August is almost halfway through and by this time you should be just about three-quarter way into achieving your #1 goal for 2015. How well are you doing so far?

If your goal was to start a business this year, have you started?

Or did you start and life got in the way as the year moved along? Maybe you started and it fizzled out so fast that you’ve shelved the idea.

Or maybe…you didn’t get started at all…

If you’re stuck, haven’t started or have already given up, there is more than one obstacle that is holding you hostage.

I used to think that fear of publicity was my main obstacle because this fear had held me back from going online for a long time (I’ve talked about this in my book 12 Weeks to Startup).

The reality is very different and it revealed itself in an interesting way.

Ringing Phones

obstacles to success


A few weeks ago, I had a wake-up call that shook my world.

This year I’ve been testing new marketing methods and working hard on my blog with amazing results. I also took time to help my son set up his blog, which started getting comments immediately (I wrote about his experience in this article).

Well, my efforts started reaping fruits in July when people started contacting me. Some had read an article I’d written and others wanted to sign up for coaching. My blog also started getting more hits daily.

Then came this day when suddenly my phone was ringing all the time. The MPESA line was busy too and went ‘ching’, ‘ching’, ‘ching’ most of the day as people either purchased my book or paid for coaching.

It was also a busy coaching day and so I ended up being on the phone most of the day. This is quite exhausting even for a phonaholic like me!

Sometime in the afternoon, I found myself thinking, “I don’t think I can stand having these phones ringing all the time!”. I was very tempted to switch off the ringers and call it a day.

That thought stopped me in my tracks.

Knowing what I know, I was immediately aware that my thoughts were turning negative. I also knew that this could only lead to a downward spiral of self-sabotage that would, in turn, kill all the efforts I had put into marketing…

…and effectively silence the phones.

……and possibly drag my business back a few years.

It’s easy to push away success

At the same time, I had forgotten that I had I had achieved 75% of my financial goal for that month within 2 weeks! I was also not celebrating the fact that this achievement came through telephone calls with prospects, clients, past clients and referrals!

Interestingly, most of the people who signed up for coaching that week are the kind of people I thought I’d be working with 2-3 years from now. Evidently, this shook me up some more because, at some subconscious level, I wasn’t feeling ready for this.

Finally, I conveniently forgot that when I wrote out my goals for the year, I had noted that I would know my business is successful when it hits a certain income and people start calling me instead of me calling them.

Talk about real ‘ringing’ answers to your desires!

So here I was, having an extra successful day and it was manifesting what I’d asked for. And there I was, resisting this success.

Can you identify with that?

Have you ever found yourself having the same challenge?

Main Obstacles to Success

obstacles to success

Most people think that the main obstacles success in life and business are things like:

  • lack of finances;
  • no support from family and friends;
  • lack of education;
  • being born in a poor family;
  • lack of skills e.g. public speaking, financial management, etc;
  • getting embarrassed when your past (sins) get revealed to the public;
  • the person you may end up becoming (maybe you’ve had negative experiences or encounters with successful people);
  • fear of failure, success, publicity, what people will think or say about you, having to speak in public.

The real reason is much more different. And, as you grow in your life and business, you will find out that there are different levels of obstacles. So each time you clear some obstacles, new ones emerge.

The real reason is that the main obstacle to success – the one that you have to overcome as you work on your goals – is simply fear of change.

It is resistance to moving out of your comfort zone.

All the fears mentioned above are just external manifestations of the fear of change and resistance to change.

That is exactly what happened to me in July.

Achieving my monthly goal so ‘effortlessly’, having the phones ring all the time, and starting to work with my ideal future clients pushed me way beyond my comfort zone.

I didn’t feel equipped to handle the work. It felt as if I had woken up that day in Class 1 and ended the day in Class 5.

Secondly, I wasn’t ready to achieve that goal so effortlessly. It seemed effortless because it happened so fast. In reality, it was about 5 months of intense work – sometimes sleeping as late as 2:00am – that brought about the achievement.

Thirdly, and most importantly, this experience revealed hangups I had about money and success that I wasn’t aware I had!

It took time and more effort to get back on track and below is the process I used.

Way Forward

The truth about goals is that you’ve either started and are working towards achieving your goals, or you haven’t.

There are no two ways to talk about it: it either is or isn’t.

Whatever the case, you can make strides towards your goals anytime within the year.

However, to do so you have to:

  1. Have crystal clear clarity about the goal you want to achieve. Without this, you will flounder and waste time.
  2. Have an action plan: You need to identify what you want (clear goal) and then map a strategy to get you from where you are today to your goal. Think of your plan like a roadmap.
  3. Be ready and willing to do whatever it takes: You must be willing to do whatever is morally, spiritually, legally, physically and socially acceptable in order to achieve your goal(s).
  4. Act very fast: Time moves very fast and you can waste a lot of it trying to get things right. Act and learn from your actions so that December becomes more of a celebration than business.
  5. Overcome a number of obstacles: The bigger your goal, the more obstacles you have to overcome and the faster you have to change.

Financial success (whether you achieve it in your career, job, investments or in business) is at the heart of most people’s desires.

Interestingly, women have more challenges when it comes to achieving their financial goals and have a harder time receiving success from their efforts than men do.

And so, over the next couple or so posts, I’ll focus on the topic of Women and Money. The series will end with an interview with Lisa Muthoni, one of the top 50 accredited insurance agents in Kenya. Lisa works with women and she had very useful advice to give in her interview.

Over to you

What obstacles have you faced or are currently facing when it comes to achieving your personal and/or business goals? Please share your experiences, tips and resources in the Comments section below.

(Images are courtesy of

    2 replies to "The Main Obstacle to Success"

    • Wangari

      Hi Caroline, thanks for the insightful article that is so on poiint for me. I am in the category of those who started then stagnated. I’ve realised having tunnel vision and a do or die doing attitude instead of an ‘ I’m trying attitude’ makes all the difference.

      • Caroline Gikonyo

        Karibu sana, Wangari and thanks for your insight. In fact it’s easier to scale down your business instead of stopping altogether. When you scale down, at least you’re still doing something. When you stop (and stagnate), it gets harder to get back up and you kinda have to re-start your business all over again. Congratulations on getting back on track and getting your vision right.

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