Our latest article on the psychological barriers that super successful people destroy. Enjoy!
One of the most amazing opportunities that I have had in my career is working as a counselor with academically advanced teenagers in a residential school.
The teens had to meet criteria for admittance, including a history of strong academic performance and high performance on standardized tests. The criteria had, over time, showed that students had the potential to be successful.
However, there were always a few students that were not successful once they were in the program. It wasn’t due to lack of ability because these teens were truly brilliant. It was usually due to psychological barriers that they were not ready to confront. These psychological barriers are ones that hold many of us back in life.
The reality is that everyone has psychological barriers, even super successful people. However, those that are able to be successful have learned strategies to overcome the barriers. Five of the most common psychological barriers include:
- Imposter Syndrome
- Negative Thinking
- Afraid to Ask for Help
- Lack of Belief in Abilities
- Fear of Failure.
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Let us look at these psychological barriers in detail
1. Imposter Syndrome
I am a professional speaker. It is something I love to do. Connecting with the audience energizes me. However, sometimes right before I get in front of a group, I have a vivid memory of being 13-years-old and standing in front of my eighth-grade class. It was one of the first speeches I had ever given and I was terrified.
I looked up and my class started crying and ran out of the room. I’ve given hundreds of speeches since then and that has never happened, but my brain will still take me back there, reminding me that maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. Maybe I don’t deserve to be doing this. The psychological barrier is called the Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome feels as though someone is going to find out that you are actually not as good as everyone else thinks you are, that you are actually a fraud, an imposter. It doesn’t just happen with public speaking, it can happen with any accomplishment.
Some people experience it when attending meetings or when they win an award. It tends to happen when you compare yourself to others. You see others who are experiencing more success than you or doing more than you are.
People who are super successful have found ways to combat the psychological barrier of Imposter Syndrome. They realize that people they admire have put them in positions of power and trust their judgment. “These individuals are a good judge of character and qualifications, so I can trust that they have evaluated me fairly.” When Imposter Syndrome creeps into their mindset, they rely on trusted mentors to talk them through this limiting belief.
In times of stress, it isn’t uncommon for doubts to creep into our mindset, however, super successful people have a plan to reach out to trusted mentors for help. Mentors can help reframe limiting beliefs and clarify thoughts.
Super successful people also keep prompts to help them remember that they have a history of achievement. These prompts aren’t on display for others or for bragging, but simply to remind themselves that they have earned their way to where they are in life.
2. Negative Thinking
Each of us has an inner voice that serves to criticize and judge. The voice that serves up doubt and questions our worth. The voice can also lead to criticizing and judging others as a way of self-protection.
Listening to this voice and giving credit to its words can lead us down an unhealthy path. A path that has us constantly comparing ourselves to others and doubting ourselves.
Super Successful people know that the voice serves a purpose, to protect us. They are able to listen to their inner critic, but they don’t put much stock into what it says. It is like background noise; you are aware it is there, but you aren’t paying much attention to it.
Super Successful people are able to redirect their thinking and focus on thoughts that are more productive. What we feed our mind is a choice and Super Successful people choose environments and behaviors that feed their mind productively.
3. Afraid to Ask for Help
Super Successful people know that they don’t have to have all of the answers, that is good to ask for help. We aren’t meant to do life alone. Super Successful people surround themselves with people who are willing to step up and help when asked and in return, Super Successful people are also willing to step up and help when asked.
Know that you are modeling for others that it is healthy to ask for help. Asking for help connects you to other people, shows that you can be vulnerable.
Find those in your field who you admire, ask for mentorship. Follow those you admire on social media. Seek guidance from your peers. Be willing to offer guidance when asked.
4. Lack of Belief in Your Abilities
Super Successful people believe in their abilities. They know that they have something to offer the world and are willing to take action to make that happen. They recognize what they know and where they can grow.
They aren’t afraid of learning and continuing to do the work required. They trust that they have a solid foundation and are confident that they can tackle the task put in front of them.
Super Successful people recognize the limits to their knowledge. They are able to say what they don’t know. Usually the more of an expert that you become, the more you realize you have to learn.
You don’t have to know everything to make a contribution. Super Successful people stand firm in their knowledge while continuing to be lifelong learners in their respective fields.
5. Fear of Failure
Fear of failure keeps many people from starting or taking chances. Failure is seen as the opposite of success when in reality, it is part of the process of success. We don’t learn to walk without falling numerous times. It is an expectation. We shouldn’t expect to succeed the first time we try things.
Stumbling and falling are part of the process. Super Successful people appreciate failure as part of the learning process to success and recognize that it is nothing to fear. Changing the mindset from fear to appreciation allows super successful people to take more chances, thus experiencing more success.
All of us struggle with psychological barriers at some point. They are common. However, recognizing them and having strategies to deal with them can help us to reach higher levels of success.
Know that you aren’t alone when your psychological barriers arise but find a strategy that works for you so that you can continue to make meaningful contributions.