If you’re an entrepreneur, you may think of yourself as being fairly effective. After all, you’re an entrepreneur. You’re gutsy. When everyone else would be getting a job, you would rather make your own job. Instead of waiting for others to show you the way, you’re making your own way.
Before we proceed any further though, please sit down. Take time to read, rather than skim. I’ve structured the article so that each principle contains an accompanying action you can take.
The biggest obstacle to my success isn’t others.
But after 14 years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve realised that the biggest obstacle to my success isn’t others. It’s self. I am my biggest obstacle.
Here’s a question for you.
Are you getting in your own way?
That’s a difficult question to answer. After all, if you examine yourself, you may see yourself pulling long hours, working weekends, and … I’m here asking you if you’re getting in the way of yourself? Before you throw your mouse at me, hold on.
I’m sorry. I’ll admit.
I wrote about this because it’s a topic that’s close to my heart. What I really want to to say is this.
Whenever I look back at my beginning days as an entrepreneur, what I really hated, more than anything else, was the feeling of being poor.
When my friends met, they would suggest a fancy restaurant where the meal would be more than $25. As someone who was wondering if I should even pay $25 for a marketing tool, $25 for a meal, sounded excessive.
But I realised that this attitude of poverty, rather than abundance, was keeping me poor. Before you think this is some Rhonda Byrne trick to get you to ‘visualise’ and ‘manifest’ your success, it’s not. Don’t get me wrong. Visualisation is okay.
But I realised that this attitude of withholding luxuries from myself, not allowing myself to enjoy the fruits of my labour, actually led me to feel more frustrated with my work.
Why are you working so hard at your business? No, honestly, take a step back and ask yourself.
Was it so that you could torture yourself, eat miserly, and have no holidays? No, of course not. You believed you could create greater change than as an employee.
But if you stop treating yourself along the way, you may find yourself losing the commitment to continue with your journey. It no longer becomes a fulfilling journey. It becomes a self-torturing journey. Who in their right mind would want to continue that way?
Treating yourself doesn’t mean spending on credit, buying the fanciest computer, cake, and cookies for yourself. But it means celebrating each milestone you reach with treats that matter to you. Remember what delighted you as a young child? A toy. An experience. A walk.
Treat yourself regularly to that, so that it makes your already difficult entrepreneurial journey worthwhile.
Are you only 90% responsible?
I confess. I hoped someone would save me. In the early days of entrepreneurship, I hoped someone would offer me a job worth $10,000 a month, so I didn’t have to work so hard to get even $1,000 a month.
I wished for a hero who would sweep me off my feet, and help me.
Looking back, I saw how I was only being 90% responsible for my own success. I hoped someone would take over that remaining 10% that would catapult me into greatness.
I was scared of taking 100% responsibility. You may not be in that position like me. But it may look like you constantly seeking advice from others, going for networking events, and buying the next self-development book/course…
Because it feels like you’re being responsible. Wouldn’t a responsible person be asking people for advice, connecting with others, and spending time consuming useful content?
No, he wouldn’t.
Honestly, he wouldn’t. Doing things like that is expecting that the answer lies somewhere outside you.
The answer lies inside you. In your action. It lies in you taking absolute responsibility for your business, rather than expecting someone or something to help move your business to the next level.
Yes, that may happen. But even if you have a business coach, he can’t act for you. You need to act for yourself.
That’s what I mean by 100% responsibility. It means that over and above all, you see yourself as the only one responsible for taking action in your business.
Rather than taking another course, why not take another action today? Ask yourself, ‘Even if I don’t know what’s the next big step I can take, what’s one small, tiny action that can move me closer towards my goals?’
I kept consuming
It’s tempting to consume, isn’t it? After all, when you’re consuming, it feels like work. Look at you, reading that article on the ‘The biggest secret entrepreneurs do not know’! Look at you, watching another motivational video by serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk! Look at you, searching for what your friends are doing on LinkedIn!
Aren’t you working hard?
Unfortunately, no. Consuming isn’t work. It’s pseudo-work.
Think about it. You’re not moving towards your goals of more revenue. You’re watching or reading something. Do you expect your business to grow via diffusion, from the content that’s gone into your mind?
But I’m with you. I’ve done that so many times, even though I know it doesn’t help much in my business. Why? Because you always feel that you’re lacking.
You’re not. The only thing you’re lacking is action. Shane Melaugh, the serial entrepreneur behind the likes of Thrive Themes and Ikario, talks about how the only two things that matter are focus and action. Know what you need to work on. And do it.
In her book ‘The Artist’s Way’, Julia Cameron suggests that for a week, artists take a break from reading anything. She does this to encourage artists to focus on creating, rather than consuming. More importantly it gets artists to stop comparing their work to what they read or see online. After all, when you look at what’s professionally produced, you may look at your own work and go,
I could never do that!
I could never accomplish that!
That keeps you stuck in fear, rather than truly living out your potential as an entrepreneur.
Try this. Stop reading anything for a week. Stop consuming any self-development content for a week.
Start working on your business. Doing this forces you to cut the chaff from the the wheat, and to look at doing what truly matters.
I want you to look at your own story. To believe in your own story. And to realise that the biggest way getting in the way of your success?
It’s no one else.
It’s knowing what you want, and committing to the action that will take you there. I’m afraid there’s no other secret recipe.
The question is – will you take the action required?