Why Authenticity Is The Missing Link In Your Business

Mental Models, Performance, Business & Entrepreneurship | newsletter.scottdclary.com

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The Three Things Stopping You From Achieving Your Dreams

Hey everyone, let's kick off this week with a thought-provoking exercise that might just change your perspective on life.

Picture this: You're on your deathbed, surrounded by the people you love. Memories of your life - the highs and lows, the joy and pain, the thrilling adventures, and the lazy Sundays - are all flashing before your eyes. As you lay there, taking in the story of your life, ask yourself: will you have any regrets? Will you be content with the life you've lived, or will you be left yearning for something more?

For a vast majority of people, the answer is, unfortunately, the latter. A recent study discovered that a staggering 76% of individuals on their deathbed regretted not living up to their full potential. They didn't live their lives the way they truly wanted, but instead conformed to the expectations of others.

While it might seem like a heavy topic, this introspection serves as a vital wake-up call for all of us. It's an essential reminder to live life on our own terms and embrace our authentic selves.

The journey of entrepreneurship offers a unique opportunity for us to forge our own paths, pursue our passions, and live the life we genuinely desire. It's a journey that demands courage, determination, and above all, the conviction to live a life free of regrets. We must seize this chance and not let it slip through our fingers.

During a recent conversation with Ben Nemtin, we delved into an array of thought-provoking subjects. One idea that particularly resonated with me was our discussion on what prevents people from living the life they yearn for and achieving their dreams.

In this article, I'll be diving into the three primary factors that are holding you back from realizing your dreams and how you can overcome these obstacles to make the most of this incredible gift of life.

So, are you ready to dive in? Let's get started!

Our Three Selves

Before we dive in, we first must dissect a little bit about the idea of regret and the different parts of ourselves that feel it. 

The research of psychologists Tom Gilovich and Victoria Medvec explored the inner workings of our minds. They found that most people have broken their minds up into three distinct ‘selves’. 

The three ‘selves’ that exist within each of us are the ideal self, the ought self, and the actual self. 

1. The Ideal Self

The ideal self represents the person we aspire to be, and it is made up of the attributes and qualities we admire and wish to possess.

It includes our hopes, aspirations, and dreams, and it represents the person we want to become. Our ideal self is not necessarily based on reality, rather, it is the best version of ourselves that we can imagine. 

It's important to note that the ideal self is not static; it can change and evolve as you grow and learn. By embracing your ideal self, you give yourself the freedom to pursue your dreams and live life on your own terms. 

2. The Ought Self

The ought self represents our obligations and responsibilities. It's the person we think we should be, based on societal norms, family expectations, and our inner sense of duty.

Our ought self often pushes us to make decisions that align with what we believe is the "right" thing to do, even if it doesn't align with our true desires or aspirations. For example, our ought self might be, "I ought to be a healthier person and go to the gym more." 

For entrepreneurs and people chasing success, the ought self can often be a source of conflict. On one hand, it may push us to make responsible business decisions, but on the other hand, it can hold us back from taking risks and pursuing our passions. 

Striving to meet the expectations of our ought self can lead to burnout and a sense of unhappiness if it's not in alignment with our true desires.

It's crucial to strike a balance between your ought self and your ideal self. 

While it's important to be responsible and fulfill your obligations, it's equally important to make time for what makes you happy and fulfilled. By finding a balance between your ought self and ideal self, you can lead a life that brings you both success and satisfaction.

3. The Actual Self 

The actual self, as the name suggests, represents who we believe ourselves to be and the attributes we believe we actually possess. 

It's the intersection between our ideal self and our ought self, and it's the person we present to the world. Our actual self is shaped by our experiences, beliefs, and the actions we take in our day-to-day life.

You need to be mindful of the gap between your actual self and your ideal self. 

When you live in alignment with your ideal self, your actual self will naturally reflect the person you aspire to be. However, when you allow fear, self-doubt, and external expectations to hold you back, your actual self may fall short of your true potential.

The Three Blocks

Now that you have a better understanding of the different parts of yourself, you can look at how these parts of yourself come together and what obstacles hold you back from reaching your potential. 

Tom Gilovich identified three major blocks that most people struggle with when it comes to achieving their dreams. 


Fear is the biggest obstacle that holds most people back. Fear shows up in many different ways for all of us, but it often comes with crippling side effects of anxiety, hesitation, and inaction. 

Fear can take many forms - fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of what others think - and it can paralyze us, preventing us from taking the necessary steps to move forward.

