The 7 Things You Must Give Up to be Successful

I’ve always known that success requires sacrifice. It requires me to give up one thing in exchange for something better.

But I always seemed to have the what part wrong. What must you give up to be successful? It might not be the things you think.

What do you need to give up for success?

You don’t have to give up your life to be successful. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

The internet is full of quotes about sacrifice and success.

I could fill up 100+ blog posts with nothing but quotes that tell you:

“True success requires sacrifice.” – Rick Riordan

“You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” – J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan

“He who would accomplish little need sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much. He who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” – James Allen, in As a Man Thinketh

All valid statements. All accurate and inspiring. And all incomplete. They all fail to answer the question of what? What must be sacrificed? What must you give up to be successful?



Bonus Content: Not sure how to overcome the barriers in your way to success? I’ll help you get past each of the 7 barriers I list below in today’s bonus, the Overcoming the 7 Barriers to Success Worksheet. Look for it at the end of this post or Click Here to Get it Now!



What not to give up to be successful

First, let’s start with the things you don’t have to give up, the misconceptions people often have about being successful.

You don’t have to give up your freedom.

You don’t have to give up your family.

You don’t have to give up your health.

You don’t have to give up sleep. (Unless you are just lazy and lie around all day doing nothing, but odds are that’s not you)

You don’t have to give up your hobbies.

You don’t have to give up your friends. (Though, there may be one or two relationships you need to end)

You don’t have to give up your passions. (In fact, you should pursue them with vigor)

You don’t have to give up your life.

You don’t have to give up movie night with the kids, date night with your spouse, golf on Saturday with your friends, or even cable (though this might convince you otherwise), your iPhone (even though I did), or even the occasional double chocolate caramel fudge cherry cheesecake with ice cream on top.

Yes, you can be successful and have a life. You don’t need to give up any of those things to be successful…if you are willing to sacrifice the seven things below.

The 7 things you must give up to be successful

1. Control

Specifically you need to give up two forms of control:

External control – allowing others to control you.

Organizational control – Not allowing others to help you.

External control:

When you allow others to control you, you resign yourself to always doing what you’re told. History doesn’t remember people who do nothing but take orders.

Organizational control:

You are afraid to delegate. You don’t trust others to do the job as well as you, so you do it all yourself. History doesn’t remember those who did it all by themselves.

If you struggle with either of these types of control and want to know how to give them up, today’s bonus worksheet is perfect for you. Grab it here.

2. Safety

We all inherently want to be safe. There’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, if our ancestors hadn’t had that innate drive for safety, we wouldn’t exist today. Thanks, ancestors!

But safety, taken too far, never leads to success. You don’t find success hugging the base of a tree. You find it out on a limb.

This is why I hate SMART goals but love DREAM goals. Daring/Dangerous, Rapt, Energizing, Action-Oriented, and Meaningful. The first component of a valid goal is that it is daring and dangerous. It requires you to stretch far beyond your comfort zone. In fact, it leaves it behind forever.

3. External Motivation

If you require external motivation, you will never be the best you.

Seth Godin accurately writes that, “if you rely on external motivation to be your best self, then you will have ceded responsibility and authority to someone else. You will be judged by how well your boss does at motivating you, not based on who you are.”

What a terrible way to live!

Motivation must come from inside. It comes from your WHY (listen to episode 17 of my podcast tomorrow to learn yours). It comes from the driving force inside of you that says, “this must change,” “that’s not right,” or “I have to do something about that.”

Find your internal motivation, then align everything in life with that. That will show you the path to true success.

4. Procrastination

Procrastination will kill you. Literally.

If you procrastinate going to the doctor, for example, you could miss out on early detection of something that is easily curable. Instead, it grows and grows beneath the surface. And you die.

That wasn’t a scare tactic at all, was it?

It will definitely kill your dreams. It will kill your chances of success.

There are three things you must know about procrastination.

  • Procrastination isn’t about laziness at all.
  • Procrastinators aren’t future-focused. In fact, they are too present-focused.
  • It’s a habit. And one that you can overcome.

Grab today’s bonus worksheet to learn the truth about procrastination and how to overcome it.

5. Approval

I’ve shared this quote before but it is so powerful and true that I must share it again.

“If we live for people’s acceptance, we will die from their rejection.” – Lecrae

News flash: You’re going to fail. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to look stupid from time to time.

And when you do, others will judge you. The question is, what are you going to do in response to that judgment?

When they say, “I told you so,” will you shrivel up and quit? Or will you stand tall and try again?

Approve yourself and stick to your calling.

lecrae quote acceptance
“If we live for people’s acceptance, we will die from their rejection.” – Lecrae (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook


6. Mediocrity and Perfection

This one is a bit of a paradox, but they are two sides of the same coin.

If you are going to be successful, you must learn to hate mediocrity. You have to learn to hate average. Because good is the enemy of great.

When you rest on your laurels (as I did years ago), you forget your true calling. When you buy into the hype or stop striving for better, you forget your dream and quit before the finish line.

But you must also not allow perfection to be the goal.

Perfection will never happen. There is no perfect piece of art or perfect product or perfect blog post. If you wait for perfection, you will never ship.

Remember the Facebook credo: Done is better than perfect.

7. Self

Whatever you are doing, to be truly successful, your calling must be about something greater than yourself.

If Edison’s objective had been only to provide light to his own house, do you think he would have tried and failed 10,000 times? No. He would have bought more candles. But his goal was to light the world.

This boils down to the simple question of who?

Ask yourself: Who will benefit from my work?

If the answer is only “me, myself, and I” then you will never be successful. It will not keep you going. It will not wake you up in the morning or keep you up at night.

Give up yourself for something greater. Give of yourself for others. Give up these seven things to find true success.

Question: What must you give up to find true success? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Great insight! I’m glad espresso isn’t on the list! :)

  • Trying to do too many things at once :) I get easily bored so I need to have multiple projects going at once but sometimes it’s also what slows me down.

    • I’m so glad John Lee Dumas drilled this into me:

      F- Follow
      O – One
      C – Course
      U- Until
      S- Success