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Have you ever started a sentence with I can’t, it won’t work, I’m not good enough or I don’t?  If you do, then tell your friends that you will pay them one dollar when they hear you say it.  If you say it to yourself, then put one dollar in a jar.  Make this small commitment as your first step toward meaningful success.  Self-defeating messages are a huge roadblock toward personal progress.  STOP IT!

You are the one thing standing in the way of your success. 

People who succeed are resourceful.  They are innovative.  They are tenacious, yet respectful.  In return, they are respected and are offered help toward their goals from unexpected sources with unexpected opportunities.  It is human nature to root for the underdog, especially a scrappy underdog.  Would you like a helping hand toward the direction of your vision?  Show your determination and commitment.  It will appear.  Be positive, be open, be kind.

Think about it from your perspective.  You have only so much time and mental energy to expend in any given day.  For example, imagine you are a teacher.  Will you spend your energy on a student with the smile who raised his or her had when stumped by a problem?  Or, will you spend on it on a mope who grumbles about homework, has every excuse for not doing the homework, and makes no progress from the help you provide?

 Imagine you are a successful business owner

Will you spend your limited time with a protégé who is busting his or her tail to make things happen?  Or, would you cater to someone who never sees a path to an abundant future?  I’m not arguing for quid pro quo.  Keeping score is not a path to success, either.  I’m just asking you to give thought to human nature and how you are perceived by those in a position to be of help.  Adopting and possessing an outlook that lifts the spirits of those around you will motivate them to lift you, too.

I’m a marketer and have not always had the success I like.  I did not always approach problems with an optimistic attitude.  Rather than finding the few paths to a desired outcome, I could easily rattle off the dozens, or more, factors that would block the desired outcome.  It was not until I became adept at “finding a way” to solve problems and “finding a way” to lift the spirits of those around me, that I more consistently found satisfaction in my own desired outcomes.

Giving Without Expectation

Recently, a member of a local business networking group, in which I participate, casually asked me to have a one-on-one lunch with one of his friends who owns a local business.  The stated objective was to “just to meet” this person, listen to problems faced by their business and offer feedback as appropriate.  This was during the Covid-19 lockdown and everybody was cash-strapped, so I approached it as a networking opportunity that could bear fruit months from now… maybe. 

As I listened, I realized this owner was in deep doo-doo, was looking for an investor and ideas to get customers post-lockdown.  I was not an investor candidate for the amount of money needed.  But I re-stated several problems that I heard to be sure I understood them and offered ideas with no expectations beyond enjoying a conversation with a friend of a friend.  I even paid for lunch.  A day later I received a call from my friend and learned that I was sort of “tested”.  It turns out that my friend was an interested investor and wanted to get a sense from the current owner whether I understood the business and the required actions to turn it around.  I do not have turn around experience, but the reaction was over the top and they want me to be the General Manager when the facility reopens after Covid-19 restrictions allow. 

Much discussion remains to determine what that future will or will not become.  That is not the point of this story.  The point is that I was willing to give of myself without expectation of return.  Plus, I displayed optimism and non-judgmental kindness about the situation and how to address challenges.  Ninety percent of the discussion consisted of asking questions and listening to the answers.  It is a valuable lesson.  You can be sure that if I conveyed a negative attitude, I would never have been invited to speak with this business owner in the first place.  And, if I had been invited to meet anyway, a reaction of reasons why things can’t work would have killed any good feeling and good will.  The result would have been a waste of time for both of us, further reinforcing negativity into an already negative attitude.  I am not advocating to be a false Pollyanna, either.  In some cases, I redefine challenges in a way that they appeared solvable.  That it is possible to “find a way”.  Not necessarily guaranteed, but something worth trying.  The only guarantee is failure if a possibility is not tried.

To be honest, I experienced failures and missed opportunities until I fully understood and internalized the secret ingredient of positivity, innovation and vision into my mindset.

Finding Possibilities

What about you?  If you are still reading, you must be intrigued by your limitless possibilities.  If you are still reading this, you are clearly above average.  People who are not above average start from a “can’t” premise.  People who excel, start with a premise of “I’ll find a way”. 

