“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ― Karen Lamb
Budding entrepreneurs starting an online business have many challenges to face before they can blossom into a successful, thriving entrepreneur. Many give up, but I don’t want you to be one of them.
In this post, I’m going to discuss three of these challenges that are activated by an entrepreneur’s mindset and fueled by his or her limiting beliefs. I call these three self-inflicted challenges the “3 Ps of self-sabotage.” They’re procrastination, perfectionism, and pessimism.
The 3 Ps of Self-Sabotage That Keep Budding Entrepreneurs Stuck.
Let’s start with procrastination.
Everyone procrastinates from time to time, but an entrepreneur who’s a chronic procrastinator will remain stuck, wasting one of his/her most valuable assets … time. I’m a recovered procrastinator. I wasn’t always a procrastinator. Procrastination was not an option when I was the only parent raising my four young children. I was action driven.
When I decided to come online, I was excited and determined to be successful. Procrastination was not on my radar. However, because of not choosing the right coach and product/service to market, my success didn’t happen as quickly as I envisioned. I started to compare myself to other successful online entrepreneurs.
“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” ~ Unknown
Comparison sent me into the black hole of deep despair. I lost clarity for my vision. I believed I wasn’t achieving the success I wanted because no one wanted what I had to offer. I was stuck because I didn’t know what direction to take. My mindset was fertile ground for procrastination. I made excuses for not blogging, sending out my newsletter, marketing, networking, etc.
Do you know why YOU procrastinate?
Here are 5 reasons why you and other entrepreneurs procrastinate and how you can stop these success stoppers from stealing your entrepreneurial dream.
1. Believing you aren’t good enough.
“What you think of yourself is much more important than what others think of you.” ~ Seneca
When you don’t believe you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll stay in a bubble. This self-limiting belief is why you half-heartedly take action for your business. It’s why you avoid networking events, forming strategic relationships, and being transparent on social media. It’s why you suffer from the shiny object syndrome. Buying product after product that gathers dust on your hard drive or book shelf. It’s why your email is filled with hundreds (maybe thousands) of emails that you’ll never read.
That voice inside your head tells you that you’re not good enough. It tells you that you are an impostor and people are going to find out. Consciously, you know that you’re good enough. Consciously, you know you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. But unconsciously, you don’t believe these facts.
It doesn’t matter if your tool box for success is overflowing if you don’t believe you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Your feelings of inadequacy will only intensify if you suppress, bury, or run from them. To dis-empower this success stopper, you need to take specific action to re-frame your negative feelings.
a) Remember your WHY.
“Clarify your purpose. What is the WHY behind everything you do?” ~ Jack Canfield
One of the simplest ways to anchor something in your mind is to write it down and read it on a regular basis. Grab a pen and paper and write down the reasons why you chose to be an entrepreneur. Now read it out loud. Close your eyes. Relax and take a few minutes to reflect on your WHY.
b) Remember a time when you did something YOU were really proud of.
It can be something big or something small. Now remember the emotion you felt and personalize it by giving it a name. It could be: happy, ecstatic, joyous, euphoric, pleased, content, confident, optimistic, accomplished, blissful, resilient, unstoppable, determined, courageous or something else. Each time you’re filled with self-doubt and feelings of not being good enough, take a moment to reflect on that thing you accomplished and allow yourself to feel that emotion you’ve attached to this event. It will shift your thinking and help you to believe in yourself and you will move forward with confidence and courage.
Practice this until it becomes a new habit!
There are several events in my life I use as anchors to help me when I doubt myself. I will share one with you. Many moons ago I wanted to become a dental technician. In order for me to be accepted into the program, I had to carve a tooth and a ball, of a specific dimension, from two pieces of rectangular wax approximately 2-3 inches in length. When they handed me the pieces of wax and the samples of what they wanted me to create, I sat there for a moment thinking “There’s no way I can do this.” But I was DETERMINED to get into that program. I picked up the wax and the instruments they provided and started to carve. This was my first time carving anything, but I carved what they wanted in the time allotted and I was accepted into the program. Just thinking about it decades later puts a smile on my face.
c) Remember what makes you unique.
Grab pen and paper and write down all the skills, knowledge, talents, strengths, virtues, and core values in your toolbox for your entrepreneurial success.
Read it often to remind yourself you’re awesome!
You’re enough simply because you were born. You’re enough because you’re alive. Your burning desire to be an entrepreneur is enough. Like a magnet, it will attract opportunities and release skills and talents you didn’t know you had. Be kind to yourself. Master the strengths (skills and talents) you have for your entrepreneurial success and use outside resources for those you don’t have. Be kind to yourself; don’t be afraid to ask for help.
d) Practice self-compassion
“Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self–sabotaging behavior.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen.
