The 4 Lies That Hold You Back from Business Success
If you want to achieve business success, you have to stop lying to yourself.
To be clear: we all lie to ourselves. It’s not just you. It’s just a function of your brain, and it’s a function that exists for your survival.
When you experience pain, your brain needs to make sense of it so it knows how to avoid that pain in the future.
The first time you burned your mouth on soup, for example, your mind immediately created an explanation. “Soup burns if you eat it the moment it comes off the stove. To avoid the pain, you have to let it cool first.”
The problem is, our brains create stories and rules about everything… and the mind has zero interest in dealing with complicated or nuanced explanations.
This means every time you are at risk of being hurt—physically or emotionally—your brain tries to protect you by telling you an old story to remind you what’s at stake. Inevitably, that story is an oversimplification. Most of the time, it’s not even remotely true.
“Don’t bother with cold calls. You’re not good on the phone.”
“Don’t look at the budget today. It’s only going to depress you.”
“Don’t tell your wife you’re feeling anxious about the business. She won’t respect you if she doesn’t think you’re in control.”
You see the problem?
Where’s the Lie?
We think of ourselves—and our circumstances—as unchangeable… all because our mind gets hung up on these stories. What I want you to understand is that these stories are all lies.
Having had awkward phone calls does not make a business owner “bad on the phone.”
Looking at a budget can be a bummer, but it’s also empowering when you face the struggle head on and start looking for solutions.
And a wife who has been known to admire her husband’s capability is just as likely to admire him when he invites her to be a supportive partner in his dream.
I’ll be honest: I have bought into so many lies myself over the years. And it wasn’t until I started confronting the real whoppers that I was able to move forward with my business.
If you are struggling to achieve the business success you’ve been dreaming of, I encourage you to examine the explanation you have for why you’re stuck.
Find the lie. Replace it with the truth.
Here are four of the most common lies we tell ourselves as business owners.
Lie #1: “This Challenge is Insurmountable.”
Our super-cautious brains love this lie. Why?
Because it protects us now and in the future.
If it’s truly impossible to overcome a challenge, it means we don’t have to try in the first place.
And if we don’t try, we can’t fail.
Limitations keep us safe. They also hold us back.
The Truth: “This challenge is a new opportunity.”
You may not be able to change what happened—you got sued, you lost a lot of money, a big-name competitor just opened a new location in your area—but you have complete control over what you do next.
And somewhere inside this “crisis” is an opportunity to learn, improve, and grow your business.
What skill does this challenge force you to develop? What will it teach you about your own resilience and creative problem solving? How can you use this struggle to bring your team together?
Lie #2: “This is Just Who I Am.”
Your favorite band when you were fourteen is probably not your favorite band today. You have new hobbies, new relationships, maybe even shifting political views or religious beliefs.
And yet, we get it in our heads that who we are today is who we’re going to be for the rest of our lives. This is how we end up saying things like:
“I don’t schmooze.”
“I’m more of a behind-the-scenes leader.” (This was my excuse early on.)
We put ourselves inside a box, shutting ourselves off to new possibilities. We act as if we can’t learn a new skill or find solutions that are rooted in our strengths.
What if instead of repeating this lie, we made an effort to change deliberately?
The Truth: “I can become the type of person who has the life I want.”
Work backwards. Envision the future you want to have… even if you think it’s not realistic. In the best case scenario, what would your life look like in five, ten years?
What kind of person do you need to be to have that life? Confident? Curious? Innovative? A strong sales person? An organized leader?
Decide which traits you need to cultivate. Then work on improving those aspects of your life… and working with people who can bring those qualities to your team.
Lie #3: “It’s Someone Else’s Fault.”
We all know what it feels like to have to operate around the obstacles created by another person’s choices.
But there is exactly one person who has the power to make or break your future, and that person is you.
When you blame your situation on someone else, you give that person control over your future. You effectively say, “What happens to me is not up to me. It’s up to that guy over there.”
You cannot achieve business success with that mentality.
The Truth: “I am responsible for 100% of my life.”
Say this a lot. Out loud.
It’s entirely up to you to find the opportunities in the obstacles and to keep growing no matter what choices the people around you make.
Lie #4: “I Just Have to Wait for My Ship to Come In.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. Patience is absolutely essential for business success. While you can proactively learn, grow, and transform, you are not always able to control when those efforts will pay off, and you need to know how to hang tight until they do.
But those “lucky” moments—those instances of “perfect timing”—only pay off because you have already done the work.
You’ve put yourself in a position to be ready and capable of making the most of the opportunity in front of you.
The Truth: “I can create a Fresh Start for myself by being proactive every day.”
I have a rule for myself:
I have to do one thing every day to move my business forward.
It doesn’t have to be a big thing. There are days when obstacles arise, when I have to be present for my team in ways that take my attention away from those big picture goals.
But no matter what, I always make sure I put something in motion that puts my company in a better position than where it was the day before.
…and when you understand that, you can outsmart pretty much any lie your mind tells you. If you notice, these lies all deal in broad, sweeping statements. They act like you’re confronting a cement wall. You’re not. It’s a wall of dirt. Even if it’s big, you still have a shovel.
Keep reminding yourself each day…
...all you have to do is keep digging.
Further Resources on This Topic
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