Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success: A Manifesto

photo by Peter Kaminsky

If you’re new here, you should probably read my biography just to give you a better sense of who I am. In short: I do a lot of stuff. I’m curious. I love learning. I take risks. I speak my mind. I dare.

The risks I take are reinforced by a belief that I owe it to myself to at least try. I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a Jack of all trades, rather than an expert in one subject, but I’ve come to believe that’s a blessing rather than a curse. Releasing myself from the aim of being an expert or being perfect at something means that I have the complete and utter freedom to try. And fail. Hell yes, fail. Even often!

But trying, definitely.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with (girl)friends about what’s next for them. I mentioned that I wanted to have a Vision Board workshop for this reason (which had to be postponed due to crazy November travel for me) because I want to help them start to think about “what’s next?” without hearing “not until I...” or “maybe when I...” or “I’m not ready” or “after...” or the worst: “I don’t know.”

Friends, and strangers reading this, listen to me:

Stop being your own worst enemy.

Stop being the force that keeps you immobile.

Stop being the cause of failure before you start trying.

The reality is, in most cases no one will be there to give you permission to act. To try. To succeed. And to fail. No one will take you by the hand and say, “Now it’s time. You’re ready.” No one will be so sure to say, “Don’t worry, you won’t fail.” No one will lay their hand on yours as you click that submit button, as you fill out that form, as you sign up for that chance, as you raise your hand.

You can be surrounded by a loving family and supportive friends, but ultimately that conviction has to come from within you. So give it a chance. No, not just that. PUSH IT.

And leap. And try. And do.

And yes, you might fail. And yes, you might sometimes look stupid. Or unprepared. Or lost. Or audacious. Or wrong. Or arrogant. Or ballsy. But you also might not. You might surprise yourself. And slowly those lost and unprepared times might become the minority rather than the majority, and soon you are looking at the Past You from a vantage point you didn’t know existed before you decided to try.

I think I’ve had this feeling inside of me for a long time, but it wasn’t until I read this, 2.5 years ago, that it became a solid concept to me:

“Because, at the end of the day, they can still say no. The powers that be can tell me I’m not a good fit — but I shouldn’t be doing that job myself. Who knows if I would have been picked, but I made sure that I wasn’t. I rejected myself [let me repeat that: I rejected myself]. I don’t want to do that anymore.” Tea & Cookies, Throwing Your Hat into the Ring

A week later, I sent in my job application to Automattic. I threw my hat into the ring.

So, it’s a simple message, but a difficult one for many people to really embrace. Step out of your own way. Once you do that, give yourself a push forward, too.

I’m not going to let just my words convince you – here are the best of the best articles I’ve found in the last year or so that reinforce this concept. If you have an article or post to add to this roundup, leave it in the comments!

Here’s how you can stop sabotaging your own success:

You’ll need to use confidence as a tool in risk-taking:

“What it taught me was you have to be very confident, even though you’re so self-critical inside about what it is you may or may not know. And that, to me, leads to taking risks.” – Virginia M. Rometty, HBR’s Why Women Leaders Need Self-Confidence

You’ll have to do things you haven’t done before:

“You can’t let what you know limit what you can imagine. As you try to do something special, exciting, important in your work, as you work hard to devise creative solutions to stubborn problems, don’t just look to other organizations in your field (or to your past successes) for ideas and practices. Look to great organizations in all sorts of unrelated fields to see what works for them — and how you can apply their ideas to your problems. Who are the most unlikely organizations from which you learn? Do you have new ideas about where to look for new ideas?” – Bill Taylor, HBR’s Don’t Let What You Know Limit What You Imagine

You’ll need to push yourself to continue when that something is uncomfortable and even painful:

“But here is an E that we need to always be working towards getting more comfortable with…Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pain. That little red alert gauge starts to light up when we feel that pain, that burning, the lactic acid shuffle. Our mind starts telling us to back off and cool it, but here is where we need to play chicken with that blasted little needle and E alert sign.” – The Arty Runner Chick – Redlining and the All-Important E

You’ll need to stop worrying about what your success looks like to others:

“Success and likability are positively correlated in men, and negatively correlated in women. Women must worry about how ambition ‘looks’ because appearing ambitious negatively impacts their success.” – The Next Women, Busting the Myth That Women Are Less Ambitious Than Men

You’ll have to do as other successful people do, until you’re successful yourself:

“When we expect to do something perfectly right out of the gate, we make tons of mistakes…Intelligence is malleable, and it grows with experience….Anyone can get more willpower – it’s developed over time like a muscle” – Harvard Biz IdeaCast 273: What Successful People Do Differently

