One of the keys to achieving greatness in the world of business is to think like a winner. This requires far more than just having a positive attitude; it also means eliminating self-limiting beliefs and fear of achievement. The way entrepreneurs think affects how they behave, and it is this that determines whether they find success or failure.
One way that thoughts can impact behavior is referred to by psychologists as the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is where the act of predicting a poor outcome actually causes it to happen. When entrepreneurs believe they are going to fail, they lose motivation, and they often fail to put in the effort necessary for achieving success. It’s not that they have developed the ability to see the future, but that their negative attitude directly impacted their success.
Self-limiting beliefs are persistent thoughts that prevent people from getting ahead in life. A good example of this would be a person who thinks ‘I’m not good enough’. If aspiring entrepreneurs believe in their own negative thoughts, it’s going to be hard for them to develop the tenacity to deal with the ups and downs of business – they will take failure and setbacks too personally, and it will be too much of a drain on their motivation.
An effective entrepreneur needs to be able to question his/her own thoughts. It may not be possible to control which thoughts arise in the mind, but it is possible to decide on which thoughts are going to be allowed to influence behavior. The most dangerous thoughts can be the ones that are so cherished that they go unnoticed and are just allowed to dictate behavior.
It only takes one unhelpful thought to prevent new business owners from achieving greatness. This one persistent idea can cause them to make bad decisions and to self-sabotage their own success. Here are eight examples of thoughts that can destroy a business.
8. Being Good is Enough
“The Good is the Enemy of the Best” (Anonymous)
Business owners who are satisfied with just being good are unlikely to survive for long. The problem is that being good is the minimum entry requirement into the market place for most products and services. Any entrepreneur who is satisfied with this level of performance can only ever hope for mediocrity – good isn’t good enough in the modern world.
If entrepreneurs settle for being ‘good enough’, they are always going to be fighting for scraps in the marketplace. Even if this business is lucky enough to stay afloat, it is going to be a bumpy ride because there is going to be so much competition. This is why it is so important for business owners to commit to excellence – this is what it takes to rise above the level of mediocrity. It is impossible to achieve total excellence, so having this goal encourages people to always strive to be better.
7. Entrepreneurship Isn’t A Team Sport
The key to successfully running a business is delegation. Entrepreneurs who are reluctant to hand over responsibilities to other people risk burnout and sloppy results. All the top business people in the world got where they are by surrounding themselves with the right team. The idea of a lone entrepreneur is a bit of a myth. Business managers need to be good at identifying their own strengths and weaknesses. The secret of a successful team is to fill it with people who make up for any deficiencies the manager might have.
6. Aiming Low Is Better Than Failing To Reach A Goal
Self-handicapping is a negative coping strategy that people use to protect themselves from failure. It commonly involves deliberately under-performing in order to protect the ego. This happens because people are afraid of trying their best and still failing – if they don’t try their best, they can console themselves with the idea that they could have done better. This self-handicapping behavior can destroy a business when managers refuse to give 100 percent in case their best isn’t good enough.
5. Hard Work Means Being The Last To Leave The Office
Always being the last one to leave the office doesn’t always mean that this person is the hardest worker – it could just be that they have poor time management skills. Too many managers waste their time on stuff that just isn’t important and would be better delegated to somebody else. The reality is that it is not the number of hours an entrepreneur puts into the business that matters, but the level of productivity.
4. It’s Just The Way I Am
All of the top people in business have their own quirky behaviors and negative personality traits –Steve Jobs could be a real tyrant in the workplace, and apparently Bill Gates could also be a bit of bully. It’s not necessary for entrepreneurs to be perfect humans in order to succeed, but it is vital that they are able to remove any personality flaws that may be getting in the way of their success.
The excuse ‘it’s just the way I am’ may be acceptable for some types of behavior, but this way of thinking can be fatal for those who are trying to get ahead in life. It is important that managers feel accountable for their actions and always feel willing to change when their behavior is causing problems.
3. My Pride Is More Important Than My Business
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” (Sophocles)
Some business owners would rather continue on a path towards destruction than admit that they messed up. This need to be right can make them behave recklessly – they become like a gambler who is on a losing streak but feels unable to stop until everything is lost.
Pride can be a real liability for entrepreneurs if it prevents them from acknowledging mistakes and taking action to remedy the situation. It happens when people associate failure to close with their own self-worth.
2. Asking For Help Is A Sign Of Weakness
At some point, all managers are going to have to face challenges that they don’t have the skills to overcome. The real problem starts when people in this position feel unwilling to admit that they lack knowledge, thinking it makes them look weak. This means they may try to take on a difficult challenge alone, even though it is beyond their ability to deal with it. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness, but refusing to seek assistance due to pride is always a sign of weakness.
1. I Don’t Deserve To Be Successful
In his book ‘Choose Yourself’, James Altucher described how he self-sabotaged his first business because he didn’t feel like he deserved the success. He is certainly not the first person to end up in this position. The problem is that entrepreneurs can start to feel like imposters when things are going well for them – this is often because they have this idolized image of what a successful person should be like.
Their discomfort with achievement can cause people to begin undoing their good work – this could happen by making reckless business decisions or turning to alcohol or drugs. It is therefore vital that business managers develop the ability to feel comfortable around achievement and to feel deserving of any good fortune that comes their way.
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