I’m sure like you it was ingrained in me at school that if you worked hard that success would show up eventually. I was sure that if you got your head down, put in the effort that it would pay off. But as an adult I see that people who did this haven’t always achieved the level of success they aspired to.

So why doesn’t a strong work ethic and intelligence always pay off?

I’ve come to realise that there are a lot of factors involved when it comes to success, whether it means having a fulfilling career, having great relationships, or staying healthy. Yes, brain cells are part of it, and so is work ethic. But there’s more at play than just these two factors.

Here are six reasons why you might not be finding success…. even if you’re smart and hardworking:

1. You don’t connect with new people.

It’s far too easy to socialise and work with the same people. You know each other’s past and can laugh at inside jokes together. The problem with old friends and colleagues is that the same ideas are recycled over and over again, and you don’t get to learn new perspectives outside of your social bubble.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with; well shake those five people up!

It can be tough to reach out to new people, but starting small can help. Aim for a practical goal initially, such as introducing yourself to one person a week, perhaps at a networking group, or attend a coaching forum or sign up to inspiring workshops. You never know what ideas you’ll pick up and what new people and connections you will make.

2. You are averse to change.

Staying in the same environment for a long time makes it hard to adapt to something new but change presents a chance for opportunities and innovation.

Instead of resisting changes, see how you can make the best of them. Maybe you can cater to a growing businesses need or see a different perspective.

We’ve found that many coaches didn’t see the need to get their own ActivityPro app. They had a system of session booking and parent communication which they thought worked. But when they looked hard at their system, they were flawed and had huge scope for improvement. The world changes and businesses need to embrace technology to keep up with competitors and offer what the customer now expects.

Be open to new concepts and investigate the world around you.

3. You’re not willing to take risks.

Great coaches often choose the safe route; there’s less risk and more security and certainty. For instance they might have always used the same methods for marketing or always found paper bookings and cash payments to be the norm.

A degree of same-ness is great, but too much can be mundane. I hear so often from coaches that they find their jobs unfulfilling and that they want to do something else, or try a new system, but are afraid to do so.

If you’re thinking about branching out into unfamiliar territory, perhaps moving to a new club or taking on a new booking system, consider what your life will be like a year from now if you opt not to pursue something. Will you regret it, or will you be happy with your decision?

4. You believe you deserve success based on qualifications

People that worked hard at achieving their qualifications often claim they deserve something because of the qualifications they hold. They expect things to pan out automatically because of their qualifications. Sadly, though, life doesn’t work like that and qualifications only go so far.

In the real world, you don’t get results based on the work you put in. You get results based on the cocktail of connections, hard work, strategic thinking… plus some luck thrown in! You can increase that last factor by working on the first three.

5. You stop learning

We live in a time where we have knowledge at our fingertips, but how often do we sit down and study, read and explore? Self-growth is key to living a fulfilling life and having a successful career. When you look at the most successful people in the world, they understand this. Warren Buffet spends most of his time reading. The best entrepreneurs in the world don’t act like they know everything. They all understand the fact that they have to continuously learn to be successful.


  • You will become happier – Learning is tough and can be frustrating, but although the task is hard, nothing is greater than reaching your accomplishment. We pick how many hours we practice, and we take ownership over what we achieve. Personal development is a way to guarantee us serenity from within.
  • You’ll become irreplaceable – If you are the best and most knowledgeable coach, you’ll become irreplaceable.
  • You’ll stay humble – No matter whom you meet, there is always something valuable to learn from the encounter.
  • You’ll become a great coach – The only way to mastery is through teaching. One of the best feelings in the world is teaching others what you’ve learned. Not only will it affect the person you’re teaching, but also they in turn will teach others.
6. You don’t believe in yourself.

Surprisingly, good coaches can underestimate their own abilities. They are their own worst critic, causing them to believe that they can’t accomplish as much as they can.

Good coaches have high standards when it comes to their output, which seems like a good thing on the surface, but it’s often more debilitating than helpful.

So instead of letting fears of “what if” or “I’m not good enough” keep you back from something new, think of how you want your life to look like years from now, personally and professionally. Getting started trumps waiting for something to happen anytime.

What will you do today to get closer to your success? What are some things that have been holding you back and how can you adapt?

Until next time,