We all want to be successful, but sometimes, try as we may, we can’t seem to overcome certain challenges we face along the way. Of course, we each have challenges specific to our lives at any given time, but there are some universal challenges to success that affect us all, no matter the circumstance. Fortunately these challenges are all within our own control, and we can overcome them!
6 Challenges to Success (and How to Overcome Them)
1. Having a negative mindset
Let’s face it, it is hard to avoid negativity in today’s environment. It seems to be coming at us from all directions, and we are so connected that it is hard to avoid it. But negativity is the enemy of success.
Have you ever started scrolling through your social media feeds only to see some really negative posts? By the time you are done, your mood has taken a nosedive and you find yourself in a negative mindset. This is the power of negativity. Studies have shown that it takes 5 positives to balance out the damage of 1 negative.
Why is having a negative mindset one of challenges to success? Well, it is self-defeating and it robs us of energy that could be put to better use. Negative thinking can stop you from making progress and can even make you sick! Numerous studies have shown that it can have a negative impact on cardiovascular problems and lead to a greater chance of developing dementia.
Luckily, this is a challenge to success that you have complete control over. You are in charge of your own mindset and pattern of thinking, and the good news is that there are ways to change it! This article will give you more in depth insight into changing the way you think. I personally use the ‘fake it til you make it’ philosophy when I find myself stuck in a negative thought pattern. Everytime I catch myself thinking negatively, I stop myself, apologize for it, and try to think of a more positive way to view the situation. By consciously thinking positive thoughts, my brain will eventually start to do it on its own.
2. Losing focus
Most of us have many goals in life. You may want to learn German, for example. Maybe this has been a lifelong goal that you have worked on in spurts here and there over the years. You find yourself starting out strong, taking lessons three or four times a week. You study everyday and label everything in your house with its German name. But then, you find yourself getting busy at work or some life emergency happens to redirect your attention and you don’t get back to it for months or even years.
It is easy to lose focus of long-term goals by the sheer virtue of them being long-term. Are there goals of yours that you have lost focus of? The best thing that you can do is try not to lose focus in the first place. If at all possible, don’t skip your scheduled German lessons, in the example above, during times of difficulty. Working on your goal, staying focused on your goal, can actually help minimize the stress you feel during the difficult times. If you do find yourself losing focus, just get back to it as soon as you realize it!
3. Being ruled by fear
Everyone of us has experienced the emotion of fear. Fear is a strong emotion and it can stop you in your tracks if you let it! Take public speaking, for example, most people are terrified of getting up in front of a group of people to give a presentation. And, as a result, many people never do it. The first time I took Public Speaking, which is a class where you just give speeches all semester, I had to drop it because the thought of getting up there in front of the class terrified me that much! Fast forward 10 years, and I was doing it for a living! This is one of the challenges to success that I had to overcome.
When you are presented with something unknown, do you find that you are more fearful or more curious about it? This is the key to overcoming many fears – invoke your curiosity about it, and you will feel less afraid. What is most important is that you confront your fears and don’t let them stand in your way. I had to overcome my fear of public speaking if I wanted to be successful at my job. If I had let it stop me, I wouldn’t have had that job long!
4. Letting toxic people drain you
Toxic people are another way that negativity can creep into your life. Unfortunately, toxic people do not come wearing ‘Mr. Yuk” stickers. Toxic people are considered toxic because their behaviors have a negative impact on you. People who leave you feeling drained and frustrated are often toxic. If you feel you have to walk on eggshells around them, they don’t respect your boundaries, or you are emotionally affected by their chaos, you are probably dealing with a toxic person. These people are a challenge to success because they take your energy and focus away from your goals and give you little in return.
Of all the challenges to success, this is one of the biggest, and the best advice is to cut these people out of your life. This is one of the challenges to success that you may have a little less control over, however, if you just can’t do that because they are your family member, coworker, or even your boss! There is some great advice in Psychology Today on how to deal with toxic people that you can’t kick out of your life.
5. Caring what other people think
For some of us, this is one of the really big challenges to success. Are you a dreamer? Do you think big? If so, you probably have people in your life that feel the need to tell you why your big idea won’t work or even why it’s a bad idea altogether. If you let the opinions of others affect you, it can really hinder your success. We tend to get a certain amount of our own confidence from the input and opinions of other people, but we must keep it in perspective.
It is best to take these opinions with a grain of salt. If you believe in what you are doing, do not let their opinions knock you off course. One of the best ways that I have found to deal with this is to avoid their input or opinions by not asking for them! I used to ask for feedback from the wrong people. For example, I would ask people who didn’t read what they thought of my idea for a short story, or I would ask a pessimist for their opinion – never ask a pessimist! If you are going to try to take what other people think into consideration, make sure they are people with the experience and understanding to give you some constructive feedback. Otherwise, heed to the old saying, ‘What other people think of me is none of my business.’
6. Experiencing “Impostor Syndrome”
Do you ever feel like a fraud? This is what Impostor Syndrome feels like. It is when you feel like you don’t deserve or aren’t really good enough to be doing what you are doing. In my own case, I had a terrible case of this when I started teaching French, even though I graduated with honors as a French major and speak it fluently!
In order to overcome these feelings, it is helpful to figure out what exactly is making you feel that way. Is it your job title? Maybe you feel your aren’t experienced enough. When you know what it is, talk it over with someone you trust to help you reconcile those feelings. It also helps to write down all of the reason that you are qualified and good at what you do so that you can look at it the next time Impostor Syndrome strikes!