Five responses that sabotage our success (happiness)

There is a vast array of information available on what to do to be successful.  After all, success leaves clues and so studying successful people gives us a role model and pattern to follow in their footsteps.  I do this myself.  However, some of the lessons also come from seeing how certain responses not only do not produce success or happiness, they can actually thwart it.  So even when the desire is there, if we do not guard against these responses we will not see optimal results.

Thrush on roof slopeIn Jim Rohn’s teachings, he talks about two words from the Bible that are appropriate when thinking about this.  Behold and beware.  Behold what wonders can be achieved!  Beware what stands between you and success.  We need to be continuously scanning our horizons, internally and externally for both.  I’ve studied the “beware” more deeply over the past year looking at various examples from history and also my own life and determined that for me, there are essentially five responses that go into that column.

Fear or worry – Pure and simple, it is  a waste of a good imagination.  I find myself playing out the most horrific scenes in my head of what could happen from just small bits of information that may or may not even be accurate.  Far better to recognize when fear or worry is creeping in and have a built-in response meter to eradicate it.  One trick I learned here is from Brian Tracy.  Whatever you fear – determine that absolute worst case scenario and then come up with a plan for how you will deal with it if it happens.  Just knowing what you will do removes the fear and in most cases, eliminates even the threat.

Blame – The blame game is so destructive.  Not my fault.  Not my responsibility.  Seriously?  When is that?  My motto has become – “assume it’s you”.  Assume it is up to you to take responsibility.  We must stop looking for excuses outside of ourselves and own our lives.

Judgment  – This was a tough one for me because I honestly thought of myself as a very open-minded person.  What I found however was that I judged people far more than I realized.  We all have a story going on at any given time and we rarely know the story of everyone we are hearing about or interacting with.  You just simply do not know.  I had one particular person that had been extremely difficult to work with on a project and I just decided that she was never going to be pleased with anything.  One of those folks for whom it seems water is never wet enough.  But in fact, she was going through an extremely hard time with a young child having heart surgery and needed compassion, not judgment.  Once I got past judging her response to me and started working on my response to her, the whole dynamic shifted.  Do you see how these start working together?  One leads to the other.  We judge and then we blame.  And from there we fear.  Taking responsibility (and shifting perspective) clears them all.

Envy/Jealousy – This is a battleground we all visit from time to time.   When I start feeling a negative response to someone I go here first.  Is there something that is evoking envy or jealousy?  If so – what is it and why is my button getting pushed?   With some shift in perspective, we can morph envy and jealousy into hope and determination.  We know that something can be done or achieved because it has been.  There’s the hope.  The determination then is that we can also do it if we choose.  Our choice.  Our responsibility.. there’s that common thread again.

Defeat – Last but not least is that voice inside all of our heads that says we’ve lost.  That we failed.  That there are no other chances.  When I sense the cloud of defeat settling in I simply ask myself three questions.  First is to figure out if I had been clear about what I wanted or intended since that is sometimes my weakness.  The goal moves because it was never set and it becomes like the proverbial carrot on a stick I can never reach.  The second question is to determine what might have changed that would have interfered with my plan.  Our lives are in constant flux.  There have been several times this past year where I set an intention and then things happened that meant some real shuffling and adapting.  If we don’t review goals when that happens and adjust, it can lead to a sense of defeat that isn’t valid or fair.  And finally, I ask if it really matters.  If it does, I just come up with the next plan.  Plan A is just first.  It is hardly ever last.  Plans B to Z are always there.  If it doesn’t matter, then I let it go and move on to the next thing.

Behold and beware.   Sounds like a best practice to me.


About Kathi Laughman

Referred to by her clients as “The Plan B to Z Expert”, Kathi inspires them to see beyond probabilities to possibilities. They are stronger, happier and more financially secure than ever before. The result is the creation of far more value in the rest of their story than they ever dreamed possible. She serves professionals committed to continuously creating new pathways to success and significance.


  1. I love the idea of looking internally when dealing with barriers to success. It seems that too often the initial response is to look everywhere but ourselves. But even if some blame/responsibility lies elsewhere, we can’t change anyone but ourselves. So might as well start there.

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