wardell books

Roadblocks to Success

Roadblock #1


Success is hard work and the greater the goal, the greater the challenge. Knowing this can make the idea of failure an extremely painful thought. After all, who wants to put everything they have into something that doesn’t work out? It’s demoralizing and humiliating. So what do people do? They make excuses. If you can find a really good reason why failure is not your fault, you can deflect the blame away from yourself. “The competition has been around longer, so they have more connections.” “The competition is bigger so they have more resources.” “The competition is smaller so they’re more flexible.”

The rewards of success are everything you imagine them to be and more, but the journey is long and hard and the possibility of failure will always exist. Often, excuses can seem like a less painful alternative. They let you avoid the long hard journey to success and they soften the blow of failure. But do they really?

In the short term, excuses can appear to offer an answer, but in reality they’re just a smoke screen, causing you to walk right into failure without even noticing. Excuses are unconscious yet clever little acts of self-sabotage that will keep you from achieving your goals, if you let them. We’ve all been there, we’ve all made excuses instead of following through with our commitments, and in the end, we were no closer to our goals than when we started.

But we’ve all experienced success as well. We all know the feeling of a plan coming together. The feeling that nothing in the world can stop us.

The feeling of success. Hold on to that feeling. It can help pull you through the next time the stakes are high, your reputation is on the line and you’re tempted to start looking for excuses.

Let’s have a look at how we use excuses to pull ourselves off track and at some of the solutions we can use to fight back.


The Unfair Advantage Excuse

If we look hard enough, we can always find someone faster, smarter, better connected, and so on, than ourselves. The “Unfair Advantage Excuse” justifies giving up on our goals by pointing out any and all advantages others have over us. It’s tempting to use the “Unfair Advantage Excuse” when faced with competition that seems to start from a superior position. After all, how can we be expected to succeed in the face of such odds?

One example of the Unfair Advantage Excuse says that successful people operate on an inside track. It’s a kind of conspiracy theory implying that successful people have an unfair advantage over everyone else, because they have access to special information. That thought process goes something like this: “It’s not how hard you work, it’s who you know.” Does who you know help? Sure, but not yet having the right relationships is no reason to give up.

It’s convenient to think that there’s a magic formula for success. It takes all of the pressure off of us by falsely implying that success is easy, once you learn the magic formula. It’s a great excuse for giving up or for not trying, but of course, it’s not true.

The problem is not the lack of access to useful information. There are thousands upon thousands of excellent books on the market that can provide you with the latest and greatest techniques for team building, time management, people management, financial planning, networking, and so forth. More books, in fact, than you could possibly read in a lifetime. On top of this, the lives of the world’s most successful men and women have been documented in biographies for all to learn from. In fact, practically every piece of information that you could ever want to know has been written down in a book. If that’s not enough, there’s the Internet, the Wardell Program, all types and formats of media, and your own personal network of friends and colleagues, and even the media which can provide you with still more information.

No, we cannot blame our disappointments on a lack of access to information. Everything that we need to know in order to succeed beyond our wildest dreams is readily available to us. We may have to do some work to sort it out, but it literally is just sitting there, right in front of us. We can have it any time we want if we are willing to pay the price. The problem is that most of us never take that next step. Our dreams can become our reality if we step forward and grab hold of them but instead, we wait for them to come to us. The crazy thing is that deep down we all know what we need to do in order to achieve success, yet only a few of us ever fully take on the challenge.

The Unfair Disadvantage Excuse

The same holds true when we allow ourselves to focus on our limitations. It’s tempting to blame our upbringing, our status, our intelligence, our education, our environment, or even our luck when things don’t go as planned. We blame the economy, we blame our customers, or we blame our staff.

The truth is that there are countless examples to refute each of these excuses and more. No matter what your situation, someone else has gone from where you are now to where you want to be. That’s exciting, because it means that if you’re willing to make the same commitment, then you can do it too. It’s really just a question of what price you’re willing to pay. How badly you want to succeed at something will determine how much effort you are willing to put into it.

Can the hand dealt to you by life make it harder for you to succeed? Of course it can. For some, the road is longer and harder than it is for others. It’s a shame and it’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. It’s all right to feel sorry for yourself on occasion, but if you continuously focus on your shortcomings you’ll never discover your true potential. It might temporarily make you feel better, but if it causes you to give up on your dreams, it’s just not worth it.

So how do we avoid the temptation to make excuses? By taking accountability for our own actions. When we stop making excuses for ourselves, a world of possibilities opens up to us. Why? Because if we have no one but ourselves to blame for our failures then we have no one but ourselves to credit for our successes. If the only limitations we have are self-imposed, then the power to remove them rests with us as well.