You’ll have to adopt a growth mindset basic talents & abilities can be developed over time through mentorships & experience (and you need to start today!):

“These are the people who go for it….they’re not worried about how smart they are, how they’ll look, what a mistake will mean. They challenge themselves, and grow from that…Challenges are exciting rather than threatening. Instead of thinking ‘I’m going to reveal my weaknesses’ you think ‘here’s a chance to grow’…You’re focused on the process instead of just the outcome.” – Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

You’ll have to accept that self-promotion doesn’t have to be annoying or “dirty”, but it can be useful and relevant when done right:

“Perhaps the challenge isn’t learning to become more comfortable with being self-promotional, but rather learning to play within the range of what your community considers acceptable (defined by your own bullshit meter). That means if you tend to feel uncomfortable promoting your work, endeavor to squeeze in a bit of personal PR thoughtfully and remember: There are some real freaking crazies out there who actually want to read your stuff, see the pics of your trip to LegoLand, take your teleclass. And who are YOU to not deliver? You see? It’s really not about you.” – Jory Des Jardins, Do Nice Girls Self-Promote?

You’ll have to start defining yourself by what you want to become, not only what you’ve accomplished so far:

“Which leads to a question about how do we define ourselves? Is it just what we’ve done? You’ve already heard me say that, we are always 2: Who we’ve been, and who we aspire to be. Each of us is bound by our past, our accomplishments, and our failings. But I believe we are ALSO our aspirations and dreams. If each of us has a self-definition that allows us to appreciate the creative act of the moment…then we will stop denying energy to it. We will be okay with the trying and experimenting. Look around at any innovative company, and notice….they are okay failing because their self-definition includes the idea that they will ultimately figure it out.” – Nilofer Merchant, 2 Ways to Skirt Self-Handicapping

You’ll need to raise your hand to be called upon, and expose yourself to judgment, or risk doing nothing:

“In these circumstances, people who don’t raise their hands don’t get called on, and people who raise their hands timidly get called on less. Some of this is because assertive people get noticed more easily, but some of it is because raising your hand is itself a high-cost signal that you are willing to risk public failure in order to try something…. To put yourself forward as someone good enough to do interesting things is, by definition, to expose yourself to all kinds of negative judgments, and as far as I can tell, the fact that other people get to decide what they think of your behavior leaves only two strategies for not suffering from those judgments: not doing anything, or not caring about the reaction.” – Clay Shirky, A Rant about Women

You’ll have to start taking action to get results:

“Own It. It’s time. If we don’t have the confidence to take a shot at what we want in the business world, there’s a 100% chance we will fail. Basic math. Lack of confidence plus lack of action equals zero opportunity for success. It’s a game of confidence, action and results.” – Amy Jo Martin, Let’s get out of our own way & start owning it

You’ll need to learn how to negotiate:

“I work for a large multinational tech company, I regularly hire woman for 65% to 75% of what males make. I am sick of it, here is why it happens, and how you can avoid it.” – TwoXChromosomes on Reddit

You’ll need to keep yourself in check:

“And if you don’t check yourself before you wreck yourself, you’ll damage your own self-esteem, stand in the way of your own goals, and maybe even sabotage precious relationships.” – Fearful Adventurer

You’ll need to hold yourself accountable:

“I am so done with letting my own insecurities, self-doubts, and regrets hold me back.” – Sarah J. Bray

You’ll need to act:

“If you have a lightening bolt idea, just DO it. Execute the bare minimum to get your idea out into the world.” – @maggie #altsummit via @nicoleisbetter

You’ll have to take a seat at the table:

“Believe in yourself, negotiate for yourself, believe in your own success.”- Sheryl Sandberg, Why we have too few women leaders : some insights on how women evaluate themselves

It will all start with YOU.

(And watch Sheryl’s video at TED, too):

216 replies »

  1. What a great resource! I think learning to be successful is the process of learning to overcome your fears, doubts and insecurities. I really love how you drive home your points with some great quotes. Thank you for sharing!

    • I agree! This is such a great post, and the quotes from different and reputable sources make it even more convincing. Thank you. I totally needed to read this and apply it to my own life. Pola

  2. Great article.
    “You’ll need to push yourself to continue when that something is uncomfortable and even painful”
    Most the time I push, I am an artist and now proud to introduce myself as such. I have been pushing myself for over a year now and it’s paying off. I get nos, I make mistakes but i’m doing it. That said whilst working on a portrait today, a first, I have been avoiding starting a new project because it’s working at a much larger scale than I work at, and yours words jsut now have inspired me to tackle it. Thank you.

