Success comes from not only believing in your vision, but also in yourself. Sounds easy enough, but it gets complicated when self-doubt and toxic thinking take over. These thoughts aren't a mere nuisance. Such negativity can create an impenetrable roadblock between you and your dream of success.
Here are some examples of the all-too-common beliefs that entrepreneurs take on. See if you identify with any of them, but most importantly, know that you can change them!
1. This is really, really hard.
Sure, it can be difficult to run a business, but focusing on the impossibility of it all will only get you into trouble. If you believe that everything is painfully difficult, that's exactly how it will be. When your brain becomes so preoccupied with the stress and anticipation of an impossible challenge, you cannot think clearly or allow your ingenuity to surface.
Place more emphasis on the things that you don't find difficult, even if they seem insignificant (trust me, they're not). Recognize every achievement, no matter how small, and your life won't seem as hard.
2. This is just a waste of time.
A fellow coach once offered me the opportunity to be featured in her series of interviews with thought leaders. But this "thought leader" immediately took on the belief that it would be a waste of time. A lot of work is involved in preparing everything that goes into such events, and it just felt overwhelming. Fortunately, I persuaded myself to step back and see the big picture. There was a world of possibilities in this opportunity, including the chance to make a difference.
If something feels like a waste of time, it may very well be. However, don't always go with your immediate impulse; take the time to see the big picture.
3. Things never go my way.
Failed partnerships, difficult employees, shipments that don't come in on time, vendors and clients who just don't get it. As a business owner, you open yourself up to every one of these possibilities. However, if you believe that it's always someone else's fault, you'd be wrong. It's easy to place blame elsewhere, but truthfully? It's a lot better to accept your part of the responsibility in any situation gone wrong.
Placing blame only fuels anger, disappointment, and a victim mentality. You cannot control every person or circumstance, but you can control your own thoughts and actions. Accepting responsibility puts you back in the driver's seat, where you belong.
4. I don't have enough money to do that.
This mentality of lack will only serve to keep you exactly where you are: broke and stuck. Instead of, "I can't afford it," try "What other means do I have to get this done?" Closed-end thoughts tell the brain that it doesn't have to stretch any further to see other options and solutions. There is an affordable, even free option for just about anything you want to do. If one avenue truly is unaffordable, don't see it from a viewpoint of lack, just look for another path.
5. I'm not (fill in the blank) enough.
If you put limits on yourself, your body and mind will deliver exactly what you expect. You will never be "enough." There's a difference between recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and placing limits on yourself. Sure, you may not be an artist, but that doesn't mean you aren't creative. If you do not possess a certain skill or talent, don't interpret it as a weakness--no one can do it all.
6. There's never enough time.
This is a big problem for entrepreneurs who either think they can do it all or don't manage their time well. You have the same 24 hours per day that everyone else has, and that's plenty of time. If you believe there is not enough time in the week, then you either have the tendency to create unrealistic expectations for yourself or you stink at time management. Hire a coach to figure this out with you, and your life will change.
7. I hate managing people.
There are at least three things wrong with this thought:
- If you hate managing people, your business will never grow.
- If you really understood the role of an entrepreneur, you'd know that there will eventually be a middle person (at least one) between you and the rest of your staff. You won't always be in charge of HR. You can do anything if you know it's not forever.
- If you hate managing people, you probably have issues with communication. It would be worth your time to find some good books, classes, and consultants to help you with that.
I may have missed your most prevalent toxic line of thought, but really, they're all the same. Any limiting belief will make you feel bad about yourself and/or others--not a characteristic that a successful entrepreneur holds on to.
If you have a difficult time separating reality from a limiting belief, just pay attention to your body. Do you have excessive tension in your shoulders, discomfort in your stomach, or heaviness in your heart, for example? Physical symptoms that aren't associated with a health problem usually mean that the gremlins in your head are getting the best of you.