7 Unexpected Reasons You’re Not Living Up to Your Potential
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
When you were a kid, you knew you’d do something amazing one day. Maybe nothing so grandiose as curing cancer (although you didn’t rule it out). But you’d be respected and known throughout your field. You’d look with satisfaction and pride at your work, whatever it was, and know you’d made a tiny dent in the universe.
But it just hasn’t happened and you’re not sure why.
You’re working hard, really hard actually. But year after year goes by, and that next level of influence and impact doesn’t get any closer. And you’re about to give up on the dream all together.
I get it. Teachers and family frequently told me, “You’re going to be great someday.” They meant to be encouraging, but as I got older (and discovered how hard it is to be “great”), I started feeling like I was behind where I was supposed to be in life. It made me anxious that I wasn’t living up to the potential everyone else seemed to see in me. Why wasn’t I celebrity yet? Why did I still feel ordinary and average? Wasn’t I supposed to be further along professionally by now?
I worked on that anxiety for a number of years, redefining success for myself and focusing on creating the life I wanted to live. That was good psychologically, but I was still struggling to actually achieve my goals … until last year.
Last year was a pivotal one for me in terms of personal and professional growth. My business grew by leaps and bounds, allowing me to increase the amount I contribute to the family finances 4-fold. During the same time period, I embraced long-term healthy eating habits and started exercising 2-3 times per week, every week. I even took the entire month of June off, going back to England to see all our favorite faces and places.
I’d never felt so good about what I was doing, how I was doing it, and the impacts I was having. The anxiety and doubt that plagues overachievers like me was mostly quiet.
It felt like I was stepping into my own greatness, a greatness that already existed, rather than trying to achieve it.
And when I did that, I unexpectedly hit a hidden tipping point that made everything I was trying to accomplish a lot easier.
The conventional advice on success largely holds us back. Here are 7 reasons you’re still not where you want to be in life, and how to (finally) arrive. (more…)
8 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Have Trouble Achieving Your Goals
Lots of people set goals. Very few people actually achieve them.
Why is that? What separates the quitters from the achievers?
It’s probably not what you think.
Many people think the difference comes down to willpower or sheer persistence. Those are important qualities, for sure, but it’s much more than that. Achieving significant goals requires a mastery of all three steps in the following process:
With this in mind, you have to ask yourself: How likely is it you’re going to complete a goal if you haven’t first selected the right goal, that will actually deliver the outcome you want, and implemented the right strategies to obtain it?
In other words, our completion rate of goals, given our lack of understanding on how to create goals in the first place, is actually pretty commendable. And we can drive those numbers much higher if we focus on getting the first part of the process right from the get go.
Of course, you’re probably not starting this process for the first time, are you? Chances are you already have a few goals already on the books. So let’s put them through the goal-setting wringer, shall we?
Below are 8 questions you should ask yourself before narrowing down which goals to commit to. These questions will give you a general idea if you have a goal that will propel you forward or just hold you back (and make you feel rather lousy about yourself in the process). (more…)
Self-Care Sucks: Confessions of an Overachiever
Maybe it was because an awful lot of family members died before I’d even graduated from college.
Or maybe I believed my anxiety was really some sort of sixth sense.
But I always suspected I would die young.
So when my doctor asked me to schedule a follow-up in person right away, I knew my test results must have been fairly serious. I felt both scared and vindicated.
Prior to that appointment, I would have rated my health as outstanding. I rarely get colds, I’m moderately active (thanks to not having a car), and I sleep and eat pretty well. There were no obvious signs that my health was suffering.
So what was I doing at the doctor’s office in the first place?
I had just interviewed a rising star in the field of bioengineering for my book on overachievers. Over the course of that interview, he told me some pretty shocking things.
He admitted he hadn’t been to the dentist in six years. And although he’d been quite the athlete in school, he hadn’t been to the gym in years either. Instead, he found himself in the emergency room for extreme exhaustion and anxiety.
Then came the real jaw-dropper: he’d scheduled our interview for the day after his wedding.
It would have been easy to judge his actions and think, “Whoa. That’s intense. And nuts.” But instead, I chose to do something far more productive.
I asked myself if my own level of self-care was where it should be.
And of course it wasn’t. Yours probably isn’t either.
