1st Edition

Overcoming Obstacles and Finding Success The Power of Performance Psychology

By Kevin R. Harris, Emily Pica Copyright 2025
    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    This valuable book identifies common obstacles in any endeavor that can impact on success and offers highly-accessible exercises to help readers overcome them. Featuring expertise from dozens of high-level performers about their journey to the top of their domain, it offers practical advice on how to separate yourself from your competition and stand out from the crowd.

    All performers, whether beginners or world class, in sports, business, the arts and beyond, have encountered obstacles in their careers. Acknowledging that every successful person must work hard, this book offers a blueprint for those wanting to map out their own success based on over twenty years of research into performance and the authors’ experiences of guiding career development among their mentees and teaching courses on the topic. Each chapter includes a case study that exemplifies one of the most common obstacles individuals face in their efforts to be successful, including topics like impostor syndrome, artificial ceilings, facing rejection and not allowing for rest or recovery. Following this, the chapter goes on to provide a series of engaging exercises for readers to reflect on their own performance and techniques, and enables them to strategize ways they can modify their performance to achieve better results. Throughout, the book is underpinned by theoretical frameworks from performance psychology, clear actionable steps for achieving success, and suggested readings for further study.

    Written with career development in mind, the applications of this book are far-reaching, with relevance for all those looking to excel in their chosen fields.

    1. Historical vs. Recent Views of Success 
    2. Satisficing: This is Good Enough!
    3: Impostor Syndrome: Feeling Like A Fraud 
    4. Artificial Ceilings: This is Where I Top Out 
    5. Giving Up: I Should Just Quit 
    6. Limiting Your Scope: Think Like a Kid 
    7. Facing Rejection: Taking “No” as a Cue to Stop Grinding 
    8. Aiming for Perfection: Identify Your Threshold and Dive In 
    9. Being Vague: Evaluate Your Own Path/Needs
    10. Sugarcoating: Acknowledge What You Aren’t Doing Well 
    11. Not Allowing for Rest/Recovery: Make Rest a PRIORITY 
    12. Staying Off the Rails: Forgive Yourself and Regroup 
    13. Not Standing Out: Be Blueberry Yogurt 
    14. Tough Crowd: Seek Out Feedback/Criticism
    15. Not Selling Your Accomplishments: It’s Not Bragging 
    16. Advice for the Aspirational


    Kevin R. Harris is the Associate Chair and a Professor in the Department of Psychological Science and Counseling at Austin Peay State University, USA. He has spent the past quarter century studying performers at the highest level.

    Emily Pica is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Science and Counseling at Austin Peay State University, USA. Her current research interests involve investigating ways in which we can improve eyewitness identification accuracy as it is one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions.