What are the biggest obstacles on the way to success?
Hint: they’re never what you think.
It’s not the hours spent falling down Facebook black holes or your kids constantly interrupting you 50 times a day with questions.
They slow you down but, you can see them coming and can put a stop to them by setting a few clear boundaries.
The real obstacles to success are more insidious. They harm your business and ruin your dreams before you even know what’s happening.
Here are the 3 biggest obstacles to success and how to overcome them to reach your goals:
Success Obstacle #1: Lack Of Focus
What’s your vision for your business? What do you exactly want to accomplish this month or this quarter?
If you don’t know, you’ll spend your days doing all the things… and never going anywhere.
Here’s the truth: there’s always something you could be doing to grow your business. Writing blog posts. Going live on Facebook. Creating cute graphics for Pinterest. Scheduling your social media for the week. Grabbing a virtual coffee with a potential partner. Replying to emails. Creating a new product… The list is never-ending. Literally.
The goal is NOT to do all the things. The goal is to ONLY do the things that help you reach your goal.
How To Overcome Lack Of Focus
1. Get Clear On Your Vision
Why does your business exist? What do you want to accomplish this year? Grab a pen and paper and journal on it. Be as specific as possible:
- What exactly do you want to create?
- Why does this book/program/service need to exist?
- Why are you the best person to create it?
- Is this offer aligned with your business purpose and values?
- Will this offer help you reach your financial goals?
- How will you measure success (units sold, new subscribers count, mentions in the media…)?
The more specific your goal is, the easier it’ll be to reach it.
2. Focus On The Priorities
Now you have a map of where you want to go, let’s make a plan on how to gett there. Ask yourself, “What’s the easiest, fastest, and most joyful way to reach this goal?”
Let’s say your goal is to sign up your first 3 clients. What actions are more likely to get you that result?
Social media is a long-term strategy. It can take months before you get enough traction to build a following and get clients. Setting up your website is another distraction. It makes you feel like you’re doing something, but unless you’re promoting your website like crazy, no one will see it.
A better approach is sending emails to ALL your friends asking them if they know anyone who could be interested in your services. Or going to networking events where your ideal clients are hanging out, so you can talk directly to them and build that trust factor.
Once you know what your goal is, you can focus only on the things that’ll get you there. Ditch everything else. They’re just time wasters.
Success Obstacles #2: Naysayers And Dream Doubters
Can I tell you a secret? When I started The Treasures Within, I didn’t tell my family and most of my friends about it.
I wasn’t ashamed of them knowing I was starting yet another business or that I wanted to be a coach. I didn’t tell them because I knew what their reaction would be…
“It’s too risky.”
“You don’t have enough experience.”
“You’re making good money in your skincare business. Why ditch that to start something new? Everyone knows coaches make no money.”
Your loved ones mean well… but they don’t know what they’re talking about. 99.9% of the time, they didn’t even try to start a business or go after their dreams. So how would they know how risky it is?
Here’s the truth: When people tell you you can’t do something, what they’re really saying is “I don’t know how to do it, so it’s too risky.”
It may be true for them, but it doesn’t have to be true for you. If you really desire something, you can do it – or you wouldn’t have that desire in the first place.
FYI, your biggest nayser is YOUR mind. Even when everyone around you is supportive of your dreams, you’ll still have doubts you can do it.
You can’t just stop hanging out with yourself, so it’s essential that you get your mind on board. If it isn’t, it’ll keep sabotaging you every step of the way.
How To Deal With Naysayers And Dream Doubters
1. Reframe Your Thoughts
Just because you think something, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Thoughts are NOT facts. They’re just things you pick up from friends, the media, and the world around you. If you don’t question them, they start running on autopilot in your brain.
Time to take back control. When you have a negative thought, reframe it into a positive one – one that is actually true (or you won’t believe it). Here’s how:
“I’m not good enough” —> “I have more skills, experience, and knowledge than I give myself credit for”
“I’m a fraud” —> “I have helped people with [insert what you do]. I know my work is good and helps people.”
“Who am I to do this?” —> “Someone must do it, why not me?”
