One of the things I see from new coaching clients regularly is that they spend far more time convincing themselves why they can’t do something than doing anything else. They impede their own progress by finding ways to not move forward.
Sometimes these excuses are quite elaborate. I once had someone tell me that they needed to build their own home office before they could get stuck into the hard work. I’m not kidding, this person decided that he needed to physically make an addition to his house before he could get stuck into building his online business.
Now, you might be sitting there thinking, “Ok, maybe this guy’s business required some kind of special space or workshop area.” No, you’d be wrong. He simply convinced himself that the sound of him typing and clicking his mouse in their existing study would keep up his spouse, their kids and (I kid you not!) the family’s dogs at night. He also felt that on weekends, he wouldn’t get any quiet time to work on his business because his family wouldn’t leave him alone.
His solution was simple, have plans drawn up for an entirely new building in his backyard, get local planning approval, hire a contract, build the home office AND THEN he could seriously get stuck into building his business.
But not before. It was too hard to work in the study. It caused too many problems.
When I tried explaining that maybe, just maybe, he was creating his own problems to avoid actually getting stuck into the work, he assured me that spending nearly a hundred thousand dollars on a new home office was all factored into his business plan.
I wished him well and told him we should pick up again on the coaching when his home office was ready to go knowing full well it would never happen… And it didn’t. He never really got started with his business either. I assume once the office got done he decided he probably needed to build his own internet to ensure he had enough bandwidth to serve his customers.
I’m a bit flippant about it because these self-constructed obstacles are just completely figments of your own imagination. In most cases the reasons you have for not doing something are simply not real, you’re just making excuses to avoid possible failure.
Most of this just boils down to confidence.
You can’t teach confidence, it can only be earned. When entrepreneurs are first starting out, they generally have no “right” to feel confident, but they start their business anyway. They take enough risk to get over the first hurdle of just starting and that in itself is a win, so you earn yourself some confidence.
Along the way, you’ll come across obstacles in your path. Some will be real, for example, maybe you don’t have the money to scale the way you want or need to in order to get the kind of growth you want. Others will be imaginary, like when you worry about what competitors are doing before you even have a product out yet and you start second-guessing your ideas.
The key is to differentiate between the real obstacles and the self-constructed ones. When you come across the real obstacles, that’s when you’re going to put the work in, so having the practice and mental toughness from smashing through the fake obstacles will hold you in good stead.