Through my years in business managing and mentoring, I have discovered that we’re all haunted by beliefs that cause us to not live out our potential. While it’s not simply a case of making these mistaken beliefs disappear, it is helpful to see them for what they are: limiting beliefs. Learn to recognise them, and you will be able to talk yourself out of giving them any credence when they do crop up in your mind.
ONE: You have to work really really hard all the time on your business
When we were young at school, we saw other students striving for good grades. Getting all those homework assignments decorated with red ink made us feel bad and that we needed to work much harder. At home, mum would be irritated with the kids under her feet when she worked tirelessly to hoover, mop and dust – Her penance for a nice tidy home.
At work, middle managers always seemed highly stressed with a hefty workload to plough through. Success always seemed tinged with an edge of martyrdom. Somehow, we got the message that the reward for our good efforts was anxiety. Yes, there were obvious perks: the glass-walled office, the company car, the annual bonuses.
Somehow, we got the message that being a somebody at work, or having the kudos of the teachers or wanting to create a beautiful home came with a price tag. That price tag is blood, sweat and tears of frustration.
Is it any wonder you took that into your business?
What I say…
Of course, you must work hard at the start, but driving yourself mad and never enjoying your work is not going to keep you in a positive frame of mind. Feeling that working hard to earn rewards comes with a scarcity mindset, meaning you’re afraid of the competition, and also that working hard makes you a better person. Passive income probably seems too good to be true and you can’t accept it.
I say that you need to free yourself of the shackles of this thinking. You have to have faith in the abundance on offer, or just have faith that things will be okay. There is enough money and work to go around. And if it’s in your pocket, then you can help distribute it a bit more fairly by philanthropy and charitable donations.
TWO: You should love your business all the time, so much so, you’re happy to work 100 hour weeks.
We’re plagued with Netflix series depicting American lawyers or FBI officers or police detectives dedicated to their cause at the expense of family relationships. And this is seen as a good thing! Business comes first. If you truly love your work, you should do it all the time and never take a holiday, because holidaying is just escapism and there is something wrong with anyone who wants to escape their life.
What I say…
While we love the idea of starting a business and were fuelled by a passionate idea in the first instance, it’s okay to feel a bit flat sometimes. It doesn’t mean you were wrong to set it up or that you should close it down. We love our partners, and yet who wants to spend 24 hours a day glued at the hips? Maybe some couples would love that, but most of us need our space to enjoy other aspects of our lives.
Your business is meant to help you live your life, not be taking over it. It’s fine to want to work normal office hours (or less!) and still be an entrepreneur who makes a good living.
THREE: You have to be perfect before you move your business to the next level.
If you’re not doing everything right and you make the odd mistake… if you annoy your client or worst of all, lose that client… If someone asks for their money back or leaves you a bad review, you shouldn’t be looking to go any further with your business. Correct everything first, make sure you’ve got all 5 star Google reviews, get millions of followers on your social media accounts and then, maybe then, you can start to think about progressing.
What I say…
Perfection is a myth. It’s unattainable and you’ll never get there. If you wait for perfection, you will be waiting forever and still never get there.
Actually, in our culture, we have this idea of progression a bit skewed. At school, we’re taught to get everything just so before we can move to the next stage.
When you started your business, did you do a HR course, a marketing course, a business course, a design course and a website course?
I’m going to hazard a guess that you didn’t get all those things. Perhaps you had a couple of those skills already, but maybe not. Maybe you just had a really great idea. Did you learn any of those things since starting your business? If you look at what you know now, you’ve probably picked up a good number of skills through walking the walk.
It’s often in the process of building and expanding our businesses that we learn what we need. And we learn more efficiently for having a good reason to do it.
Also, I need to let you in on a secret – You’ll never not make mistakes. The mistakes become important lessons – Just to give you an illustration, did you know that people who fail their driving test first time round ultimately become better drivers? Fact!
Read about Richard Branson’s failures if you need help not to be a perfectionist.
FOUR: You’re a fraud and lucky if you have any clients at all. Here’s hoping they don’t find out.
You don’t know how you made it to where you are today, but you don’t feel qualified to be there. Perhaps you didn’t get the right degree, or there are still things you need to improve. It could be that you don’t know what you’re talking about and the fact you’re earning money from whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing makes you a total confidence trickster who will end up on Rogue Traders or in the press for being a loser. Best keep your head below the parapet and not push yourself or your business, just in case you get found out. Don’t rock the boat, as they say.
What I say…
The fear is all too real. Imposter Syndrome is the voice in your head making you believe you’re inadequate, berating you for even going as far as you have. But the truth is, lots of us suffer from this phenomenon. As much as the world encourages a “fake it til you make it” and “dress for the job you want” attitude, we don’t want to feel like a fake.
The most comforting thing in this situation is that it’s okay to feel unsure and you’re not the only one. Just keep doing the best you can and you’ll start to believe in your own ability eventually. Also, keep a book of testimonials from happy customers for when you need a pick-me-up.
FIVE: You can figure it all out by yourself – Getting help is a waste of money.
Seeing this statement in black and white seems a little crazy. Does anyone really think that? Let’s just get straight to…
What I say…
There are two mindsets going on here: first of all, the idea that if you were perfect enough, you would know all of this already, and asking for help is admitting you’re something of a failure. Get that out your head now. Internet sensation and business coach, Marie Forleo, may say “Everything is figureoutable” and yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean we have to know it all inside of us. Sometimes you do have to ask someone, or pay for a course, or get a mentor to help you figure it all out. Don’t let your ego run your business – Reach out instead.
Secondly, we’re back to a scarcity mindset. Truthfully, people will avoid paying money for training and coaching because they think they can get free resources on YouTube. Yes, there certainly are some great videos that will teach you anything and everything. However, having a structured learning programme with face-to-face support, feedback, a community of people you can lean on for support and accountability – You won’t get that on YouTube. If you can get it for free, then good luck! Just don’t resist something that could change the course of your business because you think it makes you look bad to pay for something that you need.
If you need help in your business and you want structured support and guidance, why not spend a day with me? We can look at your business together and decide your next steps.