Do you sometimes feel that your business has plateaued? Do you go through periods when it seems no matter what new strategies and tactics you employ, how many more hours you put in, new partners you work with, or prospects you contact, you just canâ€™t seem to progress? And if you see colleagues or competitors surpass your achievements, do envious thoughts cloud your mind?
Neither business nor life in general moves in a constant positive trajectory. There are times when you meet or exceed expectations and times when things veer off course. When your business doesnâ€™t go according to plan, one thing you, as an entrepreneur, might underestimate is the importance of looking inside yourself.
Some of your habits and attitudes might be harming instead of helping your business. However, if you learn let go of judgments, pay attention to the small things and focus on the positive, you can weather any difficulty and enjoy long-term success.
It is likely you went through a school system in which the right answers were rewarded and the wrong ones penalized, and where excellent performance was praised and less than stellar efforts were ignored or criticized. If the need to determine right and wrong answers isnâ€™t balanced with activities that encourage exploration and taking reasonable risks, this can lead to a lifelong right/wrong, either/or approach to life.
So if you are going through a difficult period, donâ€™t judge this time as a failure. Think of it instead as an opportunity for you to learn and grow.
Itâ€™s easy to focus on the big accounts, the big goals and big deals and let other things go. For example, you could put off returning calls from current small-business customers because you think they donâ€™t make much difference to your bottom line; you might arrive late for a service call because you know the merchant will be in the store all afternoon; or you could fail to file important papers because you know you havenâ€™t thrown them out and will be able to find them if you ever need to.
Instead, don't let anything slide. Do your very best with every action you take in your business, whether itâ€™s sending a final email on Friday afternoon or preparing a detailed partnership agreement.
When things arenâ€™t going well, itâ€™s easy to attribute the difficulty to what you perceive to be your own defects, tough breaks youâ€™ve had in life or perhaps an overall weak business climate. For example, you might have been turned down for a business partnership and immediately attribute it to the fact that you have two years of college under your belt and the individual you wanted to work with has an MBA. You might believe that fact alone made you seem under qualified to the person with the formal degree.
Instead of engaging these types of thoughts, starve them. Put your energy into cultivating the kind of beliefs and attitudes that will help you look forward and take actions to help you achieve your goals.
So next time you feel like the stars are aligned against you, think you just arenâ€™t particularly lucky or believe now isnâ€™t the time for you to reach for your dreams, realize you, not outside forces, are holding your business back, and then give yourself a tune-up.
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