3 Tough Habits You Must Drop to Succeed

Old habits die hard. Don't let your old habits stunt your startup's success.

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By Stacey Alcorn

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Your success or failure to create and scale a business will come down to the kind of habits you incorporate into your daily life.

Follow the habits of highly successful entrepreneurs, and there's a good chance you will become one too. Strong personal habits that might positively impact a business include: healthy eating and working out, saving money and tithing.

Strong work habits might include a regular cold-calling regimen, weekly networking and delegating. There are hundreds of personal and professional habits that make for a great business, but unfortunately there are a few bad habits that are so ingrained within most entrepreneurs that they die hard.

Here are the three difficult habits to kick that may be ruining your business.

Related: What's Behind a 10-Year 'Overnight' Success Story?

 

You pay attention to the stories, not the facts

Two weeks ago, you told your top salesperson that her performance numbers are off a bit, and she needs to work on getting her numbers up.

Since then, she hasn't attended your weekly sales meetings. The story you tell yourself in your head is that she is angry, and she is probably seeking employment elsewhere. You're telling yourself that she doesn't care about your meetings anymore.

This is a story, and there's a good chance it is not accurate.

The facts of this situation are that you told her she needs to increase performance, and she has missed two sales meetings. It's very easy to confuse the stories we tell ourselves with the actual facts of the situation.

Stories create emotions, which cause us to react, and those reactions are based on conclusions drawn from typically false inferences. Being an effective leader will require you to break the storytelling habit that's happening in your head. Instead, separate the facts from the stories, and make decisions based on what you know for sure.

Related: 7 Behaviors of Successful People

 

You only believe what you believe

For the most part, what you believe about anything has been firmly implanted in you by others throughout your lifetime.

Building a business requires you to innovate, which means you must question every belief you have.

Zappos' CEO Tony Hsieh didn't believe that people would never buy shoes over the Internet because they couldn't try them on, and thus Zappos was built.

Steve Jobs didn't believe that a phone could just be a phone. He believed it could be a computer, a camera and a music player. One of the hardest habits to break is believing what you've been groomed to believe your entire life. If you can break this habit, there's no telling where your business will go next.

Related: 8 Great Entrepreneurial Success Stories

 

You ignore criticism

It takes a very healthy ego to build an empire. To have a Virgin-sized business you need to believe that you can be, do and have anything that you put your mind to.

That being said, one of the hardest habits to break is believing you are better than you are. When an employee or customer tells you that your product, your service or your attitude sucks, it's easy to revert to old habits, and defend the honor of this amazing business you have built.

You have 500 great customer reviews, and one that is glaringly terrible. It's easy to write-off that one bad review in your head, but if you can break the habit of ignoring criticism, there's a good chance that there's more to learn in that one bad review than in the other 500 good ones combined.

Stacey Alcorn

Author and Entrepreneur

Stacey Alcorn is CEO of Boston-based Laer Realty Partners.  She owns and operates several businesses in the Boston area including a consulting firm, a law firm and a fashion line. She is the author of REACH! -- Dream, Stretch, Achieve, Influence.

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