The other week I shared an article on the psychology of what drives people to do what we do. I wanted to remind you of that because you are a person as a business owner and your psychology & mindset impact your business growth; as much as your staff and your clients’ psychology do.
If you missed it or need a refresher on the fundamentals, open this article in a new tab and then come back for some specific parts of business owner’s psychology & mindset which impact your business’ growth. https://www.karalambert.com/business/what-really-drives-business-success/
Over the years as a business coach, many clients come to me with technical issues about growing their business or growing social media, and we address those, but I soon see that the biggest thing holding the business back from success is the business owner, their psychology, their mindset, their fears.
So I want to address some of these with you. It will be an overview, but I hope it helps you to see where perhaps you may be holding your business up and perhaps some ideas to help you overcome them.
How do you know that it’s your mindset or psychology as the business owner holding you back your business growth?
There are four main ways that I see business owners holding themselves back: procrastination, second-guessing, asking advice from others, low self-confidence/feeling flat. So what are some of the tricks to overcome them? Firstly you need to catch yourself doing it, then you can try one of these 5 tips to get you moving again: https://www.karalambert.com/business/build-self-confidence-business/
Fear of success
Let me start with what was holding me back, a fear of success. Ever dream so big, set the goals, put the plan into place only to realise as it’s about to realise that you’re scared witless (or rhymes with) about it actually succeeding. Yeah that’s me.
The paradoxical thing about success, unlike failure, is that it can never truly be achieved. Once you’ve achieved a certain level of success, a new one appears. And I think that’s it. My fear of success is actually that I can never attain it, but don’t confuse it with felling like I will fail, it’s not that. It’s fleeting and surpassed by a new goal. I’m afraid of something I believe doesn’t exist because while I achieve a goal, success has moved. It’s a mirage that jumps along the road of progress to a new point.
Then it goes further into the stories I was told growing up and my beliefs around what success would be like. I ended up taking these on as truths, when in all honesty they were only what someone else’s fears were when it came to success or what someone else has accepted as their success. None of them were my reality. I go into this more in the section on Imposter Syndrome.
If you worry about success and what it will do to you, your lifestyle, or your family, this I suggest you keep reading or watch this… https://www.karalambert.com/business/fear-success-small-business/
Overwhelm as a business owner impacting your psychology, mindset & business growth
I’ve helped a number of business owners through this. They come to me with a particular tool they are struggling with, generally Facebook, and they feel utterly overwhelmed. Like with most of life, what we think is the problem rarely ever is. But the thing with overwhelm is that it is all-encompassing and that so often we are unable to realise that there is more to the problem that meets the eye and if we only looked a little further the answer would be so clear and so simple.
So often I see this overwhelm and it’s characterised by any or all of the following things.
A disconnect from our passion
A disconnect from our audience
Sounds simple right? Too simple to answer the issue of this overwhelm! It’s not and here’s why.
Humans are hard-wired for connection. Connection to our family, our friends, our community, our tribe. When we lose these connections we feel lost. As lost souls we grapple and grasp for things to give us direction and meaning. Much like connections do.
In business, we have three connections. Connection to self (our passions). Connection to business. Connection to clients (audience). When one or more of these are out we feel out of whack and the more disconnection we have, the more overwhelmed we become.
So what is the one thing we’ve lost other than the connection which is contributing to overwhelm in business?
We’ve lost that all of this connection is about people. We have lost that the ‘whats’ and ‘shoulds’ are actually about connecting to people. This is where I see the overwhelm sitting and this is where the relief comes when I show it to my coaching clients.
Now for some this might seem simplistic, but I have to say that there is a tonne of science behind people, connection, and how they interplay with social media, communication, and business. And this fascinates me.
But what happens when you’re the one overwhelming yourself?
You’ve got the laundry list of things you want/need/should do and achieve and it feels like you’re drowning with no possible way out. Now I could sit here and tell you to go easy on yourself and not to compare yourself to others and not to set unrealistic expectations – and there would be a good chance you’d ignore me and tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about and that how else were you going to be a success.
