Hayley Carr, Life Coach
It takes dedication to push past the moments when you want to quit or have failed but keep showing up and striving.
We live our lives in public and enjoy sharing our highlight reel with our wider collective of friends and followers. We are successful, thriving and happy, and it is easy to make it look this good. Or is it? Life coach and former karate champion Hayley Carr is well-acquainted with the paradox behind the image of success. Having spent her young adult years sacrificing fun in exchange for nine world championship titles, Carr was one of the few talented individuals with the ability to make hard work seem easy. Now, the life coach and self-proclaimed overachiever is a firm champion of a new truth. Shedding light on what she calls the ‘hours in the dark’, Carr shares real talk about the image of success and leaves us with the simple message: ‘don’t believe the hype’.
TBE: How do you define success?
Hayley: Everyone’s definition of success is different and understanding what your definition of success is the key to finding happiness in your life. For me, success is wanting what I have. I used to have this neverending, ridiculous cycle in my mind that would focus on what I could get or achieve next. As soon as I got what I had wanted, I’d already started a new cycle of thinking I would only be happy when the next thing came into my life. I had this idea of ‘I’ll be happy when… I’ll be happy when…’ and I was perpetually dissatisfied with what was in the moment.
TBE: Why do you think people discount the hard work that goes into achieving it?
H: It’s because it’s unseen. It’s hours in the dark, it’s time spent working when everyone else is at a party, it’s getting up at 4am, it’s visualising before you act. People have no idea how much hard work goes into achieving success because they’re busy living their own lives. I think it takes 10,000 hours to really master something. It takes dedication to push past the moments when you want to quit or have failed but keep showing up and striving. Most of the time, when someone sees you when you have become “successful” you have already done all of the hard work and they just think ‘cool, that person has just shown up’ and it’s just not true.
TBE: How has our current culture influenced this?
H: We have people turning to the internet now to be creative and achieve success from wherever they are. It’s seen as “cool” to make this success look easy and when you’re really good at something you make it look easy anyway. People get the idea that you can be an overnight success. The reality is that even if you had the ability to take a shortcut to achieve success, most of the time, you still wouldn’t be the type of person who could own the space that you were venturing in to. You would lack the ability to learn and act upon your lessons.
There may be some who have reached the top with ease, but their success isn’t repeatable because they didn’t learn any lessons along the way. It’s all about the journey of becoming what you want to become. This is when you learn about yourself and the world as well as how you want to react to it. It’s not about getting a result all the time, it sounds totally cliche, but it’s really about who you become on the road. There’s a great sense of self-confidence and self-reliance that comes from developing skills throughout the process of achieving something that you can apply and repeat elsewhere. It makes you feel like you can do anything, anytime.
Hayley Carr, Life Coach
We can’t rush the phases of life. We have to go through them in order to get the lessons, insights and maturity to achieve the depth of wisdom that success requires.
TBE: Why is it important to embrace the work that goes into high achievement?
H: There’s a really great satisfaction to becoming very good at something, There is a great joy to hard work, especially when it’s something that you’re passionate about. I think to miss that would be a tragedy. Every time you put yourself in a position of discomfort you stretch yourself and you learn so much about yourself. There is so much beauty and so much growth that goes missed if we skip the hard parts.
TBE: And what about the importance of failure?
H: Just the other day I read ‘if you want to become a success, here’s the easy way to do it: increase your capacity for failure’. I love failure so much now. I have this great relationship with it because it tells me that I’m not playing within my range and I am also expanding my range every time I fail. Failure teaches me to become more accepting of myself and to get up and just keep going.
Hayley Carr, Life Coach
There needs to be a greater understanding of what it takes to be successful from people who did it little by little by little.
TBE: Finally, what is the biggest misconception of achieving success?
H: There’s this idea that we need to at our pinnacle today. There’s an attitude ‘I have to be that today, or it’s not enough’. People want to make all their money, become successful and retire by the time that they’re 30. We can’t rush the phases of life. We have to go through them in order to get the lessons, insights and maturity to achieve the depth of wisdom that success requires. Only time can give us this. We can speed this process up a little bit by really reaching out of our comfort zones but, for most people, it requires time and the willingness to learn. There needs to be a greater understanding of what it takes to be successful from people who did it little by little by little. It’s boring, predictable and not glamorous but it’s profitable not just in a financial sense but from an energy and results sense. It’s not what people want to hear but it’s the truth.
Three Thought Habits That Set High Achievers Apart
Turn A Mountain Into A Molehill: When we look at our desired goals as one great feat, they can become daunting and even start to seem entirely unattainable. Take the time to identify the smaller steps required to achieve your goal and then focus on addressing them on one at a time. Breaking a single achievement down into multiple stages will make it much more manageable and also provides you with a way of tracking your progress.
Think Like A Black Belt: If you want to pursue a healthier lifestyle, ask yourself ‘what would a fit person do in this moment?’. If you want to build a successful business, ask ‘what would a successful businesswoman do now?’ Discover your answer and act accordingly. Soon enough you will find you are exactly what you set out to be. This doesn’t necessarily mean overinvesting yourself or pretending to be something what you are not. It is simply about doing whatever you reasonably can to come from the place where you want to be.
Embrace Failure: High achievers recognise that success requires leaving their comfort zone which. In turn, this opens them up to greater opportunities for failure. If we fear the possibility of failing and do all we can to avoid it, we block ourselves off from the lessons, skills and knowledge that it can provide us with. Train your mind to become okay with failure and identify each downfall as an opportunity for growth.
Based in Melbourne, Hayley Carr is a nine-time world champion karate competitor turned life-coach. Drawing from the lessons she has learnt during her journey through martial arts, personal illness and solo travel, she teaches clients and readers of her blog how to overcome the issues that are holding them back from fulfilling their true potential.