Why am I not achieving the desired results in my business? What are others doing that I’m not doing? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ve asked yourself these questions on more than one occasion. However, what you may fail to realize is that the obstacles standing in your way is oftentimes of your own making.
Let me tell you a story.
When I was 22-years-old, I was bitten by the motivational speaking bug. I wanted nothing more than to stand in front of an audience and inspire others to change their lives. There was only one problem: I was shy and had a paralyzing fear of public speaking. When I did have to do presentations, I’d stumble over words and have sweat stains seeping through my blouse. For years, I’d sign up for public speaking classes and quit before I could conquer my fear. Then one day I made a decision. No matter how petrified or terrible I was, I would follow through until I reached my goal. While I still struggled, after the third and fourth speech it got easier. Two years later, I conducted my first workshop. None of this, however, would have been possible if I hadn’t decided that I wouldn’t accept anything less from myself than my personal best.
Breaking through the psychological glass ceiling
The primary reason people settle for less than they deserve is due to their self-limiting beliefs. For example, you get a new idea and immediately talk yourself out of it, or you’d like to grow your business, but refuse to scale back on your lifestyle to invest more time and money into promoting your services. “I don’t have enough time” or “I don’t have the money” are among the top excuses people have for not aiming higher and going after their dreams. Sound familiar? Rather than put yourself out there, you opt to sit by the sidelines.
Are you really doing all the things you can to create your dream business? If not, make a list of all the things that are standing in your way. Then jot down possible solutions for overcoming them and take one action within the next hour – whether it’s making a phone call to a mentor for advice, scheduling an appointment to meet with a career coach, or introducing yourself to a new business in the area.
Defining success on your own terms
Once you’ve become clear about the challenges that lie ahead, it’s time to dig deep and uncover the “why.” Take a few moments to reflect on what inspired you to start your company or develop your product. For example, my writing services business stemmed from my passion for helping women turn their ideas into viable businesses. Many of us skip this step and end up focusing our energy on activities that don’t propel us forward, and somewhere in between servicing clients and fulfilling product orders the “you” in your business goes missing. In addition, it’s important to determine what success means to you and not subject yourself to society’s standards of achievement. For some, it may mean building a grandiose empire with thousands of employees, while for others it may simply be having a mom-and-pop store that serves the community. Knowing what you want in life will motivate you to take consistent action.
The Need for Action
How many times have you invested in books, business courses and seminars only to discover you’re no further in your business than when you began? I can’t tell you how many books have sat on my bookshelf for years before I read them. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you’re not implementing the ideas, it’s useless. What separates the success stories from the tales of disappointment is our willingness to take action.
So what’s really holding you back? Is it money? Time? The economy? Whatever you assume has been the problem, it’s time to confront your demons. Take out a sheet of paper and write down all the things you’ve been afraid to do in your business or in your life for that matter. What immediate thoughts surface as you review your list? Acknowledge what they have to say, and then write out all those self-sabotaging beliefs. When you really think about it, is it true? There are others who have overcome great odds to achieve professional bliss. So why not you?
What have been your greatest obstacles as a small business owner and how have you overcome them? Share in comments.