice Wheaton’s offer for a free 30-minute consultation…but we chatted for almost an hour, during which I had several epiphanies that have inspired and motivated me to move forward. These were ideas that I could immediately start working on to help me get new clients and increase recurring revenues. This is what I call Value on Steroids!”

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