So why is self-care so hard to commit to? It turns out the follow-up with my doctor provided some interesting answers. (more…)
How Do You Know If You’re Wasting Your Life?
The choices seem small and insignificant, but they plague you.
Should you take a long walk outside or answer your email? Should you watch a movie or work on the book idea you’ve been talking about for years? And when are you going to finally enroll in that Spanish immersion class?
Every day you feel pulled in different directions, torn between the things you want to do and the things you feel you have to. And that tension, quite frankly, is wearing you out.
Instead of making a decision, night after night you allow yourself succumb to the things you think will make you feel less stressed. You watch TV. You splurge on burgers and a milkshake. You skim your email, read celebrity gossip, or play video games until it’s way past your bedtime.
Just before you drift off to sleep, you realize: I’m never going to get that day back. And I wasted it.
String enough days like that together, and you start feeling helplessness. You feel sick inside, like you’ve failed a final exam.
Leo Babauta, one of my favorite writers and thinkers, recently encouraged people to imagine how they would spend their time if they started with a blank slate. That’s a good question, but I find there’s often another problem you have to solve first.
You have to get to root of the expectations that are draining you. (more…)
After an intense four months, I’m finally ready to reveal two new products specifically designed for overachievers who are tired of chasing success and are ready to create a life of purpose and meaning.
If you look like you have everything on the outside, but struggle with doubt and dissatisfaction on the inside, it means you don’t really know what success means to you.
The Overachiever’s Guide to Meaningful Success is the most comprehensive e-course on the market to help you redefine success and start living it–today.
This 4-week course will teach you:
- A practical strategy for defining your statement of success, and knowing how to use it
- How to make better decisions, faster. Say goodbye to the agony of analysis paralysis with a clear picture of what you want
- No more compare and despair: have greater confidence in the direction you’re heading
- How to prioritize your steps to success without being influenced by someone else’s dream
Of course, knowing what you want isn’t the same as knowing how to get it.
The Luminaries Club is an exclusive mastermind for overachievers who want to change the world and still succeed at life.
With an investment of just a few hours a month, you get a group that offers a combination of brainstorming, peer accountability, and support to help you achieve your version of success, whatever that may be. Members help each other to set focused goals and accomplish them. They serve as catalysts for each other’s growth, devil’s advocates, and supportive friends who are similarly brave enough to pursue an unconventional definition of success.
This is a group where you can safely peel off the mask of perfectionism, without worrying what your colleagues might think, and get real help on creating the life/career you want.
But overachievers don’t need help
I get it. I used to think I could learn everything and do everything myself too. But here’s the thing:
Trying to generate all the motivation, innovation, and drive to achieve your dreams all by yourself is exhausting. (more…)
Ever Ask Yourself: How Did I Get Here?
E veryone will tell you to fake it until you make it.
Few will admit how often they feel the need to fake it once they’ve made it.
Take Monica, a former client who pulled herself out of poverty. At times, her family was homeless, and her childhood was marked by instability and fear.
Now a lawyer and COO of a major organization, there is no doubt she’s overcome tremendous odds to “make it” in the traditional sense. She does important work, she is respected by her peers, and has the ability to financially support her family. But it has all come at a price.
A price, she realized, she never consciously made the decision to pay.
She works long hours, she pushes past her fears and insecurities, and she’s done what she felt was right for her organization, even when it wasn’t popular.
And it often leaves her utterly exhausted.
She doesn’t have time for friends. And she certainly doesn’t have time to find a man, settle down, and start the family she’s always dreamed of. In fact, the further up the corporate ladder she’s climbed, the more isolated and lonely she’s felt.
When I asked her to describe one person who epitomized success to her, this is what she told me:
My Uncle started an interior design business in the late 70s, early 80s. He grew this business while investing in the development of his children, helping me (he took me in when I had no place to live), supporting our annual family reunion, and supporting businesses he believed in. He is hard-working, generous, family-oriented, dependable, and kind. I do not believe he has what most of us would consider a large salary, but he leads a simple life.
What became clear is that although she’d come a long way, there was still a huge gap between the kind of life she desired and the one she was living.
If you’re going to work your butt off, take a little risk, and put your talents to use, shouldn’t you at least get the life you actually wanted in return?
I say absolutely.
Unfortunately, most have no idea how. (more…)