How to work with the first enemy of your success

“To handle yourself, use your head;

  to handle others, use your heart.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

Who do you think, is the first enemy of your success? Your competitor? Your close friend? Your elementary school teacher? The stone thrower next door?

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

Let’s look at a classic example. Of a man. Who was mentioned in the same breath with the best in the world. Once.

Whose career is in tatters. A downfall. Orchestrated. By the first enemy of  his success.

“He stood perfectly still like a statute of some classical God, his muscular tattooed arms and torso flexed, the German defence trembling in his wake and the world at his feet.

This was Mario Balotelli in 2012. The 21-year-old wild child who was blessed with it all. He had just helped Manchester City win the Premier League; now he had blasted Italy into the final of the European Championship.”

These words. A beautiful tribute. From Adam Shergold, published in the Daily Mail. About Mario Balotelli. Who. Could have been. Amongst the world’s greats.

Unfortunately, the title of the post gave everything away. It is a most lucid description. About the state of Balotelli. Today.

Unfortunately, the title of the post gave everything away. Click To Tweet

“Mario Balotelli: the decline and fall of a player who was destined to be world class but is now unloved and unwanted.”

Of course. This is about Mario Balotelli. The once prolific goal poacher with Manchester City. Who, when he was most wanted. Would get all the kudos for what he could do with his feet. And lots of flak for what he could not do with his head.

He was getting all the adoration for what he was doing on the pitch. And all the bad press for his off the field antics.

He was getting so much heat. That he used to lift his jersey after a goal. To reveal a sarcastic inquiry, “Why always me?”

As if to tell the world. “You can’t help but pay attention to me.”

We are talking about a footballer. A soccer player, if you are American.

But. Americans need not bother with Balotelli. When you have Winona Ryder, Chris Brown, Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen. To name a few.

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

As an afterthought. In the interview with People magazine in 2007. Ryder admitted, “The attention was embarrassing.”

If embarrassment was the price they paid for their indiscretions, it’d have been a bargain.

For many of them, their careers imploded. Their reputation shredded beyond fixing.

But why?

Why do people, after trekking to the top of the heap, push themselves to the bottom? Of the pit?

Because it’s hard to work with yourself. When you reach unfamiliar heights in life. Your inner-self starts asking the wrong questions. Casting doubts.

If embarrassment was the price they paid for their indiscretions, it’d have… Click To Tweet

Instead of using your head, like Eleanor advised. You allow your head to use you. It wants you to go back to the norm. Where you are familiar. Where it is safe. The comfort zone. Where it is safe.

It wants you to stick to the routine. Not to exert yourself. Not setting any new standards. That you have to live up to.

It warns you of failure. And the catastrophic impact to your life.

Why? Because you are genetically wired to choose safety. A legacy. From the days. Our ‘up lines’ were hunters. Facing dangers at every turn.

Clearly, you are the first enemy of your success. You have to learn how to work with yourself. First. Before you can be all that you want to be.

Think about the projects that were never completed. If done, will put you on the map. 

Why can’t you keep to your deadlines? You are rated industrious and resourceful. But not dependable.

What are your chances of being upgraded?

How about the time you thought what you were doing would work? And you doubted its viability. You let that slide. And then fizzled.

So do you still think it is a natural thing to be able to work with yourself?

Let’s look at the four critical dimensions we have to strengthen. To regain control when faced with the first enemy of your success. Yourself.

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

  • Anchor yourself.

Make yourself unshakeable. Determine what your beliefs and values are. Make sure they are aligned, linked to each other.

Define your Purpose. I recommend Richard Leider’s “The Power of Purpose” as the primer. For more kick ass thoughts on this, read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.”

Set your goals. For one six months. For a year. For three years.

Unless you are from somewhere else, you know about SMART goal setting. It will still work.

Understand. What do you want in life? What are you prepared to be, and do, to get what you want? Getting the want is the result of being and doing.

Getting the want is the result of being and doing. Click To Tweet

Nothing materializes. Until you become the person who deserves the spoils. Immersed in the actions that will take you to your wants.

