By Bev James, CEO Of The Academy Group

‘If you keep doing what you do, you will keep getting what you’ve got.’

Do you hunger for more than you are currently achieving? Do you ever feel that you are not fulfilling your true potential? Are there are things about your lifestyle, choices or experience that may be holding you back? Our environment is made up of surroundings and influences that are familiar to us. It is the place where we can be ourselves without really trying. It is also made up of our thoughts and behaviours — the habits of daily life.

Sometimes, if we are in a familiar environment, we get too comfortable and we stop challenging ourselves. There may be aspects of our environment that no longer support our needs. We may feel frustrated without necessarily realising why. That’s when we need to take stock and decide to stretch ourselves — to take steps to develop new skills or choose new challenges. The next level of success will always lie slightly outside your current comfort zone.

Do It! — Be honest with yourself

Is your thinking stuck in a rut? Does your mind need a change of outlook? Ask yourself whether there are attitudes and habits you need to change in order to transform your mindset for success. Change starts by being honest with yourself. This is not about recrimination — it is about revelation. If you can take stock and choose to re-skill, re-train or change those traits that are holding you back — you are well on the way to achieving the change you want.

Ditch it! — Don’t start each action with a delay

Procrastination is the enemy of success — and it likes company. If your first response is usually, ‘I’ll think about that’ or ‘I’ll do that later’ rather that setting goals or taking action, the danger is that you start each activity with a delay. What you planned to do and what you actually do become two completely different things. Set your mental alarm clock to, ‘Wake up and do it!’ You will only achieve your aims if you keep on or ahead of your schedule.

Do It! — Become curious

Asking questions is a powerful route to positive change. Ask others how they achieved their success. What was their mindset? Did they have to let go of any attitudes or influences in order to stride forwards? What were their fears and how did they overcome them? Remaining curious will keep your mind receptive to new ideas, new ways of thinking and ready for success.

Ditch it! — Don’t limit your vision

Sometimes, others’ success can have a restricting effect on our own ambitions. It may feel as if they have reached a place that has exceeded our own achievements. But other people’s success is simply an opportunity for you to succeed too. If you were learning a new sport you would copy the best technique. It is no different in business. Instead of feeling disheartened by those who have achieved more, or are better at what they do than you — model their approach.

Do It! — Keep learning

A common feature of those who are at the top of their game in life — whether in business, sport, the arts or any other field, is that they are always striving to improve — to do more and do it better. They usually feel they have more to achieve and more to learn. They like to exceed their personal best and to constantly push boundaries. The hunger for improvement will encourage you to always seek out those who know more than you.

Ditch it! Don’t get too comfortable

Striving for success means getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. An environment that is associated with successful outcomes and achievements can be unfamiliar and challenging. The more used to the discomfort you get — the greater your comfort zone of achievement eventually becomes — because fear and anxiety will no longer get in the way of you having a go.

Do It! — Be brave

Personal growth happens when we are being stretched slightly beyond our current level of ability. Creativity takes place where skills and challenge meet. The environment for success is a place of courage and bravery. And we all have more of those traits than we realise. Courage is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.

Start today

Don’t just think about it or talk about it — Do it! Ask yourself what you need to give up doing in order to get to where you want to be. Ask yourself what you need to do first to take your first stride forwards. If you shape up your environment, you will also hone your ambitions — and be closer to the success you want to achieve.

Bev James is CEO of The Academy Group including the Entrepreneurs’ Business Academy and EBA for Coaches, joint ventures with James Caan; and The Coaching Academy — the world largest training school for coaches. She is a millionaires’ mentor, a serial entrepreneur and bestselling author of DO IT! or DITCH IT: Turn ideas into action and make decisions that count — 8 steps to business success Virgin Books, July 2011. www.bevjames.com