What many of the very best “personal development” books have in common as a theme is that the one thing that tends to get in the way of success more often than any other single factor is “mindset”.  Or more accurately the “right” mindset for the situation.

However simply describing the problem in this way doesn’t really illuminate the issue with the right degree of intensity, because what we are really saying is that it is ourselves that get in the way of success.

Imagine for a minute that you are about to talk to a room full of people.  Let’s say two hundred people have turned up to hear you deliver a pitch or a seminar.  Visualise yourself standing in the wings, along with trusted friends and colleagues, about to walk up to the podium to deliver your speech.

If you are visualising this with any degree of clarity you may even now, simply reading this be sensing on a small scale some of the emotions and feelings such a circumstance may generate.  Fear perhaps.  Excitement, Nervousness?  Doubt even?

You may ask – “What if there are people out there that won’t like me or what I have to say?”  Of course there are two hundred people out there.  Two hundred different sets of upbringings and experiences. Two hundred different motivations for attending, two hundred different world views.

Two hundred individuals who have had different experiences of success, joy, frustration and anger even during this very day.

In order to deliver we would have to accept would we not that there will be those that benefit greatly from what we have to say, and this will range through to those that may see little value or have little interest in it.  Could we allow that to stop us from delivering the speech to the best of our ability?  Of course not.

In order to best serve those that benefit most we have to do whatever it takes.

In his book “Your Property Jumpstart, Paul McFadden explains that doing whatever it takes means just that.  Our day, our routines, our physical and mental health, our habits, our communication skills, our knowledge and our planning and execution to name just a few things, – all need to be in the right shape to ensure success.  Property investment is simply another form of business and mindset, Paul explains, has to be the number one focus from the start.  In my opinion as a business coach, and as a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, this is absolutely true for all business.


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It is easy reading that to say  -“well do you know what – that all sounds unattainable to me”  Or maybe you are reading this saying – well I can certainly improve in all those areas and maybe I need some help along the way to ensure I improve faster or further than I can on my own.”

Jim Rohn is we regarded for his very simple “mindset” observations.  Here are a few:

The question is not whether the formula for success will work, but rather whether the person will work the formula”.

“If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”

“Unlike your fingerprints that you are born with and can’t change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing.”

“The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit.”


Here are a few more to get us reflecting – and the first possibly from an unexpected source for a business article?

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway”. – John Wayne


Yes Big John Wayne’s advice is, don’t let fear get in the way.  Perhaps a more equestrian slant on “Feel The Fear but do it anyway”.

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches. – Napoleon Hill

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in”. – Bill Bradley

I have to say that I do not think men have the monopoly on mindset advice either.  Although Eleanor Roosevelt may have shared this many many years ago it stands the test of time:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

“Walt Disney told his crew to ‘build the castle first’ when constructing Disney World, knowing that vision would continue to serve as motivation throughout the project. Oftentimes when people fail to achieve what they want in life, it’s because their vision isn’t strong enough.” – Gail Blanke, President and CEO, Lifedesigns

So what are we being told?

We are, in my interpretation / opinion at least,  being told that the right mindset is crucial to success.  Our mindset is a product of our experience, values we have been taught and learnt, and our interpretation of the world.  It is not fixed.  It can be developed, grown, harnessed.

And this is an important point.  It is not fixed.

Let’s reflect on that for a moment.  If we know and understand how we think, and our automatic emotional responses to triggers (opportunities and options), then we can mitigate.

Fear is not real experience.  Fear is imagined.  A thorough assessment of the potential risks and rewards about an endeavour, a decision, a course of action is highly prudent common sense and in the end we can take a balanced judgement about our next steps based on the level of regards an risk we are prepared to take on.  What we can not let get in our way, is the fear of the decision.


As Will Smith observed in his recounting of preparing for, and carrying out, a parachute jump for the first time; “the best things in life are on the other side of fear”.

Fear of course isn’t the only mindset issue although perhaps the one that often looms largest.  Many successful entrepreneurs have achieved success in their own circumstances through innovation, persistence, resilience, organisation, powerful self-belief, crystal clear visions etc etc.

It is different for everyone and every circumstance, but once we understand that the thing that may stand as the largest obstacle in the way of success and progress is ourselves, well, then we can do something about it.

Let me know if you would like me to help you in this respect…

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