You’ll never get to the top of your Mt. Everest if you deplete your energy with self-criticism and self-loathing. The successful entrepreneurs you admire aren’t perfect. They have failed many times. However, they accept failures as the stepping stones to their success. Success and failure are on the same team. You need both to become a successful entrepreneur. The next time something doesn’t go as planned, the next time you fail, instead of igniting your negative self-talk and beating yourself up mentally, pause for a moment and reflect on what you could have done differently. What’s the lesson you can take away from this experience to help you with the next steps that will lead to success?
Cultivate self-compassion. Be mindful. When you call yourself names and put yourself down because you failed, pause for a moment, reflect, and re-frame your reaction. Speak to yourself as if you were a friend you want to inspire and motivate to keep taking action in spite of uncertainties, let downs, and setbacks.
2. Lacking the skill or knowledge
“To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”~ Socrates
As a budding entrepreneur you may put off important tasks that will build the foundation of your business because you lack the skill or knowledge to get these important tasks done. You may need to build a website/blog, start a newsletter, set up an auto responder, create a Facebook page, etc. You become overwhelmed and end up in a state of inertia. Six months or more down the road, you’re stuck in the same place with your business. This erodes your self-confidence and self- esteem; at this juncture, some entrepreneurs step back into their comfort zone of being an employee, either because they’ve depleted their financial reserves or they’ve just simple given up on their entrepreneurial dream.
a) You’ll never have all the skills and knowledge needed to start and grow your business.
However, when you’re starting a business (unless you have limitless cash flow- most budding entrepreneurs don’t) you’ll need to do a lot of the work yourself, barter, or find affordable help. This is the age of information, the people and the resources are there for you to grow your business and prosper. The key is to stay focused and action driven. There’s a plethora of information and you can easily become distracted and overwhelmed. Write down the tasks you need to complete. Pick the most important one and write down the steps you need to complete this task. Search Google and YouTube for the resources to get it done. Devote a specific amount of time each day to this task until it is completed. And then move on to the next important task.
A few weeks ago, I wanted to record some affirmations and guided imagery. I decided to use Audacity to create these recordings. I was petrified. But I moved forward. I used YouTube and Google for information and I created a couple of amazing recordings. Even my daughter, who is a musician, said “Mom, I can’t believe you did that.” I enjoyed the process and now I have a new skill to create my own affirmations, guided imagery, and hypnotic recordings on demand.
b) Use the services of a coach or mentor.
“Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.” ― Albert Einstein
If you don’t have the financial resources to pay the coach you’d like to work with, sign up for his/her newsletter. Nothing happens until something moves. Give yourself permission to use the free tips that are sent to your email. Do not become a newsletter junkie. Too many newsletters are a distraction and they will keep you from completing important tasks to grow your business. Be strategic; read the newsletters from those whose information will help you to learn and grow as an entrepreneur.
3. You’re afraid to leave your comfort zone.
“Your comfort zone is where you chase your dreams. Outside your comfort zone is where you’ll catch them.” ~ Adalia John
Successful entrepreneurs are successful because they step out of their comfort zone to do what they’ve never done before. Entrepreneurs build their courage muscle, and unleash their creativity when they step out of their comfort zone. And they’re more resilient and confident because of this.
Your comfort zone is like that good friend who doesn’t want you to grow and live your potential. They want you to be the same person you were yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Your comfort zone will use distraction to anesthetize the discomfort you feel when you have thoughts about the things you MUST do to start and grow your business.
If you succumb to your comfort zone, it will stop you from innovating and exploring. When opportunities, ideas, and new relationships knock on your door, your comfort zone will stop you from letting them in. You’ll find yourself putting off important activities that make you uncomfortable. Such as: networking, marketing, blogging, collaborating, making videos, pod-casting, speaking engagements, etc. Your comfort zone is that friend or bad habit you need to give up for your success.
To grow and thrive as an entrepreneur you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The fear of failure or some other fear keeps you in your comfort zone. I had to work through my fear before I started to blog. It was intense. I wasn’t a writer. I just knew I would make grammatical mistakes and run on sentences. And worse, no one was going to read my blog.
This quote by Anais Nin, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom,” and self-hypnosis helped me to start blogging in spite of my fears. I use a simple technique with some of my clients that helps them to move through their fears and over-come self-sabotaging issues. Check it out below!
The Reversal of Desire Technique.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.” ~ Mark Twain
Whatever you are afraid of, it’s something you’ve decided unconsciously is going to cause you pain. Humans tend to avoid pain and seek pleasure. When you procrastinate, you’re avoiding pain. Staying in your comfort zone brings pleasure and stepping out of it brings you pain. But as you know, not everything that feels pleasurable is good for you.
