A Safe Path to Success

I want to propose a not-quite-mainstream reason about why most people never reach their dreams, why we don’t succeed in the transformations we desire, why we never find the level of success (however we define success.) we 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 catchphrases, 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, at least beaten up. Failing hurts. And who wants to hurt? We begin to feel unsafe. We begin to feel unsafe doing the work of success? And who wants that? 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 work to get to our own personal “there”.

My review of my own clients’ successes 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.

A willingness to be vulnerable early

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. When we do, amazing things happen. To any of us. To all of us. Anything is possible. Pop culture says success rewards 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.

I am in the process of creating a new series of courses built on this premise. Actually, it is both a series of courses, and a community for people who have tried, maybe struggled and just not been able to get there, despite doing all the “right” things. This series will follow the same coaching process I use with my clients, built around building our spirit first. Strengthening it. Preparing it for the work of success. Building resilience against the inevitable roadblocks and stumbles so you can persist as you do the work and take the path we know leads to that success.

Sound interesting? I will be launching soon, likely mid-September, But you can sign up now, and get not just announcements of each class when they are ready, but also get some other great resources and blog posts in your email. So if you are interested, Join us early. Here is the link. There’s a better way to success.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom Atkins,
Founder, Quarry House

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