When you're trying to build a successful business, you always want to put in your best effort. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you may start inadvertently sabotaging your business. There are five ways most people do this. Let's take a look so you will be able to recognise the signs.
When I first started my online business in late 2018, I spent the first year or so sabotaging myself. I don't mind admitting it either.
I thought every single blog post I read was right (even though they all said different things). I tried about 1000 methods and systems for everything - but never for very long. So, consistency flew out the window.
Worst of all, I thought everything had to be perfect. So, of course, I ended up never launching anything.
I made very little in my first year. My husband could not be more supportive but even he was getting a little twitchy. The "real job" conversation came up, more than once.
Thankfully, we don't need to have those conversations anymore. But only because I was able to pin-point 5 things I was doing that were stopping my business from growing.
The harsh reality was: it wasn't that people didn't want to buy what I had to offer. Instead, I was doing things that activity discouraged them from doing so.
When you're trying to build a successful business, you always want to put in your best effort. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you may start inadvertently sabotaging your business. There are five ways most people do this. Let's take a look so you will be able to recognise the signs. I always say that I made mistakes so you don't have to. So, read on for the 5 things I think could well be sabotaging your business.
Listening to Others
While there's nothing wrong with listening to others, especially when it's helpful, you do have to be wary of listening to the wrong influences. Because when you do that, you can end up making mistakes that can sabotage what you're working so hard to build.
The words of other people can help propel you forward, or they can hurt your belief in yourself and the business you're pursuing. One way that you might be sabotaging your business is by listening to people who aren't trying to do the things you are - or even anything similar.
It's like comparing apples and oranges. Though both are a fruit, they're not the same. So when you seek advice from or listen to counsel from someone not in your industry/niche, they're not speaking from a place of having inside knowledge.
When you follow their advice, you can end up hurting your business. You should also be careful about listening to others when it's people who haven't had the success that you want.
When you want your business to do well, you should seek advice from those who have a thriving business in your niche - not from the guy who never seems to achieve any of his business or financial goals.
It's always best to listen to others who are where you want to be. They've walked the path, they've figured out what works, and they're making success happen.
Most importantly, don't listen to people who aren't supportive of you or your dreams.
These people may even be well-meaning and think they know what's best for you, but all it does is discourage you when you're looking for advice or support, and you come away feeling like someone is verbally slapping you instead.
You don't need that. In every industry, there will be those who are positive, and these people see obstacles or problems as opportunities. You'll want to listen to them because their enthusiasm is contagious.
But, some people are negative and will always point out the worst-case scenario. They'll tell you why your ideas won't work, and they carry an air of "everything is such a burden" about them so that when you listen to them, you'll find your mind steeped in negativity.
That's because negativity always rubs off on those around it. You'll begin to see the downside of running your business rather than the upside. While it's a good idea to listen to those who have had the success that you aspire to achieve, you even have to be careful about the attitude of these people.
Sometimes people who've reached the pinnacle of success that you've set your goal on might belittle you during interactions with them. It's almost as if they're competing with you and need to hold you back.
Don't listen to people who belittle you or your accomplishments. That kind of conversation doesn't come from a great place, and you'll gain nothing by listening to their words of misdirection.
Sabotaging your business by living in the past
Everyone has failures in his or her past. It's just a way of life because there's no such thing as the perfect person. Having failures isn't a problem unless you allow it to be by living in the past.
Although calling it the past is not the correct term if you're living in it, it's more like your past-present. This happens when you keep the failures you've had at the back of your mind, and whenever you're trying to do something with your life, they'll pop up and start repeatedly playing like a bad movie.
So, why do so many people keep living in the past, despite knowing that's what holds them back? It's because past failures keep you safe. They're a haven, a comfort zone. These failures are reminders that you're better off exactly where you are.
You won't get hurt. Your business won't suffer if you stay stagnant (yes, it will) – but you fail to admit it, it won't grow, either! These failures show up to remind you that trying again is scary.
