Making Room for Success: Unexpected Aftermath

You’ve removed all nonessentials from your calendar and to-do list.There’s nothing between you and success. At least that’s what you thought. Welcome to the unexpected aftermath of making room for success.

There I sat. Clear calendar, open space, ready for the most productive week of my life….but I was faced with the unexpected aftermath of making room for success.

Ready For Success

I looked at my calendar for the coming week and smiled. There was absolutely nothing on it. No appointments, commitments, or due dates. I had intentionally kept it clear. I was looking forward to a full, uninterrupted week of writing.

For over a month I had struggled with my writing project. Just when I got started I would have to stop and go to a meeting or take care of some other commitment.

Working from home has it’s benefits but sometimes it can be distracting and I was finding distractions everywhere from making meals for the family to taking care of the dog to doing laundry. I felt as if my schedule was not my own.

This week without external distractions was going to be amazingly productive.

Imagine my surprise when, at the end of the week, I had nothing to show for my efforts. I couldn’t understand what went wrong. Then I realized that the distractions I had removed were all external. I had cleared my calendar and made room for success. What appeared in it’s place was something much more concerning.

The Unexpected Aftermath

After realizing space on my calendar was only the first phase of success I was faced with the reality: this is where our true selves are revealed. This is the unexpected aftermath of making room for success.

Remove the illusion of productivity and you are left with the real reasons success is alluding you. It’s different for everyone, but many of us hide behind a busy calendar. We blame our overbooked lives for our lack of success and happiness. The truth is we make a choice every day where to spend our precious time.

With nothing but ourselves and our work, our true priorities surface. Think about that list you created of commitments and which were completed or not. Look at the reasons you list for not completing your commitments.

Reasons Are Excuses

I recently began reading The Achievement Habit in which I was reminded that reasons are excuses. We are brilliant at creating reasons for not doing things. The reality is we make a choice every day to do or not do something.

When I found myself coming up with reasons for not getting my writing project completed, I soon noticed the excuses underneath. And in those excuses were revealed my true priority.

Sometimes my priority was rest. Sometimes it was a different project. Regardless, it took a bit of tough love to look at what I was really doing.

Critical Questioning

Each time I made a decision to do something other than my identified essential work (for me it was writing) I would stop myself and ask: What am I choosing as a priority?

When I made a choice other than my essential work too many times in a row I would ask myself: Why did you choose (writing) as your essential work? Why is it important? Is it still important?

When you take time to uncover the true obstacles to success, your deeper issues appear. It may be that these are really not your priorities, but others’. Or it may be that you don’t have the skills you need to act on your priority and so, your priority must change to getting those skills.

Whatever the source of the true obstacle to success, the questioning approach takes time, but it is important and worth the investment.

Focused self reflection leads to self-discoveries and hopefully a change in your perspective. It won’t happen overnight, but it is the first step in your personal transformation toward success.

You don’t need to face these obstacles alone. Learn more about how a coach can help you achieve more.