In order to take back your power from fear and the pain you’re avoiding, you need to face the fear (pain) and move through it. If you run from your fear, it will intensify and keep you hostage in your comfort zone. If you run towards it with open arms it will lose its power over you.
The next time you find yourself sticking to a routine when you know you should be doing something else, try this:
Find a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed. Connect to the emotion you’re feeling, identify the fear, and write down the answer to this question: what are you afraid of?
Close your eyes again and allow your entire body to relax. Now, imagine the fear/pain that keeps you from leaving your comfort zone as a dark cloud in front of you. Tell yourself (with passion and conviction) you’ve had enough! You will no longer allow this fear to hold you back. In this moment you are determine to take back your power and free yourself from the tentacles of this fear.
Now, imagine, and/or visualize propelling yourself through the dark cloud (your fear/pain) and coming out on the other side FREE, unscathed and empowered.
You are ready to leave your comfort zone!
Use this technique each time you find yourself avoiding something; you will shift your mindset and change your life.
4. Second Guessing Yourself.
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” ~ Karim Seddiki
Entrepreneurs need to exhibit leadership qualities and no one is going to follow a leader who is indecisive. Successful Entrepreneurs are decisive. They know that it’s better to take action than to sit on the fence. Besides, most decisions aren’t detrimental or irreversible.
My daughter is the connoisseur of seconding guessing oneself. She makes a decision and before you blink your eyes she changes her mind. I’ve encouraged my daughter to make a decision and move forward without looking back. If it turns out not to be the best decision, she should learn from it and make another one.
Second guessing yourself leads to inaction. Inaction leads to procrastination. As a budding entrepreneur, if you master your mindset to be more decisive, you’ll more frequently achieve your desired results.
a) Have a plan.
When you don’t believe in yourself and your ideas, the planning stage is another excuse to procrastinate. I’ve known people who stay stuck in the planning stage for years. There’s power in action. Give yourself permission to plan and execute in spite of self-doubt or anything else.
b) Accept that you’ll never know everything.
You’ll know a little about most things, and a lot about some things. But you’ll never know everything about anything.
c) Weigh the pros and cons.
Successful entrepreneurs disrupt the norm with new ideas and innovations. Entrepreneurship is a new frontier for most budding entrepreneurs, and second guessing your decisions will keep you from belonging to that success club. On your entrepreneurial journey, decisions and choices can be overwhelming. However, researching, gathering information and weighing the pros and cons of your decision is another way to keep you moving forward.
d) Trust your intuition.
Don’t just listen to your intuition, do what it tells you to do. If your inner critic or negative self-talk dominates your thinking, it may be difficult for you to hear your intuitive voice. To overcome this, be mindful. Become aware of the emotion you feel when you’re making a decision. What is your intuitive voice saying to you? Make a decision based on what you BELIEVE it’s telling you. As you make this decision making process a habit, based on the outcome of your decisions, you’ll begin to identify whether this emotion is connected to your intuitive voice or not.
Over the years, I’ve determined the decision I’m about to make is the wrong one if I feel anxiety and urgency in my stomach. When I’m making the right one, I feel a sense of peace over my entire body.
5. Your Fears.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” ~ Joseph Campbell
Fears aren’t necessarily bad. They can motivate you as well as keep you away from danger. But they can also keep you stuck. At the core of most of your success stoppers are one or more fears.
Successful entrepreneurs are action driven. But those who procrastinate may be doing so because of one or more of these fears:
I wrote about these 5 fears and how you can overcome them in this post “Are any of these 5 fears holding you back?” Check it outhere
It’s a wrap
Your mindset creates your reality. You may not even know you’re procrastinating. For example: you might use the excuse “I’m easily distracted,” when you put off what needs to be done for your business, instead of saying “I’m procrastinating.” Here’s the thing: if your actions are not taking you forward in your business, you’re either stuck or going backwards.
Identify how and why you procrastinate and use these tips to help you to be decisive and action driven. Each day, as an entrepreneur, you’re faced with a myriad of decisions. Do you want to be a successful entrepreneur? If the answer is yes, then stop avoiding and start doing. Overcoming procrastination will help you to be an unstoppable entrepreneur.
The next post in this series will be on “Perfectionism” one of The 3 Ps of Self-Sabotage That Keep Budding Entrepreneurs Stuck.
Which one of these success stoppers caused you to procrastinate and what did you do to overcome it? Do you have another success stopper to share with us?
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Is procrastination keeping you from taking action for your goals ? If you answered yes, you’ll benefit from my FREE strategy session. Contact me today. You’ll be glad you did.