  3. OK, I’d like to know: How long did it take you to research and compile all these FANTASTIC quotes. Amazing inspiration here!

    I am someone who struggles daily with a lot of these ideas — I quit my day job only a few months ago to pursue life as a full-time freelance writer. So far, so good. But as you noted, it takes negotiation, accountability, keeping myself in check and many, many more concepts to be a true success. I’m excited to see what the next year holds.

    Thank you for an incredible post!

  4. My little voice of self-doubt started talking a little louder today. Just what I needed to read to keep me motivated and moving forward. Thank you.

  5. i should save this. i fight myself with really doing the work it takes to publish a novel. i’ve written three, and they kinda just sit there. i just don’t feel they’re “good enough.” however, the one i’m working on now, that one feels like the “right one.” and i probably said the same thing about the others.


    • Hi RMV, what I’ve found is that each one keeps getting better than the last. I’ve written four now and about halfway through the first draft of my fifth (literally hit 26,000 words/wrote the midpoint yesterday). I’ll be self pubbing number four after edits, and number five is a sequel. My writing, at least in my opinion, has improved with each one as I strive to learn more and write to a hirer level. I’m sure you’re doing the same, so maybe this is the one. Or maybe you should just try to take that step anyway 🙂

      • you’re exactly right. each one seems better. and to make it worse, each time i’m in the middle of writing one, along comes an idea that i think is waaay better. then i have to struggle with which to write. but i’ve learned that it’s one way to avoid writer’s block. if you’re stuck, switch to the other story.

  6. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing. Seriously, this is the kick I needed. I couldn’t have read this at a better time. I’m definitely sharing this one.

  7. Very inspirational and completely true—if we never take the risk, we’ll never succeed and we’ll never fail. It’s better to at least try, and do our best, and learn from the challenge and the experience than to not try at all.

  8. Sara, You Are Awesome!!! I sadly watch so many of my friends and total strangers around me submit to their fear of failure and some their fear of success. The more I think about what I want from this life , the more I can visualize my self doing those things. But some days are harder than others and so I have to find inspiration from somewhere to keep me on track. Today I found this. So thank you. Im ready for round two now!

  9. And sorry for the double post, but that was a specific tangent. I just want to say thank you for this. I’ve been working really hard to start making progress on my goals and keep myself accountable for making progress on them. So this was a great thing to see, I’ll be following quite a few of those links to learn more.

    I think what it all boils down to is, just get started and try it. If you don’t go for it, you’ll never get it.

  10. Absolutely. I was really opened up when I challenged myself to “vision” where I would be in 10 years. The worksheet included direction to write in the present tense. (I am working from my home, etc.) It was amazing. Then I walked myself backwards – if I want to be doing that in 10 years, what do I need to be doing in 5 years, and what should I be doing by next year and what can I do now. It really got my butt out of the chair!

  11. Great stuff. Thanks for the work you put into this. Take this for what it’s worth – I really think I was supposed to sit down & read this right now. I’m going to take a big leap soon, and this post is just what I needed to read today. I applaud your passion & conviction, and the fact that you seem to care about people living better lives. Thanks again. cheers.

  12. A universal and timeless post. I was brought up on a healthy diet of earning my way and positive thinking… and I used to think it was easy. Enter worklife, girl cliques and male solidarity for a spectacular collapse of confidence, my head swimming with ‘shoot for the moon’ and ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ and ‘gotta be in it to win it’ as I slipped beneath the surface and the determination slipped from my grasp. It’s all very well saying women need to have more confidence, but there are a thousand factors at play as the spotlight of failings intensifies. The thoughts and attitudes of this posts are the lifeline of successful women everywhere. A heartfelt thank you.

  13. Reblogged this on aashai1 and commented:
    Some very poignant points have been brought out in this article and I would like to share it with you. I’m confident you too will gain some insight from the article.

    • I am curious: do you think that now you will try to shine in some way that you only wished you could before? I ask that because I am now pursuing a dream of mine: starting a music education program for children. I have no background in the organization side of things, but I have a lot of passion, love for the community, and musical abilities! I hope you reach for your dreams, as well!

      • That just made my heart smile! Kudos to you for chasing your dream! Musical education is a need that’s growing more and more especially now that we’re seeing so many budget cuts in the Arts! Music and theater are both very near and dear to my heart and any time someone “goes the extra mile” to share them with youth it gets me excited! To answer your question with regard to shining in some way I only wished I could before, that’s why I started blogging. It’s outside of my comfort zone, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Thanks for the post!

