Roy's Blog

January 14, 2019

6 mammoth barriers to being successful

What’s preventing you from reaching your career goals?

I’ve completed more than three decades of leadership. I’ve seen many people achieve beyond their wildest expectations and I’ve witnessed individuals fall short of realizing their dreams.

Why are some successful and others are not?

My conclusions are not based on science, but rather on observing over many years that individuals who are blocked by the following barriers tend to underachieve while those who avoid them perform better and realize greater success.


Not enough contacts

Some people simply don’t have enough contacts; their network is too small to effectively exploit the potential opportunities that are out there.

A broad network exposes more possibilities; a narrow network is more restrictive and is likely to present chances in fewer disciplines to choose from.

To avoid this barrier, develop a game plan to expand your personal network. Remember to target quality contacts rather than trying to acquire arbitrary social media connections.

You will get a higher return (measured by the potential to supply you with job opportunities) from 100 quality LinkedIn connections, for example, than 1,000 Twitter followers or FB friends.

Too much reliance on education

Of course education is vital to success but don’t count on it to make you successful.

I look at an academic pedigree as the ante to play the career game. You need the piece of paper to play the game but it won’t guarantee you’ll win it.

Too many young professionals enter the work world expecting to be treated favourably because they have toiled for 8 years to graduate with status in a specific discipline. They feel entitled to get the opportunities that come available because of the knowledge they’ve gained.

But that’s not the way it works. Success depends on what you DO with what you know; how you leverage your knowledge into amazing results for who you work for.
So take your piece of paper, suck everything you can out of it you can, and DO stuff with it.
The more clever you are at getting stuff done, the more successful you’ll be.

The other barrier associated with education is the tendency for everyone to approach problem solving the same way. They were taught a specific way to do things at school and they relentlessly comply with the academic rules leaving no room to be different.
Compliance leaves you like everyone else; approaching things differently will make you standout and more successful.

Copying others

There is too much emphasis on copying others under the guise of innovation.


Copying best practices and doing what best in class organizations do runs rampant.
When faced with a “How should we do this?” challenge, the first response by most professionals is to find a best practise and try to copy and implement it.

Successful people don’t automatically turn to a solution that someone else has thought of and used; they search for a unique approach that stands out from the crowd of best practices to become THE best practice.
The successful aspire to BE the benchmark for others to copy.

Copying is the antithesis of creativity; don’t be lured into believing that emulation is the route to anything else but what the crowd does.

The wrong kind of mentor

Someone who is intellectually brilliant but has never DONE much to successfully implement a worthy solution in the real world unfortunately attracts mentees.

Young people looking for a mentor are infatuated by the number of letters behind a person’s name as opposed to the list of things they have successfully implemented in the face of chaotic market forces.

This is a huge barrier to success because it assumes high performance comes from the intellect and it doesn’t. It comes from the passion and “fire in the belly” of individuals who are driven to achieve.

Find a mentor who has a rich history of accomplishments; someone who has demonstrated they are unafraid of getting dirty to deliver. Listen to THAT person rather than the IQ ladened one.

Not staying on the learning path

Some people fall victim to believing that there are limits to what you have to learn to achieve success; that once you have amassed a certain amount of knowledge you can stop the learning process.


It’s almost like they believe the momentum created by what they’ve learned up to now will carry them into the future.
Wrong! Success is achieved not by a “one hit wonder” but by a continuous stream of awesome accomplishments over the long term. It’s a function of performing consistently at a high level.

And the only way long term a high level of consistency can be attained is by learning 24X7X365 because the world keeps changing and the only way to keep up and adapt is to stream new knowledge into your head constantly.

Reliance on what worked yesterday

What got you here will surely get you to where you need to go, right?

After all, you’ve been successful doing certain things well and it paid off, so why wouldn’t it continue to pay off in the future?

The truth is, if your new challenge had all the properties of the past challenges you successfully defeated, then maybe you could get by with sticking to the practices that worked for you then.

But that’s not the real world. Things change and there’s no such thing as a challenge that “looks” the same as yesterday. The world changes. New competitors enter. Technology disruption happens. Customer demands change.

NOTHING stays the same.

So if you really think sticking to your tried and true strategy and approach to your job will keep working into an environment of constant change and unpredictability, good luck with that.

It won’t. Successful people always ask themselves what they have to do differently with each new experience.

6 barriers to success, but all can be overcome with just a little bit of a different attitude.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead book series

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  • Posted 1.14.19 at 03:18 am by Roy Osing
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