Five strategies to keep yourself safe – and small

Many of us talk about wanting to grow our businesses big.  What’s curious is how frequently the “big” talk is sabotaged by small thoughts and small actions.  You may have found yourself in that very situation: You have great ideas and plans and dreams, yet the actions you take on a day-to-day basis do little or nothing to make those ideas and plans and dreams a reality.

It takes courage to step into a bigger game—and a bigger life.

How do otherwise smart people manage to mess themselves up?  How do their behaviors manage to totally contradict their words?  Based on painful personal experience, I’ve identified five ways you can undermine your aspirations and condemn yourself to a life of unfulfilled potential.  Do you see yourself any of these?

  1. Ignore the concept of primacy, that is, the concept that you are the single most important person in your own life.  Far too often, even the most self-aware person gives away their personal power to someone else: clients, a spouse, even some nameless stranger.  I’m guessing that, in many cases, this is simply a counterproductive, learned behavior.  Therein lies the good news: What can be learned can also be unlearned.
  2. Do what you’ve always done.  I can’t begin to count the times I’ve heard the observation, typically attributed to Albert Einstein, that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  If I—and probably millions of others—have heard this so often, I wonder why we choose to continue the insanity?  If you’re doing things the way you always have and are continuing to be disappointed in your results, I guess the question becomes, “How’s that working for you?”
  3. Don’t make a move without getting other people’s approval first. Getting buy-in from key stakeholders is crucial to success. On the other hand, giving everyone else in the world veto power of your actions will probably keep them feeling powerful while causing you to fail miserably.
  4. Be consistent in telling your gut to “Shut up!” Especially for those of us who have been rewarded all our lives for our logical, left-brain thinking, trying to tune into a gut reaction can be more than a little challenging. It’s much easier to ignore any gut rumbles and continue as we have been, relying solely on our rational thinking to manage every situation that arises.
  5. Rely on complaints and blame, rather than achievement, to make yourself feel better. Entrepreneurs are typically highly creative. Unfortunately, we too often use that creativity to produce excuses about why we’re not achieving the goals we’ve set for ourselves. The blame-and-complain approach shifts responsibility for your non-results to other people or to circumstances, and it helps you stay small. Too bad it also robs you of your personal power.

Feeling cheerful yet? Not to worry. Next week we’ll explore ways to start shifting these five keep-you-safe-and-small strategies so that you can begin playing to your true potential.

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