  14. Lovely. Thank you for the much-needed boost in morale and motivation. Perfect timing. I particularly like this: “You’ll need to stop worrying about what your success looks like to others”. I find this statement alone quite liberating.

  15. “the fact that other people get to decide what they think of your behavior leaves only two strategies for not suffering from those judgments: not doing anything, or not caring about the reaction.”

    Hell, yeah! I think women, especially need to get very clear about whether they’d rather be liked or respected. Of course, the ideal is to have both. But given a choice, I’m going for the latter, and have for decades. You can bonsai yourself into utter misery and paralysis if you exclusively or primarily keep trying to please others. There are only a few people who will truly make or break your success. Figure out who and keep them on side. The others….keep moving and keep putting yourself out there.

  16. Really enjoyed this post, particularly the part about the importance of trying new things. My own blog is somewhat of a personal odyssey whereby I’m tasking myself to try new things – 29 in fact, before I turn 30 later this year. If you have any specific tips on how to keep momentum & drive up when trying to cram in more than seems possible, they’d be greatly received!

  17. Love it! I get inspirational and motivational newsletters weekly from some of the best people that I’ve discovered, Zig Ziglar, Ron White, Gitomer etc but thank you so much for linking to some of those sites, I need to add more females to my teachers. I feel like the student…I’m ready for the teacher, when will she appear in person?! Keeping my eyes and mind open.

  18. I feel you wrote this for me! I’ve been struggling with these exact things for myself lately and glad to hear that I have to step up and take action for what I have to do!

  19. I have been frozen in fear….staring a certain task in the face and too afraid to move forward. This post definitely made me think about my situation and decide that the time is NOW. Thanks for this!

  20. Right on! Especially the stuff about accountability. I look forward to following more on here. I also have an inspirational-type photo-a-day blog, and I’d love to invite you on the journey!



  21. This post is right on time for me! I have recently decided to open a music program, which I hope will be a success, but I have never done anything like it before. I am a musician, but I have never directed a program, promoted it, nor done anything that I will HAVE to do, to see the program’s success. This effort is taking a lot of research, brainstorming, and risk-taking. Yet, I cannot sit back and wish that I could ‘some day’ accomplish this. I want to bring music education to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity at this time.

  22. Men and women both have issues with confidence, and though your target was women, a lot of the truths you convey are valid for men, as well. Your post was “strong enough for a man, good enough for a woman….”I love your combination of quotes, commentary, video, and pictures blended together to make a thoroughly inspiring post!
    If only mine were so well done……

    • I definitely agree – it just so happens that the conversations I’ve had have been mainly with women so it probably feels aimed towards them 🙂 Applicable to both sexes! 🙂

  23. Thank you for this. It is very inspirational. I am a father of two outstanding daughters and I have shared your post with them. Their father may be a bipolar, formerly successful and now rehabilitating mid-forties guy, but they are outstanding women (to be) and they need much more of what you are promoting. Much more.

    Thank you.

  24. Wow. Truly inspiring words. Thank you for the boost of self-confidence. I really needed that today. I look forward to future posts!

  25. Reblogged this on Mississhippi's Madness and commented:
    I came across this article today on Freshly Pressed and it jumped out at me – I had to read it. This is very inspiring. It is what I am trying to achieve in my life by learning and continuing to create, to have a go without fear of failure, without thinking everything has to be perfect. Bravo Sara!

  26. Thanks for sharing this. Quite inspiring. I have started so many projects ut developed cold feet along the way and abandoned them along the way because I thought I was too ambitious. Hope to stick to the current one. Must stick to it. Must succeed. Thanks.

  27. well said. My friend who is a life coach is having a “vision board meeting” with me and some other ladies who are trying to launch in a new venture. Thank you for this post.

  28. So much of this struck a chord and I’m going to book mark it where I can keep reminding myself not to be my own worst enemy. Just one quote didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the article “And if you don’t check yourself before you wreck yourself, you’ll damage your own self-esteem, stand in the way of your own goals, and maybe even sabotage precious relationships.” It seems out of kilter with everything else and I’m not sure what it means. Would you care to explain? Thanks so much.

  29. What a great and inspirational post! Overcoming one’s self is a difficult task for some, but to see someone succeed at it is always motivating. “Try” is a word that I have taken out of my thinking and vocabulary…..instead I just do whatever I was going to “try” to do. Anyway I love your uplifting and highly energizing manifesto!!

