Why You Are Putting Up Major Roadblocks For Yourself (and How to Overcome Them)

What is wrong?  Why is it that you keep checking your phone for text messages?

Why is it that you keep opening up TweetDeck, checking your email, surfing on forums - and not writing as many articles, getting as much traffic, as many joint ventures, or making as many products as you would like?

There are four categories for this.  And I hope after you have identified which category YOU are in, you will take the next steps and get yourself out of that hole.

Those are: The fear of success, being stuck in learning mode, being stuck in demo mode, and being stuck in complaint mode.

Reason #1: Fear of Success

You have heard about the fear of failure, right?  You use the excuse of "People might hate it!", or "No-one will buy it!", or "I'll get lots of refunds!" as an excuse for not even trying to put something out there.

But then there is the other problem: the fear of success. Let's say you put out a home study course and it sells really well.  Well guess what?  now you are going to have to keep working to keep that level of income up so that you won't look like a fool who had a "one-hit wonder flash-in-the-pan" product and then fell down to nothing.  If your next product launch is a big hit, that means you actually have a reason not to goof around on forums and Twitter all day!

The solution? Get someone to motivate you.  Have someone to report to when you are working on a project and having it finished.  It is ultimately up to you whether or not you are going to put your product out there or keep living the life you have been living - but it helps when someone else is dependent on you launching this product.

Reason #2: Stuck in "Learning" or "Question" mode

I have given many live training classes with Q&A (Question & Answer) sessions, and I have PAID for courses that included Question & Answer sessions.  And while those are good, you always have a few people who are on the call there just to think of new questions and ask them as an excuse not to do anything!  They have the mentality of, "I need to know ALL the answers before I do even one little thing!"

It is really aggravating to run calls like this, especially with this kind of person asking a question, because usually they will ask a question that was already answered ten minutes ago on the exact same call! They were simply ignoring everything everybody was saying, and waiting for their turn to ask a question.

Even worse, they take on the role of the book reporter:  they go to events, seminars and webinars; they learn something - and instead of applying it like they should, they turn around and try to teach OTHER people the same information they have never even tried themselves, they have only heard about.

You are left with lots of content that is not quite as good as the original source; with no credibility and no proof.

Solution: Realize you are not going to ever have ALL the answers to ALL the questions.  And in fact once you get started, you are going to have questions.  So it is better to do it wrong the first time and course-correct along the way.

You are going to get better with practice, with re-using your same templates, using the same strategies, and simply repeating what works; not repeating what does NOT work.

Reason #3: Stuck in "Demo" mode

Another frustrating thing that happens to me when I teach people in live training courses is they don't want to actually put the thing they make out there!  When I taught "How to Create Your Video", people would make videos, put them on YouTube; I'd say, "Great! Good job!" and then check back a month later and the video was taken down!

In the Membership Site Training Course I taught people how to create a membership site.  But they wouldn't create a sales letter like I taught them to!  Or the membership site would be called "Demo Membership Site."  It was REALLY aggravating because the point of you to do anything is to make money and save time.  So why would you make a test site that only wasted your time?

I personally know a guy who teaches people how to set up the WordPress blogs.  And on one of his videos I saw a list of all of his blogs; and about 21 of them were all labeled "Test 3" / "Guitar test" / "Demo test."  They were all test blogs with nothing on them that he never used!

Solution: Only teach something if you are using it to build your business.  If you are creating a video course, add that to a membership site.  If you are teaching somebody how to write an article, write an article for yourself and submit it on camera.  If you are teaching somebody how to set up a WordPress blog, set up a REAL WordPress blog that you are actually going to use.  If you are teaching somebody how to write a sales letter, show them by writing one of your own sales letters.

What is really great about this is not only is it better for you, but it is more helpful for somebody to see a real live website get set up, or a real live task get finished.

Reason #4: Searching for Complaints or Excuses for Yourself

We have all known people like this throughout our lives; people who have "just one more reason" why something is not going to work.

Guess what?  If you believe that you CAN do it, you're right! If you believe that you CAN'T do it, you are also right!

It is a lot easier to think of excuses or reasons why things won't work than to actually do those things.

Solution: Silence your inner voice just for a few minutes.  If you are thinking about cutting down an idea or telling somebody why it won't work, ask yourself, "Is this really contributing to the conversation?"

Unless your remark ends on a high note, such as an alternative about what to do, then you are making the conversation worse.  Always end on a high note. And instead of telling people why something WON'T work, give them a well-reasoned alternative - and have an open mind in case they think you are wrong.

And those are the roadblocks I keep seeing people put in front of themselves:  the fear of success, being stuck in learning mode, stuck in demo mode, or complaint mode.

Which of these four WERE you before reading this blog post?  And what will you do to correct it? Please leave me a comment below.

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  1. Thanks, Robert! You bring up some great points.

    I found your angle on the fear of success interesting. There is really so little available to help this type of roadblock. THANKS!

    I think one of the biggest aspects of that one is fear of being judged adversely/criticized when you actually are successful (by friends and family, “He must be doing something illegal to make that kind of money.”) Similar, but from a different angle to your point of no longer being “allowed” to goof off.

    Great point, too, that when teaching it is better to do an actual example than a “demo.” I will be doing a training this week that I had planned on as a “demo” but will now just go ahead and show a real example with one of the new sites I’ve got planned for later this year. It will take a bit more prep to pull it off, but it will also help to move that project along a little quicker while using it as part of a training program. It’s a two-fer! Thanks for the tip. 🙂


  2. Marcel says:

    I was stuck at Step #1. But I’m leaving that behind right NOW!

    Note: As a programmer/developer I’m seriously looking for an Accountability Partner. Working alone sucks.

