What They Don’t Tell You

Confused man with tape over mouth, portrait

So here I am, starting off with my book that contains nothing new. It is simply teaching, a reminder of what all the self-help books in the world have already said. I’ve already talked about the books that I am using to make my point that there are no secrets to success and it’s a pretty good list. There’s a good chance that you’ve already read a few of them. So now that we’ve begun, had an introduction and the book list, where do I start?

With what they don’t say, of course.

Well, that’s not exactly true. They imply. They talk around. They flirt with the idea. They imply. But most of them don’t come out and say the two things that we absolutely need to succeed. And we have to have our arms around them before we ever begin because without them, we will fail.

Here are the two things.

  1. We have to believe we can succeed.
  2. We have to understand persistence is the key to success.

Let’s take a brief look at these two things, and then we will go into them in-depth in the next two chapters.

Most of us buy a self-help book because we think they will help us get from where we are too where we want to be. Whatever the journey we want to make, we know we are not there yet. Maybe we have struggled getting there all our lives, or perhaps it has just occurred to us that we want to get there, but we know we want to get there, where ever there is.

In other words, we WANT to get there.

But wanting something is not the same as believing we CAN.

Most of us carry around the idea that success, however you define it, is something other people achieve. They must have something unique and special, some mysterious talent or courage or secret knowledge or something that allows them to become what we want to become.

Our hope is that in buying the book or taking the course, we will get that secret sauce, that we will grow into that magical talent and somehow become something we are not right now.

The thing is, you already have what it takes. You are smart enough, talented enough, whatever enough to get what you want. That is the premise of literally every self-help book on the planet, every one that has been published for the past fifty years or more.

Every. Single. One.

The problem is that most of us carry around some false beliefs. Somewhere, someone or a bunch of someones – parents, past teachers, co-workers, spouses, or even ourselves have fed us some false beliefs about ourselves and what we are or can be that took root.

We’ll talk about false beliefs in detail in the next chapter, but it is inevitably true when we have tried and failed to get what we want out of life we come to believe there is something wrong with the world, or worse, with us, that prevents us from becoming what we want to become.

But we have to believe we can to make it all work. If we don’t believe it, we won’t take it all very seriously. We won’t do the work. We won’t stick with it. We will make the same excuses and fail.

When I coach people, the second thing I approach are these false beliefs (I’ll get to the first thing later, but it is useless without our belief that we can, so you’ll have to wait to get to it.), because if we can’t get past those beliefs, we will never get to our there.

There’s a lot involved in getting to a place where we truly believe we can make the jump from where we are to where we want to be, and we’ll address that in the next chapter with a mix of common sense, neuroscience and proven things that self-help books have been telling us for decades. But let’s also mention the other thing we need that tbe books don’t talk about.


It’s an old fashioned word persistence, but important. Because few of us make the leap to fantastic and amazing success of any sort or description unless we stick with it. We do it in baby steps. And it takes time.

And we are impatient, we humans.

If we don’t see progress right out of the chute, we get discouraged. If we have setbacks, we get discouraged. If we struggle with part of the process, we get discouraged.

Here is another thing I have learned coaching. Persistence is more important than talent, skill, connections, money, position, and luck. It is more important than anything (except believing you CAN.).  Dig through my personal and corporate clients and you will see that play out again and again. It is the persistent ones who get to their there.

I never present my coaching and consulting as a quick fix. I don’t do quick fixes. What I do takes work and time and promises long term, sustained success, whether my clients are professionals, artists, pastors, business people or entrepreneurs. If they want a quick fix, I send them elsewhere, because ultimately, they will not get what they want out of life and work.

Persistence is the premise of every self-help book out there. They assume you will do the work, follow the process and do it with vigor and energy all the way through. If you do, you’ll get there. If you don’t, you won’t. And although they rarely talk about it, they assume it, and have tons of testimonials from people who were persistent. What they don’t tell you is how many people only got partway there, then failed.

Persistence is not always easy for us. So in the chapter after next, we will talk about how to build our persistence, because if we address those two things – a belief that we CAN, and our persistence, we are already 90% through the roadblocks that hold us back. We can just do the work and watch the progress build on itself.

By the way, this is the last chapter without homework. Take a rest. Think on these two things. And get ready for the next step.

See you next week,


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