  30. very inspiring! I might need to keep coming back here to remind myself to keep my head up, be strong, and take that leap even if the results are unknown. thanks!!! Iove the quotes 🙂

  31. I think being quite good at a lot of things is much more interesting than being very good at one. It also allows you to use the moniker ‘All Rounder,’ which seems to connote a sense of achievement to it.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  32. Reblogged this on herbassfulness and commented:
    grab some tea/coffee/water and invest in some time to read this…you won’t be sorry; however, if you become sorry over the course of reading it, scroll up the page and start reading from the beginning

  33. Brilliant post! thanks for all the information. Its so sad that we all tend to do this – this self sabotage thing. I think it comes from living in a world where ‘ambition’ seems to be somewhat of a dirty word to a lot of people. It really shouldn’t be 🙂

  34. Thank you so much for writing this post! It really is difficult for most people to admit to themselves that they’re the only thing standing in their way, and I think that this will help them! Great piece!

  35. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to you for writing this post. This is just what I need right now. I was able to watch Sheryl Sandberg’s speech on TED and she moved me as well. I just need to push further. Thank you very much.

  36. I agree on a lot with your post! I think that it’s still a part of us that never grew up that convinces you you need to have permission from others. My guess is that it’s a comfortable position in which we don’t have to take responsibility. It’s all fear based. We don’t have to rely on the opinion of others, we have to acknowledge ourselves, only then you are a true human beïng.

  37. What a wonderful posting. Not only comprehensive but generous too. There were a number of authors there that spoke to me that I had not heard of. I may be reaching for my kindle shortly

  38. I used to consider the motivational genre flaky. But now in my old age I wish I had read of this kind of thing. What I’ve read here makes me feel less insecure and hesitant about going for it… even in my old age. If my project sucks, at least I gave it a shot. I simply need to put the same effort into improving and building on it.

  39. Thanks so much for the tough love! Very powerful message, beautifully constructed.
    This post really resonated with me. I am an artist, recently pushing my creative work to the next level, and documenting my 2012 project in my new blog. Your words will serve to keep me going! Commitment and accountability are my new mantras. Make the effort to show up at the page ready to work each day (whether you feel inspired or not) and the ideas will come.

    I linked to an essay on my blog about how I got out of my own way.

  40. Was nice reading the post… inspiring one actually.. Very often we know what needs to be done, but expect someone to tell it to us, and more often than not, there’s no one to say it. Time to start acting without worrying.

    Thanks for the lovely words of inspiration.

  41. Fabulous post! Got me all charged up. I’m on a quest to have a breakthrough year also. I want to add a great book I’ve read within the last month. I’m currently reading it again…my highest compliment. The title is This Year I Will…. author is M.J.Ryan. It will help you move forward.
    Dauna Easley

  42. thanks. you dont know how much this post has touched me. i have really gained courage and confidence. i fear no more to fail because i now know that its part of my success

  43. Reblogged this on Al is in Wonderland and commented:
    Success and likability are positively correlated in men, and negatively correlated in women. Women must worry about how ambition ‘looks’ because appearing ambitious negatively impacts their success.” – The Next Women, Busting the Myth That Women Are Less Ambitious Than Men
    “Success and likability are positively correlated in men, and negatively correlated in women. Women must worry about how ambition ‘looks’ because appearing ambitious negatively impacts their success.”

    – The Next Women, Busting the Myth That Women Are Less Ambitious Than Men

  44. I love this article. I’ve re channeled my focus and thinking to just this and now I can honestly say I’m not afraid to fail.

  45. *This* is what I have been trying to teach to my children and model for them (though modeling it is much more challenging for me!), but you did it in a much more eloquent and concise way. My daughter is very strong and in fourth grade and from what I remember in another year or so she’ll be about the age when statistics show girls don’t raise their hand as often because they don’t want to look smart or be embarrassed in front of the boys. My son is in eighth grade and I want him to continue being the amazing kind and thoughtful kid he is, but I also want him to not talk himself out of things before he’s even tried them and be strong and confident. Wonderful!*

  46. Great read! This post reminds me that success rests in the attempt, not in the result. For without the attempt, there can be no achievement. To attempt something – to act – gives you a 50/50 chance of success. Inaction – to do nothing – gives you a 0% of success.

    Have courage. Attempt, fall and then rise up again. No fear! 🙂

  47. such a wonderful post, I’m bookmarking it for whenever I need a reminder to close my eyes and leap. I definitely live my life in a way that I “feel the fear and do it anyway,” but that quote that inspired you definitely hit me just now. There are tons of critics in this world that might turn me away or put me down, so why would I do that to myself. Great post!