Most important; write it down to make it happen! This is reported at Michael, “Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. “

Once you have shaped your purpose. Set your goals. Then, choose work that supports your living the purpose. Increasing the chances of achieving your goals.

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

  • Imbue yourself with the Achiever’s Mentality.

Denis Waitley’s “The Psychology of Winning- Ten Qualities of a Total Winner”inspires me.

This is a timeless gem of a manual. On how to transform yourself into an achiever.

It has helped me turn a teenage stuttering me, almost empty in self- confidence, to a positive action based achiever of my goals. 

Above everything taught in this book, my guiding principle is that of self- esteem (Chapter 2).

You are worth it! Like yourself. Love yourself. Do not reject a positive appreciation. You are worth it. Accept it. Say “Thank you.” Enjoy it. Savor it.

You are worthy of the winning, the achieving and the rewarding.  Understand that. Whatever endeavor you choose, you have chosen to excel. It spells commitment and work.

And, that is the path to success.

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

  • Protect yourself from the stinking thinking.

Catch the negative language of your self-talk; the chatter in your mind about you and what you are doing.

Reframe the negative thoughts. You arrested. Turn the negative talk into a positive script. Read them to as many times as it takes to replace the self-defeating chatter.

Shad Helmstetter’s “What to Say when You Talk with Yourself” is an excellent book on the subject.

When faced with criticisms and put downs, focus on how you respond.

Separate the emotions from the facts.

Just learn from valid feedbacks.

Reject the rest as poor form of communication.

Reject the rest as poor form of communication. Click To Tweet

Always side with your positive self. When working and thinking.

However, be wary of wanting to be the best. Or desiring perfection.

This aspiration sucks the life out of you.

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

  • Plan your work and work your plan.

Having a healthy inner self is the foundation for achievement. Getting tangible reward requires tangible effort.

Plan to work hard, smartly. Review your resources; time, money and support. Plan your work according to the resources you can muster.

The best approach is always to under commit and over deliver.

This is about knowing that you can get more done if you stretch. But commit to a comfortable pace.

This is about focusing on the more important. Not just more…

         Helpful strategies when planning your work

1.Know your sweet hours.

Do you work better in the morning or afternoon? Take care of your important tasks during the sweet hours.

2. Eat the elephant by part. When faced with a big task, do not attempt to do it all in one sitting. Spread the task by parts. Get it done, one part at a time.

3.Seek expertise when faced with a complex, difficult assignment. Delegate or outsource to the right people. Ask for help.

Don’t try to park the plane when you are licensed only to drive a car.

4.Get the important things done first. Don’t forget to recognize yourself at each done.

5.Protect yourself from distraction.

Block your calendar when you need the time to work.

When someone drops in as you are working, stand up. Walk out of the office, while continuing talking . End the conversation quickly. Unless it’s about life or death. Or your loved ones.

Extricate yourself by setting another time to continue the discussion. Let the interrupter know you have things to get done.

Always let your boss and those who matter, know your work prioritization plan.

6.Be willing to share the spoils.

When you need more resources, ask for help.

Offer to share the recognition. A recognition shared is better than a recognition lost.

A recognition shared is better than a recognition lost. Click To Tweet

www. to work with the first enemy of your success?

Key Takeaway

It’s difficult to face it. But we are the enemy of our own success. The root cause? Our head is genetically programmed. To hold on to the comfort zone. To not take risks. And not to venture into the unknown.

We are gripped with fear when faced with uncertainty.

It’s natural to choose the comfort zone.

Unaltered. Deep inside. We’d rather be alive. Than to alight our life. With spectacular performances.

To break the mold. We have to uncover our compelling purpose. Set inspiring goals.  That are in alignment with our values. And belief system.

We have to nurture our desire for achievement and recognition. Reframe negative thoughts. Get the ball rolling. Take the first step towards where we want to be.

Knowing that we do not have to be perfect. Just be successful. On our own terms.

Knowing that we do not have to be perfect. Click To Tweet

What about you? What steps are you taking? To work with the first enemy of your success?

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