As entrepreneurs the most daunting obstacles to reaching our biggest vision for our business are our unique personal fears. We do not always realize that we are deciding not to pursue a great opportunity or try something new in our business due to fear. We get locked into an idea of how we should market, sell, manage, or structure our day. These ideas are often based on habit, outdated perceptions or our past experiences. We are reluctant to change and when we receive mediocre or poor results, we still hesitate to abandon our approach.
I can be a very determined person. I can sometimes stick with an idea, tactic or plan, even if it felt as though I were repeatedly batting my head against a brick wall. This way of doing things is like continuing to head the wrong way on a one-way street despite the signs that are telling you that you are headed in the wrong direction. It was actually deep reflection on the Serenity Prayer that turned me around. Now, whenever I get that "running into a brick wall" feeling, I recognize this as a signal that I should change directions.
I attract a good number of entrepreneurs who really fear technology. Even though adding certain technology solutions to their businesses could increase profit and put some of their functions on auto pilot, they are afraid that the change might temporarily disrupt business or that the implementation might turn out to be difficult to learn. They have come up with lots of unsubstantiated excuses why they should not change the way they are doing things. Yet, they work hard and would like to grow their businesses and have more free time. They do not recognize their hesitancy as fear and try to camouflage it as a legitimate business decision. While clinging to outdated or inefficient systems simply because you fear change might maintain the status quo, it will ultimately block you from achieving your biggest goals.
We all do this sometimes, right? I love the saying, "if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got". Whenever I start getting a headache from the brick wall, I repeat it like a mantra.
Getting honest with yourself may hurt a little. After all, you may have to admit you made some decisions that did not work out like you would hoped they would. Let that be okay. It is a right of passage for seasoned entrepreneurs. Cut your losses and make some changes. If you need to, get some expert help.
How do you know where fear is slowing you down? Sit comfortably in a quiet place for 15 minutes, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Allow the stress and worry of the day leave you. Now ask yourself:
· What is not working well in my business?
· Where am I doing the same thing and expecting different results?
· What could work better that I am not addressing?
· What am I tolerating that needs changing?
· What is creating stress or exhausting my energy?
· What needs to get done that I am putting off?
· How would my business look if it were where I wanted it to be?
· Where am I apprehensive about trying something new?
· Are all of my strengths being used well?
· Where do my weaknesses negatively affect my business?
If you answer these questions honestly, you will begin to understand where you may be holding yourself back from the most marvelous, fun, profitable business you have the potential to create.
The Serenity Prayer helped me to understand that when I pushed to change people or situations over which I had no control, I simply could not. Sometimes fear was stopping me from changing the things I could. It is worth contemplating. The Serenity Prayer:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Take a calculated risk, try a different approach, reach outside your comfort zone. Think outside the box. That is the true test of a successful entrepreneur.