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No one goes into a business wanting to self-sabotage it down the road. However, more often than we care to admit, we are human beings with shortcomings and if we are not aware of our damaging habits, it can cause a lot of havoc in our business. I’ve gone through many circumstances where I had to face my own ‘demons’ and work through it one by one.

Why is it important to be aware of self-sabotaging behaviours?

If you are an entrepreneur, you certainly want your business to succeed. If you sell a service or a product, you spend a lot of days, months or years perfecting it, ensuring quality and customer service is top notch, branding meets expectations and more. However, why not work on improving ourselves, the one major component that can make or break your business?

Here are five ways we self-sabotage our own business


1. Not allowing yourself to take risks

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Fear is one major component of self-sabotage. Our brains are wired to look for danger and to protect ourselves from all harm. We usually try to fight or flee from danger, and so it’s natural to shy away from making challenging decisions because it’s risky. Perhaps you have a great idea that you want to execute, but because of fear, allow yourself to procrastinate until that window to take action has closed, and your competitor has already done it ahead of time. Are you staying within your comfort zone for far too long, over-analysing every situation?

2. Jumping into work without thinking

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Entrepreneurs are usually very hardworking and driven to make their business a success. But often times, we jump into a task that might be urgent but not important. We need to learn how to strategize the use of our time, work on the things that are important to focus on, and then outsource tasks that someone else can do. When I first started my business, I had to do everything from marketing, servicing clients, creating content, post-production and even delivery. I was soon burning out, until I realised that some tasks were just a waste of my time!

After I thought deeply about what I should be focusing on and took action, my business went to another level.

3. Giving in to negativity

Your self-critical mind can conjure all sorts of phrases that will stop you from taking action. “You don’t have what it takes.”, “You’re never going to be as good as your competitor.”, “You’re just a small business owner, what big impact can you make?” When we listen to the negative voices in our heads, we’ll soon believe that it is true.

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4. Trying to control every outcome

When I was a solopreneur, I didn’t want to hire anyone to work with me, because I didn’t think that someone could do a task as well as I did. Truth be told, I was quite far from perfect, but the real issue was my need for control. I wanted to oversee and micromanage every part of the process. My mindset shifted when I realised that, if I hire people who were smarter than me, my business would grow. Over-controlling people to comply to your rules without reason is also a very damaging habit that doesn’t celebrate diversity or innovation. Are you trying to make things perfect, spending all your energy on things that might not matter?

5. Not resting enough

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We can sometimes get really excited about an idea or task and dive right into it right through the night. Our bodies end up suffering because we choose to ignore its pleas for rest. Getting enough sleep and ensuring you make time for meals is important for the longevity of your business. In order to run a business well, you need to be your best self…mentally, physically and emotionally.

So now that you are self-aware, what can you do about these self-sabotaging behaviours? Firstly, don’t feel overwhelmed that you have to deal with all of it at once. Tackle things one by one with the help of a coach or with your business partner. Remember, awareness alone doesn’t bring change. You need to take action. Decide on which issue you want to focus on, come up with a solution and stick to your action plan with accountability partners. And then see your business grow.