  3. imeye says:

    I was in demo mode for sometime.Now I have started applying things I have learnt.Its working and getting some results.Taking a thirty day challenge as taught by Steve Pavlina is a good way to start

  4. andreea says:

    Being stuck in the “learning mode” is something I have been struggling with. Especially with all the marketing e-products out there, I was riding this wave of getting the next best thing, to learn more, have a different angle approach, add to my tool box. Does that fall into being a perfectionist?… having the same mentality… hmm. I had to quit doing that when I had an information overload, when I was multitasking learning the same thing from 10 different sources, leading to mental exhaustion. STUPID! I had to stop thinking and just start doing. I put all my energy in finishing the one thing that was half way done, that would get me closer to where I wanted to be in my business. I finally feel like I know how to do this… grow my business. I fee empowered.

  5. Syamsul Alam says:

    I built a team for my next project (with Google Apps), and even if I never purchase any of your product, you really teach me a lot.

    Thanks for the advice to not questioning anymore. My question until now is “What’s better, Wishlist or Digital Access Pass?” And I shall not questioning about it anymore, but use my wishlist script that I already have.

    My next question is how to drip content without buy it from wpdrip.com (it cost $2500) and without joining your membershipcube. I love membershipcube, but if you are 17 years old and live in Indonesia, $47 per two weeks is too much to spent.

    The answer to that question is to not think about it anymore, and make a membership site rather than spending all day along to make my membership project to be perfect (with your plugins).

    Sincerely, thanks for all of your post that encourages me to do action rather than imagining, “Hm… my membership will be perfect with this and that stuff…”

  6. Hey Robert, Won’t be a long comment today — I’m camping in the mountains. BUT, since you asked….

    Today you write about roadblocks and I wrote about road detours. We must be thinking a like — just a little. HA!

    Keep it real,

  7. Ron says:


    I am already a member of membership cube and find everything in it clear and easy to follow. Well worth the money. ONLY ONE negative point I would make the one time challenge email (members will know how good this type of incentive and challenge is to us) needs thinking through a bit more as dates to submit by are six months old already. Nevertheless it is pushing me onwards.

    My first membership site was up in only three days. Now waiting for for Roberts feedback critique on its working. I really recommend membership cube to anyone looking to be pushed and given strong direction on what to do. I did not learn to drive my car by following advice of a dozen different teachers I chose one instructor and worked her lessons until I was ready for the driving test and passed. I expect to do the same again here.

    Will you let me put my affiliate link into this post on your blog. No! oh well it was worth a thought anyhow.

    and it is Friday 21st in UK so responding as requested


  8. Robert Plank says:


    A lot of people have still been taking the challenge… they have just been setting their own deadline for getting it done.

    You’re right, I do need to do back and change the instructions to tell people to set their OWN deadline date for the challenge since it is no longer a live class. But it looks like you got around that and set your own deadline anyway, right?

    I love the driving a car analogy… you learned from one person, not 12… and you can link to this post using the “Share this Site and Make Money” copy and paste link in the sidebar, but you don’t have permission to copy and paste it onto your blog.

  9. Phil Rogers says:

    For me, it wasn’t fear of success, but fear of failure.
    It took me ages to get anything on the market because I didn’t know anything about the fundamentals of selling online:
    – setting up a sales page
    – adding a PayPal button
    – setting up PayPal’s IPN and a script to handle fulfillment
    – protecting a download page
    – adding buyers to an autoresponder list
    – how to test using PayPal’s sandbox

    A Numbskull’s Step-by-Step Guide to doing all of the above, complete with sample scripts, would have been invaluable to me, but I never found one that covered everything.
    Instead, it took days and days trying to work out how to drive the PayPal sandbox, and studying your Sales Page Tactics 1..3 scripts.

  10. Your style of writing is outstanding because you always include more then one mind set and it makes what you share very easy to relate to! Thank you for continuing to put some really great stuff out there for us to ponder!

    I would have guessed I was stuck in learning mode, but as I read it i was really excited to see that I have grown past that phase. I have some little parts left that I think will always be there and that is okay. I love to learn and I love to expand my knowledge and I will continue to do that but I won’t ever let that be the reason I don’t move forward. That is new, that is something that has just happened for me over the past month or two. WooHoo.

    I think I saw a bit of myself in all 4, but very little in the last category. It is great to see such profound examples of the silly and crazy things we do to hold ourself back. It is just so unnecessary and seeing it in writing really makes you think. SNAP OUT OF IT!

    Thank you Robert! Keep sharing your awesome insights!!

  11. Curtis says:

    All of your observations ring true for me and probably all who read your blog. The observations may not be there all the time but they try to creep into everyones life online and offline. The motto I am using, to defeat the roadblocks, is one I stole from Nike…Just Do It. It has helped with procrastination from analysis by getting me started on a project, getting it out there and then tweaking it after. You can fine tune your idea in your head forever but it is easier to tune a finished product.

  12. Great post Robert. Humans are great at making excuses. If it was a paid skill, we’d all be gazillionaires. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Thanks Robert, this post really clarifies many of the problems that hold us back in our online efforts!

    The big item that seems to limit me, is this little perfectionionist who sits on my right shoulder. He says, “that’s not good enough, it doesn’t reflect your education, experience, blah, blah, blah…

    Recently I’ve moved into a few “inperfect” videos. I tell that little dude, “its good enough!” I’m not stopping until I hit submit. anything short of that is likley a waste of time.

    So what, if I think the videos are goofy! Others find it interesting, (the traffic proves it!).

    Keep up the good work Robert,

  14. Ron Barrett says:

    Membershipcube.com and PLRCopywriting.com have helped to slightly overcome my fear of success. To date I have launched one ‘semi-successful’ membership site and am working on two others. My limiting constraint seems to be time. Working two jobs and also working on getting the IM biz to work seem to take up all of the minutes in a day and then I get sidetracked by another interesting blog post from an email or am reading more on ‘how’ to do this or that.

