The Greatest Threat to Success and How to Avoid It

By Marshall Goldsmith

In a recent dialogue with my friend and Lifestorming co-author, Alan Weiss, we talked about the greatest threat to success and how the most successful people in the world avoid it. The greatest threat to achieving success is not admitting we need help to get better and be the best!

One thing that every great leader, athlete, and talented person has that helps make them the best at what they do is a coach. They all have help. Can you imagine Pau Gasol or Serena Williams without a coach? How about Floyd Mayweather? Of course not! Why would we think that these greats need help but we can do it by ourselves.

A product of my deepest learnings over the past few years as a coach, boils down to a simple sentence, and it’s this “We all need help and it’s okay!”

When I started in the coaching field 30 years ago, no CEO would admit to having a coach. They would have been ashamed to have a coach. Today this has changed. One thing that I’m very proud of is that in my book Triggers 27 major CEOs endorsed the book. They proudly admit to getting help.

To me, this is much healthier. We’ve all got behaviors we’ve been working on for decades. Say we want to be a better listener. We vow to change and yet we don’t. Why is making this promise to ourselves again today going to make us different tomorrow? It’s not. We have to admit we need help and it’s okay! Admitting we need help makes a significant positive difference for all of us.

In my own life, I pay a woman to call me on the phone every day. Why? My name is Marshall Goldsmith. I’m the world’s leading executive coach. I was ranked number one leadership thinker in the world. I pay a woman to call me on the phone every day. She listens to me answer my daily questions, questions that I write and I answer, every day. Why do I do this? My name is Marshall Goldsmith. I’m too cowardly to do this by myself and too undisciplined. I need help, and it’s okay!

Marshall Goldsmith Meme

How about you? Where are some areas where you might need a little help? Make a checklist of behaviors and actions that you want to improve on and then ask someone to help you by listening to you gauge how you’re doing every day. It’s simple and still hard to do because we have to look at ourselves every single day. We give ourselves feedback every single day and we ask someone else to help us be accountable. It’s a great tool.

As my friend Alan said when we were talking about this process writing our book, “This feedback is invaluable. And that’s how we can all improve. In terms of Lifestorming, the more we think about ourselves, the more we think of ourselves, the less threatening it is to ask for help.”

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

Marshall Goldsmith Meme
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