6 Ways You Are Crushing Your Own Dreams

You will never amount to anything.

Self-talk, or the thoughts you think to yourself all day long, can do more damage than good. In fact, that self-talk can outright crush your dreams, especially if you are not listening closely to it and identifying whether it is fact or fiction.

Here are six ways that self-talk, or how you communicate with yourself, can crush your dreams.

1.  You deny what you want. You got close to that ideal relationship/career move/new car/dream home once.  And it fell through. So you convinced yourself you really didn’t want it anyway.

2.  You compare yourself to others. Don’t try to fulfill on someone else’s dream. It won’t make you happy. Wanting the car your neighbor has, or the new job your former coworker just landed, isn’t going to make your dreams come true.

3.  You listen to the (2%) negative feedback. If you weight the one or two pieces of constructive – or even outright negative – feedback more heavily than 98% of the feedback that said you did a great job,

4.  You put other people’s need in front of your own. You had an intense day at the office and you are looking forward to relaxing in the evening. Except your spouse needs you to proof-read a work report that is due the next morning. Do you honor your need to relax (and your boundaries), or do you compromise your self-care and help?

5.  You listen to voices from the past. What your parents thought you should be, where your brother thinks you should live or when your college professor said, “You’ll never be a writer.” Those are other people’s voices that need not have any bearing on who you are or what you want to be or do or have. Leave them in the past where they belong.

6.  You sell yourself short. Excessive humility, when it comes to your skills and talents, is a major impediment to your success. If you are the smartest person in the room on the subject, let people know. If you read six books on the subject last month or follow all the top industry experts, don’t be shy. Confidently state your expertise and show your stuff.

What will you do to get out of your own way and stop crushing your own dreams?

Use the Comments below to proudly declare how you will get out of your own way and let your dreams come true.

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    LeadershipLesson10

    Author’s note: This is the eleventh in a series of articles about the leadership lessons learned while hiking Usery Mountain with my 17-year-old son.  Read them all here.

    The desert ground crumbled beneath my feet with each step along this stretch of the rocky trail. Despite my sturdy hiking shoes, I still slipped and tripped with unexpected frequency as the pebbles and rocks skittered under my feet. I outright stumbled when larger rocks protruded from the trail.
    I looked down along this stretch of the trail.
    A lot.
    But looking down came at a cost.
    The view of the next mountain range was spectacular and every moment my eyes were not on it seemed wasted. The artistically drawn reds, browns and oranges layered upon the mountain range was breathtaking. It’s majestic beauty beaconed. It was hard to take my eyes off of her.
    Except for when I slipped.
    Or tripped.
    With each mini-landslide that crumbled beneath me or rock that unexpectedly jutted up from the trail, my attention was immediately diverted back to my feet.
    And then I would miss the view, which seemed to change second by second as the late morning sun danced across the neighboring mountains.
    The juxtaposition between needing to look down and the need (and desire) to look up is not different from that of leadership. Great leaders need to look down and look up.
    First, leaders need to look up and out at the landscape, which includes paying attention to the industry, the marketplace, the competition and any other environmental factors that might make a difference. It also includes opening themselves to a diverse set of ideas and experiences that might prompt creative and innovative ideas. Not unlike actually hiking a mountain.
    A critical part of the leader’s role is to keep a solid eye on the road ahead, including being open to new ideas and thoughts that will help keep a competitive edge, whether that be company-wide or in the leader-from-the-side’s specific domain.
    Second, leaders need to look down. Leaders need to look down (and not in the pejorative sense) so they know what’s going on under their feet (in the metaphorical sense).
    Leaders need to know the current challenges of the people in their organizations. They need to keep a look out for what is working well and what needs improvement. Where people and process are concerned, leaders need to be in the know.
    People are counting on them to know what’s going on, at least provisionally, and when they aren’t in the know, their reputation and leadership capital are at risk.
    The recipe: .
    : One part looking up to see the road ahead.
    : One part looking down to see the impact of your decisions.
    : Blend together and serve.

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    LeadershipLesson10

    Author’s note: This is the tenth in a series of articles about the leadership lessons learned while hiking Usery Mountain with my 17-year-old son.  Read them all here.

    Sometimes on the hike, I could see people far, far ahead of me. With occasional switchbacks and vegetation growing low to the ground, it was easy to spot other hikers, including some that were way ahead of me on the trail, like my son in his neon yellow tank top.

    It was easy to wish that I was where they were. Easy to wish I had covered more ground and faster – remember, my son had a plane to catch – and that I was closer to the summit, just like they were.

    It was easy to wish I was as fit as some of those who were ahead of me.

    It was easy to wish I could hike faster, like my son, whose spirit animal is a mountain goat.

    It was easy to wish I had the hiking boots/clothes/gear of those who were ahead of me the trail.

    But . . .

    Envy has no place on the mountain.

    And it has no place in leadership.

    We are where we are, and that’s all.

    When we drop the need to compare and the feeling that we need to measure up, we step more fully into our own authentic leadership.

    From that authentic and grounded place, it doesn’t matter if

    :  a friend from college produced an award winning film

    :  a colleague who started at the same time is now a Vice President

    :  a fellow grad school student published a book/got recruited by a top firm/ran a marathon

    In fact, from a grounded, authentic place, we can enjoy their victories and accomplishments with them and cheer them on to their next success. Because we are no longer comparing ourselves to them.

    When we stop being concerned with who’s ahead of us, we can bring our focus on ourselves, which is exactly where we need it to be.

    What are my strengths?

    What do I value?

    How am I doing today?

    What do I need right now to be even better?

    Only when we get clear on the answers to these questions, can we be the best leaders we can be.

    And we can be free.

    :  Free from comparison, judgement and pretending to be something other than what we really are.

    :  Free to lead with our own strengths, values and ideals.

    :  Free to be the leaders we have developed ourselves into.

    So don’t worry about who’s ahead of you.

    Stay focused on where you are right now and lead from that perfect place.

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