    That sounds like another excuse, and maybe it is, but it’s the best way I know how to describe my situation.

    Of all of the ‘coaching’ that I have taken, I can honestly say that you and Lance have been the best. The methods that you use to ‘force’ people to take action, I like that.

    For others reading this, don’t take that the wrong way. Robert/Lance use that as motivation and it works. Some people may not like the way it’s done.

    I just have to keep the momentum going and build on the little progress that I have made.

    Thanks for your help and keep the insightful posts coming.

  15. Robert Plank says:


    Getting distracted is definitely something you’ll have to figure out. I used to juggle IM, college, and a job at the same time and I realized that if I let myself wander around on Twitter or check my email all the time my income dipped radically… imagine that.

    It sounds like even with 2 jobs and IM, you aren’t busy enough if you are getting distracted so much. Can you reward yourself if you go a whole day without checking Twitter or email?

  16. wyncoles says:

    I totally agree with your post the harsh reality is that i was stuck in learning mode for a long time then i realised that learning to much does not earn money.

  17. Chris Jones says:

    You make some excellent points. Yep, I can see myself in more than one of those. In fact, I’m going to a hypnotherapist today for some help after years of struggling with it on the conscious front. Thanks for the post.

  18. I think that I have been stuck in learning mode for the last few years, thinking that I didnt know enough do to anything, but now I am taking ACTION and correcting myself along the way.

    My first massive step is to have my own JV Giveaway Event, I have someone that is running it for me this time but this will give me some experience and a bigger list so that I can run one on my own at a later date!


  19. wal gifford says:

    I was stuck in learning mode chasing my tail, for a very long time, attempting to keep up with all the never ending changes.
    One has to let go of the feeling of “not knowing enough” and dive in deep, and just do it. A good mentor that also kicks your butt, who is only interested in results and not excuses helps here. One also makes progress so much faster being immersed in the process, with all the challenges that are encountered, and subsequently overcome with one’s mentor guidance.

  20. Robert Plank says:


    Yep, and you were right there in that class where people were trying to get around the rules by setting up test sites. Everyone has a choice of who their mentor will be… I could have paid one that looked at my stuff and said, “That’s great” … but I would rather deal with someone who’s not just smarter than me, but tells me why I suck and where to get better.

    Good for you increasing the price of your diabetes membership site, how is it selling?

  21. Good stuff, Robert. I still get struck with all things you mentioned, but not as long as I used too. Thanks to, using your tools. Learning to move on to the next level quickly instead of trying to figure every little detail.The solutions are easy but sometimes hard to follow.Back to work now. Happy trails Alan

  22. Sean Breslin says:

    Read the post Robert the closest I can relate to is still in learning mode?
    But that is combined with action… admittedly not enought!

  23. Sam England says:

    Hey Robert,

    A lot of people get stuck in “DEMO” mode because they don’t go back and fine tune there website, projects or products. I believe in getting things done quickly, but I always make sure everything is in check before going on to the next project at hand…

    I have found that keeping notes on an excel spreed sheet helps you remember when and what you have done on certain projects, so you can go back a month or so later and tweet things again if needed, then noting what days you made changes again on your excel spreed sheet.

    Keep up the good work and keep it real!

    Have a GREAT weekend my Warrior friend…

    Sam England

  24. Rob Metras says:


    You have a direct way to always coming back to the same thing that slows people down and delays the success that should be yours. One of the tools I found helpful was RescueTime.

    We sit at the desk, more often than nought alone,with our computer and the ability to web wander becomes a call to the world beyond our space.

    I found that I got much more productive with my time when I was able to see what I was actually doing, than what I thought.

    By taking actions on what produces income and results I gained more productive time.

  25. Laura says:

    Thanks for all you do, Robert.

    The top 3 are all things that have been roadblocks for me at some point and for varying lengths of time.

    Number 4, however, has never been my problem. Try as I might, I cannot prevent the recognition of personal responsibility from raising it annoying head.Ultimately, there’s always that moment of…aaaw maaaan!

    The biggest roadblock I encountered was making the move from learning to doing. Every time I ran into technical problems I came to a screeching halt…much like a cartoon car that stops so fast its top flies well out in front of its hood before snapping back into place.

    Marcel is right, working alone sucks. Too much work and too many skills needed in too many areas – and it seems like 10 times more than it really is to a newbie. That’s an awful lot to hold yourself accountable for. Good partners are game changers!

  26. Leslie says:


    You hit the nail on the head! I have had a real problem with this and it hasn’t been till just recently I have been able to get out of the info rut and start doing something..



  27. Karrie Ross says:

    For the longest time I was stuck in the “learning mode”… geeze what I tell myself should be banned!

    Love your content and attitude.

  28. Nancy Boyd says:

    Hi Robert,

    The old expression “Feel the fear and do it anyway” certainly applies here. Once I decide to do something, it doesn’t matter so much whether I’m afraid to do it or not; I just start digging in.

    A good example for me is video. I imagined that I would need to learn all about how to do video creation (Big Scary Learning Curve!!) — overcome my fear of being on camera (not necessary, I found out) — learn how to make a PowerPoint (maybe useful, or not. . . ) and all the tech details about what to do with the video once I got one made.

    Whew! Those are enough stumbling blocks that could keep me paralyzed for a year or more (I figure that’s how long I’ve been avoiding it.)

    But then I decided that I could at least research what the best video cameras are, and how expensive it would be to buy one. (Did that.)

    I also ordered a “Powerpoint for Dummies” book, for the version of PPT that I have. (Another item checked off the list.)

    Interestingly, in this process of getting into action against my fears, I decided that maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to do as I thought it would be. Just making the decision to do it changed everything 🙂 Isn’t that odd??? But it’s true!

    Then, the very next day I talked with Jack Humphrey, who shared with me something I would never in a million years have thought of (a way to use videos that I didn’t even make!) — and now (while I can’t yet say that I’m a total video enthusiast) at least I’m not so scared that I can’t even do the things I need to do.

