Ever know someone who "has it all," then throws it away by doing something stupid or worse--something fatal? The most well-known examples are celebrities; musicians, entertainers, and athletes, semingly making all the money in the worls and then doing something self-destructive. Think of Brittany Spears, Michael Vick, Paris Hilton, and Wesley Snipes; all are in a self-destructive spiral of their own decisions.
While, hopefully, you are not having similar experiences, many people sabotage their success in more subtle ways. What about you for 2008? Are you in a self-sabotage mode? Are you short-circuiting your own success? Check out the warning signs.
- Fail to place a premium on learning. They become content with what they know and are closed to new ideas and challenges. Because they do not commit to continuous learning, their world narrows as they age. A narrow perspective becomes rigid and stagnant leading to poor decision making. Successful people know that the more they learn, the more they realize that they don't know. They read a wide variety of books and periodicals and have an appreciation of history. A continuous education keeps you humble and curious.
- Give up too soon. If at first they don't succeed, they quit. Yet, often people quit when success is just around the corner. A little more perseverance and the goal could be reached. If you look at the histories of very successful people, it often includes many "failures" that were turned into learning opportunities. Several years ago, more than 20 editors turned down two unpublished authors for a nonfiction book project. Refusing to give up, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen eventually sold the book for a nominal advance to a small Florida publishing house. Chicken Soup for the Soul became an instant best-seller and has sold millions of copies. The difference between a writer and an author is that the author did not give up.
- Undervalue their talents and time. Too often we think that if it's easy for us, then "anyone can do it." Saboteurs undervalue their gifts, which leads them to under price their labor, products and services. They may wait for womeone to "notice" how hard they work or patiently wait for a raise. Successful people know that they ahve to sell themselves and negotiate to get paid what they are worth.
- Overvalue their talents and time. With an exaggerated view of themselves, they miss opportunities. They may become "full of themselves," which blocks their view of reality. They find it hard to listen to others, especially if this includes some disparaging feedback. Ironically, the more successful people are, the more difficult it can be to improve. After all, why change when things are going well. With a tendency to isolate themselves with "yes" people, they get caught up with "group think" and miss important information.
- Clutter their minds with junk. We're living in the "cyber information age." I call it cyber garbage. Lots of junk data from junk sources. Saboteurs confuse data with information. They get bogged down with electronic leashes that litter their days, their lives and their minds. They listen to the junk media that is more focused on celebrity gossip than real news. Successful people stay focused and alert for opportunities. Albert Einstein once said, "I never clutter my mind with something I can easily find in a book."
- Waste time. Procrastinating, mindless TV, and lost weekends waste precious time that could be focused on personal goals. Saboteurs are experts at wasting time. Some are even successful in wasting their whole lives. They complain that they don't have enough time yet squander time through disorganization, lack of priorities and failure to focus. Their motto is "whi do today what I won't do tomorrow?"
- Talk instead of act. It's a good way to pretend you are not procrastinating, but the only one you are folling is yourself. For years I talked about writing a book. One day a colleague told me to "quit talking and start writing. You diffuse your energy by talking instead of doing." I finished the book a short time later. Success saboteurs are good talkers but short on doing. They talk about their next big deal or what they plan to accomplish.
- Believe intentions count. Goes well with procrastination, but they want credit for their intentions and planning. In fact, they may become offended if others do not appreciate their intentions even though it never translated into action. Their favorite sayings are "I meant to" and "I planned to." Intentions don't count. Action does.