In my years as a business person, I’ve known a lot of people (I’m included here!) who started out in business and ended up in failure. It wasn’t because they were stupid, or lacking in business knowledge, or because they were bad people; no, it was because they practiced mental behaviors that kept them from succeeding.
Here are a few of the ‘Success-Killers’ I’ve had to overcome:
Most people think too small!
The majority of us are incredibly talented and innovative. We have a wealth of relationships and experiences behind us. But few of us are willing to really dream big. Do you have a really big vision for yourself How many of us are really willing to ask the question, “Am I living up to my abilities and potential?”
Worry, the ‘energy sapper’.
Too often, instead of focusing on what could go right, business people are consumed by worry as to what could go wrong. This is not only unproductive but it drains energy, making the possibility of failure even more likely. Planning for various possibilities is a practical necessity, but constant worry is a destructive force. Read How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie for helpful ideas.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
A successful business person can appreciate their strengths and their accomplishments while also being fully realistic about their limitations. The best way to do this is to get feedback from trusted friends, and carefully listen and absorb what you hear. Acknowledging the fact that you aren’t perfect (ant that’s OKAY!) is the first step in gaining the necessary strengths to succeed, both in business and in life.
No, I’m not talking about cheating in the business world. Rather, I’m talking about being honest with yourself, with your employees, and with your customers. Recognize what you can do, and what you can’t do. Don’t promise things you can deliver; don’t seek others’ approval was false expectation. Learn to say no when necessary, set boundaries if needed; you will be happier with yourself and you will have integrity among your business associates.
Believe that YOU can…..
Business is hard work. Every business has its fair share of obstacles, i.e., getting started, raising funds, hiring employees, etc. You are not the first person to have this problem. The answer may be in a book, online, or in the experiences of a business associate – but there is an answer. Build confidence by taking stock of the knowledge you have, research any additional information you need, then come up with a plan to deal with the problem.
Relax and reflect
Business people often play many roles: parent, spouse, community volunteer, business owner or manager, etc. Too often, we’ve been told that we need to stay busy, that if we just work harder we will be successful. We often confuse activity with accomplishment; at the end of the day we know we’ve been busy but find out hardly anything has been done. Try not to take work home with you – when you’re off work – be truly off work! People who take regular vacations live longer than those who don’t. Take a walk, watch a sunset, read a book that has nothing to do with work, spend time with your family. I think it was Lee Iacocca that said, “No one on their deathbed wishes they had spent more time at the office.”