I recently purchased some audio equipment. It was time to let go of the Bose system that was over a decade old. Did it work? Well, for the most part. I had sound – the bass did not work well and as most things, you just kind of get used to it.  It was OK watching regular TV, however, using the Blue Ray or listening to music definitely left me unimpressed.

It was a safe decision – upgrade the TV and leave all the stereo components alone about a year and a half ago. I was working off the old adage, if it is not broke, don’t fix it. It is true, sometimes the process or system does not need an entire overhaul and sometimes it really does need a more thoughtful analysis.

Take a moment and consider, how many things in your life do you just live with?

It might be work related – the recruitment, communication or HRIS systems, the talent management or performance review processes. In your personal life it might be finding a job, organizing your garage, office or basement, mapping out your personal and career goals, assessing your personal relationships – the list could go on.

It is easy to try to make things work and sometimes force fit – for instance you might find yourself adapting the problem to fit into your life or you find that it easier to avoid or ignore the problem. In either case, is it the ideal solution?

Consider that we sometimes are our own worse enemies. We let excuses get in the way – here are some key factors that limit us from making progress:

Cost ($$)

It is a time of being fiscally responsible. I am not advocating that you plunge the company or yourself into further debt for something that might be a “nice thing to do”.

However, if the cost vs. benefit equation comes out with the benefits driving more business, clients, reduced stress or increased personal satisfaction, it is time to acknowledge that cost is truly an investment.

Poor planning

We cannot always plan for all the hiccups in a project. Sometimes things pop up out of our control or we find a better way of doing things. The type of poor planning I am referring to is making a decision to “fix” something and not addressing the interlocking pieces at the same time.

Most systems have some level of interdependency and when something is replaced, eliminated or changed in some way; it is wise to expect other things to become obsolete or broken. They will need attention and you might as well plan for it.

Lack of vision

Making decisions in a vacuum without considering the implications on other parts of your life can cause havoc. For example, Robert was out of work for a year. He was getting to the point of desperation.

His outplacement counselor referred him to me – to work on his style and approach with people. He had an assertive approach which is more conducive to what I refer to as a “rough and tumble” environment. His problem was he was not being selective about the type of companies he was applying to and was experiencing significant rejection.

Once we aligned his personality and skill set to companies with cultures where he would thrive, he had an offer in hand within two months.

Personal drive

You must have commitment and be willing to make the personal and financial investment to do it. Absent motivation, very little gets done and if it does – it will not stick for long.

Fear of success

It is juxtaposition – you want to be successful and yet there is a fear of being successful, to the point of shutting down.

Fear of the unknown

When you are fearful of what could or might be without validating the fear, it can become debilitating.

Absence of experiencing or visualizing the better state

Sometimes we have to let ourselves dream about the possibilities and visualize how it improves our lives. When we see our role in the new state it becomes easier to make it happen.

Until I got my new speakers, I did not realize how much better the music and audio sounded. I wish I would have done it earlier; however cost was a reason. When you only settle for the best of the best, sometimes you put things out of reach and nothing gets done.

What project, task or improvement are you working on that might benefit from removing the self-limiting behaviors?