What if you Succeed?

Cross that goal line with the ball in hand

You have a dream; it’s so big that you never thought you’d reach it.  Not in a million years.  The thing is, you have been going down the path toward that goal for a few years, and believe it or not, it seems like your BIG goal is just within your grasp.  You reach toward it and get ahold of it; then it starts to slip out of your hands.  It’s like you are that wide-receiver who could have been the hero, but now, with 2 minutes left in the Super Bowl, you are heading toward a zero.  It is not too late, the ball may be wobbling, but you still have a chance. You can still make that catch.  

What is it about your big plans and dreams that scare you?  You have wanted this all your life, yet at this moment, you are subconsciously doing things to self-sabotage your chances of success.  Deep down, no matter how bad you want this, no matter how hard you’ve worked to get here, and no matter the huge level of support you have from your vast network – there is a part of you who is too scared to succeed at your BIG goal.

Make it happen:

1.  Mentally Preparing for Change.

The further along on the path to your version of success you get, you will begin to feel and see the tangible results.  At some point, you’ll realize that your plan just might work.  You are just a skip and a hop from something that, just a few years ago, felt like a moonshot, like you might never reach it.  Change can be scary, and succeeding will bring change.  First, remember – everything will change, eventually – for better or worse.  Even if you stand still and don’t progress any further – change will come. 

I prefer to control my change as much as I can, although that isn’t always possible. If you control your change as much as you can, you will have a much greater chance of living the life you want to be living.  

There are steps you can take to prepare yourself to process and manage the stress that goes along with change:

  • Recognize your worry about the upcoming change
  • Takes steps to focus and relax your mind
  • Plan to own the change, to be “in charge” of the change.  Rather than worrying about what could or might happen, develop a plan for success. Focus on the portions of the new role you can control, set yourself up for success.  This might mean planning your wardrobe and healthy snacks and drinks ahead of time, reading a book that will get your mindset focused, visualizing yourself succeeding in the new role, drafting out a rough plan for your first 100 days on the job.  
  • Focus on the positive and gratitude about the opportunity

2.  The spotlight.  

Some part of you may be afraid that you will have a larger group of people focusing on you, and that will drive more scrutiny of your actions or your suitability for the role you are in.  This is a concern you will have if you are rising within an organization if you are a new solopreneur – trying to grow your business or finding great success in a hobby or other talent you have.  One example is a young lady who shares videos of herself playing her guitar and singing.  She loves singing and has always dreamed of making her living in the music industry. At first, only her friends tell her she is talented. Then, one of her songs strikes the right chord, and her video goes viral.  She starts to get requests to sing at events; the local TV station wants to interview her for a lifestyle piece.  Even though this is precisely what she wanted to happen, she starts to freak out a little about people who are commenting on her video and the media attention – she dreamed it, but she is still surprised by it all.  

Senior leaders in organizations have the entire organization watching them. Think of others like the President of the United States (and I’m talking about all Presidents here). They wanted to be there, but when you think of becoming the head of your own business or an executive, you might picture yourself standing in front of the White House briefing room getting grilled daily.  Hopefully, it won’t be that stressful, but there might be days that feel that demanding.  How do you deal with these concerns? 

  • Build a great team around you.  You do not have to do this alone.  Get to know not only your direct reports, but peers, and even people in other areas of your organization that you can count on, learn from, and collaborate with to deliver value.  When you are prepared and have a great foundation of knowledge and teamwork – you will feel A LOT more confidant, no matter how much scrutiny you get.
  • Politics and agendas.  It is essential to know where other people are coming from and what they care about most.  These could be critical stakeholders, customers, or people in your organization, even people on your current team.  When you get to the root of their motivations, it will be much easier to work with them. Some of this will take time, but this is something to focus on.
  • Manage the expectations of others around you.  This includes your boss, stakeholders, customers, and your team.  Push the envelope, bring excellence, and be honest.  

3.  How to deal with your own self-sabotage.  

Self-sabotage is when you take actions that go directly against what you are striving for, against what you truly desire.  Some examples of this are when you say we want to lose weight but don’t stick to your healthy meal and snack plan, or when you say you are going to get in better shape, then binge-watch TV rather than creating a habit of regular exercise.  As far as executive presence goes, this can happen when you are climbing the career ladder.  It can occur if you are rising in an organization or beginning to find success as an entrepreneur.  Just when you are about to get whatever you were dreaming of, or just when you DO achieve it – you do something to put it in jeopardy.  If you honestly do want it and if you worked this hard to get it, why would you do this?  The answer is (in most cases) that you are not even aware you are self-sabotaging yourself.  

Somewhere internally, you have a deep-seated fear of your success, and you are taking actions against your success to save yourself from it.  This gets kind of deep into psychoanalysis – but there are some simple ways you can begin to combat it.  If you have a hard time conquering this – it could be an excellent reason to seek a counselor to work through the challenges.  

  • First, make yourself aware that you could be self-sabotaging your success.  TRY THIS:  Get your journal out and write out all the reasons that you have been blocked from your version of success to this point.  
  • BE HONEST.  If you feel like you have arrived at your dream job, then ask yourself if you are currently (or in the recent past) taking any actions that go directly against you remaining in that job.  Are you becoming less dependable? Are you doing any self-destructive behaviors? (Examples: Excessive drinking, outlandish behavior, fits of anger.)  Are you procrastinating on an important project? Why?  Get all your thoughts down on paper.  
  • In your journal, organize the top 2 to 3 ways you are self-sabotaging.  Then try to figure out, analyze where this came from.  What is the root cause of these actions?  Have you always had these behaviors and hid them, or are they something new brought on by stress or fear?
  • Draft out an action plan to deal with your top self-sabotage techniques. 

What does this have to do with Executive Presence?

A person with Executive Presence will continue to find success as they grow in their career.  Impostor syndrome and other limiting beliefs may impact you from time to time.  You must continue to raise your self-awareness and monitor your actions for behaviors that could self-sabotage your plans.  There is a reason you are so passionate about your BIG dream, don’t let your fear stand in the way of getting all you ever wanted.  You are intelligent and driven, and just as you have overcome previous obstacles, you will conquer this one too!