    Big change. All because I was no longer comfortable allowing my fears to run the show.

    The thing is, we are GONNA have fears — about something or other. That’s just plain human. The question is, what am I going to do about them — or in spite of them? That’s the same dilemma all of us face, and the sooner we realize that it’s part of the journey, the sooner we can get over letting it ruin our chances before we even get started.

    I’m no longer willing to let fear stop me from what I want to do in life. But that’s a decision you sometimes have to make over and over again, about different things each time.

    Thanks for consistently great ideas, Robert.


  29. Robert Plank says:


    Funny you mention Jack Humphrey. 7 years ago I had my first infoproduct written… it had 17 PHP scripts inside with instructions on how to use them. I was trying to help him talk me into stalling so I could add more to it, charge more and make it a more “perfect” product. He said, just get it out there!

    I can’t remember WHO my first sale was… but I know I immediately IM’ed Jack and he said, “Addicting, isn’t it?” IT IS!!!

  30. Robert, I was stuck in “I don’t know enough” but interestingly enough I didn’t have questions… hm.

    But since your courses and you yourself pushed me beyond those invisible boundaries, I have come to love failing publicly.

    I have been doing my weekly webinars, and each webinar I sell at minimum 33% of the potentials… now if I could figure out how to make them do what they are supposed to do, I would be a happy camper.

    I had a webinar on what stops people from taking action what is most important to them, and none of these psychological barriers came up for me… hm, I think the study of failure is much richer (as in size) than the study of success.

    Thank you for asking these questions.

    Sophie Benshitta Maven

  31. Great thoughts, Robert! I’m wondering if I can be ALL THREE? Just read about a bunch of legal issues to consider in this biz (fear of success). Keep listening to lots of webinars (questions). In process of developing my first webinar series on Facebook (demo?). The solution to all three of these is ACTION. Today, I’m scheduling my webinars on gotowebinar and getting my squeeze page published (okay, that was the plan BEFORE I read your email, but you have re-enforced my resolve!)

    One thing I do need to find is someone (not in my house – like hubby) to be accountable for my work. It’s one of the freedoms and challenges of working from home. My clients keep me accountable with my website design work, but the focus on IM tends to fall off the TO DO list pretty quickly.

    Thanks so much, Robert!!

    All the Best

    Theresa 😎

  32. Warren says:

    Hi Robert,

    Have you been reading my mind? I have battled one or more of these for the last several years.

    For the last year the Fear of Success and Stuck in Learning Mode have been my biggest hurdles.

    I am working through committing to deadlines and making them as the way to work through these.

    Thanks for writing this. Seeing the description and understanding that others have the same issues increases my confidence in my ability to overcome them.


  33. Jeff Bode says:

    Awesome Robert, I go on and off with a few of these

    I make too many excuses – usually it’s something stupid like “too much writing” or “something that I don’t really want to do” …there’s an easy solution get someone else to do that part.

    The other one is stuck in ‘learning mode’ too often even though I do more than I learn, sometimes I just am not motivated to take action so I go and ‘learn something new’

    I plan on leaving the learning time until later in the day, if at all and work on implementing the good info ASAP before going and learning something else.

  34. Bob Marconi says:

    When you’ve had no success (measured in $$$), absolutely none it is hard to keep going!

  35. Vyshak says:

    Yet another Great article!
    I think I am stuck in the learning mode… I feel as if I am not ready and it’s really not the fear of success its the fear of failure, as in what if I fail?? I gotta know everything so I don’t fail… Well, like you said buddy, gotta start actually working and (making mistakes along the way and learn from them) face the storm head on.

    Oh and 😉 I read your article about 30K, really hard to believe, but Congrats man :), I could never achieve that. I am not an expert in any of the techno stuff related to the Internet, Take Care Y’all.

  36. Robert Plank says:


    Maybe you are doing the wrong things then. If you had to make $50 online, could you? Would you have to freelance to do it? Would you have to work for someone else at least on a temporary basis? Would you have to model what someone else is doing correctly instead of trying something new and wacky?

    Most people I know selling infoproducts successfully started with freelancing, just to see how everything works. A good number of new or young people (including me) got jobs right out of college not because they wanted to work that job their whole life, just to get experience and figure out the system to use… if that makes sense.

  37. Jason says:

    Cool post Super Roberto.

    I find the more you overthink it, the less money you make.

    You just DO stuff, then you take what works from experience and do it over and over… and keep adding more stuff that works from testing.

    Add it in with a little bit of modeling, swiping, and insider info and now you’re cookin’ with oil.

    Keep your eye on simple ways to leverage your business.

    That’s what it’s like for me anyway.

    There’s way too much overthinking going on.

  38. Todd McGuire says:

    Christian Bale said it best in Terminator Salvation:

    “WHAT ARE YOU?????!!!!!!!!”

    Oh, and agreed on all points. I have been at this for about 6 months and have recently launched my first membership site using the methods and techniques taught by Lance and Robert. Well worth the cash!!

  39. Michael says:


    I’ve been stuck in learning mode and ‘playing it safe’ for close to three years. I feel like I’m now starting to climb out of learning and just taking action. As everyone knows, you’ll never know enough – and the more you search for answers the more you find that contradict each other. You have to choose a direction and put one foot in front of the other towards it and course-correct as you go.

    I’m still wrestling with procrastination and managing my time wisely. This comes down to being aware of bad habits and constantly waking yourself up by questioning what you’re doing and is it moving you any closer to your goals? If not…get going.

    I also read something interesting by Wayne Dyer earlier today, don’t worry about cleaning the ‘whole house’ (so to speak), just pick a corner and start – by taking action and focusing on that small action you’ll be in action mode and next thing you know the house will be clean!

