Whenever I reach a milestone or a goal of mine, I pause and reflect on the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
One thing I’ve learned on my journey to become a full-time writer is that patterns and structures are everywhere. And if we can recognize them, we can draw principles. If we have the right principles, we have a guide that can lead us where we dream to be.
This is not to say that there’s a universal guide for success that anyone can follow and get the results they are looking for. I am not here to tell you what works and how it’s done. No one, no matter how great they are, can do that.
But this is what worked for me and how I’ve done it. I didn’t manage to make a living out of what I love doing by accident. I didn’t get lucky. I followed a few simple principles that helped me not only with my career goals but with other areas of my life too.
There’s evidence that more than half of the employed population in the United States are searching for a new job or watching for openings. We think we deserve more.
If you wonder why you are not achieving more, usually the reason is not that you are too afraid to take risks. If you are not getting more out of your efforts, it’s not because you lack creativity or talent. More often than not, the reason why you are not achieving your goals is that you don’t have the right structure and you don’t have the right principles.
1. Your Why Is Not Strong Enough
Ambition and inspiration are temporary. But when they are accompanied by a strong motivation, they make the foundation of your efforts. And if your foundation is sturdy enough, it will endure any storm. When everything else fails, your why is what will keep you moving forward, no matter what.
To find your why, you need to know what you deeply value. You need to get brutally honest with yourself.
I used to struggle with regular physical exercise because I didn’t know I valued mental health over a slim body. I was one of those people who would resolve to go to the gym every day and fail on day three, not because I didn’t have a good reason why but because my reason why wasn’t so important to me after all.
Everything changed when I decided to forget my plan of getting a perfect body and focused on the benefits that regular exercise has on my mental strength, and therefore on my creativity.
Now I exercise most days, not because I like it — I don’t — or because I want abs. But because I always feel better afterward and because it gives me mental clarity, something I need in order to work efficiently.
2. You Are Not Doing The Work You Are Supposed To Do
Sometimes the reason why we feel resistance toward something is that it’s not the work we are meant to do. We know what we need to do to move forward; we know who we should contact, what we should post, and what the exact steps are. But for some reason, we are not taking them. We are sabotaging our own work. This is because we are trying to do, write, or achieve something that we don’t care about or that is too far removed from our nature.
I have never felt as mentally exhausted as when I was freelancing and getting every job I could get. I wasn’t moving forward. I wasn’t going anywhere—I was just moving in circles. It would take me days to complete a task that could have been done in a few hours. I couldn’t care less about the best SEO practices or the medical properties of essential oils. I began questioning if writing was my calling in life.
But something magical happened when I decided to let go of the work I didn’t care about and focused on the topics that were meaningful to me: My writing turned into a brand and I started getting more opportunities to do the work I love doing.
3. You Don’t Show Up Enough
You can’t get anywhere if you are not consistent with the work you want to do. Consistency is important because it builds trust and it generates results. The only way we get better at something is by practicing it. Not once, not twice, but every day.
After all, reaching your objectives is all about showing up—to the gym, to your work desk, to your clients, to your online community, to that book you told yourself you were going to read.
If you don’t show up for your goals, you can’t achieve them. Often, the success we are looking for is the daily work we are avoiding.
4. You Are Overcommitted
When I find myself stuck, it’s usually because I am trying to do too much at the same time. While you shouldn’t have all of your eggs in one basket, it’s also not wise to commit to more projects than you can handle.
If you have 10 plates spinning and you are struggling to keep them all in the air, it’s a sign that you need to reevaluate your commitments. Saying yes to everything does not push you forward. Often, it only keeps you from growing, disrupts your productivity, and fast tracks you to burnout.
By purposely biting off more than you can chew, you might, in fact, be actively sabotaging your success. More often than not, we keep ourselves in a state of constant overcommitment because we are afraid of our own success.
We are scared of what would happen if we were to commit to just one thing, so we start new projects almost every week to create an excuse for not leveling up.
But what if you went all in? What if you dedicated more hours to just one project? How would that affect your life and your work? When you focus on one thing, you master it. And when you have mastered one thing, you can move on to the next one. Because that’s how big things are done—one small thing after the other.
5. You Are Lacking Perseverance
We’ve heard it everywhere: One of the main reasons why people fail is that they give up too soon. When things get hard and we are already overwhelmed, it’s easy to talk ourselves into giving up. But quitting too soon could cause you to miss out on exponential growth. You never know how soon you might start seeing progress if you give it a little more time.
If you were to plant a Chinese bamboo seed and water it daily, you’re unlikely to see any growth in the first four years. In fact, year two, three, and four can go by without any sign of life. But when the fifth year comes, that bamboo seed grows 80 feet tall in less than two months.
Success, whatever that means to you, isn’t accidental. It’s a product of daily effort over time, even when those efforts don’t give immediate rewards.⠀
If you think that what you have to offer is valuable, perseverance is the key to get your work in front of the right eyes and get more out of your efforts.
All You Need To Know
If you wonder why you are not achieving more in life, it may be because you lack the right structure and principles. More often than not, the breakthrough we are looking for is in the micro-steps we are avoiding.
All you need to get more out of your efforts is to ask ourselves: Is this important to me? Why? Am I committing fully? Am I willing to stick with it even if I don’t see immediate results?
After all, every journey to greater success is a journey of self-discovery.