Fear can be especially challenging for entrepreneurs because success often requires taking risks, stepping out of our comfort zone, and pursuing our passions despite the obstacles that may stand in our way. When we allow fear to control us, we limit our potential and prevent ourselves from reaching our full potential.

It's important to remember that fear is a normal part of the entrepreneurial journey.

As we push ourselves into situations that make us uncomfortable, as we make lofty goals, and as we change our ‘actual self’ - fear will show up.

The key is not to let it control us but to use it as a source of motivation to push ourselves to new heights. Entrepreneurs who embrace their fears and turn them into a source of strength are the ones who achieve the greatest success. 

Lack of Deadlines

Setting deadlines is a crucial component of success, yet it's something that many of us struggle with. Without a set point in time that our tasks are due, it’s very easy for us to end up wandering aimlessly and not being disciplined with our time. 

Deadlines provide a sense of urgency and help us prioritize our tasks and focus on what's most important. Without a calendar full of deadlines, It's too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the bigger picture. 

When we lack deadlines, we are more likely to procrastinate, lose focus, and become distracted by other responsibilities. This can lead to missed opportunities, decreased productivity, and frustration. It can also prevent us from reaching our goals in a timely manner and holding ourselves accountable for our actions.

The key is to make sure you are setting and adhering to deadlines that help you stay focused, motivated, and on track toward your goals.

Waiting to Feel Inspired 

Inspiration is a powerful force, but it can also be elusive and unpredictable. 

Many of us wait for that spark of inspiration to hit before we take action, but the truth is, waiting for inspiration to strike before we start can lead to missed opportunities and lost time.

In reality, inspiration usually comes after we start taking action and pursuing our goals. 

By taking that first step, we start to build momentum, and our passion and drive continue to grow with each step we take. The more we do, the more inspired we become and the more confident we are in our ability to achieve our goals.

By taking action, even when we don't feel inspired, we are demonstrating our commitment to our goals and building the momentum we need to achieve our aspirations. 

How To Achieve Your Dreams

Now, the best part: how to overcome all of these and actually achieve your dreams. I hope you didn’t think I was just going to leave you high and dry! 

There are three key strategies that I feel are the most important for you to implement that will put you on the path to achieving your dreams. Remember, pursuing your dreams is a journey, not a singular destination. 

It requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to overcome obstacles and challenges along the way. However, by following these key strategies, you can increase your chances of success and turn your dreams into a reality.

Use energy as a guide. Take the time to reflect on your energy levels. Take stock of how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally while going through your day.

What are the tasks, projects, and goals that fill you with energy? Which ones drain your energy? 

When you take time to reflect on this, it will give you a great guide for how you should be spending your time and what you should be setting your goals as.

Aim your goals at projects that fill you with energy, make you excited, and don’t leave you feeling drained at the end of the day. These are things that will lead you to a life of fulfillment. 

Give yourself permission. Too often, we hold ourselves back due to fear, self-doubt, and societal pressure to conform. We tell ourselves that we're not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough to follow our passions and make our dreams a reality. 

But the truth is, these are just limiting beliefs holding us back.

By giving yourself permission to pursue your dreams, you're taking control of your life and making a conscious decision to prioritize your happiness and fulfillment. 

You're allowing yourself the freedom to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. You're giving yourself the space to be creative, explore new opportunities, and grow as a person.

Re-define ‘selfish’. Redefining "selfish" to mean taking care of oneself is a key step towards living a fulfilling life and achieving your dreams. 

The concept of putting yourself first often gets a bad rap, with people perceiving it as selfish and self-centered. But you need to understand that putting yourself first doesn’t mean disregarding the needs and wants of others.

Instead, it means taking care of your own needs, desires, and goals so that you have the energy and resources to be there for others. When you make yourself a priority, you are setting yourself up for success. 

This means taking the time to engage in self-care, setting boundaries, and pursuing the things that bring you joy and fulfillment. By doing so, you'll be in a better position to help others and make a positive impact on the world.


Take a moment to remember that image of yourself on your deathbed, looking back on your life and regrets. 

Use this image as motivation and courage to pursue the life of your dreams. 

Remember that you are influenced by the three different parts of yourself: the ideal self, the ought self, and the actual self. Find a way to slowly work your actual self towards your ideal self. 

Overcome the obstacles of fear, having a lack of deadlines, and waiting for inspiration and you will be well on your way to living a life that you can be proud of and that you can look back on with joy. 

If you like this topic and want to learn more, be sure to check out my full conversation with Ben Nemtin.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this article, I’d love to hear from you. 

Reply to this email or tweet at me @ScottDClary and I'll do my best to get back to everyone!


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