How often do you shoot yourself in the foot in business?

As a business owner, I’ll bet you’re incredibly busy and find that there  never seems to be enough hours in the day to complete all your work.

Have you ever noticed that some of your everyday activities are just deeply  ingrained habits – driving your car, putting on your watch, brushing your teeth  or taking a shower? You wouldn’t dream of not doing them, they are part of your  routine and they just seem to happen automatically. In your business you also  have habits such as checking your website, opening the mail, reading emails,  grabbing a coffee and glancing at your diary. You do them without conscious  “thought” and they seem to fill up hours in your day…

But what about all the actions you need to take in order to build a more  profitable and efficient business? Like following up with your best customers,  asking for referrals, strategic planning and goal setting to grow your business?  When do you do these activities? Do they often get relegated to “tomorrow” or  “sometime soon”?

If you’ve ever spent your day stuck in back to back meetings, answering  routine questions from your team, responding to emails, helping other people,  doing paperwork or tidying your office – you already know that these are “make  busy” activities, and they will keep you trapped where you already are – just  simply maintaining, not growing your business. By filling your days with these  tasks, you are in effect avoiding the very activities that you know will really  move your business forward and produce tangible results.

Your “make busy” work or habits create the magnificent illusion that you are  hard at work, simply because you feel “flat out” and your day is full of tasks.  Let’s be honest, you would actually rather do anything than face the activities  you know would radically accelerate your business success NOW! In fact, you  often get to the end of the day and say to yourself “It’s OK, I was really busy,  I’ll just get to that marketing plan tomorrow.” Or “I just couldn’t find the  time today to make that seminar on leadership or customer loyalty.”

If you are waiting for the right or best time to do these critical activities  in your business, it will simply never come! There will always be other “busy  work” to fill all of your available time. You need to find a way to make your  business building activities an ingrained habit too, if you want to grow your  bottom line and live the lifestyle of your dreams.

Do you relate to or identify with any of these common sabotage habits?

1. Perfectionism – this tactic is insidious. It often immobilizes us from  making a decision, starting a project or activity and signing off on a piece of  important work. Most tasks don’t have to be 100% perfect, they just need to be  good enough. The other way that this can show up is when you deceive yourself  into believing that no-one else can do the job (even simple routine tasks) to  your exacting standard, so you must do it ALL yourself. Follow the 80/20 rule,  delegate what you do not have to do yourself and give yourself permission to be  human!

2. Refusing to Let Go of The Past – Have you ever heard yourself say “last  time I tried that, it didn’t work”? Or have you ever simply avoided doing  something that you know you should or need to do but were afraid to do because  “last time it didn’t work out the way you wanted it to”? Even though it’s a good  idea to stop doing what clearly doesn’t work, it’s important to remember that  the past does not necessarily equal the future. If you catch yourself finding  reasons from the past to justify why you are not moving ahead toward your  compelling future, stop NOW and take a good hard look at whether these are just  cleverly disguised forms of self-sabotage.

3. Lack of Accountability – who is holding you accountable to the decisions  you make and the actions you take in your own company? Isn’t that why you went  into business for yourself in the first place – so that you could be the boss  and do things your way? Find someone outside your business – a coach, mentor or  trusted advisor that can act as a sounding board and hold you accountable to  staying on track.

4. Lack of vision, planning and specificity – if you don’t know where you are  going, how will you know when you get there? Enough said. If you don’t have a 90  day, 1 year and 3 year business plan, you need to make this your number one  priority in your business. Set a weekend aside and find a place where you will  not be disturbed by anyone or anything. Set down your goals clearly and  succinctly – get clear about the specifics (who, what, where, when and why) and  set realistic deadlines for completion. Goals need to be written down in detail  to allow your mind – which is a goal seeking mechanism – to do its magic.

5. Lack of focus – stay focused on the important task you are currently  working on and only allow yourself to be diverted by real emergencies.

6. Fear of Financials – you cannot have a truly successful business if you  don’t know your numbers. Not knowing your numbers has already cost you time and  money. Find someone who can explain your financials to you in plain English –  learn the key drivers and indexes in your business (such as break even,  productivity ratios, inventory turns, gross profit margins etc.) and track them  daily.