  40. Bob Molton says:

    Hey “Super Robert”,

    Great Post as always!

    I guess I could say that I’m no stranger to the learning mode. It seems like there is always something I’m having to learn to get to the next level. I find myself learning more things because I have to, rather than learning more things because I want to.

    For example: My first webinar… I knew it was something I was going to start doing, but I had never done one before and was not familiar with the technology of doing them. It was uncomfortable and new…BUT as you said “You are going to get better with practice” and I totally agree with that.

    As with anything, the more you do it the better and easier it becomes.

    You and Lance did push me to do a webinar much sooner than I would have on my own… And for that I THANK YOU!
    You forced me to dive in and course correct as I go.

    Thanks again for an awesome post – You Rock!

    Bob Molton – (rock n roll)

  41. Chuck Arnone says:

    Boy Robert ….you hit it right on the nail…these apply to all of us at one time or another…Thanks fro your guidance1

  42. Hi Robert

    What you say here is so true. People don’t believe that they deserve success and so subconsciously will sabotage themselves when things begin to go right for them, or they lack in self confidence and don’t believe that they can do things. This article brings all these issues to the fore.

    Michelle Jayes

  43. Peggy says:

    I love to learn things. I have to act and I’m starting. Thanks for push!

  44. Jase says:

    Yup. Can’t disagree with any of it.

    I’m stuck in ‘am I doing it right?’ mode and while the challenges you guys post are brilliant for me, the lack of feedback is a killer.

    Guess that could be taken as an excuse too though, eh? 🙂 Hmmm, need that accountability buddy!

  45. J Jackson says:

    Another great post Robert. Your insight wisdom at such a young age never ceases to delight me.

    I’m half stuck in learning mode…

  46. I’ve personally been stuck in “Learning Mode” for over a month now. But the time for DOING is now!

    I now have a solid deadline for releasing my info product and it’s much sooner than originally anticipated.

    Thank you for giving me the PUSH!


  47. I am working with your Time Management system and doing my best to improve. Favorite concept: the 4-item to-do list!

    I also like the idea of having an accountability buddy. A friend and I do that to some extent, not always daily or at the same time, but we do somewhat check on each other’s progress. Great idea!

    Thanks. (I only skimmed the blog post, but it was worthwhile.)

  48. Dennis says:

    I’m definitely stuck in learning mode. I need to take what I’be been learning and start putting it to work, rather than constantly gathering more info.

  49. Thanks, Robert. It was point #4.

    Looks like all I need to do from this moment forward is to hunker down, get focused, and produce the content. 🙂

  50. Great points Robert. I’ve thought about this before

    Fear of Success – I don’t deserve success. I am suppose to get an education and work hard for some else. Example – lottery winners are broke again a couple of years later.

    Stuck in “Learning” or “Question” mode – I am afraid if I try I will fail. The book reporters are after a fast buck because they cheated in school and now they don’t know how to do anything else!

    Stuck in “Demo” mode – Nobody will buy stuff from me.

    Searching for Complaints or Excuses for Yourself – I am fooling myself. I have a negative attitude.

    I believe how you think is everything. Surround yourself with people who are positive. Find a mentor. Mistakes and failures are opportunities for learning and creativity. If you not making mistakes, you are not moving forward.

  51. Robert Plank says:


    1. You are both right and wrong. You do deserve success. And you do have to work hard at first, doing lots of things that don’t work… but the point is you have fun doing it until it takes off.

    2. Sure you’ll fail, but you have to get to those failures to get to your successes. I can’t tell you how many failed web sites and projects I had for years before I stumbled on the right thing. (Mostly because I had no real mentor and didn’t know what I was doing.)

    3. Make better stuff then, or better yet, make the stuff THEY want instead of what you think they want.

    4. Yep, you’re right… you have a negative attitude… you can stay that way or get better, your choice.

    It looks like you are on the right track to recovery.

  52. Clyde Reid says:

    You ask which of the above we were before we read this post. I must say I was none of the above before I read the post. I was, however, stuck in the excuse mode before being involved in your webinar crusher program. EVen though life got in the way and I had to drop out I learned enough from that course to get me moving. I have now completed 1 PLR package of my own and have a webinar scheduled for it. I am almost finished with a 2nd PLR package and will add the slide show and webinar to it as soon as I am through with the e-book.

    Thanks for the training and the continued good advice.

  53. Thomas says:

    Well for me, Marcel sums it up pretty good, working alone sucks.
    I have spent too much time looking at what is going on I agree. Now I know that no matter what I do, it should work, if I, just do it…
    I am right now working on a site that I will hope to make a membership site and put my licence to work. Then you will be tired of me and my questions.
    For that PUSH to get it done, I THANK YOU.

  54. Bruce says:

    For me it was number 4. I’m going to focus and remove distractions to get things done. I also like your point about just getting started, not getting bogged down in trying to be perfect.

  55. Donna Maher says:

    Hi Robert,

    As always, you included valuable points on each area… and at times during my internet marketing` growth, I’ve been guilty of at least parts of each one.

    It’s so true about believing you CAN or CANNOT… as both are equally powerful! I think sometimes people tell themselves: “I can’t ever be as good as ___ is at ___” and let that ‘excuse’ us from trying still harder. We ALL have the innate potential for success.

    It’s a matter of following a series of steps. Every website is comprised of those simple steps. Do one, then the next, then the next, test everything and redo any step that may have failed until you do have your site online.

    As marketers, we must be very careful not to compare ourselves to others, but to rather compare our successes to the previous ones and be elated at our progress until we DO actually make it “big”.

    Again, thanks for yet another great post!


  56. Steve says:

    My big problem was I got caught up in the endless stream of information from various “gurus” and not knowing what to follow. Every week some guru would come out and say “that doesn’t work any more, do this”. I guess I was stuck in Learning Mode. In the end, I got fed up with wasting time and money. Now I’m just doing the basics and ignoring all of the hype.

