Success starts in your head. Our view of success and also of life as whole is decisively shaped by our beliefs. We draw strength and drive from positive thoughts; destructive and negative thoughts paralyze us and can lead to misery.

A longitudinal study at Harvard University – that in fact took 75 years – has tried to draw a connection between success and happiness. The result: The greatest source of happiness for people is neither health nor money – not even success. It is relationships. Social connections that are of high quality over a longer period of time.

For our personal and professional success, it is extremely important to motivate ourselves constantly, even during difficult times, so that you can work at your personal performance limit for the necessary time.

Success in your head starts with the decision what you want to believe in. It depends on the imagination, determination and optimism of the responsible leader whether a big goal is a pipe dream – or is reality in your head already.

It implies a serious change of mindset. We are just brought to this world and have barely made our first cry when we are already surrounded by beliefs. Our parents, our family, the entire social environment – everyone believes in certain things, thinking one thing is possible and another impossible, seeing this behavior as desirable and that one as undesirable. Children are taking over these beliefs unconsciously.

Beliefs can hurt

Whether their unconscious beliefs will benefit children or stand in their way is pure coincidence. It depends on what beliefs are involved and what goals the adult pursues later in his life.

When someone drives a car with applied brakes, has very little confidence in themselves and never fully reaches their potential, we speak of limiting beliefs.

For example, when I was in school, my mother said to me, “Your brother’s the athlete, but sports isn’t yours, you’re more into the arts.” Right then I had a belief system in my head. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I could free myself from it. I erased my old belief system and started to train. In no time I reached the goals of my training plan, because I was training with focus. 

Release the brake in your head

I have experienced impressively how powerful limiting beliefs are and how easy it is to finally overcome them. We should simply choose to believe in something else. That’s all. It always helps to see how others have already managed to release the brakes in their heads.

What exactly does this mean for companies in particular? As a leader, you should try to get rid of these limiting beliefs – starting with your own. Then the ones your team has. It’s not that you can’t work with people who are hindered by limited beliefs in the company. That would be a lie. Only if you want to achieve major goals, if you want to move boundaries, then you need people who are open-minded. Those who have discovered, verbalized and finally dissolved their beliefs, even the unconscious ones. Working with affirmations, i.e. positively phrased sentences, is like cleaning the house in your head. You remove your limiting beliefs and replace them with powerful new thoughts. It has long been a part of top athletes’ daily training practice to push themselves over and over again.

It is essential to write down your goals

By the way, studies have also shown: If we succeed in writing down our goals, their success chances are increased to 76 percent. Psychologist Gail Matthews at Dominican University in San Rafael, California, came to this conclusion. She asked her participants to think of goals they wanted to achieve in the next few weeks. Afterwards, she divided them into five groups, who were asked to define their goals either verbally or to write them down. One group was also asked to write down their progress. And exactly this group achieved 76 percent of their goals. Those who only defined their goals verbally did not even achieve half of them.

These results were also supported by further research. Two American psychologists, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, evaluated more than 12,000 diary entries of over 230 people. Their result: Those who wrote down their small successes every day were happier, more motivated and also more successful in the long term. The reason is simple: the reward center in the brain became activated.

Success starts in your head

If success starts in your head, it means to banish all thoughts of failure from your mind. That’s not easy. Right! Because it also means avoiding negative moods and even bad news. A positive language that anticipates the desired future also plays a role.

The reason is very simple: We don’t need to worry about negative things in our everyday life. You only have to turn on the news on the radio or television. They will be negative 90 percent of the time. The crux is: positive thinking and talking is too rare, although most people experience mostly positive things.

Focus on the goal, not the obstacle

To achieve great goals, positive and goal-oriented thinking, speaking and acting is essential, especially in organizations. There will be setbacks along the road – no doubt about it. But the really important question is: How do we deal with them as a team? Where is our focus? It is important to concentrate as much as possible on the goal and not on the obstacle.

The strong belief in the possibility of achieving something great fascinates people and attracts them. If you stand up and say, “I know it will work and it will turn out well,” and radiate confidence and serenity because you really believe it, then you will attract the people you need – for great success

About the book

This interview is an excerpt from the book „DO EPIC STUFF! – Leadership after Change Management”, published by Campus Verlag. Transformation expert René Esteban explains together with senior leaders of today’s business world how to achieve challenging goals together. Learn more about the book and order it directly.

About the author

René Esteban is the founder and CEO of the consulting company FocusFirst GmbH. With his team he supports executives in the global corporate environment to achieve their most challenging goals with focus and inspiration – and at the same time to develop the corporate culture towards more empathy and humanity.

Responsible for the content of this website

FocusFirst GmbH
René Esteban
Founder, CEO