5 Reasons Why Trying to be
Successful Will Keep You Poor

image of woman putting money in her pocket

Dave Navarro wrote recently that worrying about what you’re doing (or not doing) is the surest way to keep you poor and unsuccessful.

It’s a cracking article with a heap of good points, one of them being that the key difference in the way successful people operate is that they see failure as an integral part of the process of achieving success.

That’s true. Unless you plan on spending all your time underneath your duvet, failure is in your destiny. Trying to minimize or avoid failure will not help you be successful.

But here’s the thing. Trying to be successful will not help you actually become successful, either.

The problem with success

You’re probably here because you want to be a successful person. You want the material and emotional benefits that come with that.

That’s awesome and I want it to happen for you. But while there’s nothing wrong with success, there are five important reasons why success for its own sake is the wrong focus:

1. Success is a moving target

Be honest, what’s success for you?

  • Is it about launching a product and having people buy it?
  • Is it about having respect from your peers and mentors?
  • Is it about doing what you love so you can care for your family?

Too many people don’t create their own definition of success. They chase an idea they’ve patched together from what they’ve read, observed, or think they should be aiming for.

Do you know the feeling of not being wholly convinced that you’re pursuing the right success for you, but you’ve carried on regardless? That’s not how real success is achieved. Because even if you’re outwardly successful, you’ll feel disconnected from it. Achieving the wrong kind of success will always feel hollow.

2. Success is the wrong motivator

It’s too often based on extrinsic factors — the things you believe success can deliver.

Whether it’s physical goods, the feeling that you’ve “made it,” or thinking you’ll be free of worry and stress, these are all externalized projections about what a successful lifestyle will bring you.

When you make decisions based on an external motivator, it’s much easier to second-guess yourself. Motivation that comes from within is much more grounded and more powerful.

3. Success isn’t here, now

If you’re working hard to make something happen, it’s easy to dream about the moment you become successful. We all tend to fantastize about that big pay-off for all our hard work.

That kind of success is always elusively around the next bend. Just a few more weeks or months away. Just a bit more work, and you’ll finally be successful.

But what about now? What’s stopping you from feeling like a success right now, this very moment? Waiting for success in the future takes you out of the game in the present.

4. Success does not eliminate worry or fear

Being successful does not change how your brain works.

Success often increases worry and fear, as you question how you can repeat it or worry about losing it.

What eliminates worry and fear is shifting the patterns of thinking that result in self-doubt and second-guessing.

5. Success is limited by confidence

Perhaps most important, any success you might experience is limited by your self-confidence.

If success is achieved by taking repeated, meaningful action, then what happens if you’re not confident enough to take the actions that scare the crap out of you?

What will you do when things go wrong? Without confidence, you’ll be more inclined to retreat, beat yourself up, and reinforce a negative self-image. Nasty.

Placing your efforts on being a “successful person” is putting energy into the wrong place. It’s allowing in the complications I’ve listed above (and there are more that I haven’t listed) and ignoring how you’re thinking about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it right now.

Instead, what I’m suggesting is that you place your focus squarely on becoming a confident person, rather than a successful one.

To borrow from Dave’s article:

Success is not a person. It’s an event.

Shift your thinking from being a successful person to a confident one, and you’ll experience more success events and more failure events, both of which have abundant rewards. Here’s how to do it, right now.

Engage, today

I’m always banging on about playing a game that matters, for the simple reason that it forces you to deeply engage with something that has personal meaning. It aligns your efforts with what matters to you and ensures that you’re intrinsically motivated to play to the best of your ability.

If you want to be the best tennis player you can be, it will only really happen if you get enjoyment from the act of playing tennis. Start off with the aim of winning a shiny cup and you’re setting yourself up for struggle and second-guessing.

Forget the rules, just play

Rolling around in your head are expectations about what you can and can’t do, should and shouldn’t do, must and mustn’t do. Then you add in all the expectations you have about other people.

And most brain-numbing of all, you have expectations about what other people expect of you.

Forget all of that and just play. The best tennis players aren’t darting around the court thinking about how they should play the game. They use natural ability and learned skills and strategies to play to their best level.