  57. For me it’s a bit of #1 and #4. I’ve been working a lot to get out of #1 and been quite good. I’ve do get twinges every so often, but have more or less resolved it.

    I have some #4 left to sort out but they’re diminishing too.

    Thanks for the great post. ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!!! 😉


  58. Rob says:

    Hey Rob,

    Were talking about me! I need to get on with it here.

    Thanks for a great post.


  59. Tom says:

    Thanks Robert. I’m sure this will be helpfull to many people. I like to think I have cured myself in those 4 areas, though there are a number of other areas I need to work on, but I am happy that I am taking positive action lately, finally, and getting some positive results.

  60. Hey Robert,

    I have to agree with some of the other comments. Being in your courses has helped me move out of learning mode and into doing. Thank you for that.

    When it comes to searching for complaints…I find it helpful to stay away from those who just love to five me their negative opinions. You know the kind, they just love to find some way to kindly show you all of the problems and kindly tell you that you can’t succeed. Of course it is all for your own good.

  61. Robert Plank says:


    You are totally right… “misery loves company” is true. I’m all for people who criticize me, as long as they tell me WHY and tell me how to get better — take this blog post as an example. I could have just listed 4 things you’re doing wrong but I gave a solution for each one.

  62. Chuck Smith says:

    I started learing internet marketing 1 1/2 years ago. There are so many IM products that it can be overwhelming as everyone knows.

    Well these feelings are finally starting to go away. The game is slowing down. It’s like playing sports and going from high school to college. The game is so much faster.

    I’m to point where I should take more action. If I can just stop reading my emails!:)

  63. I am definitely stuck in learning mode right now. I guess after finishing school I still have a need to continue learning.

    I am having a crazy dilemma with my computer. It’s a 2005 HP and running very slowly. I really think it is dying.

    I have been looking around on tigerdirect.ca for a new one so I can start being more productive. It takes about 15-20 minutes to load up when I start it up. It drives me crazy.

    At the moment, I am working at a summer job full time for the parks in their corporate office, working part time training the new incoming VP of Finance for her new position for the new term.

    Learning from product university, membershipcube, and time management on crack.

    With a three year advanced diploma in business administration accounting, call centre coaching and mentoring, customer service assistance and reservation, I am sure soon I will hit a goldmine for a good report to write up. This is the second idea. So i guess that will be on the backburner for now.

    I have begun working on my quick 10 page report on strategic wealth management coach. The blog is up but need to add a new post.

    I’ll need to wait for my new pc before typing up more stuff because it seems to be working on the rewind function. LOL

    Has anyone ever bought a refurbished computer from tigerdirect.ca before? I saw a nice one for 399 canadian.

    Sylvie Vivarais


    THE LEARNING RUT,Still am but getting better

  65. Robert Plank says:


    What are specifically doing to get better and out of the learning rut?

  66. charles d hart says:

    great post, i think that every one gets a little afraid
    of both failure and success, you just bite the bullet
    and hope you succede. charles

  67. You’re pretty brave (gutsy, actually!), Robert, to ask people to comment on their shortcomings. But since you did …

    I’m guilty as charged for #2! I’m a teacher, doggone it! Of course I’m stuck in a learning mode. 🙂 And ya can’t shoehorn me out of it, either.

    But I definitely get your point. I’ve been teaching classes offline for almost three decades so I find myself getting sucked into course after course, training after training, webinar after webinar. Enough already!

    Your post has been inspiring and motivational. In my heart and in my mind, I know I already have my hands on ALL the information I need to start moving my business forward.

    This teacher is heading out of the classroom,

  68. Robert Plank says:


    If you’ve done it then where is the URL on your comment?

  69. Fred Raley says:


    Good post.

    Most folks can benefit from a living “Action” or “To Do” list to lay out the steps to take to completion of a project.

    It helps to know what all needs to be done and by laying it out in list or graphic format, you can get a feel for the effort needed and where you might need more help (like by outsourcing.)

    If you attach due dates and progress points to the list, you now have a schedule to follow. Religiously following the schedule helps eliminate your reasons #1 –> 4!


  70. Hi Robert,

    The Membership Cube training is great. I like the way the content comes in bite-sized chunks with actionable steps for us to follow.

    Ditto the above comment on the one-time membership post date being somewhat confusing. On the other hand it’s helped me realize not to add that kind of date as I drip out content.

    As far a blocks to success go, you’ve made a good list. Having been at each of these previously, thankfully I continue moving forward. The “Stuck in Learning Mode” is a big one for me and I still have to be on guard against it.

    All the best,


  71. Robert Plank says:


    The only problem with the to-do list is people use it as a way to procrastinate… spending all day or week on the to-do list. If you can narrow down just 4 simple things to do today (for the same project) that will get you closer to your goal, that’s good enough for me.

  72. Katie says:

    Good points regarding blocks. We all have them. Getting past them may seem daunting, but it’s definitely do-able. It’s can be useful to decide what you really want – for instance the education or the results – and then go for that. There’s nothing wrong with being a knowledge junky (I am!), but most of us aren’t really interested in simply being the smartest person on earth!!

    Having said that, I am woefully behind on your training since I’m in the middle of some previous training…which will over soon, so I will catch up then.

    I *have* created a couple of private membership sites (one for the family), so I’ve been learning Wishlist Member the hard way – haha.

    I even finished a series of videos in 2 days that shows the family how to use the family blog – and that went quickly due to the video class I’m finishing up.

    I also find it useful to remember that everything progresses one step at a time. Just do the next thing and then the next thing. So long as you have a defined destination, you will eventually end up there.

  73. Robert Plank says:

    Katie, that’s great news!

    I also found that if I take longer than a few days creating videos, I either won’t finish… or finishing will be exponentially harder. If you have a lot of stuff to do, like knock out videos, record them now because you probably won’t feel like it later… nice going!

