First, lets take a look at what a barrier is. A simple definition is something that keeps you from reaching that sought after goal. Barriers come in many forms and hinder even the most successful.
The question that I hope you will answer by the end of this lesson is, “How do I overcome the barriers that I am facing today, and the barriers I will face in the future?” After reading this statement you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, this lesson is supposed to be about barriers to a successful business.” Believe it or not, it is my opinion that the real barriers to a successful business lies within the mind.
I believe that the following ten barriers (five in this lesson and five in the next) will keep your business on the sideline even if you have the best possible location, all the money in the world, a team that is known as a “dream team”, and a product as great as an umbrella in the rainy season.
Barrier #1: Lack of focus – A few years ago at a golf tournament this golfer’s name was sitting where it is found most often, at the top of the leader board. He was playing great golf and the “pack” was trying every shot in their bags to catch him. He continually stepped up and hit one magnificent golf shot after another. Then I noticed something. After each shot, while the crowd was roaring cheers to their great hero, this golfer stayed focused on his game. During the entire round he rarely took off his “game-face”. It was this focus that enabled him to hit those great golf shots, to win the tournament, and will very possibly be what makes Tiger Woods the best professional golfer the PGA has ever seen. Just like Tiger, in order for you to reach your goals personally, and create the business that you want, you must stay focused.
Barrier #2: Mind Set – When you get up in the morning do you set in your mind to end the day with several victories? It is easy to say, “Yes,” but do you really set out to sell more than you ever have, work smarter in order to accomplish what were only dreams a few years ago, or purposefully develop a team that will help you reach the summit in your profession? Many times, the problem is negativity, and negative thoughts. Before you stop reading consider this. Recently I was playing in a doubles tennis tournament with a person that I had never played with. We were playing the best team in the tournament and I wanted to win badly. The reason we lost was not lack of skill or even luck, it was my partner and his negative mental attitude. Literally, his mind cost us the match. How much is your mind costing you?
Barrier #3: Belief system – I don’t believe things always happen just because you say they will happen. I do however believe that there is power in words. Just like your mindset, your belief system must be positive in order to have positive results. It is just like the little train climbing the mountain, “I think I can, I think I can, I know I can.” You stand a better chance of accomplishing your dreams if you surround yourself with positive people, mentally feed on positive thoughts, and speak positive words.
Barrier #4: Making excuses – As a business coach I get to work with all kinds of people, and in all kinds of settings. I was working with a business person that said she really wanted to accomplish great things. During our dialog we began digging into why she had not accomplished the first steps of this journey. What she said actually shocked me. She began making one excuse after another as to why she had not accomplished even the most basic of her goals. When I called her on this she didn’t have much to say. She realized that she was going to have to take steps in new and unfamiliar territory if she would ever have the business she desires. What excuses are you making today that are holding you and your business back?
Barrier #5: Fear - We have all experienced fear, and to some degree are controlled by it. How do I know this about you? Think back to when you were a kid. At some point you probably didn’t like to go in dark rooms or walk down dark streets where scary sounds seemed to come with every step. The feeling you felt then will cause you to reach for the light switch today. In my 30+ years of business coaching, I have found that there are at least four common fears that affect even the most seasoned small business owner.
Before, you read these fears, please prepare your mind to read them openly and honestly. This lesson is not meant to delve deeply into the psychology of each fear, but to share how they influence you as a business owner.
Rejection. I have never met a person that likes to be rejected. People that have had bad experiences with rejection will guard themselves from being rejected. Most often I see this as the turtle syndrome. The business owner is afraid to stick his head out of the shell and take a risk, develop a new program, hire a new employee, or ask someone to take on a certain task. As an owner you have to realize that there are risks involved, and those risks come with rejection. You must stop, look at your options, decide on what to do, and then take action.
Loss of control. This fear is often seen in powerful personality types. The fear of losing control is displayed in a leadership style often called “micromanagement.” In other words, the business owner is afraid to delegate responsibilities because if things get out of control he will not be able to take corrective action fast enough. What you must realize is that you are in control of very little. Life is basically out of your control. Managing people with a strong, controlling hand will not allow them to take on new problems nor will it challenge them to make progress in areas where they have never been before.
Employee dependence. We all depend on people, from our families, to our doctors, to the garbage collectors that pick up our trash on a regular basis. Employee dependence is a fear that is much deeper than simply depending on someone. The fear comes each day when the owner senses that something may be wrong with his “key” person. He then begins to wonder about the loyalty of this person. Asking mental questions like, “What if this person quits? How would I make it without him? What can I do to make sure she is happy in her job?” On and on the questions go. The grip of this fear is strong, but must be eliminated. As the old saying says, “If you hold on too tight, it will slip through your fingers.”
Financial challenges. Take a few minutes and jump on Amazon.com and type in “financial books” in the search bar. Then count how many books are written on financial matters. You will probably find that there are more books on this one subject than any other. Business owners are always facing challenges, but financial fears have a way of gripping like no other. New programs or ventures take capital. Employees needed to expand and grow increases the salary budget. Additional equipment to increase overall efficiency requires funds to be spent. The strength of financial fears often causes the leader to begin accepting the status quo; and will often cause him to give up on his dreams.
These are four fears that I often see in business owners. I encourage you to plan some time in your schedule this week and think through this. If you find that one, or more, of these fears have a grip on your life then allow your mind to reveal the root cause. Finding the root cause today will begin a healing process that will result in you being a better business owner tomorrow.
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