Gini Dietrich

What Gets In the Way of Your Own Success?

By: Gini Dietrich | September 9, 2009 | 

My good friend Sarah Robinson wrote a great post on her blog, Maverick Mom, on Monday about the things that hang her up so much that she can’t move forward. She asked her readers what three things hang them up.

I thought I’d share here what I commented. The three things that get in the way of my own success.

1) Last year I thought bigger was better. I ignored the bottom line, but drove top line growth and added more staff. And we lost money. For the first time in our history. And I had to make a lot of hard decisions about both staff and clients. Bigger is not always better.

2) My cycling goal for this season was to ride 20 mph, average, when I ride alone (easier to do that in a group). I push myself really hard, but my personal record is only 18.5 mph average, for the season. I was really hard on myself and then I realized I might not get to 20 mph, but that’s okay…18.5 mph is still pretty freaking fast and I can spend the winter working really hard in order to hit 20 mph next season.

3) My entire life I’ve been good at things. My college roommate hated that I didn’t have to study and still got straight As. But I’m a perfectionist and really hard on myself. I think I have to be superb at everything that I do. I have to be the best cyclist (see #2). I have to be the best skier. I have to grow a business as quickly as Zappos. I have to be like Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan – the top of my game in everything that I do. So when I perceive something as failure, I have a really hard time. I beat myself up. I go introspective. I question why I’m doing what I do. I keep a quote on my wall to remind me that everyone fails and that’s how we, as human beings, learn. It is “It’s not in failing, but how we get up when we do.”

What are the three things you do that get in the way of your success?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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14 Comments on "What Gets In the Way of Your Own Success?"


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Teresa Basich
6 years 10 months ago
Oh, lady. You went all touchy feely on us! I like it, though. 🙂 My three things: 1. Asking for help. I hate to do it and have a hard time justifying in myself my need for help. I like to think I can do it all on my own. 2. Fear of making the wrong decision. I’ve always had a hard time making decisions because I’m afraid I’ll make the wrong one, like there will always be a better path. Have become much more decisive this year, but still struggle. Working very hard at this one now. 3. Accepting… Read more »
6 years 10 months ago
My 3 things: 1. Insecurity/fear of rejection. Since I’m a student (now I’m actually *really* a student – I have a student ID to prove it!), I know I’m going to second guess myself at a lot of things. I’m insecure about the work I produce; whether or not it’ll measure up to the teacher’s standards, etc. 2. Finances. Sometimes, it’s just hard to justify some things (i.e. tuition) because I have no money. 3. Perfectionism. I’m a perfectionist. I want to nail it. But then, I want to go back and edit. And edit. And edit. In fact, I’m… Read more »
Dave Van de Walle
6 years 10 months ago

1. Obsession over details. Not necessarily perfectionism, but details that are, in the end, unimportant.

2. Falling into the “hours = output” trap.

3. Not picking up the $%^& phone often enough and making the uncomfortable call.

Thomas Scott
6 years 10 months ago
Gini – great post. I really believe that with most of us, our success strategy gets us only so far (rise to the level of your incompetence) then you have to take a step back so you can see the big picture and adapt. Mine are: 1. Not realizing you are good enough. Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I’m really driven and always focused on goals. Sometimes, its the journey that is important. Always having to prove you are expert can make you blind to the lessons along the way. The things we shoot for often turn out to be… Read more »
Patrick Erwin
6 years 10 months ago
Thanks for posting this and passing this on, Gini! I think it shows great character when you can be honest about not only your strengths but your weaknesses as well. My three: 1. I have to steal this directly from Dave Van de Walle – not picking up the phone and making the uncomfortable call. I’m more eloquent in writing, but sometimes a call is what the situation calls for. 2. I can be entirely too cautious. I spent a lot of time in corporate jobs where I was in a “test” environment, so it’s in my nature to want… Read more »
Nathan Mathews
6 years 10 months ago
Gini, Another great post and a very interesting topic, something that I should probably think about more often, but let me give it a shot shooting from the hip. 1. Fear of writing, I have never liked to write and it is something that is very difficult for me so I have always shied away from anything that required me to write. Classes in school, positions in my career, starting a blog, etc . . 2. The natural inclination to work in groups, I discovered that how powerful groups were at a very young age and thus always tried to… Read more »
Raymond Alvarez
6 years 10 months ago
Great topic, Gini. I’ve learned a few things in years of doing business. I hope there is some wisdom I share. Passion: Passion can be a two-edged sword. It can drive one to perform really great writing, but it can get in the way, too. Passion for a particular subject is highly regarded in business. When a particular expertise is called upon, one can find themselves in demand. There are great things that come with passion: drive and dedication are two. During difficult economic times, passion can shut you off to additional opportunities. It should be tempered with flexibility and… Read more »
Sarah C
6 years 10 months ago
Thanks Gini – it’s like therapy 🙂 1. Starting my own business: Have wanted to do this probably for about 6 years now, well, started thinking about it about 6 years ago and have really wanted to move forward with it over the past 3 or so. I think there are several factors surrounding it – sometimes working for another company keeps you out of the BS and you can just put your head down and do what you do best. There is also the steady income concern – I know how much I am going to get paid every… Read more »

[…] the post was a challenge: what are the three things that hold you back from success? I thought it was a great question (and replied on the F.A.D.S. […]

Jon Wortmann
6 years 10 months ago
1. I’m an athlete too, always looking for my next Everest. If I don’t have it planned, I can’t rest (even after doing something like climbing Everest…not that I’ve climbed Everest, but 35 teenagers on a service trip for a week…that’s an emotional K2 at least). 2. I’m a perfectionist as well. It hurts to do amazing things, the things you’ve always wanted to do, and then somehow believe they’re not good enough (working hard on that one). 3. I expect too much. My buddy taught me long ago, “Low expectations=happy.” I agree, and yet I will always have high… Read more »
6 years 10 months ago

1) I think I overwork myself, so I’m usually very fatigued.
2) Focus on regular customers who don’t help me grow.
3) Micro Manage my activities

Heidi Goldstein-Sidley
6 years 10 months ago
I think the biggest thing that gets in the way of my success is not putting my self first. Its hard when you are a wife, mother, executive, sister, daughter etc. to put yourself first sometimes. It may even seem that you are but when you look long and hard you are just fooling yourself and everything else trumps “you” all the time. It may be counter-intuitive, especially once you have kids, because we all would die for our kids… but I think about that simple instruction in that card on the airplane that tells us to make sure to… Read more »
6 years 10 months ago

Thanks for the reply. You stated you may reward yourself with “social media” what were you you specifically referring to?

Gini Dietrich
6 years 10 months ago
Isn’t it amazing that we are all human beings and that we all make mistakes and we all have success? I was watching CNN while riding the stationary bike in a hotel fitness room on Friday and the Serena Williams story was all over the news. I get pretty disgusted by that kind of coverage – she lost her temper, she shouldn’t have said what she said, she got fined. That should be the end of that. They interviewed a journalist who said it best, “People are very judgmental and everyone thinks they’re infallible. They think, because this young lady… Read more »