You’ve just scored that big deal, or finished that huge project. Success, right? Well…yes, in a way. If you let that win be your pinnacle, then you are sabotaging yourself and your future.

The conventional “wisdom” in platitudes like “quit while you’re ahead “or “get out while the getting is good,” is the exact opposite of wise. When we follow that advice, we aren’t truly winning—we are settling and allowing ourselves to fall prey to a sneaky form of self-sabotage, otherwise known as loss aversion.

Despite how hard we strive to be successful, we are also hard-wired to avoid loss. It’s the same inner instinct that makes you avoid a cliff or be leery of falling in love on a first date. We are born with inner survival instincts, and loss is one of those things we perceive as a danger. If we aren’t aware of this behavioral bias and how it impacts us on a subconscious level, we could actually be paying an even higher price by playing small.

The Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman discovered, through his ground-breaking experiments on loss aversion, that humans are twice as likely and driven to avoid losses than they are to achieve gains. Twice as likely. This experiment was performed in the context of money, however, it also applies to us in terms of goal setting and achieving.

Maybe you’re a high achiever Type-A person, and you’re sitting there thinking you are already playing a big game and achieving at your highest level. The all As, valedictorian, top in your market achiever is the winner, right? Not necessarily.

Just because something is going incredibly well for you now doesn’t mean that it can’t get a whole lot better…better than you could even imagine.

Imagine the impact you could have if you achieved 10x your current results. Yes, ten times. Think bigger than you ever have before. Imagine the kind of blockbuster success you’ve never dared to dream about. What sort of impact would that have on your life? On your family? On the world? On your legacy?

On an immediate basis, imagine being 10x more effective in your work. Would that give you the precious time you need to be there for your child’s school play or first track meet? Or maybe you have the capital and time to whisk the love of your life off for a spontaneous vacation. What that kind of success gives you is not just money—it’s time. And time is a commodity we can’t get back.

“We are only limited by weakness of attention and poverty of imagination.” —Neville Goddard

By settling for the win, you are limiting your potential. When you dream bigger, and decide to go for it, instead of playing small, huge things happen. That’s all great in theory but how do you begin to shift this self-sabotaging behavior? It takes two things—awareness and conscious decisions.

You have to become aware of these limiting thoughts and then reprogram your old paradigms and mental conditioning. This quickest and most effective way to do that is to work with a coach who understands human behavior and the mind. A coach will catch you when you get off track, much like a basketball coach notices when a player’s throws are a tad too far to the left, and then help you course-correct. A coach will also deliver the honest conversations that you might not be having with yourself.

Until you find the perfect coach to help you shift those paradigms for good, try these tips:

  1. Re-Define Your View of Success: Success isn’t necessarily about how much money is in your bank account. If you could live the lifestyle of your dreams, have wonderful relationships with people and be wildly successful what would that look like? Write that vision down, in detail. Actually see yourself living that life.
  2. Reframe the Question: Instead of asking yourself, “What have I got to lose?”, reframe that and ask yourself, “What have I got to win?” What if you succeed and get to that next level? What if you take that success up another notch? Remember we are hard-wired not to lose, and asking yourself a question with the implication of losing right in the words keeps you playing it safe.
  3. Get Your Fears Out in the Open: Some of us are as afraid of success as we are of failure. What are you most afraid of? What fears does that kind of success give you? What about the fears in not achieving your full potential? Shine the light of awareness on some of your fears that are centered around your goals. Sometimes just getting them outside of you and onto paper is enough for them to dissipate.
  4. Get Advice from Yourself: You already have the answers inside yourself. You don’t need to ask your friends and family, who are being driven by their own subconscious programs, what to do. Learn to tap into your intuition and develop that sixth sense so you can be a more decisive individual and feel confident in your decision-making.
  5. Act As If: Make decisions like the person you want to become would. That person in the first tip that you envisioned, remember him or her? How would that person act? What decision would he or she make? Which direction would he or she go? Yes, acting like this will feel unsettling and uncomfortable at first, but it’s necessary if you want to level up.

Experts say success is 95% mindset and 5% doing. For me, my mental attitude and visualization are a part of my daily life. I am continually working on changing those paradigms within myself. Even thought I know better, I will occasionally drift away from that daily practice, until something negative happens. I track every setback, and without fail, they are due to me going off-track with my mindset. When I course-correct, everything gets infinitely better.

It doesn’t matter how smart you think you are, or how much success you think you already have—if you aren’t actively working on your mind every day, your loss paradigm is winning. If you’d like to get off that rollercoaster, let’s chat.