According to Merriam-Webster, an entrepreneur is a person who “starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.” But being willing to take risks isn’t the whole equation, at least when it comes to succeeding in business. After all, the majority of businesses started by entrepreneurs, ultimately fail. So what sets successful entrepreneurs apart? They are able to maintain positive energy by managing any limiting behaviors that get in the way.
If self-limitation is the effect, self-doubt is the cause. Starting and operating a business requires making lots of decisions, often in a quick-paced setting. Self-doubt springboards into indecision and the inability to make a decision when one is required can be devastating to a business. In fact, not making a decision is, in and of itself, a decision not to do anything at a time when something needs to be done.
People who doubt themselves also tend to think they cannot change. They often explain away problematic behaviors as being due to their immutable personalities. These people tend to blame others for their problems or hide behind excuses wrapped around unfavorable circumstances or situations.
Another self-limiting behavior that might seem counterintuitive is perfectionism. A consistent drive for perfection sounds like a laudable goal, but it can actually be limiting. In business, excellence is the common standard for success. But excellence falls short of perfection, and the person who passes on excellence to pursue unattainable perfection limits his chance of business success and likely remains stuck where he is
Being a people pleaser can also have a self-limiting effect. Most of us have an inherent desire to please others or at least to avoid the disdain of other people. Businesses certainly want happy customers, but in the day-to-day interaction with people who factor into business operations, the entrepreneur needs to always do what is in the business’s best interest. For example, a supplier may like a certain arrangement that is not best for the entrepreneur. Even though the supplier may be a very persuasive guy, pleasing him is not good for the entrepreneur.
Successful behaviors are rooted in self-examination. Recognizing that self-doubt is limiting one’s ability to make timely and appropriate decisions is the first step to changing that behavior. Believing in one’s ability to overcome problematic behaviors is the next most important step to successfully navigating self-limitation. In short, adopting a purposeful attitude about recognizing and avoiding self-limiting behaviors is the engine for successful entrepreneurship.
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