Take confident action

Confident action is about making deliberate choices.

Confident action is using your values, strengths, and talents to support your decisions and the actions that follow.

Confident action is trusting yourself to make the next decision, no matter how this one turns out.

Listen to the voices

Those voices in your head can be confusing, but you need to listen to them (unless they’re telling you to set fire to the town hall), because that’s the only way to recognize what’s real and what’s imagined.

You don’t want to let those voices control your thinking, or you’ll be running in circles forever. But you do want to start paying attention to them, noticing the difference between the voice of fear and one of your best assets, your intuiton.

It’s by acknowledging what goes on in your head that you learn about what serves you well and what holds you back. You learn the voice of imagined fear, you learn the voice of solid doubt (and can take appropriate action in response to those risks), and you learn the still, quiet voice of intuition that will always tell you what you need to know.

Decide what’s important

Don’t shoot the messenger, but things will go wrong and you will screw up.

The good news is that you always get to choose how you think about what goes wrong. A screw-up is only a big deal if you decide it is. By looking at it in a different way, there’s no need to retreat or beat yourself up.

Plus, simply because you’re intrinsically motivated by playing a game that matters, the idea of “failure” has far less power than if you’re extrinsically motivated, and sometimes the power of “failure” disappears completely. You get to decide what’s important.

The real difference that makes success happen

Don’t think in terms of successful people or unsuccessul people. We all experience success and failure throughout our lives — remember, success and failure are not people, they’re events.

People experience success because they’ve achieved a level of natural self-confidence that allows them to take meaningful action.

They’ve achieved a level of natural self-confidence that allows them to trust their behavior, rather than focusing on the outcome of that behavior.

I want to know what you think. How do you see confidence and success? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author: As a leading confidence coach with clients around the world, Steve Errey has a reputation for talking sense and getting results. Get more from him at The Confidence Guy.

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Comments

  1. Thought-provoking end-of-the-week post. I’ve got friends & family conversing with me over their business plans and how to market on various channels. And I’m wondering if some of them are shooting themselves in the foot by not having some of the focus needed in what you’ve outlined above. Thanks for this, will be chewing and discussing over it all weekend.

  2. Hi Steve,

    These are all great reasons why success for itself is not the right focus. I also want to add that just because you’re successful in one area of your life, doesn’t mean that you aren’t struggling with other areas of your life. How many times do we see a person be so succesful in their career or business and yet do not have close relationhships with their family or friends? Or the person who is successful according to different standards.

    I think we should listen to our own definitions of success and not let others define it for us.

    Karen

  3. I think the important thing is to align yourself with the way hope you will feel when you achieve whatever it is you believe you want. If you want success because you think then you will be confident, you have to learn to reinforce confident feelings now.

    Otherwise, like you say, you will be constantly striving and never arriving.

    Those nights when I write something so totally awesome that I almost can’t fall asleep are the nights that I know I have succeeded. Regardless of anyone else’s opinion of the work, I have arrived where I want to be. I know if I get there often enough, I will create a living that sustains those feelings.

    Thanks for the reminder that I am on track.

  4. Really wish I could “share” this on Facebook…how about adding a link to do so? :)

  5. focusing on what we are doing now is more important than focussing on success

  6. Thanks for this post. I look at failure as a failure of me as a person instead of as a learning tool or the idea that it means I am actually playing in the game. I am working on changing my notions. This post helps.

  7. Oops, I meant in the newsletter, not actually from the website.

  8. Thank you for a great thought provoking post.

    I for one, am guilty of following/targeting success and not thinking about the present.

    I should be enjoying the process too. But we always get impressed by seeing successful people.

    I think I will have to shift my focus to the process of achieving, not success, but what I want to do.

  9. Hey Steve,

    By developing the confidence anyone can achieve any level of success. Most likely the best way to develop the confidence is by taking action.

    Have a great weekend…
    Josh

  10. Those voices in your head can be confusing, but you need to listen to them (unless they’re telling you to set fire to the town hall).

