Friday 20 February 2015

culled from:

If you’re not familiar with this concept, “ringing the bell” simply means giving in. Hitting that imaginary limit where you think you can go no further. Not so surprisingly, most people give up on their dreams right at the moment they’re about to achieve them. And Navy SEAL candidates are no different.
To really rub it in, they must literally ring the bell when they reach their breaking point. Which means in order to quit the program, they are required to walk up to a large bell and ring it, indicating their doneness. It’s a physical and audible give up, evident to everyone around them. And to many of those who ring the bell, they consider it a big failure.
A lot happens to get a person to that point of failure, most of it internal. And though we as a community can share motivational pictures, quotes and advice that worked for us, failure is and always will be a personal experience. You can help me, but you ultimately can’t get me to success. And I can’t get you there either. We each control our own failures.
While I don’t know what you would consider a fail for yourself at this very moment (as I’m certain we differ in our goals, passions and abilities), I do know that there are some leading indicators that suggest failure is impending. Hopefully becoming aware that you’re exhibiting one will help you change direction. And if you can know this about yourself, you can possibly avoid ringing the bell.
Here are four signs that failure is coming (unless you do something about it).
Making excuses. If you or someone who loves you has noticed you’re making an excessive amount of excuses in your life, that’s a red flag to get your eyes back on the road, because you might be headed toward failure.
Excuses happen for two reasons. Because you’re scared of what will happen when you reach an intended goal or because you didn’t commit to the goal in the first place.
Work backwards and see for yourself.
All that weight you haven’t lost. That active lifestyle you wish you had. The relationship you don’t have anymore. The job you got fired from. Do you recall any excuses leading up to this moment?
I imagine you’re thinking about the week (or longer) that you ate horribly because you were so busy at work. Or the many times you stayed in bed hearing rain or knowing how hot/cold it would be outside when you set out for a run. The warning shots your boss threw out there when you failed to deliver what they asked for. The moment someone special asked you for more and you were too self-involved to give it to them. You excused yourself for all of these behaviors and now see where you are. You thought you cared, but really, you didn’t care enough.
Alternatively, maybe you’re scared you’ll actually get the thing you want – so you sabotage yourself. The excuses are a fine way to place blame. Maybe you know you’ll become someone of influence and people will finally be following your every word on Instagram or YouTube, or you realize you have a lot in common with someone and deep down know they would make a great significant other (What do you feed them? How do you interact? Ack! So much responsibility!), or you know you’ll be forced to start your business the minute you walk out of your corporate gig…if you walk out of your corporate gig.