Write down these new thoughts on post-it notes and hang them on a wall where you’ll see them every day. Set them up as alarms on your phone. Repeat them to yourself as you’re brushing your teeth.
Before you know it, they’ll become your new normal.
Related: How To Overcome Self-Doubt
2. Surround Yourself With Positive People
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Are you hanging out with people who encourage you to follow your dreams or who mercilessly crash them?
You don’t need to stop seeing the people you love just because they don’t get your dreams yet. Once you start getting traction, those who love you will come on board.
But you DO need to spend more time with people who are going for their dreams, so you can start believing it’s possible for you too.
If you don’t have anyone in your social circle, start with virtual mentors. Listen to podcasts. Read self-help books and biographies. Sign up for webinars. Then, join a networking group, enroll in a class near you, or sign up for a group programme where you can meet like-minded people. And if you really want to fast-track your progress, hire a coach.
When you start spending time with people who support you, the toxic relationships in your life will start to naturally disappear.
Success Obstacle #3: Lack Of Resources
Do you ever think, “I’d love to start a business, but I don’t have the money/time/team members/whatever right now?”
I’ll tell you a secret. No one already has everything they need lined up from the start. They just start with what they have and figure the rest out along the way.
That’s what I did when I started my now-defunct freelance writing business. I had arrived in London with 0 connections, 0 clients/jobs lined up, 0 articles published on famous publications, and barely enough savings to last me 3 months in this super expensive city. But I knew I was good at writing and I was determined (or stubborn, as my mum would say) to figure out the rest.
I didn’t wait until I had the connections, a stable income, or a portfolio full of clips to approach potential clients. I just got started and, 3 months later, I landed two clients in the same week!
When you start going for your dreams, the universe will meet you halfway and help you reach your goals.
How To Overcome A Lack Of Resources
1. Start With What You Have
In his book, Leveraging The Universe, Mike Dooley says the key to manifesting your dreams is to “do what you can, with what you’ve got, from where you are.”
The problem of focusing on the money/time/resources you don’t have is that you ignore all the things that you DO have that could help you reach your goals.
When I started out as a freelance writer, all I had was my own blog and a huge passion for writing. That’s where I started from. From there, I did everything I could with my two “assets”.
I started applying to any freelancing position I could find on Indeed. I signed up for job boards for freelance writers. I scoured the internet for websites with poor copy and no blog to pitch my services to. And when I scored an interview, I shared how I had managed to double my blog readership and I could help them do the same.
You already have more knowledge, skills, and resources than you think. Leverage that. It’s enough to get you started.
2. Build Your Abundance Mindset
You always have everything you need to reach your goals. It’s just hard to see it sometimes.
I thought of my skincare blog as just a hobby for years. I had no idea it could help me get clients. And yet it did.
How can you start to recognise all the abundance in your life, so you can take advantage of your current resources and attract more? Here are a few idea to get you started:
- Gratitude: Every morning, make a list of 10 things you’re grateful for. You’ll be amazed by how much abundance is already in your life and how many resources you were taking for granted.
- Journal: Grab pen and paper and make a list of all the resources (time, tools, skills, experiences, etc) you have that could help you reach your goals. Then, brainstorm a few ideas on how you could use them to get started.
- Meditation: Quieting the mind helps you get in touch with your intuition and guide you in the right direction. The name “The Treasures Within” popped into my head during meditation!
- Moving your body: Science says that moving your body promotes creativity and helps you come up with new ideas. I know that, if I’m staring at a blank page on the screen for too long, going for a walk in the park will get my juices flowing again.
You don’t have to take action on every single idea that pops into your head while journaling or meditating. But doing even just one of these things regularly will enhance your creativity and help you find new ways to utilise everything you already have to reach your goals.
Related: The Bad Side Of Gratitude
Wrapping It Up
An unclear vision, naysayers, and lack of resources are the three biggest obstacles to success – but they’re not insurmountable. Get clear on what your goal is, surround yourself with supportive people, and do everything you can, with what you’ve got, from where you are and you’ll be successful.