15 Brutally Honest Reasons You’re Not As Successful As You Want To Be

15 Brutally Honest Reasons You’re Not As Successful As You Want To Be

Humans crave success, even those who aren’t chasing the top rung of the corporate ladder. We want successful relationships, successful hobbies, successful finances, and even successful bucket lists. Yet, if most of us are honest, we aren’t successful at all things all the time. In fact, some of us might be failing in these categories, wondering where we’ve gone wrong.

Take a look at 15 brutally honest reasons you’re not as successful as you want to be:

1. You have a perfection-or-nothing mindset.
woman studying at home.

If you struggle with perfectionism, your mindset is likely your biggest enemy. If you can’t be completely successful the first time, whether that’s with your woodworking hobby or a payment plan for an upcoming vacation, you get frustrated, give up, and would rather not try again for fear of being anything less than perfect.

2. You ignore healthy criticism.

Some people are going to hate on you simply because they’re only happy when others are miserable, or because they are deeply jealous of your success thus far. However, the people who love us and want us to succeed offer healthy criticism— blunt advice, so to speak. This isn’t because they are judging us but because they want to help us along the way. If you can’t take healthy criticism and apply it to your job, health goals, relationships, etc., you’ll stunt your success.

3. You can’t face your failures.

Perfectionist or not, it’s hard for most of us to face our failures. It’s a shot to our pride, a blow to our ego, and the development of a diabolical inner critic if left unchecked. If we aren’t willing to accept failure as part of the journey, our inner critic’s voice will control us, convincing us to not try again.

4. You won’t consider all the facts.

The truth can hurt. Even still, to be successful, you must consider all the facts. Let’s say you love to travel—a trip to Europe might be the biggest goal on your bucket list. But if you’re drowning in student debt or have a hefty credit card bill, that vacation needs to be put on hold. That doesn’t make you a failure, but it means you need to step back, reassess what’s doable, and define success as being mature enough to regroup.

5. You let your ego call the shots.

It feels good when we are the best at something—when we ace the tests, date the most popular person on the college campus, land the executive position, travel all over the world, own a booming side business, etc. However, if being the best at something creates a pompous ego, beware! You can’t let your ego call all the shots if you want to be successful. Long-term success often requires a healthy dose of humility.

6. You can’t handle healthy competition.

Like it or not, competition finds you in all stages of life. You go up against other candidates for jobs. You compete against other suitors in romantic relationships. Success, “winning,” often requires a little competition. Positive competition stirs us on, challenging us to do our best on our path to success.

7. You make no room to pivot.

We can’t always control setbacks. Some are as basic as a flat tire and others like health crises or the death of a loved one. Nonetheless, when life gets hard, we only have two choices: give up our goals and quit, or pivot and move forward. Sometimes, this pivot requires extra help, especially if a setback takes an emotional or mental toll on us, but being willing to pivot and utilize those resources makes the difference.

8. You can’t regroup.

biting nails

If you aren’t willing to get help when life knocks you down—if you can’t regroup—it’s impossible to move forward. Regrouping might require getting a side hustle to balance the finances, a counselor to walk through grief, or an accountability partner to ensure you’re following your exercise plan. These aren’t comfortable, fun things, but regrouping is necessary to be successful.

9. You neglect your mental health.

When we have an end goal in mind, it’s so easy to run headlong towards that goal with everything we have, forgetting to take care of ourselves. We let our need for success take precedence over eating healthy, getting good sleep, and recharging with activities we enjoy. These things quickly take a toll on our mental health, which is not only going to slow down our success but pose a serious risk to our overall well-being.

10. You won’t weed out unhealthy relationships.

We need a healthy relationship with our minds to be successful, but we also need healthy relationships with people. If we have a Negative Nancy for a friend, a verbally abusive girlfriend/boyfriend, or parents who have no boundaries, it’s hard to focus on reaching our goals. Being successful requires you to weed out unhealthy relationships.

11. You never ask for help.

woman with creepy guy

At the same time, if you have healthy, encouraging people in your life, don’t be afraid to ask them for help. You can’t do everything all the time. We all know the famous saying, “Success isn’t linear.” Through the ups and downs on your road to success, you will need other people. You will need their kindness, their challenges, their experience, and their love.

12. Your sole focus is the fanfare.

Watch out if your motivation to succeed is steeped in the need for fanfare. It becomes all too easy to cut corners, ignore the rules, and step on others to come out on top. Success, the kind that truly lasts, never comes by putting your ego above ethics.

13. Your motivation is unhealthy.

Even if your success isn’t rooted in a desire to simply look good, there are other ways your motivation can be unhealthy. Making goals simply to get even or prove someone else wrong gives you tunnel vision. Your focus becomes rooted in fleeting emotions or built-up hurt, which doesn’t lead to healthy decision-making.

14. You let what-ifs rule your day.

If you allow what-ifs and worry-filled mind games to call the shots, you’ll never succeed. In fact, you’ll never try to succeed. It’s crucial to keep your outlook and the way you process thoughts centered on what is good, hopeful, and true.

15. You don’t have an honest definition of “success.”

Confused puzzled and upset female accountant working from home at kitchen table, having troubles with laptop internet connection or annual financial report, looking at camera frowning and shrugging

Success looks different for different people. Have an honest conversation with yourself about what success looks like in your life. If you allow other people to define your success, you will never be satisfied, no matter what goals you reach.

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Peyton Garland is a boy mama and Tennessee farmer who loves sharing her heart on OCD, postpartum life, and hope in the messy places.