When we think of successful business people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and many others, we often believe that a level of success like they achieved is out of our reach. We assume they were lucky, had some amazing talent, started out with money, or some other mysterious help – all of which we lack. But none of that is true. What is true is that none of the successful business people got in the way of their own success. At least not ultimately. They may have at some point, but if they did they overcame it.
Let’s face it, life in business is tough enough. Don’t make it any harder on yourself. Many of us exhibit self-sabotaging behaviors for many reasons. Myself included. What are those self-sabotaging behaviors: procrastination, lack of focus, lack of attention, bad decision-making, etc. That’s just a few.
Think about the last time you really wanted something. You did everything in your power to attain it. If you wanted to take that dream vacation, you saved up for it. If you wanted to quit working for someone else and start your own business, you put a plan in place and made it happen. If you wanted to run a marathon, you started training for it. If you wanted to quit smoking, you stopped buying cigarettes. When we really, truly want something we make it happen. Nothing can stop us.
Does that mean if you aren’t reaching the level of success that you strive for, you don’t really want it? No. There are multiple reasons that you might be getting in your own way, and you may not even realize it. Here are a few reasons:
If you have other priorities that rank higher than your business success you will most likely inhibit the growth of your business. Perhaps you have a family that is very important to you or a loved one that needs special attention. You need to take care of them, so you need your business to reach a certain level of success and financial prosperity. But, do you want to get so successful that you can’t be there for them? Balancing your priorities can be tricky, but it is possible.
Oftentimes, we reach a attain a specific level of success and comfort, and then we stay there. Why? Most likely it’s fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of success. Fear is that “What if” voice in your head. What if I grow to quickly? What if I get in over my head? What if it takes too much of my time? There are millions of “what if” question that can cause fear. When all those questions are milling about in our minds, the easiest action is no action. Then we find ourselves stuck or limited. They key is to identify that our fear is holding us back and do something about it.
This is no light matter. Our self worth, the belief of what we deserve out of life, can be one of the most debilitating obstacles in the way of our success. Where does this come from? Why does it happen? Maybe you made a mistake or bad choice at some point in your life. Maybe you were bullied in school. Maybe you had a bad relationship. Maybe you come from a lineage of people who seem to consistently have bad luck. Whatever it was, somewhere along the line, you started to believe that you just aren’t worthy. If this belief plagues your mind, you will undoubtedly get in the way of your own success. You will not take the actions you need to take to ensure success or you will take actions that will sabotage your success. Either way, you are doomed to only a level of success that you believe you are worthy of and the only way to change it is to change what you believe about yourself.
GREAT. NOW WHAT?
If you fall in one of these categories or one of many others that may inhibit your success, the best thing that you can do is explore it. If you identified with any of these three issues or maybe discovered another one in yourself, you need to understand where that comes from in order to get rid of it. There are many things you can do to turn yourself around.
- Find a mentor or advisor. Learn more about the people around you. You never know if someone you admire as a business leader overcame similar circumstances. Who better to advise you on how to overcome those obstacles than someone who has already done just that?
- Find a confidant that you can speak to and explore your feelings. Sometimes when you start telling someone else what’s going on with you, you lead yourself down a path of discovery and enlightenment. The most important part of this is finding someone you can trust and who will keep your confidence. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn about yourself when you start actually saying things out loud to someone else. Even better is when they are a good sounding board that will repeat what you’re saying, so you can hear it from someone else’s point of view. This is a great way to gain perspective on things.
- Read. It is surprising how many books on success are available. Do some research. Ask around. Search the web. There may be a book out there that tackles the very issue you are battling. If you don’t know where to start, ask a fellow business person or go to the local small business center or business-oriented organization. (Ask your chamber staff!)
- Attend workshops, webinars, seminars, or classes. Check out sites like American Express Open Forum or Entrepreneur.com. Many small business sites and organizations offer free education and training for small business owners. There are also countless free seminars happening every day in the U.S. You are bound to find one or two that address your specific need. AND, one of the greatest benefits of live training events is the opportunity to meet other like-minded people. You may find your mentor or confidant at here.
This is not an all-encompassing list that can resolve all your obstacles, but it certainly is a starting point. Just remember that if it truly is YOU getting in the way of your success then YOU can change that. The most important thing is to take action and stop getting in your own way.