Are You Preventing Your Own “Success” ? – With Bill Hoffman

The first stop in understanding how you might be preventing your own success, is understanding what success actually is. Wikipedia frames it this way:

“Success is the state or condition of meeting a defined range of expectations. It may be viewed as the opposite of failure. The criteria for success depend on context, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system.”

This is one of the best definitions I have seen for this place called success. Let’s look at some key words…


Expectations are huge when talking about things like success. Expectations are driven many times by subjectivity. The problem here is that the next word is lost in the equation… objectivity. There are those who might even argue that if you are going to be successful, you need to be subjective. What I mean is that since success is viewed largely as a lofty, exclusive destination, it may be viewed through a narrow lens. The inference of being “laser focused”,  single minded, super goal oriented, etc, create a subjective environment. Objectivity may seem like a hindrance to someone chasing success… leaving too much room for distractions or deterrents that could get me off track.

All this to say , my expectations will be shaped from my perceptions of things.  My perceptions form my perspectives, and when they are largely subjective, I may actually be excluding myself from aspects that may have an effect on my expectations. As an example, if I am told that if I do X,Y and Z, I can expect A.B and C.  Then my expectation is I will succeed if I do this. But what if I set out to do this thing, and I do not succeed? Just because someone else did it successfully I am told that if I do this, I too will succeed. But I am a different person, and may do XYZ differently than the person who wrote the book on how to succeed by doing XYZ.

Since I did it in subjective fashion, I closed to door to other possibilities, lost, due to a loss of objectivity. Therefore, I can perceive that I have failed, which is the next word.

Failure can be perceived as the opposite of success, in a subjective environment. However, if you refer to the graphic above, you will see that success, is not only subjective, (meaning there are certainly factors that subjectively will lead to success), but also objective. Success is not single-faceted, but multi faceted. If one approaches the pursuit of success with only a subjective view, (as in the example I gave), I well may not succeed as I have missed the other facets that were needed for me to succeed.  So, it’s not “either or”, but “both and”. Which leads us to the next word:


“The criteria for success depend on context, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system.”  This is huge in the equation, and why so much of the “self help” approaches, as we discussed the other day, do not work for many people, though they may mechanically “do” what the book tells them to do. The objective context of the individual, as well as their belief systems and perspectives, must be taken into account. This is a missing link in the self help approach.

In my book, “The Process”, I present a Process that has been tested, and proven to “work” in peoples lives in many areas, if they apply the principals, etc. presented. So why will some people find stellar “success” in their lives by doing  the work of the process, while others may “fail”. Because the dynamics of subjectivity and objectivity are employed. Just because I wrote it out of my specific individual experiences, subject to my individual life experience, does not, and cannot guarantee that if you “do” the same things you will get the same results.

So what’s the point? Re-define success by understanding it’s nature. It’s not in a box that looks one way. It includes failure as a part of the process and journey. It includes my specific, individuality, perceptions, perspectives, experiences, etc. Therefore, my “success” may look very different than the person who wrote the book. If I understand this, I drop the black and white, failure/success perspective that can make me believe I have failed, but it’s just that my results look different than the other person.

To finish, this is why we lead people in a process of self awareness, and self discovery and authenticity, so that they can approach their life pursuits with clearer perspectives, healthy expectations, and a view of success that is framed properly, and allows for the all important true goals of success… prosperity… another blog for another day!

Bill Hoffman/Canva Pro


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