Success Blind Spots: Get Out Of Your Own Way
by Shary Hauer

Why is it that some people appear to achieve exactly what they want in their careers and life almost effortlessly? While others are stuck?

As an Executive Coach, I hear loads of "external" reasons from my clients about what blocks them from the success they seek - an unsupportive relationship with the boss, constant reorganizations, dried up career paths, lousy market conditions, discrimination and so on. Clearly, all of these justifications and more are valid. But, you've heard it before, and it's true: 99.9% of what keeps any one of us from being all that we can be is an inside job. In other words, each of us has the infinite capacity (and responsibility) to INTENTIONALLY, deliberately create how we want our world to be rather than managing life happenstance as it occurs.

Here's the simple formula:

  1. What you THINK is what you get.

  2. What you SAY is what you get.

  3. What you FEEL is what you get.

The reason many of us do not achieve all that we are meant to is that we unconsciously short-circuit, even sabotage, our potential through limiting beliefs, conflicting thoughts and feelings and just plain old bad habits.

Here's an example of a limiting belief:

One of my clients had a recent "wake up call" after recognizing that one of her long-held beliefs was invalid: "Hard work and merit alone will be rewarded and "they" will notice and give me the promotion I've earned." Well, you know the rest of the story: She didn't get the promotion and naturally, frustration and anger set in. Her limiting belief so cemented in her psyche, she had failed to see the truth of how it really works in her organization: The "other", more subtle, management skills of managing up, influencing and self-promotion -- what most refer to as "politics"-- are just as, and, in some cases, even more relevant than working hard.

On the other hand, I have a new spinning instructor who exudes extraordinary certainty about what he wants in life. Every bone and cell in his body, every thought spun, every word uttered, are crazy-glued to his core belief that he is here to achieve greatness in the field of personal wellness. And, he is. In warp speed. In a matter of weeks, there are waiting lists to get into his classes, he has more personal training clients than other trainers who have been there for years, his new instructional CD and DVD are in production and he has landed a lucrative contract for spots on a national TV network.

Getting More of What You Want - Advice from Harvard

You obviously already know that getting what you want requires more than reading another positive thinking book or listening to a Tony Robbins tape. Most of the time, we really don't know what's impeding our progress. We just know it doesn't feel good.

In their book, Maximum Success: Changing the 12 Behavior Patterns that Keep You from Getting Ahead, authors James Waldroop and Timothy Butler, Directors of MBA Career Development at The Harvard Business School, identify the 12 habits, or Achilles' heels, that can hold you back from getting ahead on the career front. Which pattern best reflects aspects of yourself? Your co-workers, friends?

1. Never Feeling Good Enough

SYMPTOM: Feeling that you aren't good enough to deserve a promotion; unconsciously sabotaging yourself once you get it

2. Seeing the World in Black and White

SYMPTOM: Resents that the world demands negotiation and the selling of ideas. If something is "right," that should be enough.

3. Doing too Much, Pushing Too Hard

SYMPTOM: Pushes hard and does too much. Causes others to burn out and is destructive within an organization, leaving behind a trail of "dead bodies," or coworkers who couldn't keep up with the pace.

4. Avoiding Conflict at Any Cost

SYMPTOM: Always avoids conflict. Not a peacemaker, but someone who fears change and prevents innovation.

5. Running Roughshod Over the Opposition

SYMPTOM: Runs roughshod over colleagues and clients or willfully defying authority to get attention.

6. Rebel Looking for a Cause

SYMPTOM: Always looking for a cause that doesn't exist.

7. Always Swinging For the Fence

SYMPTOM: Swings for the fence and has unrealistic ambitions. Always disappointed at failures, but would have more successes if she could settle for a few singles.

8. When Fear is in the Driver's Seat

SYMPTOM: Focuses on the downside and is defensive and risk-averse; obsesses over all the things that can go wrong.

9. Emotionally Tone Deaf

SYMPTOM: Sometimes clueless when it comes to thinking about how others feel and knowing how your behaviors impact others.

10. When No Job is Good Enough

SYMPTOM: Thinks that no job is ever good enough and that life is full of near misses.

11. Lacking a Sense of Boundaries

SYMPTOM: Always talking out of turn. Lets things slip.

12. Losing the Path

SYMPTOM: Work is without meaning. Lost passion about a job, but stays on without energy

Professional Development Challenge - You Can Do It!

Can you "cure" your Achilles' heels? Break old patterns, rewire your beliefs?


Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Sharpen your self-awareness. Pay attention and OBSERVE your own actions, thoughts and feelings. Block weekly introspection time to reflect about the causes and impacts of your particular Achilles' heels.

  2. Set up a buddy system to help you monitor your behavior at work and outside of work to give you brutally honest feedback about what you might not see.

  3. Deliberately create new ways to apply your personal power and defining strengths.

  4. Decide which behaviors you want to change to be a more effective leader, a more fulfilled individual.

  5. Engage an objective outsider -- such as an Executive Coach -- to help you identify your defining strengths and points of power, blind spots, and an action plan to take your personal potential to the next level.

Leadership - BE the leader who leads YOU to success

Here are my Top 4 recommendations for additional insight about how to unlock more of your phenomenal potential:

  1. Maximum Success: Changing the 12 Behavior Patterns that Keep You from Getting Ahead by James Waldroop & Timothy Butler

  2. Take an interactive quiz designed to alert you to self-defeating behaviors, and to offer suggestions for overcoming personal habits that may be sabotaging your career success:

  3. Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting: The Astonishing Power of Feelings, by Lynn Grabhorn. This is a must read!

  4. The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential For Leadership & Life by Robert K. Cooper .

Shary Hauer is the founder and Head Coach of The Hauer Group, Inc. She is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) of high-achieving, high-potential corporate executives who aspire to lead their organizations and lives masterfully. As the Executive Potentialist™, Shary guides leaders and their teams in cultivating positive behavior change tapping all of their potentials. For the past 10 years, Shary has coached several hundred global executives throughout the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To get your Success Path aligned for 2006, enroll for a complimentary Executive Coaching Consultation. And, sign up for your free subscription to the popular Potentialist™ Leadership Briefing. Visit .

Many more articles in Executive Performance in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2006 by Shary Hauer. All rights reserved.

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