The One Thing That Determines Success or Failure

The One Thing That Determines Success or Failure

We’ve all wondered if there is just one thing that contributes to our success or failures. Many believe there is no such thing as ‘one thing’, that success or failure is a accumulation of things. True, things can add up to lead to your success or failure, but there is truly just one thing that ultimately determines which path you’re on. It is the one thing that either holds us back from or opens the flood gates to achieving our dreams.

When I stated my coaching business, I wanted to invest in myself and it to make it a success. I signed up for a $5k high ticket coaching program. I was so sure it would be the difference maker in my life. I thought (and the coach guaranteed) that I would land my first high ticket client within the time frame of the 8 week program. I would reach my freedom metric. I was envisioning all I would do with the abundance of money I would soon have at my disposal.

That didn’t happen. I didn’t achieve the glittery guaranteed results. Instead, what I got was a great deal of frustration, disappointment and debt. This was especially frustrating as I saw others who were in my same group succeed and achieve the guaranteed results, some 10 times over. I kept seeing their posts in our private group on how they made $85k or $120k or more since the beginning of the program while it was crickets in my bank account.

How could this happen when we were all in the same program and learned the same stuff?

Where did I go wrong? I did all they told me to do. I followed all of the course modules, did all of the worksheets, attended all of the weekly 2-hour calls. I was active in the group. I took advantage of the emergency hotline when I was feeling stuck. Why the hell wasn’t I where the others were after all of this time, money, energy and effort?

It’s not like I lacked business skills. I’ve had success in my other business. I mentor students in a top 50 business school at a local university. I’ve worked with global brands, influential C-suite executives, and helped build businesses from the ground up. I have the connections, the skills, the resources, the experience, and the know-how to succeed. So, why was this endeavor such an epic fail?

One word: Belief, or in my case, a lack thereof.

There was something deep inside me that kept saying “that’s just not possible. You aren’t qualified to become a 7-figure coach.” Despite all I knew about myself and my experience, there was still a part of me that didn’t believe it. I know what I am capable of. I just didn’t believe in those capabilities. I was well aware of my achievements, but I didn’t believe in them. I suffered from some serious Imposter Syndrome, doubting my accomplishments with the persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

Those feelings of self-doubt were the saboteur of my investment and endeavor. To rub a little extra salt in the mindset wound, I’ve had negative beliefs about money since childhood. There’s always been a part of me that didn’t think I was capable or worthy of making real money and keeping it. Yet, at one point, I was making 6 figures as a freelancer and did pretty damn well for myself financially.

There are many reasons why people and businesses fail. Self-doubt and negative belief systems are the foundation of that failure. It creates confusion, a lack of focus, motivation and clarity; fear, worry, and anxiety. It causes us to get stuck. It prevents us from taking action, which leads to feelings of guilt and defeat. It can bring our hopes and dreams to a screeching halt. It can sabotage our business and any hopes of success.

You’re not alone though. Mindset issues are common among even the highest of achievers.

“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, “Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.” — Maya Angelou

So what did I do about my self-doubt? It started by admitting it, which wasn’t easy. For the longest time I thought: With all of this success, awards, nominations, and a proven track record, how could I possibly not believe in myself? Pffttt! Puh-lease! I’m confident. Of course I believe in myself! Duh!

Nope. I didn’t, and the moment I actually admitted it to myself was one of the most freeing moments of my life. It’s even more freeing writing about it right here, knowing now that whoever reads this will know I’m not perfect. Gasp! I guess the cat’s out of the bag now, folks.

Now that the worst part was over, I could address it head on. That’s the secret to defeating self-doubt: look it straight in the eye, give it the middle finger, and develop a mindset of growth that you can achieve and improve upon in time and with practice. Here are some other ways you can defeat self-doubt and develop a mindset of self-belief: 

1. Recognize the thought pattern and get ahead of it. It is estimated that the mind thinks between 60,000–80,000 thoughts per day. The great majority of those thoughts are repetitive, which means they’re habitual. They become a pattern and this is how beliefs develop. Put simply: A belief is a thought you keep thinking.

Get control of negative thought patterns by getting ahead of them. This is best done right when you first wake up in the morning before yesterday has the chance to flood your mind. Before anything happens, before you check your phone, get on the computer, check your email, text messages, or social media pages, get to a quiet place and set your mind on thoughts that best serve you and repeat those thoughts.

2. Keep an eye out for negative, irrational and melodramatic thoughts. When these cognitive distortions pop in, practice identifying them and change the thought. Don’t allow it to keep repeating itself.

3. Overcome your inner critic. It is not there to protect you. It is not a representation of your reality. It‘s basically full of shit. It is an attitude we adopted from a destructive early life experience.

One way to derail your inner critic is to write down those thoughts in the second person (“you”) rather than the first person (“I”): You are not worthy or capable (as opposed to “I am not worthy or capable.”) This allows you to separate yourself from the thought and feel like it’s being applied to someone else.

4. Practice self compassion by going general with your thoughts: “I may struggle with some things right now. I know I have fears and doubts. Everyone does from time to time, but know I am competent in many ways. I don’t have to figure it all out this red hot minute. I’m doing alright. I’m on the right path. Things are getting better for me…” This helps you chill. It allows you to be kind to yourself and give yourself some mental emotional space.

5. Invest in a 1:1 mentor - not a crowded and expensive one-to-many program where the coach whose name is on the program may not even participate in your growth, and you’re vying for attention among the other students who are also vying for attention and need the same help.

Most of these programs are great and serve a certain purpose, they mainly teach only the technical stuff that you could easily learn on your own with a little research, or a far less expensive course on Udemy or Teachable. Group programs can lead you to water, but they certainly can’t make you drink, especially if you have some serious negative beliefs about your capabilities, worthiness, etc.

Having your own personal 1:1 mentor or coach who personally walks with you through you growth and transformation is a much more effective way to help you overcome deep seated negative beliefs and thought patterns.

Your thoughts and beliefs ultimately determine your results. You can choose to stand in belief or in self-doubt. The choice is yours. I’ve used this quote many times in my writing because it is so on point: “Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford.


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