Awareness Precedes Action

by Ellie Drake

Seven Common Business Pitfalls

Even the most dedicated traveler will come across pitfalls on his journey. As you travel your path to success, here are some possible forms of resistance you may meet along the way. The crucial thing is not necessarily to avoid or resist them, but to be aware of them, to know that they may be there. Awareness is the most important step.

Pitfall 1: Obsessive Goal Orientation Although it is great to set ambitious goals, the best way to reaching them is to cultivate modest expectations along the way, and most importantly, to celebrate every small achievement. Remember, every step in this journey is its own destination.

For example, when we are climbing a mountain, we must be aware of where the peak is; but if we keep looking at the peak, we might become overwhelmed and enter the state of judgment and analysis. This can even cause a reverse effect, making us go backwards.

Let's make sure that we keep our eyes on the path, enjoying every step in this process, understanding that the peak is only a landmark. What's more, this particular peak is only a step in the journey, a stopping point from which we choose the next peak. Life is full of peaks for those who want to live their potential. We might as well enjoy the process of getting to each one!

Pitfall 2: No Goal-Setting Sometimes resist setting goals or even refuse to set them, simply because we are carrying the burden of having set them in the past but not accomplished them. We must realize that if we do not accomplish a goal, it's because we are human. As long as we learn from it and keep on setting healthy step-by-step goals, we will accomplish a majority of them in the long run. Those who have succeeded have also failed. The only difference is that they succeeded more than they failed.

Setting healthy goals along the way can sharpen and empower us. Persistent, healthy goal-setting will end up being persistent goal-getting!

Pitfall 3: Lack of Competitiveness A healthy level of competition is essential in business. It provides some spice. It sometimes brings about that extra level of willingness. It is true that the most important competition should be to compete with ourselves. However, it is important for us not to resist competition with others, especially if we resist it because of not wanting to be disappointed. Let's welcome a healthy level of competition, understanding that we can be on the right track, but if we don't move, we might get run over.

Pitfall 4: Over-Competitiveness Competition can provide the spice ó but when the spice becomes the biggest ingredient in the meal, the eater gets sick. A person who thinks about nothing but winning will end up losing. The focus should be on one's purpose and on enjoying the process. A healthy level of competition is good. An obsession with winning and competing will take us out of the flow. After all, we know by now that the ego is never in the flow.

Pitfall 5: Inconsistency Consistency is the only way to grow. Inconsistency takes energy and time. Being consistent, even on a part-time basis, is much more powerful than coming in and out of this flow. Remember the example of the Tortoise and the Hare? Sometimes in business, it is better to have a tortoise mindset than that of a hare: one step at a time.

In my business, I like to create a tortoise-hare combination: having the persistent and consistent mindset of a tortoise, with the motor skills of a hare!

Pitfall 6: Perfectionism For me, being a perfectionist brings about instant self-criticism. I am glad to say that I have learned to be good to myself. I have realized that letting go of perfectionism means getting out of the way: it means performing to the best of my ability in each moment.

This also brings an understanding that the next level will be more effective and more efficient than this level. However, that next level will not occur unless I experience the current level fully, without judgment or attachment. We need to understand that we cannot simply wait till we are good at what we do. We must first do, and then we will become good at it!

Pitfall 7: Plateaus In business, we often resist plateaus, with the sense that a plateau means something is not quite right with our business or our company. That can sometimes be true, but certainly not always, and seeing it with this fixed definition can be exhausting and draining. I have learned in my business not to resist the plateaus, but instead, to let them serve as an indication of internal modifications or adjustments that might be needed.

When experiencing a plateau, we might look inside to see where we can improve or change something that could then allow us to grow. One step in internal growth can lead to up being hundreds of steps in external growth. Knowing this, one realizes that a plateau is something to be embraced rather than resisted ó and this shift makes building a business so much more fun.

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