    Haha classic

  11. Hi Steve,

    Your points are right on — especially about confidence and the external factors.

    Confidence to take action, make mistakes and not care what others think — now that’s powerful!

    Enjoy your day!

  12. I could not agree more. Success is sometimes over rated. And yes people do have the misconception that being a self employed person is all fame and glory. Well just ain’t so. There is in my opinion more stress in this position just because there is no one else to look to when things do go wrong. But on the up swing Steve’s point is 100% correct in staying that you can not let all those what if’s and pre problem ideas become a focus. Your advice was great Steve, and keep on sharing.
    Thanks for a great read, copyblogger till next time V.H.

  13. Excellent post Steve. You’ve revealed some myths and traps regarding success.

    I’ve noticed a big enemy of success is success. It’s all too easy to act like “I’ve arrived” and hit the autopilot.

    Celebrate the milestones then keep on climbing.

    Success isn’t the point of it all. Growing and contributing all you can is the point. A tree never stops growing until the day it dies. It never parks itself to say “This is good enough.”

  14. I really enjoyed reading this post today. The part I liked best – Forget the rules, just play – I was able to cut out of work early yesterday and play golf. I struggled on the front nine with all the thoughts running through my head of what I need to be doing to improve my score and be successful on the course. The result was several blow-up holes.

    As I turned the corner and headed to the back nine, my focus shifted. I wasn’t on the driving range practicing my swing. I was on the course playing and it was game day. It was all about having confidence in my swing and playing at my best level. The difference was seven less strokes. It was a tremendous improvement and it was all about confidence!

    Thanks for the share and motivation for the day!

    Best, Todd

  15. Point#5 about success being limited by confidence resonates with me. I’m working on having the confidence that breeds success, especially since it’s something I teach virtual assistants in our coaching programs. When we come across with confidence, success does follow!

  16. This is great stuff. I think it even carries over into the discussion about ROI that always keeps coming back around. Some of the most successful companies are the ones that matter. And it seems to me that a company can’t really matter unless they take changes and are confident in their daily efforts. Thanks, this was a great Friday read!

  17. Excellent advise. Although I wouldn’t like to undermine the “craving for success” — wanting to succeed isn’t as bad as it sounds. The problem stems with wanting to succeed without putting in much effort and then getting bogged down by small failures.

  18. Or you can just shift your definition of success. I think Earl Nightingale said it best, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”

  19. Some excellent points you made Steve.

  20. @Jessica, there’s a “share on Facebook” button at the very end of the post, right after Steve’s bio. :)

    I really like the idea of focusing on confidence (which I can work on directly) vs. success (which is an output that I may or may not be able to control). I’ve never framed things quite this way, I like it. Thanks Steve!

  21. @Rick: Food for thought indeed, but sometimes it just needs enough confidence to take a leap of faith rather than plan every last detail.

    @Karen: Damn straight! A really good point actually and another reason why success is the wrong focus and why it can leave other gaps in your life. Confidence baby, confidence.

    @Tammi: Exactly. Those nights when you’re writing and things are flowing are when you’re in the game and playing to your best ability. That’s what counts, not what that activity might bring.

    @Jessica: While Brian sorts that out (!), feel free to Facebook it manually to your hearts content :)

    @Nessa: Failure does NOT mean you’ve failed as a person. No way. It means you’re playing a game that matters to you and willing to practice. That’s only every a good thing. Let me know how I can help.

    @Jessica: Hey, let’s do it from here too ;)

    @Nabeel: I get distracted by other people’s success, and sometimes even frustrated by it. As soon as I feel that coming on I tell myself to start playing.

    @Josh: Couldn’t agree more. There’s a strange catch-22 though. Taking action is the way to build confidence and have more success (events), but without enough confidence it’s hard to take action. That’s where you need to take a leap of faith.

    @John: Happened to a friend of mine. Just kidding.

    @Lisa: Powerful indeed – that’s why I love what I do!

    @Vern: Thanks so much Vern. Success is indeed over-rated and is over-used as the focus of much of what we do. Playing a game that matters – that’s the thing.