It’s a good thing I’m not going to do that. What I will suggest is that you look at 2 things, one is the following article and then I want to look at the things you’ve crossed off the list. https://www.karalambert.com/business/handling-overwhelm-and-success/
In the end, overwhelm comes from being disconnected and that includes with ourselves.
Fear of rejection
When business owners come to me for help with social media, this is one of the most common psychology or mindset issues holding back their business growth. I’m/it’s not good enough… Fear of rejection is understandable. We all want to be wanted or needed. When we put our business, our services, or our product out there and forward for all to see – we put ourselves out there. Wide open for criticism and/or rejection. And when that happens, it’s a reflection on ourselves.
Or so goes the story we tell ourselves! So instead of being rejected we just don’t do/say anything and that way we stay safe and way we aren’t rejected. You can read other tips over here: https://www.karalambert.com/business/fear-of-rejection-in-business/
Growing up were you a people pleaser? Did you want people to like you? How do you go now?
I was this child and even this adult. Over the past year I have been working a lot on coming back in to alignment with my motivators. Truly understanding them. Getting rid of thoughts and stories (I’m not calling them beliefs) which no longer serve. But the need to keep people happy stuck around.
Now don’t confuse this with a fear that no one likes me. I know people don’t like me and I’m totally ok with that. I’m not afraid of people not liking me, I don’t want everyone to like me because I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
Keeping people happy is about not disappointing, it’s about meeting their expectations, it’s about putting their needs above mine.
Read how I overcame being a people pleaser: https://www.karalambert.com/business/proving-yourself-people-pleaser/
What about business owner mindset, not psychology, and business growth?
After the psychology, the mindset we have as a business owner is the most common thing holding back our business growth. Personally, two little words changed my world. These two words bring about thoughts of anger in every parent, competition in every sibling, and fear in every business owner. Yet as business owners, we need to be asking it more often than we do. To achieve more we need to be willing (and able) to step back and reassess. When dealing with difficult clients, these two words can change the way you approach the situation.
I’m not asking a question, these are the words. While I understand it might seem abrupt and abrasive; it’s this that gives them their charm but also their jolting power. You see, it’s not until we are jolted from our comfort zone that we see and achieve greatness. Read on: https://www.karalambert.com/business/two-words-change-business/
“Kara, I just need more self-confidence”, “I need to get out of my own way”, “I need to stop holding myself back”. It’s generally what our conversations come down to, no matter what we start with. Generally, it starts with wanting to learn how to promote their small business on social media, then after a little while, the truth comes up. It’s really a lack of self-confidence that is stopping them progressing. https://www.karalambert.com/business/build-self-confidence-business/
One of the first and most needed mindset shifts I made was around time.
When I started, it went something like this… But I just don’t have the time! I’m time-poor! I need more hours in the day! Sound familiar? I wish I had a magic wand and could give you more hours, I don’t, but I can make it feel like you do. It’s all about time management and perception.
If you constantly think and feel that you don’t have enough of something; you won’t! It is a ‘glass half empty’ approach to time management. Consider this, you have a friend who is always negative, they can’t see the good in anything; always moping, bad things constantly going wrong. If they can only see the negative, that’s all they will find.
So, now think about time. Yes, I know we all have the same number of hours in the day, but how do you value and see those hours? Do you believe that they will slip through your fingers, do you think they will whizz by; or do you think you have all the time you need, and that time is on your side? Which would you prefer?
When I changed my belief about the time I had and I realised that I can do all that I need AND I don’t have to feel rushed or stressed in completing them, it was how it was. I realised that time is an asset and when assets are seen for their true value they grow. I liken it to when you feel stressed and take a deep breath, things seem to slow and calm down. When I first started, there were a lot of deep breaths, but that’s ok, it’s working.
So change how you think about the time you have available, then plan how you use your time.
How do I fix it?
One deep breath and a simple reminder that “I have all the time in the world to do this” and I do! Check out this series of videos about the physics of time. It’s what changed my throughts on it: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL01D9390E58C7F501
Now if you’re a bit of a procrastinator and just thought “brilliant! Now I have more time to do nothing in”, well you’re technically right but let’s tackle that procrastination.
