“Some of us have great runways already built for us, and if you have one, just take off. But if you don’t have one, it’s your job to grab the shovel.” – Amelia Earhart
One of the inescapable realities of life is that we are constantly presented with barriers to overcome. In our businesses it could be in the form of competition, or changes in technology, or just change in general. Maybe the product or service we’ve been successful offering doesn’t cut it anymore, or maybe our people don’t have the skills necessary for a new environment. All of those barriers present a challenge, and more importantly, an opportunity for growth.
Out of all those barriers, though, there is one that we don’t like to talk about, much less try & overcome. Unfortunately, I think it’s the highest and most difficult to overcome of all. That barrier is ourselves. I don’t mean our lack of some skill – we might be willing to learn new things. I mean our attitude about what it takes for us and for our businesses to be successful.
When I first read the quote at the top of this post, pictures of dozens of people and situations flashed through my mind. Mostly they weren’t positive images. They were images of people who didn’t have a runway already built, but who, instead of grabbing a shovel, sat down in the dirt and accepted the fact that they won’t be able to take off so why try.
Those people in those situations could recite dozens of reasons (excuses) why they wouldn’t be able to take off, why things beyond their control would prevent their success, why there was no point to trying because they’d only fail. And those people all had one thing in common – they never amounted to much at all.
Your biggest barrier isn’t your competitors, or technology, or the government, or anything like that. Your biggest barrier is your belief that you don’t have any control over your future. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself of that out of fear, or lack of confidence, or who knows what else. Regardless of the reason, if you don’t believe that you can be successful, and that you can make the changes necessary to drive that success, it won’t happen.
So next time you want to complain about all the reasons why your career or your business haven’t taken off, stop and look in the mirror. Are the things you’re talking about reasons, or excuses? Are you the real problem?