Finding a way by yourself can be time-consuming and expensive.  The right partner who has been there and done that can shortcut the process.  That is why I teamed up with John Thornhill and his Partnership to Success program.  I will continue on the Partnership to Success  path even if that General Manager opportunity develops into reality.  How can I do both?  “I’ll find a way.”

People who are average will start from a “can’t” premise.  People who excel, start with a premise of “finding a way” when faced with an obstacle.

Are you going to be successful in your endeavors? Or, will your dysfunctional behaviors guide you to a dead-end? There are two ways to discern whether someone will succeed or not. By their expectations and by how they plan to fulfill them.

Let’s break it down. If someone reaches out for help and wants it for free and doesn’t offer their own services as a trade, then it’s a pretty good indication that they’re going to struggle to succeed. Have you reached out to an experienced person to pick their mind without thinking of what you can offer in lieu of payment? It’s a clear indication that they’re just not ready to succeed.

A professional, a successful person, understands that time is money. They understand that even if there is no money to offer in exchange for advice, there is something else they can offer. It’s an indication of how they treat people, and, in this case, they don’t treat others in the way they’d like to be treated.


People who succeed are resourceful, they’re tenacious, respectful, competent, and curious. They can find a way to get what they need without having to ask for a freebie or a handout. That doesn’t mean they don’t ask for help.

They just understand where to seek assistance from, what resources are available, and how to get what they need. Ultimately, they aren’t demanding something for nothing. They are motivated to treat other people as fairly as they want to be treated.

Think about it like this – if you’re not willing to pay for a service or a product that you want, then why would anyone pay you for yours? Success is proportionate to effort. Any other line of thinking is dysfunctional and spells disaster for your success journey. The above type of thinking indicates the type of person who will take shortcuts and cut corners at every possible opportunity. They aren’t the type of people who succeed long-term. These dysfunctional behaviors are a dead-end.

Failure isn’t the end of the world, but it does impact your self-esteem. We build our confidence on our abilities. While failure bruises your self-confidence, it’s worth reminding you that a bruise might be painful, but it’s only temporary. The same can be said for failure – it’s a temporary pain you will have to deal with. However, it will only make you stronger.

Once you eliminate the dysfunctional behaviors we discussed above, you can start walking the road to success. With this attitude you won’t meet any dead-ends in this life because you will recognize them for what they really are – a cul-de-sac you visit while your internal GPS re-calibrates more appropriate directions.

Go Get It

If you want something, then it’s up to you to go out there and get it. It doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter how you were raised or, what your bank account looks like. The only thing that matters? Your hustle and your passion. That’s what will determine your success. If you have the passion and the action, then you’re going to be willing to do anything to succeed.

At the end of the day, there is really just one thing that is standing in your way. The only thing standing between you and success? It’s you. Stop sending yourself the self-defeating messages that bruise and bash your confidence and diminish your performance. Self-defeating talk lowers your potential and it sabotages your success.

Treat Your Self-Talk as if You Are Your Own Friend

When you start a sentence with I can’t, I’ll fail, I’m not good enough or I don’t… then that is the self-defeating talk that’s going to hold you back. Think about it like this – if you had a friend who constantly told you that you’re not good enough, smart enough or confident enough to succeed would you keep them around?

Would this person seem like a real friend? Or, is this someone you would avoid spending time with? Treat your self-talk the same way – if you wouldn’t say it to a friend, why would you put up with it from your self-talk?

Don’t break yourself down or allow yourself to drown in change. Learn to embrace change and go with the flow. Be fluid and flexible, don’t get stuck in the past or caught up in the web of expectations.

If you don’t trust yourself, if you doubt your instincts or your ability to grow, then you’re going to constantly find yourself falling further and further from where you want to be in this life. We all have blind spots, there will always be power gaps to find and develop.

Forgive yourself for past mistakes, accept yourself, develop, grow, and deal with any dysfunctional behavior that crops up and you will never meet a dead-end. Keep moving forward and do so with optimism and hope. Take the lessons that you learn from the missteps you make and allow them to serve you in the future.

While everyone else allows their dysfunctional behaviors to serve as the dead-end of the road to success, you can rise above it all to find the success that you deserve.