    @Toronto: I forgot to mention “celebrate the milestones” and that’s a great point. YOu have to acknowledge and celebrate what you achieve, but as long as the game is one you loveplaying, keep on playing.

    @Todd: Love it Todd, with your permission I might even use that story as an example in an upcoming article. Keep on playing.

    @Sue: Success is indeed limited by confidence, but so is every other part of life. It all starts with you.

    @Jon-Mikel: Interesting point. Often the most successul companies are the ones who know what games they want to play and how it matters, and are confident in their ability not only to play well, but to learn to play better.

  22. Great post. Confidence is born of many things, rarely affirmations. For me the best motivator is, why not?

  23. Taking Confident Action is the part I like the best in this excellent post. I think by taking confident action it’s exactly the level of maturity you want to be in to achieve anything you like.

    Great information and thanks for sharing it :)

  24. Great article, and you’re right. Success is not a powerful enough motivator. It’s too vague and generic.

  25. I like the idea that everybody should define for themselves what success means to them. Unfortunately most of the times we chase the idea of success by looking at other people. Also acknowledge that failure is the part of the journey. The most important thing is taking action.

  26. It’s important to remember that self confidence is not the absence of anxiety and fear. In fact, I would say that many of us who have experienced “success” in life have done so by clawing through some periods when it seemed we’d never see light again. That’s certainly true for me.

    You’ll never experience success unless it is YOUR success, defined by your values and principles. Otherwise you’ll be chasing someone else’s ideal and it will never satisfy.

    Keep in mind that in terms of the material perqs of success, that humans have a built in adaptation to hedonic stimulation. The car, house, clothes, and HDTV that you desperately hunger for become routine and familiar. This is not a character flaw. It is part of the normal psychological leveling out that keeps us sane.

  27. What a great post! Makes me stop and think why I do what I do. I’ve always worked hard at being a high achiever and started reading motivational books when Zig Ziglar still had hair.

    I’m older than dirt, now, but still motivated to find new things to get excited about. The web has opened up a whole new world for me and I love it! I try hard every day to be the best that I can be at everything I do. I always know that “something good is going to happen today”.

    Success is just a word. Find something to be passionate about and “just do it, baby”! Set goals and work toward them, setting the bar higher every so often. When you’re passionate about something, success will follow.

    I love Mike Ditka’s quote (he probably stole it from someone, but I’ll attribute it to him anyway).

    “Before you can win, you have to believe you are worthy.”

    Thanks, Steve, for some great things to think about.

    Steve Benedict

  28. Steve,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! I’ve had similar ideas about “success”. I have never been comfortable with saying “I’m a success.” I so agree…”Success is not a person. It’s an event.”…a set of experiences over time. I love your emphasis on channeling one’s energy to improving confidence. So spot on. Thank you!

  29. Very thought provoking article. Two thumbs up!

  30. Great post – you just earned yourself a new subscriber. Thanks for the new spin (new to me anyway) on success; a concept that to me has always seemed so illusory.

    Two years ago I decided I needed a new hobby; something active and outdoorsy but I also wanted something challenging, outside my comfort zone… I signed up for a novice white water kayaking class. While reading your post I drew so many parallels to the challenges I face learning this new discipline. A river run is definitely speckled with success and failure; and the only way to get to the beer waiting at the end, is to get back in the boat and keep playing:)

  31. Great article, and I do agree with some of your points. I wanted to point this out:

    “To borrow from Dave’s article:

    Success is not a person. It’s an event.”

    I would disagree in the sense that success is a mindset that brings about those rewarding events that result in more confidence. The successful person isn’t affected by confidence, they aren’t brought down by negative feedback, they simply portray confidence when they believe in their successful mindset, which is still simply them being the success they want. Them doing it.

    I think success can be all of the things listed when it is internalized, i.e. comes from within, and is put into action in the form of confidence and enthusiasm.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post :)

  32. I’m not afraid of failure, or learning, or growing. What I am afraid of, 15 months after losing a really nice job and not being able to replace it, is keeping a roof over my head and food in my belly. Success to me today is being able to accomplish both those through freelancing and blogging.

