Safety and Success

I want to propose a not-quite-mainstream reason about why most people never reach their dreams, why they don’t succeed in the transformations they desire, why they never find the level of success (however they define success.) they seek. My thoughts come from a close look at ten years of coaching leaders, artists, spiritual leaders and a host of other professions.

It’s not because we don’t know how to gain success. During the first year of the pandemic I spent a great deal of time reviewing the past 70 years of success literature – books, articles and webinars. I have been a success literature junky since I was young, and I have a huge collection of books and notes to draw on.

The big lesson that came out of that review is that despite the different buzzwords and catch phrases, success literature has been telling us basically the same thing for seventy years. We know the steps and work that has to be done to succeed. There are no secrets to success. It’s all there for anyone to learn and apply.

So why don’t we?

Here’s what I have come to believe. Most of us are far more tender than we like to admit. When we hit a roadblock, when the world tells us we can’t, when a few false starts pile up, when the progress is not as fast as we hope, we take it personally. We mark our work as a failure. And our spirits are if not crushed. they are at least beaten up.

Being a failure hurts. And who wants to hurt? We begin to feel unsafe. And who wants to hurt? Who wants to feel unsafe? None of us.

I am coming to a place where I believe, if us average people want to improve our chances to succeed, we need to begin by strengthening our spirits. We need to begin by looking at false beliefs, at where our tender places are, and address them early in the process. We need to develop our sense of self safety first, then do the

My review of client success and struggles has made me realize just how true this is. We can do all the right things, all the things success literature tells us to do, and we will still fail. We will give up. We will hit the wall. But the clients that were willing to talk about, and address their tender places, what makes them feel unsafe early in the process, made it. They finished their journeys in a good place.

Doing that work does not feel like progress. But trust me, it is. it is the groundwork that makes success happen for ordinary people. Spirit, it turns out, is as important as the practical steps. Maybe (OK, No maybe about it, it IS) more important.

Create a safe place where even the hard truths can be addressed FIRST. Create a safe place where we can strengthen our often child-like souls against roadblocks, false beliefs and the other things that get in the way, and you erase the power those stumbling blocks have to stall us out. This realization is transforming my own practice. Take care of our spirit first. WHenw e do, amazing things can happen. To any of us. To all of us. I really believe that anything is possible.

Pop culture says success reward the risk taker. But I think differently. Success comes to those who feel safe in their pursuit of that success. Think about that and your own journey.

Be well. Travel wisely,


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