Everyone has a dream tucked away somewhere… I bet you do too. Yet most people’s dreams never see the light of day.
However, having clear dreams and desires is an essential characteristic of entrepreneurship: if we know what we want, we should be able to get hold of all the tools we need to make it happen, right?
Unfortunately this isn’t always the case: a lot of the time we’re our own worst enemies. We engage in destructive, damaging behaviour that takes us further away from our objective, and we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
As explained in the book Master The Art of Life, this kind of behaviour is usually caused by our own limiting beliefs. To achieve the success you want, you have to recognize the negative attitudes that are influencing you and then free yourself from them.
In this article we’ll take a look at 5 behaviours that are helping you NOT fulfil your dreams, inspired by the excellent TED talk given by Bel Pesce, a young, high-achieving entrepreneur of Brazilian origin.
MISTAKE 1: Believing in instant success
You often read online and in the papers about young programmers who make millions selling their app, or musical talents found on YouTube and paraded on tour all over the world.
This kind of news makes you believe that success is possible and that it can happen overnight; the problem is that nobody ever tells you the full story!
That young programmer had no doubt launched many apps with limited success before hitting on the one that made him or her rich, and the musician discovered on YouTube definitely spent many years practising for several hours a day to reach his or her current level of ability and technique.
Your success depends on everything you’ve done in your life up to this point, not on a single day.
Talent and luck can never be substitutes for the effort and hard work that is essential to any project, whether business-related or not. But you don’t have to bend over backwards; you can spend just 30 minutes a day working towards your objective.
MISTAKE 2: Trusting too much in other people’s judgment
When we start on a new project, it seems as though everyone around us has something to say about how we should be doing it.
We’re often tempted to listen to advice, especially if it comes from someone we respect or trust highly, but we can’t follow it blindly: one day you’ll be faced with a choice you have to make alone, and then whose advice will you have to listen to but your own?
Sometimes we follow advice because we don’t really feel up to doing something on our own, or because we don’t trust our instincts enough. But if we just pay attention and listen to ourselves, we may find that inside we already have all (or almost all) the answers we need.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean we have to do everything by ourselves; business is based on teamwork, and it’s important to listen to colleagues and collaborators. SMARTwomen, the first ‘mastermind’ (alliance of minds) to be offered completely free of charge for businesswomen, was launched for this very reason.
MISTAKE 3: Being content with your success
When you achieve the success you’ve been aiming for, don’t stop there: there’s still room for growth, and it’s important to do your best to constantly improve.
Napoleon Hill, author of the universally famous book Think and grow rich, states that people who suffer from self-satisfaction and complacency have minimal chances of lasting success.
For example, if you’re launching a new product you can’t just hope that sales will be good just because people liked the previous version: you have to invest in publicity and in the product, and continue to do as well as you can.
In business a mediocre result can quickly transform into a loss. Keep giving yourself ambitious goals and enjoy the ride.
MISTAKE 4: Blaming something or someone else
Overly high taxes, a stagnant market, a lack of investors, … any excuse to justify your failure. In a future post I’ll explain how you can recognize and defeat the excuses you subconsciously make for yourself.
Although it’s true that the odds can sometimes be stacked against you, it’s important to take a good hard look at your conscience and face up to your responsibilities: this is the only way you’ll be able to do better next time.
From time to time, it is normal to experience lack of motivation or procrastination, but remember, if you have a dream to fulfil, it’s your own responsibility to make it happen, not anyone else’s. By the way, if you think the problem is you can’t focus, here is how to get back in the flow.
MISTAKE 5: Believing that the dream itself is the true objective
Sometimes we’re concentrating so hard on where we want to get to, we lose sight of why we want to do it.
In business it’s not only the goal that counts. Every step is important in itself and so should be seen as a challenge, something to celebrate if you overcome it and to learn from if you fail.
If you’re only focusing on the goal, you risk losing opportunities for growth and improvement that could be useful.
The 5 patterns of behaviour listed above are personal – they come from within you rather than from the outside world.
If up until now you’ve been tripping yourself up without realising, you can change starting from today and achieve the success you’ve always desired: it’s down to you! And if you have a project you care about and to want to make it true, you might consider hiring a coach to support you.