Albuquerque Journal

7 beliefs that hamper success — and how to change them

- By John Boitnott

Beliefs are engraved in our minds, and they often are difficult to change.

But are they holding you back from success? Chances are, the answer to that question is yes.

Avoid these beliefs and think about doing what these experts suggest instead.

If someone looks successful, they are successful.

I live in San Francisco, and it’s often very hard to distinguis­h who is and isn’t successful. Joseph Bradley, vice president of IoT & digital services at Cisco, grew up near Mountain View and worked as a bank teller.

He would see a customer driving his dream car and would think that he had money, but when he would pull up his informatio­n, he only had $100 in his account. Then he’d see someone come in wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and the screen would flash VIP.

Bradley quickly began to realize that the people who looked successful weren’t, because they spent all their money trying to impress others.

“Once I learned this lesson, I always give five minutes to people who reach out to me, no matter who they are, what they look like or what car they drive,” Bradley says. “It doesn’t matter where they reach out to me, whether it is in person or online, I will find five minutes for them.”

Fail fast.

Many an entreprene­ur will tell you he or she learned tremendous­ly from startups that just never found success.

In Silicon Valley, failing has turned into a badge of honor. But Bradley says: “Failing fast is a joke. Anybody who says they want to fail fast or fail slow doesn’t understand it. You don’t want to fail fast. You don’t want to fail slow. You don’t want to fail.”

I’ve had my fair share of failures, and I’m sure you have as well. If you have truly experience­d failure, you know that the last thing anyone should ever want to do is fail.

“To get ahead, you want to accelerate and improve your rate of learning on everything that you do,” Bradley says.

By focusing on learning at an accelerate­d rate, you are able to process data quicker and navigate yourself out of sticky situations, before they turn into graveyards of broken dreams.

You have to know everything.

Have you ever met someone in the office who wanted to acquire all the data he or she could? Or the startup founder who read book after book after book?

Data is powerful, but you don’t need to know everything.

“It’s not what you don’t know that causes you to fail. It’s what you believe to be true that will cause you to fail,” Bradley says.

Every person has their own set of beliefs. And these beliefs are what shape our thoughts, actions and decisions. So how do you change your beliefs?

“You have to challenge your beliefs each and every day,” Bradley says. “The unknown isn’t the issue. None of us know what is going to happen tomorrow. If you are able to challenge what you believe to be true, that ultimately will allow you to be successful as a leader.”

You need to be good at everything.

Some people start a business or enter into a role thinking that they need to be good at everything, otherwise people will doubt their abilities in the workforce.

This is especially the case in entreprene­urship, where business owners feel like they have to do absolutely everything. But what usually happens when you do this is you become a jack of all trades, master of none.

“You don’t have to be good at everything,” says Patrick Witham, president & CEO at Paragon BioTeck, Inc. “One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that I know what I’m good at and I know what I’m really good at, and you can probably fit that in an envelope, but that’s all I really have to be good at.”

When everyone works together and focuses on what they are best at, you can take a deep breath and relax, because others will come to your aid and cover for you in the areas in which you are weak.

You can do it on your own.

When things are going well, you get more confident. When you get more confident, you might rely less on the people around you and take on more decisions by yourself. Sure their advice might have helped, but it was you at the end of the day making the final decisions. And things are working. You are making the right decisions.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, beware of this type of behavior. In business, it’s easy to get so focused on what you are doing that you forget it takes a team to make everything work.

“Our company solves some of the largest problems in getting new medication­s and devices through regulatory processes,” Witham says. “What we do is relational­ly driven . ... It’s surroundin­g yourself with strong partners that have different competenci­es than you. That is what allows us to solve our client’s problems. Leverage your relationsh­ips and expertise. Create and develop a relationsh­ip where both parties can get value.”

Never admit your mistakes.

People who make mistakes feel that others will hold that mistake over their head, because a former colleague or friend has done so. And the only way for you to get out of someone holding something against you ever again is to never admit you did anything wrong, right?

“Instead, you should admit your mistakes and let others see you sweat,” says Michael Dennin, vice provost for teaching and learning and the dean of undergradu­ate education at the University California, Irvine. “Leadership requires appropriat­e ownership of errors and then moving forward from them.”

When you take responsibi­lity for your actions, others will turn to you as someone they can trust. This in turn strengthen­s your leadership position.

Leadership can’t be learned.

You may be thinking that leaders are born with their traits, and that it is impossible to learn or develop the skills to become someone who influences others.

“Don’t wait for a leadership opportunit­y to find you,” Dennin says. “Go to college, or if you can’t find the time to go to college, find educationa­l tools, resources or leverage the technology that is right in front of you and learn about leadership. Use what you learn to create opportunit­ies to practice your skills, and with hard work and a positive attitude, you will become the leader you always wanted to be.”

Whether you’re a business owner, an executive or an employee who is barely hanging onto their job, these misbeliefs are holding you back. Challenge your beliefs, create new ones and conquer your career before it’s too late.


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