Confidence is at the core of success. It's natural for confidence to ebb and flow, but when an entrepreneur gets stuck in a loop of negative thinking and inaction, they become their own greatest block to success. 

Here are some of the behaviors I see in entrepreneurs who can't get ahead or stall out short of their vision. Any single one of these tendencies are detrimental to your happiness and success. Don't worry, if you identify with these patterns you've just found the reason for most of your problems and you have the power to change. Focus on your self-growth by tuning into helpful podcasts, reading books on leadership and positive mindset, and consider therapy and coaching. You'll be amazed by the rapid growth in your business once you own your worth and ability to succeed.

You may be lacking in confidence if you:

1. Don't charge enough.

Price your products and services too low, and you will lose business. If raising your rates makes you nervous, then inch them up slowly. Know your worth. 

2. Apologize for just about everything.

"I'm so sorry to bother you." As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  No need to be obnoxious, but confident and assertive behavior is more likely to get you what you want.

3. Over-explain or justify things.

Get to the point. If the other party wants a further explanation, they will ask for it. If you over-explain things, it generally means that you don't believe in your offering or what you're charging.

4. Don't handle objections well.

If someone you consider an ideal client can't (won't) afford your offerings, it's likely because they haven't come to grips with what their problem costs them. Ask the right questions and rephrase their answers to help them see the full picture.

5. Don't stay the path.

Entrepreneurs who don't believe in themselves reach for ideas that don't align with their core offerings and vision. Don't get distracted; go back to your plan and take action on the goals that make sense.

6. Are afraid to pivot.

If there is no market for it, you can't sell it. Be open to the signs, and don't give up. Have the confidence to make changes to your product and plan if you have concrete evidence that it won't work as it is.

7. Overcomplicate things.

The best plans are the simple ones; you can add the intricacies as you go and only when necessary.

8. Fear confrontation.

If you expect a conversation to become confrontational, then it will. A confident entrepreneur will initiate difficult discussions because they know when something or someone is holding them back.

9. Believe the negative chatter in your head.

We all have a reel of negative messages in our heads, and it gets loud when we're out of our comfort zone. Ignore them. Those nagging voices are nothing more than your amygdala doing its job of trying to keep you safe from the things you fear.

10. Dismiss compliments.

People don't usually dish out compliments only to be kind. Add every pat on the back to your arsenal of tools that boost your confidence.

11. Write your achievements off as easy; anyone can do it.

Your natural abilities and the experience you have in your field can make things seem easy and uncomplicated to you. Your ideal client can't do what you do; see it from their perspective.

12. Won't ask for help.

Successful entrepreneurs don't do it alone. Mentors, coaches, helpful friends and family, and employees are all a part of the package that leads to success.

13. Won't admit to your mistakes.

Some of the most valuable information lies within our mistakes and failures. Learn from them rather than deny them.

14. Don't challenge others.

Even the most brilliant people don't see the full picture every time. If your clients, or others, are being short cited, politely offer another viewpoint. 

15. Won't invest in themselves.

I've met too many entrepreneurs who lose money because they don't spend money. Software and proper tools, education and personal growth investments, marketing collateral, and employees or freelancers all have incredible value. If you believe in yourself, then plan for these investments.

16. Look outward for approval.

Affirmation and approval are nice, but consider them the cherries on the cake. You know you're amazing; follow your inner compass.

17. Negate your wins.

Rather than focusing on all that remains to be done, acknowledge even the smallest positive development. Everyone needs to see evidence that they're heading in the right direction.

18. Forget your passion and your why.

You're probably doing this for more than an opportunity to make money. When you keep your eye on that reason and feel the passion behind it, others will respond to it. It also recharges your batteries. 

19. Overdo it pitches and proposals.

The time you spend on a prospect before getting paid needs to be commensurate to the worth of the job. Know your stuff and believe in yourself instead of sending wordy, multi-page documents explaining your worth. 

20. Accept clients who aren't a good fit.

Define your offerings and accept clients who will benefit from them. If you redefine to fit the prospect's desires, no one will be happy. Think about all of the people out there who need what you do and have faith that customers will find their way to you.

21. Won't delegate.  

Believe that you are savvy enough to hire the right people and then let them do their jobs. You'll make mistakes, and so will they. It's all a part of your growth as an entrepreneur.

22. Often lose your temper or become anxious. 

Understandably, you sometimes feel anxious and irritable. These are the times to focus on your breathing, the things you've achieved, and positive thoughts about the future. Intense outbursts and moods diminish your energy, creativity, and clarity.

23. Let failure define you.

You've lost a past business, or you've let a customer down. Welcome to being human. Failure doesn't define you, giving up does. 

24. Can't envision a bright and prosperous future.

What you think is important; what you believe creates your future. Send positive messages to your brain by envisioning and feeling the rewards of your hard work.

25. Procrastinate often.

Procrastination is a sign of lack of clarity. If you are not clear on your vision and the steps to get there you'll never feel confident about it. It's hard to see the forest through the trees; hire someone to help you get clear and to design the plan.

Published on: Nov 18, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.