    Until those needs are taken care of, the rest is all academic. I realize that you’re probably writing for those who are higher up Maslow’s Hierarchy than I am at this moment in my life, but don’t ignore those of us down at the bottom who are working like hell to “succeed” at that basic level.

    All the confidence in the world won’t help if you’re not able to provide for your most basic physical needs. Even if you’re confident that situation is temporary.

  33. I so agree. Failure is not necessarily a negative. You learn so many things in the process. I know. I’ve been there and it sucked. But now I know what NOT to do (and who NOT to hire!) I just failed at building my website by myself. Give up? No. Finally convince one of the people I asked for help two years ago that I need it? YES! Life is good! :) (too bad it took two years)

  34. After meeting Scott Porad the idea of “Forget the rules, just play” was really taken to heart. Who knew that cat pictures with funny quotes meant success? I am delighted that fun often drives passion. Also great to hear that tripping on my own feet might not be a bad thing as I learn, learning is good. Getting over the embarrassment part is another story, but I bet that is human as well.

  35. Great article,
    its so nice to read things that take us back to our centre.
    Lets forget about the success and failure and just
    ‘get amongst it’
    cheers Ron.

  36. “Too many people …chase an idea..,[they] think they should be aiming for.”

    A friend of mine calls that “shoulding all over yourself.”

  37. I totally agree with you. I was trying to be successful with my franchised food business before but it only end me up worrying more and caused a lot of fight between me and my husband. I was so afraid that he would think that I am a failure so I still hang on eventhough I know it’s already a dead end for my business.

    Thanks a lot for this eye opening article.

  38. This is an excellent article. I particularly like your main point that success is an event, not a person. Confidence can enable you to enjoy life, rather than chasing a goal that is like a bird in the gun sights – always moving ahead of where you think you’re shooting.

  39. You’re right. Success must not be the focus. I think it’s better to have little goals at a time and as you climb the ladder of success. And while your at it, it’s always good to keep a positive attitude. Over the years, I find that when pessimism strikes me things really go awful. There must be some sort of magnet with the kind of outlook one has. For other tips on keeping the attitude up here’s an article I want to share http://sn.im/wyew5

  40. Great post Steve, this is the first time I have visited your blog. Inner Success is so much more gratifying than the Success others see.

  41. Steve, I would love to contribute whatever I can to your upcoming article. Let me know if I can expand on the story.

    Best, Todd

  42. Vincent Leleux :

    This is truly one of the most powerful and wise article I ever read

  43. What a great article on success, it’s really about making smart actions, doing what is in front of you, having fun and being happy. Then you’re a big success…

  44. What a geat post ..just choose what you want to be a success in, set your target and aim ..then re-group and choose your next one…rinse and repeat …love it

  45. @HowToPlaza: Nothing wrong with “craving for success”, unless it diverts you away from what matters and shifts your focus onto the purely external. Starting from the inside-out is – in my opinion – the way to go. You’re right though, people sometimes expect “success” but aren’t willing to put in the effort or get in the game.

    @RJ Weiss: Nicely said, but I’d never encourage someone to pick up someone else’s definition of success unless it really resonates.

    @Kevin: Thanks my friend.

    @Sonia: Nice distinction Sonia. Success is an event that may or may not happen, but it’s more likely to be part of your experience if you work on your self-confidence. Thanks.

    @Karen: Absolutely agree – have you seen my post “What the Hell?” – go take a look ;)

    @Katherine: You’re very welcome, glad you enjoyed it.

    @Chris: I’m with ya fella.

    @Khush: Too true, and that’s where people run into real problems. Nicely said.

    @Brian: Really great point Brian. Confidence is not the absence of fear, it’s simply trusting yourself enough to mak decisions even though you might be shaking in your boots. I also agree that there’s nothing wrong with outer success. I love my widescreen TV and comfy armchair, and I love a nice holiday for example. Outer success and inner success are both valid and both *needed* – you just have to find the right mix for you. Thanks so much for the comment.

    @Steve: Love your comment Steve and I haven’t come across that quotation before so thanks for that. Keep on doing what you’re doign because it’s clearly working!

