Starting a business is not a straight line – and, so often, we get in our own way, which makes the journey harder to navigate successfully. If you want your entrepreneurship dreams to come true, kick these habits to the curb ASAP.
In a previous article, How To Accept And Overcome Obstacles As You Start A New Business, I outlined how starting a business is a learning process that will, among other things, test your ability to accept and overcome obstacles.
Your new adventure will undoubtedly be full of twists and turns. It will zig and zag. It’s not you, it’s just the nature of the process of building a business – which is to take an idea and turn it into action.
With practice and the right mindset, you can learn to navigate this terrain.
But, there are also things you might do along the way that will make the zig-zag much harder to deal with – habits that will destroy your entrepreneurship dreams and keep you stuck right where you’re at.
I share this from direct and ongoing personal experience.
Like all new entrepreneurs, I’m a work-in-progress too. I try to catch and correct myself when I notice these habits showing up, but the truth is I’m not perfect. You won’t be either.
And, that’s okay. Perfection is an illusion. There’s only better. And, better is infinite.
Here are the 5 habits that will destroy your entrepreneurship dreams.
HABIT 01: WHEN YOU SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
When things get tough – and they will get tough – don’t let yourself spin. Don’t get lost or frustrated about things you can’t control. Instead, build a new habit of pulling yourself out of the weeds.
Take a deep breath and regain your objectivity.
- What’s the unresolved situation you’re dealing with?
- Make a table with two columns. List out what you can control in one. And what you can’t control in the other.
- Where are you currently spending most of your mental energy?
HABIT 02: WHEN YOU ACT ON YOUR EMOTIONS
Your passion and drive are likely what led you to start this business in the first place – hold onto that. But, when you encounter an obstacle and it triggers fear, anxiety, or dread, are you really in the best mindset to make a thoughtful decision about your future? Probably not.
Acknowledge how you feel and then choose what comes next.
- What’s your typical gut reaction when you encounter an obstacle?
- What are your strengths? How are you using them?
- What has to be true for you to be the best version of yourself?
HABIT 03: WHEN YOU GIVE UP TOO EASILY
So, you’ve never encountered this particular obstacle before? That’s okay. Learning requires action. Trial and error isn’t a bad thing – as long as your attempts are in service of your goals.
Believe you are capable of overcoming what’s in front of you and that doing so will help you grow. Think of your last mistake:
- What stories did you tell yourself because of it? How true are those stories?
- What did you learn from the experience? And, what steps might you take to make you more successful next time?
- How prepared are you for your next attempt? What might you do differently to prepare?
HABIT 04: WHEN YOU’RE FRUSTRATED THAT YOU’RE NOT FURTHER ALONG
There’s often a big gap between where you are when you start your journey and where you want to end up. That’s normal. But you can’t close the gap if you only talk about how big the gap is – acknowledge it and keep going. Starting and growing a business is a marathon, not a sprint.
Recommit to closing the gap:
- Review and recommit to your goals. Are they still the right goals? Are you still excited about them? What, if anything, needs to change?
- What’s the smallest step you could take? The boldest step you could take? What’s something in between?
- How important is it to you to move forward? (pro-tip: return to this question often)
HABIT 05: WHEN YOU LET YOURSELF DRIFT INTO BURNOUT
Your entrepreneurship dreams can leave you starry-eyed, driving you to get lost in execution. But, before you know it, you’ll drift into burnout. You’re exhausted and you don’t know why you’re even doing all this extra work.
Name what you’re feeling – burnout – and then choose to regain your creative energy.
- When you feel exhausted: what activity will give you the energy you need to recover?
- When you’re ready to get proactive: what routines or regular actions might help you maintain a consistent level of creative energy?
CREATE NEW HABITS TO UNLOCK YOUR ENTREPRENEURSHIP DREAMS
Each of these 5 habits is something you can unlearn. As a human being you are creative and capable – but you have to believe in your abilities and put in the work.
Awareness is an important first step to changing your habits. But, as always, clarity and progress come with action.
ONE MORE THING
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.
It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.
It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.
And, that’s why it’s worth it.