They crowd around, eager to prove that attempting a new thing with your career isn't a good idea. They'll impact your mindset, turning your hope and belief into doubt until the ideas you wanted to try wither away.
You'll decide that the failures are right. Who do you think you are to keep trying? Living in the past is replaying your failures, so you don't have to try again. It's a form of self-sabotage, designed to keep you comfortable.
But it's a place that lies to you over and over again. You'll never be comfortable not reaching the business heights you crave.
You live in the past by letting your failures become your identity. You accept the past failure as the truth. This kind of thinking leads many people to reframe who they are. Someone who had a business launch that flopped, internalize the reason for that as: "I'm not good at creating products."
Or if it's a business where you created something like a mastermind course and no one signed up, that can lead you not to want to create a mastermind group in the future because you're looking backwards, at the time it didn't work.
Living in the past allows you to create excuses for why something doesn't work. Living in the past, looking at what you failed at, erodes your self-confidence. As you're looking back, doubts will multiply.
You'll start to think, "If I failed in that, how can I trust myself or my decisions with this?"
You can stand on the brink of breakthrough success, but because you're tethered to what happened back then, the weight of that never lets you fly.
Living in the past is one of the worst kinds of sabotage you can allow. Because the past is always over and done with it. But by living in it, you continuously breathe new life into it. If you let it go, taking only the lessons that you learned from the experience, you'll be able to move on - possibly to even greater success than you've ever known.
Not Being Consistent
You may be sabotaging your business if you're not consistent. Your mood always swings from one direction to the next. You're having difficulty sticking with something until you see it through.
People who have yo-yo moods regularly get caught up in the shiny new object or idea syndrome. They're full speed ahead working on something. They believe, at the time, that this is what they need do and they're sure it's going to change their business or their lives.
These people are enthusiastic and excited. But then the next thing comes along and captures their attention. Now they're no longer interested in what they were doing. They might get discouraged about what they were working on because this new thing seems better or more comfortable.
Their initial enthusiasm is transferred to the shiny new object or idea. Having this kind of yo-yo mood can cause people to meander along in their business. They will not be accomplishing the success that they'd like to have because their focus isn't 100% solidified.
When you have a yo-yo mood, you sabotage yourself because you work on your projects only when you feel like it. You sort of go wherever the mood takes you. You're kind of hedging your bets, only doing what you are tasked with until you feel like something better comes along.
When you don't feel like it, you blow it off. Doing this can become a considerable problem when whatever it is you're working on is essential for the success of your business. You can end up having a lack of consistency.
You might have a hundred different projects going on, and most of them are not finished - if any of them. A mindset or actions that lack consistency can lead to a dependence on inspiration to get stuff done.
You're not dedicated to the task and can take it or leave it. The reason is that your mood convinces you that everything is going to be okay, that it'll all work out regardless of the effort you do or don't put into it.
Sometimes people don't recognize this form of sabotage because they don't understand that it's an issue for them. But you can tell that this kind of mood is a struggle for you if you find yourself continually creating excuses.
There's not enough time to handle an important project, so you'll spend time making a list instead. You change direction too quickly, whether in action or mood. You can't find the right resources or tools, so you'll stop working on what you have to get done and instead work on what "moves" you regardless of whether or not it grows your profits or client list.
There are reasons why some people struggle with a yo-yo mood. One of these is due to a lack of accountability. If you have no one you need to answer to, it's easier to give in to the fluctuations.
When that happens, you can have a mindset that things will get done when they get done, which can lead to problems like blowing off tasks, missing deadlines and more. You shrug it off and sabotage yourself in the process.
Sabotaging your business by Going to Extremes
One of the problems that many entrepreneurial types run into is that they can tend to go to extremes. Being someone who goes to extremes can have some advantages.
People who go to extremes can be super focused, but because it can cause you to live a life out of balance more often than not, it can also lead to burnout. Going to the extreme makes your experience bigger.
So if you fail at something, you'll have the mindset that failure is the absolute end of something, rather than putting it into perspective and quickly moving on. When you live by extremes, you can have an all or nothing mindset, which leads to seeing every situation as one way or the other, with no middle ground.
