What's the One Thing Limiting Your Success?

Last Updated Jan 19, 2011 6:55 PM EST

The One Thing Limiting Your Success
The other day I was half listening to an interview of a famous actor when something he said got my attention. The guy apparently immigrated to this country with his parents and he realized that, to get a good job, he'd have to improve his ability to speak English.

So he thought, what better way to do that than to take acting classes. And that's how his acting career began.

Address your weakness. Sounds sort of obvious, doesn't it? But it got me thinking, how many people really 1) know what's limiting their success and, 2) force themselves to do something about it?

You know, I'm willing to bet that half the people reading this right now are saying to themselves, Wow, I should do that about [fill in the blank]. But will they ... actually do it? Probably not.

I'd also be willing to bet that the other half are in denial, blaming everybody and everything for why they didn't get ahead instead of doing something about some fear or limitation they were almost surely aware of at one time but have since buried under layers of jealousy and anger targeted at all the wrong people.

Whichever half you're in, we all have at least one major fear or limitation holding us back. Facing or improving that one thing will almost surely open the door to new opportunities and success. Here are a couple of stories to inspire you to do just that:
  • One of my former CEOs told me a story about how, when he was younger, he was so shy that just the idea of speaking in class and, later on, in a meeting, was so terrifying that he almost passed out from fear. So he got some help, faced his fear every day of his career, and went on to become a senior executive at a Fortune 1000 company and then a successful CEO of a public tech firm.
  • Another successful senior executive was, at one time, stuck in middle management - engineering management, to be specific. And while he'd become adept at presenting to groups, he marveled at the ease with which his sales people interacted and negotiated with customers. So he gave up his 10+ year engineering management career and took a step back to become a salesman and learn the skills he felt he lacked. It worked. That was over 20 years ago. That guy was me.
So the next time you find yourself exploring the blogosphere or Amazon for your next quick-fix of advice, or feeling sorry for yourself or jealous of someone else because she made it and you didn't, put down the computer, simmer down, relax, and ask yourself: What's the one thing I need to face, address, or improve to get ahead?
If you do that, I guarantee three things:
  1. That you know, on some level, what that one thing is.
  2. It will be the highest probability thing you can do to open up new opportunities and increase your success potential.
  3. No, it won't be easy. Yes, it will take work. But the reward will far outweigh all that. Guaranteed.
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