    @Latoya: Thank you! You’re allowed to say “I’m a success” when you experience a success, and it’s important to acknowledge when something you’ve been engaging with has paid off. Just don’t let that be the end point.

    @Mckinley: Thanks!

    @Debbie: And it’s lovely to have you :) Love the white water story and metaphor – how brilliant to throw yourself into something so difficult, not sure I’d have the guts!

    @Brandon: Not sure I agree when you say that success is a mindset. The mindset is one of being willing to engage with something that matters and not letting setbacks throw you off track. It’s a mindset of possibility and funtion rather than disappointment and dysfunction. And every single one of us is affected by confidence, successful or not. Thanks for your comment Brandon.

    @Susanna: Really sorry to hear about your situation. That sucks. Success is a scale, for sure, and sometimes it’s about survival. With that said, confidence is about trusting yourself to make decisions with implicit trust in that decision. And then trusting that you can make another decision. Whatever situation you find yourself in that’s worth its weight in gold. I hope things turn around for you Susanna, don’t let the fact that things are touch divert you from your ability to make decisions.

    @Christina: Good stuff – thanks for the comment :)

    @Lyndi: Hehehe, yeah, embarrasment can be part of it. But at least you get some stories out of it, and isn’t laughing at yourself one of the fundamentals of living?

    @Ron: Awesome, thanks Ron.

    @Jodi: Hehehe, I heard that too – an awesome quote.

    @Mondex1: Glad you found it useful – what’s next for you?

    @Janice: Exactly right Janice, I believe that confidence is the quality that allows you to make life simpler, more graceful and more fun.

    @MH Zurish: It’s when you listen and act on that pessimism that you get into trouble. Nothing wrong with retreating or regrouping sometimes, but never forget your ability to make a decision that serves you well.

    @Randall: Thanks for feedback Randall – appreciate it.

    @Todd: Will do – thanks!

    @Kevin: I think it’s just about trusting yourself to make decisions. Some of those will result in “smart actions” and some won’t – the important thing is that you’re in the game. Thanks for the comment Kevin!

  46. Agree that success is defined by your personal sense of confidence and satisfaction.

    You probably have all heard about being parachuted into the middle of Arizona with a map to Phoenix. That is all well and good, but first you need to know where you are at. That is the part of having self confidence and knowing yourself.

    But you still need dreams and goals. These are your map. There is a self indulgent tendancy to dismiss goals and dreams. If you don’t have these you will just “wander.”

  47. Hi guys,

    I want to be Successful. But not Poor. I never thought trying to be successful could keep you poor. Interesting blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Kind regards,
    Sam
    X

  48. If success is an event (and I like this idea) then one of the blind alleys on the way there is comparing yourself with others. Asking: who’s “more successful” than me?, and how did they get there?, and I’ll never be able to do that so I’ll never get to success!, and other unhelpful thought processes that accompany the comparison game.

    Bravo Steve – an enriching piece.

  49. waou. thanks for a great message, just what I needed to read. That motivates me. I have never thought this before, the difference between succes and succesful. great post

  50. Great advice.

    Personally, I’ve spent many hours thinking about success, how to achieve it, and the moment when you actually become successful or when it becomes apparent. The conclusion I’ve reached is that the vast majority of people will simply never be satisfied with what they have. Once you reach your goals, you set new ones and strive to achieve those goals – achieve success – and so on and so forth.

    Hence, for me anyway, success is merely a dangling carrot for people. We all need motivation, and what better than to be motivated by the success illusion.

  51. Success only comes from being who you should be first.

  52. In response to Mark Atkinson: I like what Jim Rohn says ‘The major reason for setting a goal is what it makes of you to accomplish it.’
    Success is not just achieving the goals you set, but becoming a better person in the process.
    If you don’t know anything of Jim Rohn – a business philosopher who unfortunately died earlier this year – you can follow a link on my web site, or look for his name directly.

  53. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of defining YOUR own success. It’s really easy to get bogged down with half-baked ideas that can be counterproductive.