  48. I am the living embdiment of this post! Seriously. I have created an invention based on the priciples of feng-shui that I made by hand and have marketed and sold to the public. I have written and self published three books already. My entire life I have always been the one to say, why don’t we try this and took the chance. I never cared what other thought of me and have never worried about other peoples’ judgment of me. It is not important to my success. Only doing my best, that is what makes a person successful. IN the end the only person that you need to be successful is you. And you are ALWAYS successful!
    As my mom likes to quote something from me, “What can it hurt to ask? The answer is already no for sure if you don’t ask. What do you have to lose?”
    One of my main philosophies is that we reallynever truly fail. We simple change directions, our goals and targets morph into something else, but in the end, we continue to succeed at becoming something.
    And 100% committment equals 100% success. Anything less and you will not succeed, and it is directly b/c deep in your heart you are not committed to achieving that reality. There are lots of reasons for that, from it is not your time to win, to you are not prepared, to your heart is not in it or you only said you’d do it to help someone else, not b/c you wanted to, to it is not The Best for you.
    What a great post to help give people ample motivation to move…act…do it!!! You deserve to be featured on Freshly Pressed with this well researched and timely information. Well Done!!!! AmberLena

  49. “. . . Look around at any innovative company, and notice….they are okay failing because their self-definition includes the idea that they will ultimately figure it out.”

    Great post! Thank you for sharing it. And like a lot of wonderful thoughts, I heard it on just the day I needed it. 🙂 I love quotes and appreciate the work you put in to collecting such a great compilation of them. As a writer I’m constantly creating, and inside that there are failures and successes. If I quit after every failure I would never have finished my book. But as I continued to write I came to the conclusion that my self-definition wasn’t determined by the first version of the sentence/chapter/book I wrote, but by the last. And the sentences, chapters, and books to follow. And as I now dive into book two, I remind myself that challenges don’t reveal weaknesses, they give me opportunities to refine my strengths. Thank you for the great reminder. 🙂

  50. Thank you for this added boost of energy. It is often too easy to fall into a routine and get comfortable which in turn impedes our ability to grow stronger and succeed.

  51. This is a fantastic post. I know that I am my own worst enemy. I talk myself out of things strickly out of fear. When I do “throw my hat in” , it causes many feelings of pride and accomplishment. But that fear always sneaks back in. Sometimes I’d just like to kick fears butt and tell it to leave me alone. We could all get much futher along without it.

    Thanks for you hard work with this! It was really great!

  52. This is an incredible article. I need to print it and carry it with me. I am my own worst enemy. Recognition is the first step. Now I need to do something about it. Thanks for laying it all out there.

  53. Bravo! What a terrific piece of truth. Courage is hard to come by and yet it takes so much trial and error to get where you want to go – but yeah – you’ve got to get off the couch and give it a go or nothing – absolutely nothing happens except in your head.

  54. There is only one thing missing here: To be successful it tremendously helps to have visited a top college, be rich and have the right connections. See Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jerry Yang, Pierre Omidyar, Mark Zuckerberg et al.

      • I highly disagree as well. My rich and successful friends who are or have been to university have not experienced anything close to what I have in my life which includes visiting over 17 countries, writing songs and performing for some
        Of the biggest artists in the world just to name a few things. I am so far from financially rich but my life is rich and it is priceless at that.

  55. Reblogged this on omcartistmanagement and commented:
    This is a great blog to read! I’ve been this person and known so many who are rejected daily, without even leaving their homes. Read. Really read this. Take heart and be bold. We’re all created for a purpose and if you’re not living it, you’re wasting your life. But it is never too late to begin. So begin. Today.

  56. Very timely post, just when I was looking for an article to push me further on. I’ve been rather too overly critical of myself lately. You have tons of wisdom and ideas worth remembering. I love your quotes too! That video of Sheryl Sandberg@TED left me awestruck. I’ll bookmark your post for future reference.

    Thanks a lot! Great to see your post at Freshly Pressed!

  57. Very motivational. I often think that if people will just “try” they can fail forward to success. It takes a lot of “No’s” to get to the important “yes”. Love this article!

  58. Hi Sara — great article and compilation! You invited links that reinforce your message. And so try this one out from an early February blog posting that’s related – I linked to it in my profile.

  59. Great post and I can see from the number of comments that I am far from alone in thinking so.

    I stopped using “jack of all trades” and started using renaissance woman.

    I raise my hand all the time. I mean all the time. I have lots and lots of questions and the more I learn the more I want to learn. My latest effort was to put my hat in the ring to be a part of a mentor program- not as the mentor. My best friend at work rejected herself because she did not think they would choose any one still in a probationary period. I chose to read the call for applications differently. I was not chosen because I am still on probation. Nonetheless, I gained and she did not. The powers that be know I want to advance my career. I spoke to someone in the job I am aiming for to ask for help in filling out the application and she pointed me to on-line training materials that I can use at home and will be using at home. I had the opportunity to list what I have accomplished in 6 months that made me a good candidate and you can bet that is going on my resume. I updated my resume. Even though I did not win the Mentor lottery, I won a lot more than my friend who did not throw her hat into the ring. Sometimes, perspective matters too.

