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7 Ways Underachievers Can Be Powerfully Successful

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Being tied to failure, inability, inefficiency, or underachievement can be crippling. While most underachievement’s are situational, it is very easy to take it personal and interpret these labels as a claim to your identity. Don’t do it!

Anyone who has underachieved or has been accused of underachieving has experienced a level of emotional defeat. Your success is not tied to your circumstantial performance. Your success is directly correlated to your ability to persevere, overcome, and spin previous underachievement into your future success.

I’ve learned from coaching hundreds of millennials that underachieving qualities can also be overachieving traits for success. Millennials continually are given, wrongfully or justly, the label of underachiever. As I tell all my millennials, plus everyone else I coach struggling with underachievement, “So what? Your previous underachievement does not dictate your future overachieving success. Use it!”

Powerfully successful people like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Tony Robbins, and more have once been given the underachieving label in school, in a job, in business, in relationships, or in life. However, none of these individuals got stuck on their underachievement, but rather leveraged their underachievement toward their success. Just like these powerfully successful individuals, your struggles can be the reasons for your success.

Here are 7 ways labeled underachievers can be powerfully successful:

1. Forget Other’s Dreams

Your inability to get excited about other people’s dreams, especially your boss’ can be a big career killer. Spin it though. You are waiting for a dream worth joining or starting yourself. This underachievement trait tells me you have the desire to discover a dream worth living for. Go find it and join it or start it.

2. Keep Daydreaming

Daydreaming is an escape into our default network. Your “default network” can increase your creativity, attention, memory, and happiness if you use it correctly. However, avoid daydreaming at the wrong times.

When you need to focus, pay attention. Then when you have the freedom to exercise your mental state, use daydreaming to propel you into powerful success by daydreaming about real people and possible future successes in business, health, and relationships.

“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.” – Bo Bennett

3. Stoke the Rebellious Fire

If your rebellion centers around pushing the limitations in your life, rebel. While you might have been labeled as self-centered in your rebellious state, discover why you rebel. If you are rebelling for selfish purposes, then find a purpose outside of your personal gains.

Your rebellion needs to be focused against the limitations holding you back from serving other people or elevating your future success that helps people and this world. Use rebellion to your advantage.

4. Challenge Management

You may not like management, but do not be disrespectful of management. Many overachieving successful people get frustrated at management because it seems to hold back further growth.

Management is key to keeping order in the current situation and this is important, but it doesn’t mean you have to like it. You just need to respect it. Wildly successful people will challenge management and you can too in order to keep progressing forward, just stay respectful in the process.

5. Keep Talking

Of course you can’t stop talking. You have something to say and want to share it with the world. You just need to know what to tell the world. Forget talking about meaningless subjects and promote to talking about matters that will make a difference in the world.

Powerfully successful individuals that talk too much have learned to discipline their jawing mouth to meaningful topics for progress.

6. Always Be Skeptical of Intention

Use your questioning to push others into success. Do not be a devil’s advocate without a reason. Questioning intention can be very powerful to advance your journey into success. Many other successful people are looking for people to help find errors or weaknesses in plans, strategies, or projects.

You might find your success in collaboration with another powerfully successful individual by asking great thought-provoking questions. These type of questions push ideas, concepts, plans, and strategies into success often.

“Asking high quality questions produces a high quality life.” – Tony Robbins 

7. Ignore the Rules

This may be the most common underachieving trait that leads to your outrageously successful future. Your rebelling, questioning, and disobeying compliance to the rules can push you into the fringes where only a few people are daring to go.

Success tends to exist in the margins in life—where few dare to take the risk. Do not only ignore the rules, but the limitations, boundaries, excuses, and impossibilities. Use your ignorance towards rules as your greatest success ingredient to your future progression.

Bust through your underachievement into your powerfully successful life. Stop listening to others who believe you will never succeed and have labeled you an underachiever. Reverse your underachievement by recognizing the powerful success traits sitting behind your inefficiencies. Your success is hiding behind your faults.

How have you used underachievement to your advantage? Please leave your thoughts below!

As The Millennial Skills Coach and creator of 5-Tool Pro, Jared Buckley helps businesses improve employee production, motivation, and retention of millennials through skills coaching and training. As a former sports coach and business owner, he’s coached and employed millennials for the past 10+ years. He knows millennials and what it takes to produce game-changing millennials. His writing can also be found in places as Huffington Post, Lifehack, The Good Men Project, plus others. Or you can find his book Career OnRamp on Amazon.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Joel

    Feb 3, 2017 at 2:43 am

    Jared,

    How about #8, “Don’t believe your natural talent will take you through life”?

    I have found when coaching, training, and mentoring unachievers, a common trait is that they let their natural talent carry them, thus leading to a life of average. Because they are naturally gifted, they don’t seem to want to push themselves further, nor do they seem to need to.

    Perhaps, instead see it as a hindrance and not a gift.

    Thoughts?

  2. Matt

    Jan 29, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Overall great article… Applies to me in some aspects of my life. And, frustratingly so, applies to my son in many aspects of his life. I do however, have some feedback.

    Point 5 seems like the odd man out in this list. Disciplined and opportunistic talking/discussion is a great trait for anyone, regardless of their success in life. I know some successful people that are just talkers, while I know underachievers that are not. My point is is that prudent talking applies to anyone.

    The final point (#7 Ignore the Rules), seems to contradict point number 4 (Challenge Management) in part. I’m not sure “Your rebelling, questioning, and disobeying compliance to the rules” is in keeping with “…just need to respect it. Wildly successful people will challenge management and you can too in order to keep progressing forward, just stay respectful in the process.” I think I understand your purpose in #7, but perhaps different wording is in store. I do know a couple of people that rocked the boat one too many times and were shown the door. I suppose as long as you’re willing swim and have a shore to go to, then rocking the boat is a calculated risk. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    • Jared Buckley

      Jan 31, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      Matt thank you for the feedback. I can see your points here. What I wanted to do is explore all possibilities why people might be underachievers and how those can be turned into positive traits for success. In essence, some of these tips can be contradicting to a point.

      I truly do appreciate the feedback though.

      jb

  3. Scott Barlow

    Jan 25, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I was branded as an underachiever in school by both classmates and teachers. And guess what – they were wrong — I was actually a failure in disguise and they thought by saying that I had “potential” that it would motivate me to succeed.

    Not only did it do the opposite, I am in my 40s, live at home with my parents which have kicked me out of their house at least once because I couldn’t get a job. Eventually I had to realize that I was not destined for great things and took a retail job where my boss was half my age and I was the oldest person there. Was it embarrassing? Absolutely? Was it depressing? For sure. Will I ever get to escape it? Definitely NOT.

    If you are a millennial let me give you some advice – if someone tells you that you are have potential, are an underachiever or anything like that, tell them “Don’t lie to me – I know you think I am a failure – please don’t sugar coat it” and move on. Once you accept the fact that you aren’t going to be successful — heck, you aren’t going to even be adequate, but a dismal utter failure, then and only then will you be able to live your life.

    Sorry – but it’s true… take it from someone who knows the truth.

  4. Ewen Munro

    Jan 14, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Great list, Jared! And some amazing points. 😉 #keepgrowing #keepcreating

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

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1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

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Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

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Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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