Sometimes, the things you want actually happen. And that’s ok! Tune yourself to hear the excuses that want you to avoid this. They come in the form of “I’m not ready” or “I don’t know what I’m talking about” or “What if I screw up?” Catch anything coming from that insecure wimp inside of you that might prevent you from getting what you ultimately desire. Even if you’re uncomfortable (we’ll talk more on that in a second), because it’s right for you.  How stupid to litter your own road to success with the very nails that will surely give you a flat.
Accepting what is. Many years ago I worked for a company where every new colleague (those who had been there about five years or less) shared in a running joke. It went this way.
Idea person suggests idea that is different from current process + pitches it to people who worked there for too long = “That’s not how we’ve always done it. It won’t work.”
You should know right now that there is a serious problem in any relationship, department, organization or human brain when you feel like you’ve exhausted all options and you’re “stuck” with what is. You are never ever stuck. Let me say this again…you are never ever stuck.
Perhaps you’ve been refused over and over for a raise or promotion, you’re miserable in an un-loving relationship or maybe you broke your arm and missed your very first triathlon (don’t talk to me about it, ugh). It doesn’t feel so right now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
To be very clear, you might not like the way you’ll have to get un-stuck, but you are never forced to swallow a pill without having a few exit options.
If you find yourself accepting a less than ideal situation and you’re feeling trapped, know that you’re headed to failure. I hope I’m not the first person to tell you that you can’t have a fulfilling life while existing in unhappy. Something has to change, but the important part here is knowing that something can change.
Put pen to paper and figure out what your options are. Because you have them, you’re just blinded by something. Figure that out too. You’re almost out of time on this one. In fact, you’ve probably wasted too much time in the trap as it is. Move quick.
Staying disappointed in yourself. One of the fun things about being an entrepreneur is the fact you always get to talk about your business…your baby. It never fails, when you introduce yourself as the co-founder of a start-up, people ask what you do and you get to talk about it with a decent amount of detail (nobody ever asked me that question when I worked for a bank!). It’s an exciting conversation to have. And every one of them counts.
So recently, I was in San Francisco for the Silicon Valley Growth Summit. At the end of the day, I stopped for a drink at this cute little unassuming café. I sat next to someone and we struck up a conversation. An hour later, I’ve learned he’s an investor and he hands me a card wanting to continue the conversation.
My mistake #1, I don’t have any of my cards on me. And my mistake #2, in my traveling home, I actually lost his.
All I know now is that I can’t continue that conversation. And what if it was the conversation I really needed to have? Arggg.
I specifically wrote the words “staying disappointed in yourself” for a reason. You can be bummed that you didn’t live up to your expectations. Missed the boat. You can be bummed you swallowed that cheat meal like it was air you needed to survive. You can be bummed you flaked and didn’t ask your boss for that promotion this time. Heck, you can be bummed you didn’t think to ask for an upgrade and now you’re sitting in coach.
Suck these moments up and when you’re done, move on. If you’re self aware enough to know you’re spending more than a millisecond extra wallowing in grief about really ridiculous things, then understand you are headed to failure. It means you’re putting too much pressure on yourself and way too much value on one situation.
Being too comfortable. You know those people who do the same thing, day in and day out? It’s not as if they’re expecting different results, it’s just more that they’re taking life by the monotonously boring horns and then flying in a stale pattern. They love it there.
If you’re someone who would enjoy a different situation, but you’re totally chill and don’t want to cause waves about your current scenario, you are probably too comfortable. And you’re headed to failure. Mostly because you’re not going anywhere at all. Yawn.
Comfortable people wait for their promotions, they wait for the raises, they wait until they find a significant other who will cater to their needs, for others to be nice to them. They claim introversion, shyness or that all they want to do is making sure others are taken care of first (yeah right) or what really is going on, they’re very self-obsessed. Then they take all those bottled feelings up and then they whine about why nothing good ever comes to them. Or talk about why nothing ever works for them. Comfortable people are victims and they love it. Because they’re comfortable. Duh! 
As a career coach, this is one of the worst types to interact with. It’s not that they’re impossible, it’s just that they aren’t motivated to improve their situation. They reach out because they know they want more, they just aren’t willing to do the work to get it. All suggestions are so far outside their comfort zone, it’s almost as if you’re telling them to paint their body blue and run into the street.
If you’re in a situation you dislike but you’re so very worried about leaving your safe, comfortable nest, you’re headed for trouble. Not making a change or taking a risk simply because you don’t know what might happen is the fastest way to fail.
The next time you catch yourself exhibiting one of these signs, ask yourself if you’re truly ready to “ring the bell.” If you’re not, then don’t. The great thing is that you’re not there yet, you haven’t reached up to grab the bell – you haven’t audibly or physically told the world you’re done.
You’re an adult. At this point you should know yourself backwards and forwards and know exactly where your give-up line is drawn. Success happens when you cross that line. Actually, it happens when you know you’re approaching your give-up point and actively push forward.
Now look at the decision you’re faced with right now. Based on the goals you’ve set for yourself in life, what are you going to do?
Molly is the co-founder of Viewmarket (formerly Haul Studios), connecting social stars with brands and advertisers looking to be in and around their content. When she’s not at the office, she’s a career and social media coach, burning off her ADD as a yoga instructor, hanging out with her retired racing greyhounds or expressing unsolicited opinions on @MollyCain. You can contact her or find more at


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