  54. Hello Steve. If there’s one thing that this blog post has done to me is to shift my mindset. Focusing on being a more confident person than being a more successful person.

    I’ve read that article by Dave Navarro and I thought I had understood it but now you have made it even clearer for me (in a very simple way). Thank you, Steve.

  55. Wonderful post! Like you say, we will all experience both successes and failures. If you don’t have a foundation of confidence that allows you to believe and trust in yourself during the bad times, you won’t be able to make it to the next good time. Conversely, confidence and success are a self-perpetuating cycle. The more you believe and trust in yourself, the more likely you’ll be to try, try again until you achieve your next success.

  56. Janice, that may be ring true in many respects. I think the point I am trying to get at is that success is a subjective trait. Somebody else may view you as successful, although you may think otherwise and still be striving for success.
    A person who is deemed to be successful by one person will not necessarily be seen as successful by another.

    In my opinion, success comes when you are satisfied with your contributions to the world, and are happy with where you are and where you are headed.

  57. To MarkAtkinson; thank you for your further comments, and I see what you are meaning. Success is subjective, as you say.
    This has been an interesting blog post and comments page! Very thought provoking, thank you Steve.

  58. @Mike: Dreams and destinations, sure. But without knowing where you are and what you’ve got the journey to those places will be more of a struggle. Confidence is the quality that allow you to trust yourself to make a meaningful journey and deal with whatever happens along the way.

    @Samantha: Trying to be successfull in the *wrong ways* will keep you poor and frustrated. The focus has to shift and then you can move freely. Thanks Sam.

    @Jill: Really good point Jill – basing your actions and decisions on comparisons with other people ain’t gonna end well.

    @Jakob: You’re welcome :)

    @Mark: That’s my problem with goals – that the emphasis becomes achieving a goal but the goal itself might not be something that matters. Meaningful success – that’s the thing.

    @Jeff: Damn straight.

    @Janice: I really like and have noticed it in my work – the journey is what matters, not necessarily the destination. I’ll check out Jim Rohn – thanks.

    @Lou: You’re very welcome.

    @Rezdwan: Thanks so much, great to hear it’s had an impact!

    @Michelle: That foundation of confidence – natural confidence – is what it’s all about and what I get so fired up about. It opens up so much possibility but does it with grace and simplicity.

    @Mark: I agree – success is really a values-based interpretation of where you are. If where you are meets and honours your values then it’s easy to think of it as success.

    @Janice: I’m enjoying the comments too Janice – thanks for your thoughts.

  59. Excellent post. I agree that we should take action and don’t worry about the result that would come out from the action that we took. Have confidence and belief on what you know will work. If it doesn’t, then try another thing. We should embrace failure, because by failing, we will succeed. Just keep in mind to keep on moving forward and don’t give up if we encounter one failure.

    Regards,

    Gary

  60. Thanks for this post. It’s true. People are so caught up in what others are doing and how they are doing it that they forget to join in the game themselves.

    There is plenty of “success” for everyone. You just have to take that first step.

    Thanks again for this post.

  61. Really important part of this post is “Take confident action”. I think most of the bloggers out there are not taking actions and that separates them from other successful bloggers. If we just keep on taking action towards our goal then we’ll be confident with every goal that we achieve.

  62. Steve,
    Thanks for reminding us that failures are mere events not who we are. One thing I take from leadership experience is the fact that decisions are made every day, some result in success and some not so much. The trick is to improve your average. I like the focus on self confidence. The more decisions you make, and right ones, the more confidence you build. Thanks again for guest posting.
    Scott

  63. In the powerful words of Nike….Just Do it!

    It’s funny how a simple slogan can have such a powerful impact in so many ways.

    It gets you off your butt.
    It strips away fear.
    It Motivates.
    It impacts the bottom line.

    Cheers!
    Ryan
    RumShopRyan.com

  64. I like the “place your focus squarely on becoming a confident person, rather than a successful one.” Einstein said something that sounded similar: “Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.” By focusing on values, making decisions and taking actions is much easier. And the more decisions you make, the more confident you get.
    Thanks for the great tips.