7. No USP – the greatest product or service in the world will not sell if you  have not clearly defined why someone should buy from you instead of your  competitors. “Build it and they will come is a fallacy.” If you have not yet  figured out what is unique about your product or service and found a compelling  and cost effective way to communicate it in everything you do, you are literally  flushing your marketing budget down the toilette.

8. No Testing and Measuring – this is the most-often overlooked activity by  small business owners. The simple act of testing and measuring everything in  your business…and I mean everything…will save you thousands of dollars this  year. No matter what “it” is, if you haven’t tested and measured “it”, you don’t  really know if “it” works. And until you know if it works, you don’t have a  reliable, predictable business that will run without out.

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. As you already know or suspect, some  of the most common forms of self-sabotage are habits because they are deeply  ingrained behaviours that take time to establish or eliminate. In the 1960’s a  highly regarded plastic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz discovered that it took 21  days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in their amputated limb.  From further observations and significant research he established that it takes  21 days to create a new habit.

Brain circuits take engrams (which are essentially “memory traces”) and  produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded for 21  days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept new data or information  for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day (without fail) for at  least 21 days. Changing habits (whether positive or negative) can be done but it  takes time and consistent effort.

Do yourself a favour and identify today which form of self-sabotage is the  primary one that is holding you back from having the business and lifestyle of  your dreams. Make a plan on paper – specific decisions and actions that you can  take to move forward in this aspect every single day for the next month. It is  imperative to track your progress each day and I highly recommend finding an  objective person outside of your business to hold you accountable to your plan,  actions and results.

 

Without a doubt, the number #1 question I get asked by clients is ‘how do I break a bad habit like procrastination, worry, insomnia, negative thinking or smoking’? There are a million examples of ways that each one of us holds our own success back by ‘doing’ unproductive habits.

To make lasting change to deeply ingrained bad habits using willpower and positive affirmations alone is not realistic. Everyone knows that positive thinking is undependable and produces inconsistent results, at best. The self-image on the other hand underpins our level of emotional intelligence (EQ), which is now recognised as being an even more important measurement for success than the IQ.

It has been scientifically proven that our brain circuits take engrams or memory traces and produce neuro connections only if they are bombarded with the information for 21 days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept ‘new’ data or habit changes unless they are repeated each day for at least 21 days, without missing a day.

If you want to change a habit like refusing to let go of the past, spending all your time worrying about what might go wrong, overeating, biting your nails or spending more than you earn,
it can be done but it will require consistent effort on your part, every day for at least 21 days. In order to do it, your success rate will improve significantly if you can replace that old habit you no longer need with a good and productive habit that will support you to achieve your goals and find someone to help keep you accountable.

And remember, no matter where you are in your life right now – the choices you have made or the experiences you have had – “I have a belief that it is never too late to become the person you were meant to be!”

 

Rhondalynn Korolak, Author of "Financial Foreplay" and "On The Shoulders of Giants

Rhondalynn Korolak, Author of "Financial Foreplay" and "On The Shoulders of Giants

What if I told you that YOU are you’re own worst enemy?  Would you be offended or would you smile and agree, because you know it’s true.  It’s true for ALL of us.

You can tell a lot about a business person by the way they spend their time. We all spend our time in various ways. Many business owners and senior executives tell me that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. Personally, I have a belief that there is always enough time in the day to do all of the things that are WORTH doing.   The key is to identify what is worth your while.

Sometimes activity can be a kind of anesthesia for the pain of not achieving the results you want and deserve. Action is always better than procrastination. However, more activity is not always better than less.

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Rhondalynn Korolak

Rhondalynn Korolak

Are you sabotaging your own success? Here are some tell-tale signs that you might be:

1. Do you sometimes jump into a project or enterprise before fully comprehending what you need to do?
2. Have you ever undertaken a task that you know you will probably abandon as soon as something more interesting comes along?
3. Do you allow yourself to get so sidetracked by details that you lose track of your original objective?
4. Have you ever put off making a decision or getting started on a project because “things are just fine the way they are”?

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