    • I need to read this everyday as a reminder.

      I’m a fan of John Maxwell, his books provide the same positive energy; we all need that!

      I know I am fortunate to teach kindergarten, I can help to instill such belief in the mind of every 5yr old I meet. They, in turn, inspire me!

      • My Mom taught kindergarten for 15 years. What a positive message for those kids! I too need to hear this message every single day. I especially needed this right now.


  60. Reblogged this on findingmyworth and commented:
    Love love love this post! This is the stop I am on in life, pushing myself to do, not allowing myself to get in my own way. I need to read this today. What risk will I take today? hmmm what risk will you take today?

  61. Wow…. I’m clearly been told something this week.
    I need to read through this again when I get some more time, but check out this new song from my favourite – Josh Ritter (Which made me cry first listen because it SO applies to me):

    “Why spend your only life hoping, what a torture to be always blue,
    Darling, why spend your only life hoping, to do what you know you can do?”

    A really motivational and genuinely helpful post. Thank you x

  62. This one post is worth 100 books on how to succeed. Thank you!!! I’m a photographer trying to figure out how either to quit or cut down on my day job so that I can do what I love and what I know matters to others as well as myself. Some of my greatest heroes are famous photographers who chucked everything else over to pursue photography: Galen Rowell (R.I.P.) giving up his auto repair business; Jim Zuckerman giving up his medical studies. And look at how they enriched the world.

  63. This blog could have been written for me. I’m in exactly this place at the moment, just about to launch myself(metaphorically!) over that cliff. I’m pushing myself, but need to do it more. This is just what I needed. Thankyou!

  64. I enjoyed reading your post. I just got laid off a month ago. I am going to start a new job this monday (Feb. 20) and I am afraid that I might nit be able to cope up with the new environment. It is also y first time to work in a bank and I really don’t know if I can do it. But after reading your post, a surge of confidence rush into my veins and said to myself “they wouldn’t hire me if I am not fit for the position”. Thank you. From now on, I will be more confident and put action to everything that I do to realize my dreams.

  65. Very good, now this is a CEO’s thinking!! Have a great Aloha Weekend and press foward!! Press, press, PRESS!! ^_^

  66. I must have been meant to see this post. I’ve been struggling with myself lately. I’ve just recently leapt into a couple things and I’m beating myself up about it. Reading this post has made me give my head a shake. I can do the things I set out to do. Thank you.

  67. I read a quote once: “When you look back in twenty years time, you won’t regret the things you did; you’ll regret the things you didn’t do.” Try, live, take risks, fail, make mistakes, HAVE FUN.

  68. This is amazing! Not only am I a new follower, but I’m also bookmarking the page to refer back to over and over again, and I will reblog! LOVE THIS! Hope to see you speaking sometime soon as I am too new to have seen you in 2011.

  69. Well done! . . . Thank you for taking the time to compile all of these incredible quotes! I especially liked the reference to “Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

  70. One thing I always say when people ask why I still buy lottery tickets every now and then:

    “You can’t win it if you’re not in it.”

    This applies to life as well as lotteries.

  71. This was quite an inspiring read, getting through my education degree is my key focus at the moment but I have so many ideas about the things that I wish to do and places I want to travel before I complete my teachers training next year! When opportunities arise to do something a bit more daring away from the dusty old books, I always find there is something that holds me back – whether that is other people or my own confidence. Right now, I’m thinking I have a rather long summer coming up & I should finally be brave and do something amazing and be happy for taking a chance! Thank you for such a thought provoking post 🙂

  72. This has been some kind of reoccurring message that has been coming to me from all directions since the beginning of the year. For once I am going to listen to what it’s trying to tell me. It’s time for me to stop being afraid to fail, but also, stop being afraid to succeed. Great post.

  73. I like everything about this article. Filled with inspiring words if not words of wisdom. I am more like you jack of all trades. It’s good to try things and who knows which avenue might lead you to a golden tunnel. I just wrote an article titled: Do We Ever Learn?

  74. Just imagine a world where everyone followed their passions…critical self talk was taboo but loving encouragement a must. What a wonderful world that would be! Thanks for the reminder to step out of the judgment and into my passion. By the number of comments you received from this post, you really struck a nerve!

