One Powerful Question Defeats the Enemy of Success

There is an ever present enemy of success. Unfortunately, this villain isn’t wearing a black hat or lurking in the shadows just outside the light around the street corner. And no one is safe – no matter your age, race, beliefs or preferences. If you are human, this villain will stalk you.

The enemy of your success is in it for the long game. Waiting in the shadows at your college graduation day. It walks into the interview with you, hiding just in the corner. The enemy hides, just over your shoulder and out of sight, in that team meeting. From your early career to your third chapter, the villain lurks, waiting for the moment to grab your valuables and run.

What’s most frightening about this enemy is how well you know each other. You’ve been through everything together. You made it through every failing grade, reprimand, and layoff. Every event in your life, it’s been there. It actually grows stronger with every day.

The enemy of success – revealed.

The enemy is – you. No, you’re not a bad person, but you are human. And as a human you develop certain ideas about life and how you exist and succeed in it. These ideas served you once. You keep them to guide your future decisions and actions. Unfortunately, sometimes these ideas keep you from thinking or doing what’s in your best interest.

To recognize the enemy you need to understand how the appear. These ideas you’ve collected along your journey may manifest themselves as statements. They come as thoughts – appearing in a heartbeat.

The Enemy at Every Career Stage

One manifestation of this enemy – the idea that no longer serves you – is an enemy that keeps you from learning.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or an seasoned executive, you share the same enemy. Keeping you from delivering your best work everyday is the thought: ‘I already know this’ or worse ‘I know more than him/her/you.’

STAGE ONE: The College Grad

Just out of college armed with up to the moment information, you feel you’ve found the secret to the universe. This new knowledge has opened your mind, turned on levels of thinking you’ve never experienced before! You know more than that old guy, your dad / mom, or your boss. They didn’t even have computers when they were in school, (or the linternet) how could they know half of what I know?

STAGE TWO: The Successful Manager

Tasked with mentoring the college grad and managing the soon to retire, you feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. You don’t have time to listen to stories of the old days nor explain how things are done to the new guy. You need to get results – now! Your way is the best and fastest way. You’ve got momentum.


With decades of experience and knowledge, you’re been there and done that – many times. You’re on this team to share your wisdom and keep from repeating mistakes. They expect you to have all the answers, that’s why they are paying you so much. You’ve earned those scares and you need to tell your stories until their heard, understood, and accepted as truth.

No matter the stage of your career, you’re limiting yourself with these blind spots.

How to defeat the enemy

Begin shedding light on these blind spots. Defeat the enemy. Instead of letting your old limiting beliefs rule your success, switch perspective. If you find yourself thinking (or saying) ‘I already know this.’ or ‘I know more than….’ or any version of those thoughts – stop. Ask yourself one powerful question:

What can I learn from this?

Whether you learn something about the situation, the problem, or the people involved, asking that one question will help to open your mind. Look for the opportunity to learn.

One powerful question can change everything…..make you a better – leader, consultant, employee, coach, or partner.

Always be learning.