  65. I think success is when you know you are in a place of peace with yourself and you can accept any outcome of whatever you are doing with the mindset that no matter what happens you can handle anything.

  66. Andrea, I sort of agree with you. I believe that success occurs when you are flexible enough to allow for possibilities. If you’re fixed on how an outcome is supposed to look, you may be disappointed.

  67. Excellent post! tweet for you!

  68. In my opinion, this is my favorite post on this blog. I must really commend your effort to produce this great piece, Steve.

    The most important advice anyone can ever get is: “Be who you want to be. You have got the power of choice. It’s in your power to determine what happens around you. Nothing happens to you without your consent.”

    “Don’t think in terms of successful people or unsuccessul people. We all experience success and failure throughout our lives — remember, success and failure are not people, they’re events.” Those are your words and you wouldn’t have said it any better than this. Many of the people that have attained success today have failed to believe that it’s just an event. They have personalized it. They dwell on their past glories and refuse to move ahead because they have not paid attention to the events that brings success, hence the essence of constantly seeking for the development of our self confidence.

    Success, as it is is built on the pillars of self confidence and self realization.

    I’ll end with this: “The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.” – Alan Ashley-Pitt

    Cheers!

    Seun Kilanko

  69. I love the emphasis that success and failure are events, not people. Making this distinction should make it easier to make positive, self-growth based decisions after said event. All of which will be a great confidence booster.

  70. Of course, there’s such a thing as too much confidence – which cuts in right at the point where you’re no longer learning from what happens around you (success and failure, if you like), but are pursuing your line with total and unshakeable confidence that it’s the right one, in the face of the evidence. We’ve all seen that, I think.

    Confidence needs to be connected to the events that are occurring around you, but not controlled by them.

  71. @Gary: It’s that ability to keep on making decisions and trusting yourself to make decisions that counts. There where the difference is.

    @Ja-Nae: Agreed!

    @Mahesh: There’s no substitute for action, for sure. It also has a way of supporting natural self-confidence too, as it demonstrates that you *can* impact your world, however big or small.

    @Scott: “The trick is to improve your average” – I like that. To be honest I think that confidence can be built no matter how a decision turns out – the evidence is that you made a decision, followed through and dealt with whatever happened. That’s huge.

    @RumShopRyan: Thanks dude!

    @Michel: First time I’ve been compared to Einstein, thanks ;) Values are a central part of my coaching method, they underpin everything.

    @Andrea: YES! I’m nodding vigourously.

    @Ja-Nae: You’ve got to have a balance of enough focus while allowing for possibility, yes (you know Michael Neill’s BUtterly Principle?). Don’t get attached to a specific end point or outcome as that’s often the wrong focus.

    @Yuri: Thanks!

    @Seun: I was quite pleased with it too, and so pleased to hear you rate it so highly! You make a really good point of how a lot of successful people define themselves by their success and get lost as a result. Nicely said and thanks again :D

    @Valerie: Exactly, thanks Valerie.

    @Mike: Absolutely. That’s why I focus on natural confidence based on what matters to the individual, not a constructed, external sense of confidence. Natural confidence never exists in a vacuum.

  72. All True. Self-confidence is indispensable, and acts a protective skin which allows you to deal with ‘failures’ in whatever you are doing.

    Without it, you will struggle, as others can perceive any lack of self-belief. If you don’t look, sound, smell like you believe in yourself, then no-one else will believe either.

  73. Fear – recently listen to a STAR mention they still had a fear of poverty. It seemed incredible that it was true. This person has a lot of money. So it does show it may never go away but it need not stop you

    Love this list

    Eileen

  74. I enjoyed reading this and found it helpful in getting clear about what success means to me and to put my focus and energy on WHY I am a Core Energy Coach. Staying focused on my passion for Coaching will move and guide me in the right direction for “successfully” building my business.

    Thank You!

    Stephanie

  75. This pointed me in a clearer direction about what success and confidence means. I have been concentrating more on success than building my confidence. Now I see that confidence leads to success.

  76. Thanks for sharing this post. You really highlighted valid points and how success and confidence coexist. Inspiring post :)