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5 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting Ahead in Life and Work

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In the times when we periodically pause to take stock of our lives, it’s been my observation that many of us feel disappointed with where we stand in life and the progress we’ve made towards our goals. We are often unhappy with the direction we are moving into, or the stagnation we are in, and how our full-of-promises dreams when we were younger have crashed and burnt in a rather non-glorious way, buried under the triviality of the everydays.

We tend to complain and blame all kinds of external forces for this check-mate position we feel we are in—unfortunate circumstances, fate, luck, the misalignment of our stars. We also, paradoxically, tend to conveniently neglect to throw ourselves into the equation. That is, we don’t want to admit that we are the main protagonist in our life story and we have a huge influence over the direction which our lives take.

It’s understandable, because once we adopt the mind-shift that we can control more than we’ve let on ourselves to believe, then the onus is on us—we can’t be the passive spectators anymore. Our actions will determine our outcomes.

So, here are my main 5 obstructors, which may be still pulling us back, despite being fueled, from having the fulfilling personal and professional lives we want:

1. You lack confidence

Unfortunately, this is a big one. A plethora of research has demonstrated that knowing our value is a major determinant of how we progress in life, and how much respect we can command form others. What’s more, lack of confidence has financial penalties—it’s shown to result in lower income flows and loss of opportunities due to fear of failure. Simply, we aren’t taken with the necessary weight to be able to influence others to invest their resources and time in us.

Overconfidence, on the other hand, when practiced within reasonable proportions, can be quite the trampoline. Aside from helping to be considered as more competent, it also gives the perception of a higher status and power. So, a bit of an inflated ego (backed by skills and knowledge, of course) can do us lots of favors—personally and professionally.

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.” – Marcus Garvey

2. No quality network

Networking gets some bad aftertaste mainly because it requires extensive time and effort. It isn’t necessarily easy to engage in either, especially for someone who is more on the quiet side. But it’s a necessary evil. Everything in this world happens with and through other people. No way around it. Even more so, for those who are self- employed and don’t have the safety net of a steady salary stream.

Of course, not every conversation with someone we don’t know qualifies for networking. It has to be relevant and done right. We have to find commonalities and make a favourable impression. There’s lots of dynamics that goes far beyond the “elevator speech.” And other times, we don’t have to unabashedly promote ourselves to be noticed and taken seriously, we just have to do remarkable work.

3. You lack “Whatever-it-takes” mentality

Remember the analogy that success is an iceberg? No one sees all the blood, sweat and tears of those who have “made it” to the top, but the sacrifices are always there. There is no way around this either. It comes with the territory.

From all my years in finance, I’ve yet to meet a self-made influencer that hasn’t put in the long hours, the taking work home, the coming on the weekends when needed, the raising of their hand for more challenges. The reality is that the work-life balance many of us feverishly pursue can only take us this far.

To push yourself a bit extra means to be prepared to do all the things that are necessary to build your iceberg. Yes, it’s personally taxing on our mental and physical health, but the oh-so-sweet feeling of accomplishment is so worth it in the end!

4. The ability to talk, be opinionated and do a bit of mirroring

Many of us are now openly aware, thanks to Susan Cain’s wonderful book, that the world has been in favor of the gregarious ideal for quite a while now. Although social opinions may be slowly shifting, we are far from striking a balance.

But an introvert or extrovert personality matters merely in relation to how we handle interactions and re-charge. The skills to influence others and to market ourselves aren’t some optional “I-like-dislike” activities for either type, but requisites for getting noticed, and often getting ahead.

We are all in the sales business, even when we engage in “no-sales” selling”—the sooner we realize this, the faster we can craft strategies for “putting ourselves out there” in way that is comfortable to each one of us.

Finally, mirroring of others, or “behavioural matching,” is not a shameful undertaking, rather it’s often pleasing to the mirrored person (even if they don’t know that we imitate their actions), and for the person doing it—it’s a shortcut to learn winning behaviors, without the sometimes-costly trial-and-error experiences.

It’s based on a simple principle; we all like people that are similar to us in some way. Familiarity breeds comfort and likeability. Abundance of research shows that it’s highly beneficial when employed as a strategy to the ends of getting someone’s attention in a bar or a restaurant, to passing a job interview successfully, to closing a deal successfully.

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Francesca Reigler

5. You do too much

At first blush, this sounds a bit counter-intuitive to everything I mentioned above, but if you get to think about it, it’s true. In our desire to reach the finish line as quickly as humanly possible, we strain ourselves to the point that we engage in too many undertakings at the same time, thinking that they will fast-track us to success.

