Don’t Aim For Results, Aim For Outcomes
“How to succeed? Try hard enough.”—Malcolm Forbes
I want to take you on a journey on a topic I trust is close to your heart as it is mine. What am I referring to? Trying too hard. Firstly, let’s begin by examining your relationship with the matter. Are you aware of trying too hard whether it be in your: relationships, career, health or otherwise? What do you believe is the cause of it? I will give you an insight into my experience via a recent journal entry below. Sometimes trying hard has worked, yet mostly it hasn’t because of the effort required to sustain it. For example, in relationships it can become exhausting trying hard all the time. Is this something you’ve experienced before? Perhaps you were making every effort instead of allowing the relationship to run its natural course? Whatever the case, there may be an underlying tension of forcing things to happen that can lead to an unhealthy relationship.
Similarly, if we try too hard to get ahead in our career, the energy we spend may be the very thing holding us back. How can we learn to struggle less without compromising our desire to succeed? For example, I enjoy working hard because it gives me a sense of purpose and meaning. I love writing, speaking and coaching clients on all things related to: self-improvement, personal growth and self-awareness. How about you? How do you find purpose and meaning in your life? Do you have expectations of how your work is seen by others? For example, you might enjoy being creative whether through art or music. Sometimes your work is not acknowledged in the manner you envisioned. This is hard to accept and so we try harder hoping our next creative endeavour will be a hit. However, success is seldom achieved in such a way, since we tend to please others instead of building on our success. We are not listening to our inner guidance but relying on outside influences to dictate our outcomes.
As you read through my journal entry below, note how I intentionally ask questions to get to the heart of the issue. The key is to focus on one area of your life when doing self-exploration and examine it objectively. It requires distancing yourself from the situation with an open mind. Then it will become obvious where you need to take action or not. Once you finish reading this article, I invite you to write in your journal or diary ways in which you are trying too hard in areas of your life. It may be difficult at first but remain open as you explore it since there may be vital clues you need to learn.
Examining My Limiting Belief
Am I Trying Too Hard To Succeed? What Is The Cause Of It?
“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”—Confucius
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a strong desire to succeed whether it was related to my career or life circumstances. I’ve enjoyed working hard which may be attributed to my relationship with my father who conveyed the idea that nothing I did was ever good enough. Therefore, on an unconscious level I had to work harder than most people to achieve the same level of success. Tied to this was a sense of perfection and pushing myself to extremes, whether it be through sport, in my relationships or career. I was aware of the inner critic urging me to do better. However, the cost of trying too hard meant falling short of my expectations, i.e. disappointment, anger and frustration. I justified it by convincing myself that I had put in the hard work, therefore I should be entitled to success. Limiting Belief: Hard work is not a predictor or precursor to success. There were times I wanted to give up, yet I found this difficult because if I quit who would take control of my life? The universe? God? Someone else? These are questions that flood my mind as I try to make sense of how much effort it requires to achieve my goals.
In recent years, the need to try hard has improved. It involved the art of ‘allowing’ instead of forcing things to happen. When I force life to happen, it seldom works out as planned and I become disillusioned. When I come from a place of love, faith and trust, I can still work hard with fewer expectations of a desired outcome. It’s not that I don’t want to succeed, however I have learned to let go of fixed outcomes because life may have better plans. So how can I change my relationship of trying too hard? What is the cause of forcing things to happen? Firstly, I can learn to detach from desired outcomes regarding a project, a goal or a relationship. I still invest myself wholeheartedly and show up embodying my deepest self but I suspend my expectations of how things should unfold. Perhaps the cause of forcing things to happen is my limiting belief that I have to do all the work otherwise I won’t get what I want. This was the message conveyed by my father which I adopted as truth. I believed if nothing I do is ever good enough, I must work hard to make up for it. But working harder will not assure me success if my intentions are not in the right place. If I am lacking in some way, all my hard work will go to waste if I feel undeserving. The key is to work efficiently and reframe my relationship of receiving and deserving. When I let go of fixed outcomes and give myself entirely to the undertaking, everything I ever need will show up in its own time.