New Year’s resolutions are launched with good intentions by the tens of millions every December. And somewhere along the way – usually in January – most of them become an afterthought. The mere topic of New Year’s resolutions only gets pulled up again in December, when planning (yet again) for the next year.
But a business goal is a horse of a different color.
Because business goals directly tie-in to one’s finances – which in turn affects how we live – we pursue them more aggressively. That’s the good news.
However in that pursuit lies several pitfalls. Pitfalls that are well hidden from the naked eye. Pitfalls that only reveal themselves once we begin our business goal achievement quest.
What are those pitfalls exactly? Here are three that strike most entrepreneurs at the least favorable moments:
1) You fell for the infamous “You are LIMITLESS” mantra.
Bestselling spiritual/self-help author Wayne Dyer often reminds his followers, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
And even though the soul may be free as vast as the universe – we are still confined to an overcoat of skin and bones and gravity. And it is this temporary overcoat that causes very real limitations.
I mean let’s face it, there can only be one American Idol in 2008 (or Canadian Idol or whatever Idol for the part of the world you live in). There’s one President, one Queen, one gold medalist slalom skier, one winner of the Best Actor on Academy Awards night.
And even though you may deeply yearn, affirm and visualize holding one these positions, you might not ever end up there.
A good friend of mine had an uncle who owned a horse ranch. He was a masterful rider and dreamt of becoming a famous jockey. But at the age of 16 he was almost 6 feet tall. Which is apparently too tall to become a jockey.
We – as human beings – all have limits. Limits caused by financial circumstances, family obligations, time constraints, lack of knowledge, lack of skill, age restrictions, height restrictions, and so on.
The thing is, limitations should never be viewed as stop signs. On the contrary, they allow us to confidently move in directions that work with our natural talents, abilities and lifestyles. Limitations allow us to see how we can improve ourselves.
So acknowledge your limitations. (It’s okay!) And if you can’t beat ‘em, be confident and wise enough to work around ‘em.
2) You didn’t anticipate the potential problems along the way – or the residuals of success.
As I write this article the jackpot for the New York state lottery is at $115 million dollars. Manhattan office workers file into the deli’s during their lunch hour to stand on those lottery lines, and fantasize amongst each other about winning.
From the middle class viewpoint, a big lottery win looks absolutely delicious. But Dr. Steven J. Danish, professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, paints a very different picture.
According to “Windfall not always a blessing, psychologists say,”
“Danish has counseled lottery winners for more than 12 years, and almost all his patients have had serious problems after collecting their winnings. After the initial shock passes, a sense of guilt often arrives, along with the hoards of people asking for money. Giving or leaving money to family — including mysterious, long-lost relatives — is often the biggest source of stress, he said.”
But this phenomena isn’t limited to lottery winners. It happens to entrepreneurs as well.
Yes, your eyes always have to be peeled for the potholes in the road. But you must also consider the problems that come with extreme success.
For example, will you have enough inventory if a positive review of your product generates a flood of 10,000 orders? How will you manage your time fulfilling orders? Do you have a babysitter lined up for business emergencies?
Don’t focus on failure. Do create a mindset of preparedness.
3) You focus a lot of energy on past mistakes, instead of learning from them and moving on.
A very dear friend whom I’ve known for 15 years has been wanting to start his own business for as long as I’ve known him. Early in our friendship he and his sister-in-law decided to do some kind of venture together. The venture flopped. He lost $4K, while she lost almost nothing.
Over a decade later, he still talks about how much he wants to go into business for himself. But the memory of losing that $4K re-plays itself over and over in his mind. It’s the reason why he commutes to a government job every day, instead of taking the plunge and starting his own business.
Sadly enough, he rationalizes his inability to move forward by saying that he’d rather be 100% sure that he’s doing the right thing, instead of going in with a half-baked idea.
My outlook as a seasoned entrepreneur is a little different. Nothing in life is 100% guaranteed. The best-laid plans can be thwarted in the blink of an eye. The best you can do is learn from the past (not LIVE in the past) and move on.