Simply put, the problem is that we dilute our goal by doing too many things that are peripheral to our core aspiration. Having a strategy, of course—even a whole project plan—from the get-go is a tried-and-true way to circumvent redundant activities. Revisions may be needed, but too much straying outside the lines may be detrimental to our progress.

Prioritizing our work is of no less significance. But the best thing we can do to avoid needless work is to do less. Focus on the value each activity offers to the goal, master selectivity and simplify.

In the end, we all, naturally, want to see our endeavors pay off. No one likes to work for the sake of working—it’s always to achieve something greater, to create, to leave a legacy behind.

And while things as luck, talent, abilities, even our backgrounds matter to a point, certain personality traits, which we can largely nurture, and the decisions that we make, have the greatest say in our outcomes.

In its essence, it all comes down to the simple humane behavior of finding better ways to connect, communicate and materialize our thoughts and ideas into the world.

What could you be doing more of today to improve your life tomorrow? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Evelyn Marinoff is a writer and an aspiring author. She holds a degree in Finance and Marketing,  works in client consulting, and spends her free time reading, writing and researching ideas in psychology, leadership, well-being and self-improvement. On her website evelynmarinoff.com, she writes tips and pieces on self-enhancement and confidence. You can also find her on Twitter at @Evelyn_Marinoff.

Success Advice

How Your Friends Determine Whether You Succeed or Not

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Can anyone do without having friends? We all have our friends, we share ideas with them, talk together, have fun, and fight. Yes, that’s the baseline of friendship. But, do you know that aside from you, your friends can determine whether you achieve success or not?

There are two things in friendship which are the ability to ”love” and the ability to “influence”. This means you are loved and you are influenced. How do your friends affect your success in life? How are they one of the biggest deciding factors of your success? Let’s find out.

What type of friends do you keep? 

First, what type of friends do you keep? Who do you call your best friend? There are two different kinds of friends, good friends, and bad ones. A lot of people have lost their pathway to success and some have also found their road to success all because of the friends they keep, the people they mingle with. 

Who is your best friend? Answer carefully. Having a best friend means you find each other compatible and understanding. Analyze who your best friend is. If your best friend has not motivated you to do something positive, if who you call your bestie has never given you positive advice, lastly if your best friend has never informed and advised you on your shortcomings, then you don’t have a best friend.

This quote tells us “birds of the same feather flock together”. Countless people have changed from their good nature into a bad one all because of friends. One thing to note is, “negative people move with negative aura”. If your best friend is filled with negativity inside-out then you will surely be affected by his/her negative aura.

They influence your success with positivity or negativity 

The friends you keep can either influence you with positivity or negativity because your friends have the power to change your kind of person completely. 

This is how your friends influence you:

  1. They influence you indirectly with what they do
  2. They influence you directly by teaching and giving you advice 

Yes, that is how they influence you. For instance, you watch a movie and you like the way the actor walks. The question is if you truly like the way the actor walks, won’t you try to imitate the actor? Of course, you will.

Just the way you imitate the actor is the same way your friends can influence you with their character. However, the funny part is, they don’t have to teach you to do things like them. You just find yourself imitating and copying them gradually.

An important question to ask is, are you imitating a good friend or a bad one? If you imitate a good friend then you will be good, but if you imitate a bad person, you will surely become a bad person.

Everyone wants to succeed, a good friend will always teach, enlighten, and motivate you for success. A bad friend will only motivate you to do evil things (smoking, drinking, fight, envy,).

And you should know that things like that are a great enemy of success and even of God. So, if you have these bad elements in your life, how will you achieve success? There is no way!

And also, they can teach and advise you directly. But, what do your friends teach you? When you ask them for advice do they inspire you positively or teach you the bad stuff.? A lot of people have regretted lifelong decisions just by listening to the advice of friends. 

The company you keep has the power to influence and change you. Never forget that a positive influence will teach, motivate, and brush you up for success. While a negative influence will inspire you to become a bad person, change your good nature, and leave you with regrets in the end.

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The 3 Step Process to Building a Profitable Pitch

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As a communication coach, one of the top questions entrepreneurs ask me is how to deliver a winning pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business. (more…)

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The 4 Pillars of Wealth and Abundance

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Have you ever wondered what the formula for a wealthy and abundant life is? Many people have. Lots has been written about the subject of wealth creation and living an abundant life. It was a breaking point in my journey and pursuit of success when I found out that there is a clear path to achieve success in life. Thanks to those who have shared their journey, we can clearly see and follow the principles of prosperity. (more…)

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Success Advice

Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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