This can become a cycle for how you live your personal life as well as how you conduct your business. Going to extremes can cause you to strive to become an overachiever. You'll start setting impossible goals such as landing 50 new clients in a week when the most you've ever converted is 5.
Giving in to extremes can make you drive yourself harder than is physically or mentally safe. You'll develop tunnel vision and get so focused on one thing that you miss other things that need your attention.
Yes, going to the extreme can work both ways. For some, they go to the extreme of performance. For others, they go to the extreme of quitting. Their mindset tends to be along the lines of if they can't land at least 20 new clients in a week, then they might as well quit.
Again, it's that all or nothing thinking which can have trace elements of perfectionism or low self-confidence at its root. The person can be trying to "prove" themselves or trying to measure up to an impossible standard.
Or, they can have doubts about their abilities and go to the extreme is them trying to compensate for those doubts. Whether your extreme leads to attempting to overachieve impossible goals or quitting, there is the same truth at the base of both.
It's that you're putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. On the one hand, you'll feel like you're on top of the world. Like you're invincible, and you're going to dominate at whatever it is that you're attempting to do.
But on the other hand, you'll feel afraid and vulnerable - maybe even like a failure because your desire for what you can or can't accomplish isn't based on real, achievable goals or expectations.
Sabotaging your business by Believing in Perfectionism
Someone who believes in perfectionism has a desire to do great things without flaw. They know where they're going with every project, they have a lot of talent, great ideas and yet struggle to take action steps.
One of the many causes of believing in perfectionism is a focus on the finished result. You see the project as it should be when it's completed rather than all the messy parts that go into putting it together.
Because you see the polished end, the jumbled beginning is more difficult for you. People who believe in perfectionism are often prone to comparing the start of their efforts to someone else's finished and polished creation.
So, then they see their work as amateurish and others as professionals. Having a belief in perfectionism often causes procrastination. Not because the person doesn't have the means, time or knowledge to succeed, but because to them, the work is never good enough.
These types of people will often find something to criticize about their efforts. They work harder than most other people do, yet often have a smaller track record of accomplishments.
The mindset is often, "If this isn't perfect, I won't finish it until it is." Believing in perfectionism is rooted in self-doubt. They're not afraid that the finished product won't be worthy, but that somehow they won't be worthy of admiration for their efforts.
You have to learn to believe that there's no such thing as a perfect first time draft of a product. There are editing stages to every creation, and these rough drafts are simply early action steps.
If you look at what your competitors have accomplished - such as products they've brought to the market or courses they're offering for clients, a belief in perfectionism can make it appear as if that product or course sprang into existence overnight.
That's because all you see is what's been done in the end. You don't see the many hours of work people pour into it. You don't see the nights they felt like giving up, or the times they walked away and had to take a break because an issue stumped them.
You don't know the resources they used or if they had outside help. A belief in perfectionism can cause you to struggle to get started with what you want to do. To overcome that, you can start in the middle.
Work out of order and then put whatever it is you're trying to do together. The reason behind doing it this is because it does away with the "getting started" mental roadblock.
One area that can lead to a belief in perfectionism is trying to compensate for something else.
You're trying to be perfect in one area of your business because you feel like you're failing in another. An example would be spending a lot of money on continually tweaking a website font or colour when you know you should be working on getting your product launch-ready. Trust me, I've been there!
Another area is overestimating your abilities. You don't feel confident because your perfectionism has given you no room to learn what you need to know. You don't let yourself experiment and fail and grow, which is, in essence, the nature of business.
All of this will prevent you from making the progress that you should and need to be making.
Pretty much all of this comes down to self-belief and determination. To be successful, you need just to put yourself out there. Don't start sabotaging your business by waiting for perfect - the perfect comment, the ideal tool, the perfect product. Until you get messy, you won't know what perfect looks like for you.
Can you relate to any of this? If so, what are your next steps? Let me know in the comments below...
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