My closest friend through grad school has perfected the art of procrastination. She is a master. She got away with by compensating for this behavior with her smarts and charismatic influence. One of our professors gave her a book on time management. I noticed the book on the floor of her car and I asked her what her takeaways were. Her reply: “I didn’t have time to read it.” The best part was she laughed uproariously as she responded to me.
There are a number of psychological obstacles that get in our way of success and can seriously compromise getting to the finish line. Here’s the list. Any ring true for you?
- A misguided sense of mastery. Sometimes we believe we have the required skills to tackle the challenge. This has a cascading effect, compromising the quality of your final product and ultimate execution. The necessary planning and organization is absent. One of two things happens: either you possess a bit of bravado or you are not quite as seasoned as you think you are.
- Fear of success. Being an entrepreneur might be your lifelong dream. Perhaps the very success associated with the realization of your dream is overwhelming. You might inadvertently set yourself up to fail by not developing a proper business plan, not understanding the market, failing to raise capital or overlooking a host of other key variables.
- Steam heat. Just like cramming for exams, you burn the midnight oil, drink copious amounts of caffeine and exist on little sleep. In your youth you got away with it. Now though, your world is far more complex and there is no way that furious scrambling will add up to quality output.
- Fear of failure. It’s always shocking to watch entrepreneurs put in intense hours, expend tremendous focus and engage in mammoth tough slugging. The good news is that you are on target and basically a tiny sliver away from execution. Then you either grind to a halt or find many reasons to fine-tune with the ultimate rationale that you are seeking perfection. You protect yourself from perceived failure when in fact you are so close to winning.
Here are some key tips that you should employ to move your great plans into reality.
- Develop and operationalize your business plan. Dreams are just that, unless you move your inner dialogue into action. If you have a great vision, it can be overwhelming, as there are many components. The value in creating a business plan is that it allows you to operationalize all the variables that need to be taken into account. Your business plan also creates a framework which allows you to move the necessary steps into action and track your milestones.
- Surround yourself with cautious risk takers. Don’t listen to naysayers. They will likely feed into your own fears. Most people are afraid of risk, and although they may be protective of you, they can reinforce your aversion to risk. Dialogue with trusted peers and receive counsel from those who have a proven track record of healthy risk-taking.
- Recognize your core strengths. Surround yourself with experts who have domain expertise. You can’t be an expert in every area required to create and build a profitable business. Make sure you seek out successful talent that can augment your own skill set.
- Align yourself with a trusted business advisor. As you develop your vision, you will need to modify and make changes along the way. It is dangerous to work in isolation, as you may run the risk of ignoring changes in the market or other key variables. An advisor can offer critical balanced feedback that will allow you to pivot and maximize your success.
Engage in these behavioral tips so your procrastination is no longer an obstacle to your great business venture. Stand up and garner the necessary business maturity and foresight to see yourself through to success.