woman in black coat sitting on concrete bench during daytime

How To Escape The Success Trap

Does your appetite for disruption fade just when it’s time to commit to making change happen?  And leave you stuck and wondering why?

Sometimes I can almost hear someone’s inner voice out when we’re in conversation together. People I work with are usually successful at what they do. They have spent 20+ years mastering their current role.

And so they discount their inner need for fulfillment… again.

This is what I call a success trap. I tend to think mastery of your current role keeps you in your current role—and when that’s the opposite of what you actually want, you’re trapped.

Luckily, this stuckness doesn’t happen often in my conversations, but every single time it does, it feels clear someone is asking for help to end the cycle of redesigning their career-life on their own but are going to get stuck circling the problem instead.

When this happened recently, I circled back with compassionate directness and just went ahead and spoke the truth:  “You said yes, but you’re doing no, so I’m just going to go ahead and say it—you’ve got stuck catching doubts.” 

Will this coaching thing work? Will trying with a thought-partner really be different? Will I ever have the transformation I need to thrive?

And I get it. We’re not that comfortable investing in ourselves, and that’s what this choice point is. That and trust—in coaching, in your hopes, in yourself.

But please don’t give up on your different future. Now it’s time to take your doubts, roll them into a ball, and chuck them out of the nearest window.

I reflected how very, very important it is to figure out what techniques help shift the way you think and strategies work to control the conversations you have with yourself. Only then can we recalibrate when that negative inner narrative presents doubt about something we must do until it feels forbidden.

Those doubts show up when our personal need is seen through an external lens—usually someone else’s imagined judgement and divorced from how you feel on the inside.

And that means it’s time to think about what success really means for you on the inside, then have faith in yourself.

Here’s how:

1. If you were writing a book, what would it be about? That imagined book will reveal your vision, which will unlock your next steps and highlight the superpowers at your disposal to achieve it.

2. Bundle doubts into a ball and chuck it out the window any time you get caught in a negative thought spiral.

Then ask yourself, what step can you take today that is ‘doing yes’ so you can finally escape your success trap?

About the author
Helping make plans realigning work you love with the life you want. Follow Helen on Twitter or read more articles from Helen on Thought Catalog.

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