  74. Greg Swan says:

    Well done. You bring up the top 4 roadblocks that stop the majority of people from reaching their full potential. I think that the last 3 are just an extension of number 1. Fear of failure, success, or just plain fear. Fear is a powerful emotion and it can stop a train. That being said, I believe the key here may be just to finish what you start. Have a plan, take action, and finish the project. To stay motivated, I ask myself this question every day: “How many projects have I started during my lifetime that I have failed to finish?”

    Thanks for the post Robert.

  75. Hi Robert,
    Thanks for a really insightful post! I’m definitely caught up in the Learning Mode. But I’m still new with all this.

    Of course, if I can figure out a way to transfer all the technological savvy from the brain of Robert Plank to my own head by osmosis or some other such immediate transfer system — then I know I would be propelled forward like a zipped file expanding instantaneously! Other than that, I am going to have to deal with the learning curve…

  76. I think that a factor involved in “failure to launch” if I may borrow a term used for those college kids who come home and continue to live with their parents, is that many people buy tools and training because it makes them feel good. It feels good to have bought hope, to have bought the potential to achieve their dreams. Utilizing or applying the tools and training is secondary. Before they get around to applying the knowledge or tools they have purchased, sometimes after just a cursory exploration, they purchase another success tool.

    I have to admit that there are times when I’ve done this very thing. Has anyone else purchased thousands of dollars worth of network marketing books, tapes, cd’s etc. and not fully utilized them? Does anyone else have a computer hard drive loaded with some great but un-utilized programs that they felt at one time were surely the way to mlm success?

  77. Robert Plank says:


    So many of my classmates did that exact thing… learned some stuff, then moved back in with parents.

    When you take any training you need to figure out how to apply it to your own situation. When I learned things in my programming classes like data structures, specs, design patterns, pair programming, project management… all that cool stuff… I’d immediately apply it either to my day job, freelance job, or internet marketing project I was working on. A lot of people who claim college was a waste of time just didn’t know how to put the knowledge through their own lens.

  78. Benjamin says:

    For me i think ive spent so many hours and nights trying to make money on the internet im just tired of trying!

  79. Robert Plank says:


    The definition of an insane person is someone who keeps trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Are you keeping yourself busy or really figuring out what works and then repeating what works?

  80. Sylvie says:

    Hey Gerald,

    Ditto to that. I have finished an advanced diploma in April of this year and still find myself in learning mode. Now I know what I need to do to get myself out of it and keep the excuse on the down low or no low.

    I have purchased lots of products adnd alot of them are hoarding my computer and slowed it down to a screeching halt.

    I remember Robert mentioning that this is one of his pet peeves. Now, I know that to hold myself accountable I will make it one of my main goals to start de-cluttering my computer from this insanity I call hoarding. This is for you Robert and everyone else who has fallen into the trap of hoard-galore! Let’s make Robert proud of us by de-hoardizing ourselves!

    I think it would be nice to start a competition on it. Yeah, silly idea eh?


    P.S I bought a computer, hard drive, and wireless card (to upgrade) and make myself more productive from the last post.

    In the meantime, I’ll work on primary task of finishing main product and then three task for de-hoarding my computer.

  81. Robert Plank says:


    I was up until 4AM last night cleaning half of my girlfriend’s office in our house… throwing out old envelopes, plastic bags, trash… I found so many candy wrappers, plates on the floor and hidden in drawers, old papers from school (she finished with college years ago), and on and on.

    I once heard a statistic (who knows if it’s true) that 80% of the stuff we file away, never gets used again. By hoarding things you are just putting more stuff in the way of what you really need to get to… you can’t work as fast, you can’t think as good. Office looks smaller, hard drive seems smaller since it’s cluttered with a bunch of stuff you’ll never use.

    When my desk is clean, and my computer’s clean, I can actually think.

  82. Jeff Navarro says:

    I’d say I often tend to fall into Learning Mode…I have perfectionist tendencies, and get into the trap of wanting to make sure my skills/knowledge are “perfect” before implementing them. Trouble is, it will never be perfect.

    Great post, there are some nice tools for dealing with those blocks!

  83. Ron says:

    Definitely learning mode for several years. My first product was a complete and utter flop so it kept me from releasing anything else for a very long time.

    I have already changed this and just started Taking Action! Once you take the first step and commit to and follow through releasing your product the rewards are awesome.

    Side-note to Robert: Could you check this email against your spam list for your admin email? I have sent several support emails and replies on BlackhatPHP with no response. Thanks!

  84. Hi Robert,

    This is a very insightful blog post. I find that I have roadblocks with multiple steps. Fear of success / fear of failure is probably the most prevalent. I ask the question, what will happen if I fail/if I succeed? If I don’t take my thoughts captive, I will find myself in endless confusion. Nothing gets done.

    I also find myself getting stuck in learning mode. But not because I don’t already know what I’m trying to implement. Frankly I know too many ways and I get paralyzed trying to decide what technique to use first.
    I just have to set a task and do it and adjust the course as I go along. But I’m a bit perfectionist as well so I don’t like to fail or in some cases move forward when I don’t have it all figured out.

    And to even take it one step further. I have a hard time staying focused on one project. We have several projects in different stages of development.

    Fortunately I do have my wife Teresa who is in business with me to be accountable to She is an action taker and wont take no for an answer, which will often knock me out of paralysis.

    But my real motivation is my daughter Mandy and I don’t want her to have to live the same quality of life as we have had to. That’s why failure is not an option.

    So find yourself a partner who believes in you and a solid reason to succeed, and eventually you will.

    Michael Blaes

  85. Judith says:

    Number 4, which also counts in my head as “all of the above.” It’s all fear, of course. You’ve got fear of success down, but all the others are fear-based too, at least in my case.

