How To Stop Stopping Yourself (And Achieve Success)

There is an old adage that says, "Excuses are the nails used to build the house of failure." Stopping is a sure way to failure.

Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo

New beginnings are often filled with excitement and the anticipation. However, many of us get in our own way. We set goals and plan activities only to find ourselves stuck in the same ruts and behaviors of days past.

One critical skill every successful individual intentionally develops is the ability to stop stopping. The late Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”


Get out of your own way


1. Find a dream that inspires you to action

Embrace and envision a new dream. Many entrepreneurs start out with a vision, but over time, they lose sight of what they started. Instead, use new starting points to create new possibilities and outcomes. Life is too short to do otherwise.


2. Focus on what you can accomplish

Focus on what you can do and not on the excuses of why it cannot be done. Excuses are the path of least resistence. In fact, “Psychologists place excuse-making in the ‘self-handicapping’ category – that is, it’s a behavior we express that hurts our own performance and motivation,” according to Dr. Claudia Aguirre, a neuroscientist and mind-body expert.

“Excuses aim to shift the focus from issues pertaining to our sense of self to issues that are relatively less central… This shifts the focus from [you…] to the external source that was ultimately out of your control.” As a result, you feel less burdened, less anxious and…off the hook. But this behavior is detrimental for leaders.


Photo: Trent Szmolnik, Unsplash
Photo: Trent Szmolnik, YFS Magazine

A key to accomplishment is the ability to overcome excuses. Anyone can find reasons why something cannot be done. Successful people develops the spirit of excuse busting. Leader who gets things done set their objectives in their minds and will not accept excuses. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”


3. Fill your mind with time-based concrete actions

Doers create an “I can” list and begin to work on the things they can accomplish. Leaders decided to ignore excuses that can easily creep into thinking. Instead, they seek out people, places and ideas that inspire them to keep going.

You may not have all of the resources at hand to take action on every single goal. When this is the case, brainstorm and crowdsource ideas of how to make progress and which resources (e.g., people, money, time, etc.) to engage along the way. Dedicate yourself to a solution-oriented approach, no matter how long it takes to find the solution.


4. Act boldly every day to move toward desired outcomes

Take the concrete actions you’ve developed and work toward them daily. Long-term success requires daily action. Daily behaviors lead to daily wins which result in long-term breakthroughs.

Many people fail because they don’t work towards their goals and dreams consistently. When you face roadblocks, don’t quit the goal. Instead, simply rework your plans.


There is an old adage that says, “Excuses are the nails used to build the house of failure.” Stopping is a sure way to failure. Commit now to start a new action and decide that you will stop.


Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience). He serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. He has worked with hundreds of CEOs and leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. Ken is the creator and facilitator of the Christian CEO Linkedin Group and creator of the CEO Experience Impact Assessment. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. Connect with @ken_gosnell on Twitter.



© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.


In this article