Entrepreneurial success seems ephemeral and is certainly not guaranteed. So, why do some entrepreneurs achieve success and others do not? How do you become as successful as Mark Zuckerberg? As a business advisor for many years, I’ve noticed that the most successful entrepreneurs are more than just great business people. They are also masterful at honest self-inquiry, and change their self-limiting behaviors from unconscious hindrances to conscious advancements, personally and professionally. Their success is, across the board, built on both business acumen and personal growth.
Self-limiting behaviors are quite common, but without the understanding that these beliefs and behaviors are mutable and changeable, many would-be successful entrepreneurs flounder. Those who are joyful about their choice of career and attain true success purposefully avoid negative behaviors that their less successful peers habitually get stuck in. Here are a few of those negative behaviors that I’ve noticed; avoid them and watch your success soar.
Doubt their intuition.
Gut feelings are so often disregarded in the course of decision-making, to great cost. The most successful entrepreneurs utilize their perception to great advantage, balancing logic with intuition to make substantial decisions that propel them far. They believe in their own awareness, and lead from a place of deep self-knowing and clarity. Developing intuition does take time and practice if you’re used to second-guessing yourself, but it can be done and will serve you well in your success.
Expect easy success through handouts.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, they say, and “they” are right. Entrepreneurial success is found almost exclusively through very hard work and a desire to provide value. The best entrepreneurs wouldn’t dream of asking for handouts, or expect that they will be rewarded for nothing. Of course, looking for ways to get ahead should be expected, especially in the lean stages of beginning a business. But reaching out to someone for free help, advice, or resources without considering what can be offered in return seems disrespectful and lazy. Successful professionals know that their success is directly proportional to how much work they put in, and give the respect that’s due to others who have done the same.
Believe they cannot change.
Those who self-limit share the common trait of meeting frustrations by placing blame on other people or saying the situation is outside of their control. Changing their own behavior is not in the cards; the beliefs that most encapsulate this mindset are, “It’s just who I am,” or “It’s not my fault.” However in most cases, reactions and behaviors are habits that can be changed quite easily with consistent self-inquiry. Successful entrepreneurs take full responsibility for creating and changing their habitual reactions to outside influences, and know that the only thing that they can change is their own perspective.
Think there’s not enough time.
Everyone has the same amount of time per day — you have the same 24 hours as Oprah. Continually believing that there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done may actually be delineating an inability to delegate, a lack of scheduling, or distractions with unnecessary tasks. Successful entrepreneurs are sticklers for their time, and know how to get things done by paying close attention to how they prioritize, constantly looking for ways to improve their time management.
Strive only for perfection.
Speaking of wasting time, successful entrepreneurs do not waste theirs trying to create perfect things. Perfect does not exist. Striving for perfection ties up vital time and energy that robs happiness and satisfaction from a job well done, and oftentimes creates blockades to finishing a project — or even starting. Those who achieve success strive for excellence, not perfection. They know that constantly second-guessing their achievements and thinking, “I could have done that better,” only diminishes what they have already done and sets unrealistic expectations.
Stay powerless and quiet.
“They say I’m polarizing,” quips Naomi Klein, an outspoken activist and fearless writer. Klein is a great example of a successful thought leader completely in her power who speaks out proudly to support her beliefs. Successful entrepreneurs are strong advocates for themselves and others, and know that what they add to the conversation has value and merit. They do not take on a victim mentality, nor shrink themselves for any reason. They speak up when necessary, and meet the challenges of creating a business head-on, with self-possession, grace, and consideration.
Most humans have a deep-seated need to be liked, and put the desires of others ahead of their own, throwing their own dreams and plans off track. However, the most successful entrepreneurs know how to maintain clear boundaries for themselves while staying considerate of other’s feelings. They are masters of their own lives, and take the reins of their personal priorities. They don’t focus too much on making everyone else happy, and keep their ultimate goals in mind to avoid thwarting progress.
Advancing professionally is directly in alignment with how we advance personally. Though identifying the self-limiting beliefs that cause self-limiting behaviors can be difficult, it is not impossible. It can be a slow process, but your continued entrepreneurial success will show you that it’s worth it.
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