  75. Such a brilliant piece of writing… this is exactly the kind of boost that I needed! Had already started walking on the path suggested here but ‘self-doubt’ was creeping in… and now I can feel a surge of confidence running through my mind! Thank you for this.

  76. Hi Sara … most people tend to blame things and circumstances outside of themselves. Its only when we wake up to the reality that success is but a thought away that we realize what we could have achieved if we had the knowledge earlier

  77. Fantastic post. One which resonates deeply with a personal experience. My blog tells my story of battling with a disease that almost took my life. I’ve always had the mind set that no one can help myself but I. Yes doctors can fix me, surgeons may slice me, and they may give me pills to help. But ultimately it’s down to how I view my life that will get me through. I always look back to the quote “whether you can or you can’t; you are right.” so true! Very inspiring post, well done. -Roisin.

  78. Quite brilliant. This is a very inspiring post! I myself am trying to achieve success by transforming my body in acheiving 6pack abs. It would be greatly appreciated if you could stop by and offer some feedback/support! Thanks!

  79. A great post, and I wish I’d enough sense to figure more of this out in, say, my 20’s. I finally wised up in my 40’s, and it’s been great ever since: causing trouble, diving into the adventure, giving up the insanity of constantly working to keep everyone else happy.

  80. Amazing advice, and exactly what I needed to hear – when I needed to hear it! I realised recently that I’ve been standing in my own way a lot, stopping myself moving forwards and making something of myself, achieving my goals, because of fear and self-doubt. I can’t believe I stumbled onto your writing just when I had decided to start making some changes! Weird. Thank you for posting this. I’m pretty much going to read it over and over again, until it sticks in my head!

  81. First of all, thank you for this post. Sometimes things stand out to you.. and this is one of them. I do have a question, do you think there is an expectation for women to be in the work place and those who aren’t are looked down upon? What happened to the house wife? The stay at home mom who raised her children and didn’t depend on the schools and daycare to teach their children the important lessons of life? I work two full time jobs, and am currently in school, i’m perusing a degree in which I have no idea what I will use it for. I have no idea what I want out of life in general and yes self sabotage is a part of that, but there is more. Societies expectations play a huge role in what I am expected to do.

    • I think this goes back to an earlier reply I did in the comments – success is very subjective – you have to define it for yourself. Is working a full time job in an office “success” to you? If so, then it’s something you can use as your barometer. If it’s not (as I think, success can be on so many individual levels & steps & goals & accomplishments), then it’s important to hold true to what you believe success is and celebrate your efforts to get to your own success.

  82. “Own It. It’s time. If we don’t have the confidence to take a shot at what we want in the business world, there’s a 100% chance we will fail. Basic math. Lack of confidence plus lack of action equals zero opportunity for success. It’s a game of confidence, action and results.’… Love it!! So happy I stumbled across this post today! Came at a perfect time! Thank you 🙂

  83. Absolutely inspirational and reminds of songs, “Ever After” by Carrie Underwood, and “It’s the Only One You’ve Got” by 3 Doors Down, and yes, “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” by Kelly Clarkson.

    May you receive as much success as you have opened up for three hundred plus views for this insightful blog. It truly changes my life, and reinforces my path towards positive improvement. Thank you. 😀

  84. Oh my God! I didn’t imagine someone will write my thoughts perfectly… for sure you don’t know me… I may sounds weird but I really saw my self here… It something about my self as one trying to make a life…if you have time to read my blog you will understand what I’m talking about… I like this… thanks for sharing this…

  85. I love this post. I decided a while back I want to take risks, learn, fail and grow. It’s amazing when you let of the fear that holds you back and you pursue your dreams!

  86. It’s both comforting and galvanizing to see a fellow “jack of all trades” who has channeled a wide range of interests into productive and fulfilling endeavors. Thank you for sharing this “best of” roundup for motivation, inspiration and more!

  87. I have spent years living under the assumption that my dreams are not beneficial to my current lifestyle. I was trying to figure out how to store my paintings (while in progress) without potential creative additions by my cat or even by my own klutzability and I thought that if I hung them on the wall in my living room that would keep them safe but it wouldn’t work because I might get paint on the wall… duh factor, Amy. I made a decision to accept the consequences of my creativity, and let weird colors adhere to my small town living room wall. It’s going to be, dare I say, fun to watch my respectable interior turn into an artists pad. This experience must have been the groundwork needed for me to “hear” what you had to say in this “Manifesto.” Thank you. And now I am going to go push a submit button. =)

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Director of Product Marketing @ HubSpot. Early hire @ Automattic / Founder World Nutella Day. MBA Alumni Advisory Board @ Santa Clara University.

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