In the pursuit of success, too often we look beyond those things that we do that impede our progress. We can see it daily in others all over the news, whether in politics or entertainment. Derailers come in many forms, and they are often self-inflicted. The following are some common ways I see people derail their success which often leaves them confused about why they are not moving forward in their work and relationships, and some tips on how to turn things around.
- Catastrophizing- When people engage in catastrophizing they blow things out of proportion and often assume the worst case scenario. It involves over exaggerations, a pessimistic or negative focus, and a very narrow point of view. This can happen in any circumstance and often leads to lots of drama. It can be caused by anxiety, stress, and procrastination. It is also a tactic of those who feed off drama.
Tip: Shift your perspective. Start by taking a deep breath to interrupt the negative-focus cycle which creates the worst case scenario. Approach the circumstance with fresh eyes and check your reality. Take a step back and look at the situation more objectively and consider some positive outcomes.
2. Blaming others –This is an easy way out when things are not going the way you want. It involves shirking any responsibility you may have for the situation being what it is and usually involves finger pointing. It is also a dead end! The only power you gain with this tactic is to derail yourself out of a job or a relationship. The more you tend to blame outside sources for your lack of anything, the harder it is for you to receive constructive feedback that may help you turn things around.
Tip: Cultivate some courage and take responsibility. Responsibility is not the same as blame. When you can turn your focus from what someone else is doing or not doing to what you can do, it is liberating and empowering. Stop blaming. If you have made a mistake or a misstep, own it, make amends and then focus on the solution. Accountability is a highly desirable trait and one that is essential for success in relationships as well as work.
3. Not taking ownership of your opportunities to improve– I have seen people waste years of their lives avoiding the opportunities they have within their control to change their circumstances for the better. Many of them wait for someone or something else to “improve” first. Working on yourself and shifting a challenge to an opportunity takes a lot of courage and yes, some work as well. Not one single person who I have worked with on this derailer is ever sorry they took that step towards owning their development.
Tip: Commit to your development. I have yet to meet anyone who does not have an opportunity to improve, including me. That does not mean you are bad or wrong. It just means you are human. Welcome to the club! Seek out some proactive ways to improve those aspects of your approach that are getting in the way of your success. It could be reading one of the many books available, attending a workshop, or getting some coaching. Ask for and be open to feedback from a trusted advisor to help you move forward.
4. Insisting on it having done your way – This approach shows a lack of flexibility and collaboration. Dictating that your way is the only way is not an approach that is likely to attract people to help you or be with you in a relationship. It leaves no room for others to participate and contribute in meaningful ways. It is often a tactic that people use to be in control.
Tip: Practice being more flexible. Let people participate. Imagine how much easier it would be to have help working on a project or navigating some difficulty in a relationship. I have found that most people are happy to contribute if they feel welcome and their ideas are treated respectfully, even if you disagree. You do not have to have all the answers. It is also more enjoyable to share an experience with others than feeling like you are on your own.
All of these take conscious effort to correct and when done successfully, empower you to take charge of your success. Let us know how you implement these solutions and see your success Thrive!
Sue Kenfield specializes in transforming complex human dynamics within organizations, communities and with individuals. We empower people and organizations to maximize their success by improving leadership, communication, and emotional/behavioral intelligence skills. We elevate performance, minimize turnover and improve the bottom line through our behavioral intelligence consulting, leadership and team development, conflict management, and executive coaching programs. Sue Kenfield is also available as a speaker on the topics listed above. Contact us to learn more.