The first issue is why you procrastinate and generally that comes from fears. Things like fear of failure, imposter syndrome, perfectionism. Addressing those is a whole other chat. But let’s tackle that never ending to-do list! How did I get around that?
I had to plan, record and manage the tasks I do to fill the time. I use the following to help me: https://www.karalambert.com/business/two-top-time-management-hacks-you-need-for-your-business/ You may also find some other helpful tips here: https://www.karalambert.com/writing/do-you-struggle-with-time-management/
Point of difference & competitors
The fear of being left behind is real in business. Business owners are afraid of missing out on the next best thing. Fear that their competitors are going to get the jump on them. Fear of not having a competitive advantage. It’s a competitor FOMO mind storm. All of this plays on a business owner’s psychology, mindset & ultimately their business growth.
So, what do you do when you’re afraid of being left behind in business? Or that your competitors will have the jump on you? Or that you don’t have a competitive advantage? Well, I answer how to overcome all of these in the following article: https://www.karalambert.com/business/fomo-and-business/
Some of the things business owners say when it comes to competition are:
“It’s end of financial year, no one has any money.”
“It’s holiday season here in Europe/US no one is around.”
These were tales of lack and woe. I’m not saying I’m immune. I lose clients each year in the lead up to the end of financial year. It used to bother me, now I realise that there are always better opportunities about to come by.
So when business quietens down, what to do? Do you do as the other businesses do and sing a tale of woe? Or do you do your own thing and bloom? Here’s something to consider: https://www.karalambert.com/business/compete-business/
Looking for more information about what makes your business different in the eyes of your customer? Do you know why they choose you over your competitor? Want to be able to win a larger piece of the market? Then you’re going to want to read this article about your selling point: https://www.karalambert.com/business/point-difference-selling-point/
What if you don’t have any competitors?
What if you’re unique in your field? I can tell you that up until late last year, this was me. I had to get ok with not being like anyone else. I had to be ok with not having anyone to benchmark off. I had to be ok with being different and educating the audience as to why it was just ‘ok’ but it was necessary. If this is you, then you’re going to want to read what I wrote about going it alone in a blue ocean: https://www.karalambert.com/business/swimming-in-a-blue-ocean/
When looking over your shoulder at the competition wears you down
We are human and there are times when everything and everyone gets the better of you. Then there can be points where it’s one thing on top of another. It can also be the smallest jibe by ‘the’ wrong person and your set off down a spiral of self-doubt to self-loathing. This is what I call the confidence gremlins and I want to introduce you to them and their cures in this article: https://www.karalambert.com/business/killing-off-confidence-gremlins/
Imposter Syndrome & its impact on your business owner psychology, mindset & business growth
So what is Imposter Syndrome? Why does it matter? How does it fit in with the psychology and mindset of a business owner and how it could hold back their business growth?
For the people I speak to, it’s this constant niggling (or roaring) self-doubt combined with a constant fear that you’re going to be caught out, called out, or targeted as a fake or phony. The vast majority of people who have Imposter Syndrome are female and are high-achieving. That means that not only do they place exceedingly high expectations on themselves, they work their butts off to achieve them. These people are often referred to as Type A personalities.
They work hard to meet what they believe the expectations are of the person that they’re performing the work for. The problem is, is that they can never live up to those standards because they’re actually not meeting the standards of the person that they’re providing the work for. They’re trying to meet what they believe the standards are.
It’s the story we play to ourselves.
It’s years of hearing little comments.
It’s being passed over.
It’s the impact of tall poppy syndrome.
This constant self-doubt and feeling like you need to watch your back; the feeling like you will never live up to expectations; it’s all draining. It erodes away at your confidence and for some people, they just stop trying or putting themselves out there.
Want to learn how it all pans out for me & what I do to overcome Imposter syndrome, then you’ll want to read this. https://www.karalambert.com/fear/overcome-imposter-syndrome-public-speaking/
Need some practical skills to help you with fear, mindset and/or Imposter syndrome? Then this simple workbook is a first step in getting out of your way so you can grow your business: https://www.karalambert.com/product/fear-and-imposter-syndrome-toolkit/