Roadblock #2


Procrastination is what we do instead of what we should be doing. It’s another form of self-sabotage that causes us to mix up our priorities. The result is that we end up doing all sorts of things, sometimes anything, rather than what really needs to be done. Procrastination kicks in when we have an unpleasant job ahead of us. Perhaps we need to call an angry customer or perhaps we need to let an employee go. Suddenly, little unimportant tasks seem very important. Of course we plan to get to that unpleasant job just as soon as we finish everything else, but by the time we get around to it, we’re usually rushed for time and end up with a substandard result. Even in the best case scenario, procrastination is a waste of time and energy. The longer you put something off that you know needs to be done, the longer you extend the stress associated with it.

To avoid procrastination, redirect your focus away from the unpleasant task at hand and towards the results of that task. While the task itself might be unpleasant, if it’s truly important, the results will be highly rewarding. It is difficult to continuously push yourself to do things that you don’t want to do but if you focus on the highly desirable results of your work, you will find yourself drawn into it with much less resistance. It’s a shift from short-term thinking to long-term thinking. By looking ahead to the results of your work, you’ll find that important tasks become less daunting and more urgent. This is a clear sign that you are beginning to take better control of your own time.

Roadblock #3

Resistance to Change

In this battle against inertia, why is it so difficult for people to make even the smallest of changes to their lives? If we have the power to make changes for the better, then why don’t we? Why do we often carry on in one direction, in the face of evidence that suggests we go in another? What gets in the way?

One reason is pride. It is painful to admit that we are the root of our own problems. It is much more pleasant to blame our environment or our circumstance than it is to blame ourselves. This is where our pride can get in the way. If we’re not careful, pride can make us resistant to change by keeping us from admitting our mistakes to ourselves and to others. This isn’t to say that pride is always a bad thing. It’s important to be proud of our accomplishments or of the people we care about. We just need to keep it in check.

In most cases, changing the way we do things means stepping outside of our comfort zone. For many people, that in itself is an unsettling prospect. Often, we can become too comfortable with an attitude that says “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” In order to truly succeed, however, there’s just no getting around it. The world will keep changing whether we do or not, so if we never venture outside of our comfort zone, we’ll eventually be left behind.

The good news is that stepping outside of our comfort zone is, quite literally, child’s play. When we were children, the whole world was outside of our comfort zone. We learned and we grew through trial and error. Change was a way of life. As we got older, however, we learned to fit in and to stop experimenting. There’s a great deal of pressure in society to blend in...to go with the flow to not stand out. Successful people have learned to resist that pressure (or never felt it in the first place).

Roadblock #4


If you are human, then every once in a while you are affected by fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure perhaps even fear of success. Uncontrolled, fear can become a powerful emotion that will stop you dead in your tracks every time you try to get ahead. Once you learn to control it, however, fear can be your ally, raising a red flag when you’re operating a little too close to the edge. Fear comes from many places, disguised in many forms and, as every coach knows, there’s only one way to beat it. You’ve got to look it squarely in the eyes and see it for what it really is. An illusion. Then you attack. Fear will always back down if you face it head on because the only power it has is the power you give it. Fear is an internal force, not an external one. While it is often hard to see this, you really do create your own fear. You can create fear and you can eliminate fear. The choice is entirely up to you.

This is not to say that you should blindly charge forward no matter what the consequences. Of course not. You must always use sound judgment when making a decision. On the other hand, if you don’t learn to control your fears, they will control you. You, not your fears, are responsible for making decisions in your life.

Roadblock #5


The final roadblock to success is apathy. If you feel apathetic towards your goals, if accomplishing them is really not all that important to you, then it’s unlikely you’ll be motivated enough to achieve them. Success is simply too much work without the proper motivation. Sure, you can often push yourself through when you need to but it’s really just a short-term solution. If you’re not properly motivated to complete a task or to achieve a goal then it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to succeed.

The ironic thing is that the solution has nothing whatsoever to do with your ability to motivate yourself. Why? Because motivation is not a cause, motivation is a result. Motivation comes from inspiration, and inspiration comes from inspiring goals. It’s a chain reaction that needs to be started at the beginning. Focus your attention on setting inspiring goals and you’ll end up with enough motivation to see you through. It doesn’t work the other way around. You can’t be motivated to work towards an uninspiring goal. If you are feeling apathetic then you don’t need motivating, you need better goals.

bansky cancelled dreams