14 | What Got You Here, Won't Get You There

The original blog post below was published on Mar 18, 2022. It was updated to a podcast episode on Sept 14, 2023.


"What Got You Here, Won't Get You There" was written by Marshall Goldsmith. In this book he uncovers the ideology behind why successful people get stuck getting to the next level. What may be holding you back is what you got to this point.

In this episode, we will apply his book to our small businesses as t-shirt makers and how we can get unstuck.

The Success Delusion

The "success delusion" is a psychological phenomenon where individuals or businesses mistakenly believe that the strategies or behaviors that led to their past success will guarantee continued success in the future. In other words, it's the tendency to assume that what worked before will always work, even when circumstances change.

For instance, assuming that the social media platform you use for business will never change or not changing out your products to match with current trends because they sold before... falls into the Success Delusion.

It is crucial to self-reflect on what is working and what isn't, identify the core functions when adapting with the market.

Identifying the 20 Habits

Here are the 20 habits Goldsmith attributes to being held back from the top:

  1. Winning too much
  2. Adding too much value
  3. Passing judgement
  4. Making destructive comments
  5. Starting with "no, but, however"
  6. Telling the world how smart we are
  7. Speaking when angry
  8. Negativity - let me tell you why that won't work
  9. Withholding information
  10. Failing to give proper recognition
  11. Claiming undeserved credit
  12. Making excuses
  13. Clinging to the past
  14. Playing favorites
  15. Refusing to express regret
  16. Not listening
  17. Failing to express gratitude
  18. Punishing the messenger
  19. Passing the buck
  20. Excessive need to be "me"


"Feed-forward" is all about getting helpful suggestions and feedback on how to improve the future versus dwelling on the past. 

To work through the "Feed-Forward Method":

  • Select a behavior to work on
  • Describe it to someone
  • Receive improvement suggestions
  • Show gratitude without judgment

When trying to change, you will be met with resistance. Focus on getting to the next level and your why to keep it in perspective.

Navigating the Process of Change

  1. Accepting that you have a problem
  2. Choose the right thing to work on
  3. Don't delude: the quick fix doesn't provide the lasting solution
  4. Don't hide from the truth that we need to hear
  5. There is no ideal behavior because we aren't perfect
  6. If you can't measure it, you can't achieve it
  7. Incentivize the behavior
  8. The best time to change is now

So What

What got you here, won't get you there!

I'd love to hear which habit you struggle with the most. Submit a post to our Community Facebook group and share with us what you are working through.

Links mentioned in this episode


*This podcast contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through them – but rest assured, I only recommend products and services I truly believe in and think will bring value to you.

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