    Thanks for this. I really liked what you said to do with the inner voice in TMOC, by the way– lots faster than arguing with it point by point. 😀

  86. John B says:


    I guess I am stuck in number 1. I have the first month of a membership site already finished except for 1 video. The site already has about 20 videos, mp3’s and pdf reports added and all I need to do before I launch is write a sales letter, publish the last video and send the offer out.

    I left the project to stand about 1 week ago and Ive been working on other projects??! In the back of my mind I was thinking that if I launch this membership site and people don’t refund then I will have to create another months content every month for the next 3-6 months which will make it harder to spend time on other projects and of course MAKE A COMMITMENT!

    I’m going to make myself accountable for this right now and tell the world that I will have finished the video, sales letter and launched for the first time within 7 days.

    Thanks again for an extremely useful post.


  87. Your fear of success excuse resonated. That keeps me in the “paralysis by analysis” mode too, too much.

    Thanks for clarifying the core reasons that keep holding so many back from success.

  88. I think #1 & #2 are the major problems for me. I have broken through these in the past to create and publish articles, podcasts, videos and Squidoo lenses (100+). But now I am working on my membership site, they are both rearing their ugly heads again. I keep thinking I need to have all the answers and I need more resources. But the truth of the matter is I have more resources than I know what to do with. My solution at the moment is to push through and try to do something everyday on my membership site, so I am always moving forward and not losing my connection & focus. I am confident that I will publish it in the next month while holding down a full-time job. I just have to believe and get on with it!

  89. I’m not sure my fear is of success – I think it’s actually fear of failure. I’m in Membership Cube and my site is ready to go with 4 weeks of content queued and a sales page that needs some work but is good to go. But something is holding me back from actually promoting it…

  90. Remi says:

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks for this interesting post. It does reflect the real nature of people online trying to make money or start a business. And it’s a great way to find out what people think is their ultimate fear of success.

    It’s also interesting the way you asked the question: key question at the end putting the emphasis on “WHERE”. But the sad thing is many ARE still in those roadblock modes.

    My personal “favorite” was reason #2. I always needed all the answers before I could motivate myself to take action.

    All the best,

    Remi Vladuceanu

  91. pat says:

    I have been stuck in a bunch of those modes. The learning mode most often, then demo mode, until I just said screw all the learning, I have to get to work. Now I’m in my work mode and we will see where that leads me.
    I but I don’t have time for the excuses mode.

  92. John Jenkins says:

    Over the years I have learned that action, real action, helps me to put aside that darned “what if it doesn’t work” attitude and just do it. The human mind can only hold one thought at a time, and if your mind is concentrating on the job at hand, that is, writing emails, tweaking a web page, writing posts on your blog, whatever, you can be a lot more effective in realizing your goal, whatever it is.

    If you look at how many people have and are overcoming obstacles, big ones, you’ll see that they approach their problems with the idea that they really want to succeed. So a small action plan might look like this on a daily basis:

    1. Pick one thing to concentrate on for one hour.

    2. Don’t let any thing or anyone interrupt you (family and friends will stay out of your hair if you just ask them to)

    3. Check your inventory (i.e., what is your attitude when you get ready to work on that one thing you want to do.

    4. Don’t get distracted by every “new, never seen before” thing that come along.

    Last, but not least, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

    John “Jay Carrol” Jenkins

  93. Robert Plank says:


    You have it exactly right. Multitasking kills.

  94. All good points about road blocks. My biggest road blocks have been information overload and trying to be too perfect. Instead of taking what I learn and applying it right away I’m always studying the competition to see how they do things and wory that my approach is lacking in some way. That leads me to wanting my products, posts and sites to be totally perfect before putting them out there. I’ve learned that I have my own style and to trust my instincts and am moving on with my own plan.

  95. Robert Plank says:


    “Instead of taking what I learn and applying it right away I’m always studying the competition to see how they do things and wory that my approach is lacking in some way.”

    Sounds like being stuck in learning mode to me… glad you’re out of it now.

  96. Being stuck in question mode has been a big one for me.

    But watching the way you dive into and push through material on your webinars has made a huge difference.

    At the end of each session you’ve turned your time into cash.

    And your products aren’t even perfect. Go figure.

    I’m starting to get as much of a rush from CREATING my own content as I do from CONSUMING other people’s content.

    When I think that $10 and 20 minutes have made me over $200, and that a single blog post brought in over $650 dollars, I’m finally training myself to create finished content first and ask questions later.

  97. Before getting to know you and learning so much from you, I might have said “now let’s figure out what’s behind those issues and deal with that.” But I now see that as yet another delay tactic. We can be working on the “behind the scenes” while we’re still getting it done! So just in case someone was thinking “I’ll put it off till I figure out WHY I feel this way” – don’t bother. Robert will bust you on THAT one, too!

    Thanks for another great thought-provoking post.


  98. Robert Plank says:

    Hey Jeanette, I still remember the first time we met in Austin (years ago) you told me you liked my blog post asking, “If your online business was a day job, should you be fired?” And you liked it so much you were going to blog about the same subject.

    If you were at a day job, and your boss said you’re delaying too many products, or checking Twitter too much — and stop — you’d stop. I think for most people the reason is just that’s what they’re used to and they need to stop before they get “fired” from their own business (meaning they go out of business and quit).

  99. Eddie says:

    My biggest road block is information overload.

  100. Robert Plank says:

    Ok guys, here are the most common sticking points for you guys:

    • Stuck in learning mode: 56.6% (30 out of 53 votes)
    • Afraid of success: 22.6% (12 out of 53 votes)
    • Making complaints: 15.1% (8 out of 53 votes)
    • Demo mode: 5.7% (3 out of 53 votes)

    Ironically demo mode is the one I deal with most often in my students, and I think that’s just because like someone else said, you have to get past the other 3 before being stuck in “demo” mode is even an issue.

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