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What Prevents Success

"What Prevents Success" by Amy Eliza Wong, Executive Coach and Keynote Speaker

What prevents success might not be what you’re thinking.

What is it that you DO to get ahead in life?

Do you…

  • take control and make sure everything goes exactly how you know it needs to?
  • play the hard ass to get people in line?
  • know how to make everyone like you?
  • swoop in at the very last minute and fix everything?
  • question everything and leave no stone unturned?
  • act agreeable and be the ultimate team player?
  • pride yourself in being organized and disciplined to get things done?
  • look for opportunities to debate, and win every time?

Think about it for a second and consider this: that part you admire in yourself that keeps you “winning” is exactly what’s defining the impossible for you.  It’s exactly this thing that keeps you from taking it to the next level.

For the sake of this conversation, let’s call this thing your winning strategy.


What’s your winning strategy?

You’re the type of person that everyone likes.
There’s a lot you can accomplish with this way of being: you’re totally on board with the team player stuff, you probably get great reviews, and you’re consistently considered for projects. Good stuff.

However, as long as you continue to rely on people pleasing as a way of succeeding, you’ll never become the CEO you wildly dream of being. If how you get ahead is getting everyone to like you then making the hard calls, taking risks that compromise other’s feelings, and calling shots that will inevitably concern others are out of your realm of comfort and experience. Those actions will be out of reach as long as you choose people pleasing to get ahead.

You’re that detail oriented control freak.
It’s caused you to earn a crazy amount of respect and create a successful work persona that you’re proud to have. You always expect the promotions and others look to you for expertise. BUT, the impossible for you is to move into executive level management where strategy and vision are focused on, not the nitty gritty. To be considered for that type of leap would require an uncomfortable step back from the control you wield on a daily basis. You’d have to move away from your successful way of being and begin to do the opposite of what’s familiar: strategize and delegate.

You’re the tireless leader.
You work very hard and achieve lots. You’re the executive type that excels at taking risks. Your impossible is probably having a harmonious balance between family, work, and play. To continue succeeding in your career, you believe you need that unapologetic, all-or-nothing focus that got you here. But it’s this way of being that makes balance impossible. So as long as you choose it, you’ll never achieve a easy flow between family, play and work.

Continually relying of your best trait keeps the impossible exactly that: 



Tell me something I don’t know.
This might seem obvious but I share this because I have countless conversations about the things that hold people back. Most people believe it’s a thing, or person, or circumstance that keeps them from breaking through to the next level.

 “If I only had more support from my spouse.”

“If I only had more money to invest.”

“If I only had more time.”

While addressing these things could help, it won’t SOLVE the underlying issue.


Your winning strategy produces the possible only.
The possible is deemed possible because of your winning strategy. But as there is a realm of possible, there’s the realm of impossible. Continuing to deploy your winning strategy to succeed further defines and strengthens the boundary of the impossible. So as long as you continue to rely on your winning strategy to succeed, you’ll never break through.


What now?
Most of the challenge is recognizing that your “best” ability could be keeping you from realizing your biggest dream. So look within, question that coveted part of you, and ask what the impact of constantly relying on your winning strategy really is. When you find yourself playing it out believing it’s getting you ahead, see if you can determine the cost.

I’ll admit, I’m obsessed with people’s feelings. My unspoken mission in life is to make sure everyone feels good. Now as a parent, that’s doubly true. While it keeps me moving forward, it takes a toll on my bigger vision. To breakthrough I have to step away from a fear based focus on everyone else and stand for something larger. It’s uncomfortable. It’s unfamiliar. But I KNOW it’s very possible with willingness and practice.

I’d like you to tell me what your winning strategy is. Do you rely on your best trait to get you ahead? How might it be keeping your impossible from becoming a reality? Comment below with your thoughts and ideas. Thanks for sharing in one of the most important discussions on living a purposeful life!

Note: This post was inspired by the book: The Last Word on Power, by Tracy Goss. 

Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.