Tips for navigating the roadblocks that entrepreneurs encounter on their journey to success
Entrepreneurship starts with a wonderful idea: a dream for freedom, changing the world, and earning a great income. It’s all about making it big and creating an impact while enjoying the fruits of your success. The reality of entrepreneurship, though, isn’t merely what people imagine it to be.
Not many founders actually make it, and those who do take measures to anticipate what potential negative behaviors can get in the way of their success. They are the ones who have learned how to navigate even when there’s no light in the tunnel. That helps them stay on track and keeps them from giving up even in the darkest moments of that crazy journey of building a company.
Although every entrepreneur’s challenges are different, there are certainly some common behaviors which have the power to bring almost everyone down. Learning about them will give you perspective and help you be prepared to manage them easier.
4 Major behavioral traps and fixes every entrepreneur should know about:
1. Avoidance and Isolation
The Trap: Entrepreneurship can be a pretty lonely game. Founders operate in a way very few people understand and that makes it hard for them to relate to others and be understood. A lot of entrepreneurs tend to detach from the world when things become too difficult. Falling into that type of behavior makes the situation even worse because it leads to creating doubts and fear that mess with their confidence. And this is understandable. You have taken a chance on creating something on your own; perhaps you quit your job and disappointed a couple of family members. You simply don’t talk about the tough times and instead draw back.
The Fix: Tell the truth when it’s not working well, even if it’s painful. Share the situation with your close circle of people when they ask you how the business is going. You will benefit from reaching out and finding a community. Once you have support, you can easily recuperate, find direction, and build a new strategy. A community of like-minded people, other entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges and share similar experiences, is essential. Join a group, a Mastermind, and connect with others on the same journey.
2. Doubt and Overthinking
The Trap: When you’re building a product or a service-based business, you’re doing it to solve something for others. There will be many moments where you will find yourself constantly questioning everything. Businesses are built by asking “how do we solve that problem?” Most of the times this is the thrill of the game, but then you hit that difficult period and start second-guessing everything, including your ability to do the job. We all have gone through these challenges in our creative processes and our businesses. Am I solving the right problem? Do people really need that? Am I funny? Am I smart and capable enough to make it all work?The impostor syndrome kicks in and you can’t help but go down the rabbit hole. What you need to remember is that self-doubt is self-inflicted. It clouds your focus and weighs you down.
The Fix: What you need when you notice that behavior is expertise. Reach out to a mentor, get a coach, find someone who was there, who has experienced what you’re going through and ask for help. That will support you to get grounded and stop spinning in all directions until you establish your next steps and clear your mind.
The Trap: There are times when you will lose sight of the bigger picture. You get sidetracked and see no direction in front of you. It is scary and frustrating at the same time. Distraction makes you start doing everything at the same time to compensate for the confusion. That behavior leads to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. In times like that, you often start dreaming about a magic pill to make everything go away; but there is none.
The Fix: Stay accountable and stay in the game. You can’t win if you don’t play! You need to overcome the distraction and get into action. Find someone to help you strategize, prioritize, and get moving. You need someone to keep you accountable and bring the focus back.
The Trap: You are procrastinating, stagnating or generally making a lot of excuses, but getting nothing done. Being paralyzed makes you feel like you can’t do it. It pushes you to give up. It instills fear and keeps you stuck. In moments like this, remember that nothing lasts forever and the faster you realize that what you need is a powerful push, the better. There is a way out and it is through taking action.
The Fix: When things are contracted you need to INVEST in yourself and in your business. That can be really difficult when you’re paralyzed with indecision and fear. All you want is to keep things tight, save and stay put. The truth is, when you have a contraction you need an expansion! You need to do exactly the opposite of what you think you should do at that moment. When you want to hide, go out and seek help. The surest way to get back and get things done is to lean in your genius and get the work done. Seek your community and their input. They can easily remind you that you’re not alone and that there are many things that could be done.
Every entrepreneur has fallen into these traps at some point throughout their journey. It is important to remember that these are just behaviors, which means that you can overcome them and become more resilient and capable of getting back on your feet after a crisis. While there isn’t a way to completely avoid pitfalls, being aware of the mental traps and some of the actions you can take to find solutions, will help you stay afloat and become agile for the next challenges to come.
You may also enjoy reading 6 Steps to Overcome Entrepreneurial Anxiety, by Katy Trost