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5 Self-Sabotaging Mindsets That Undermine Entrepreneurs It's hard taking an idea to a functioning, profitable business. Doubt, impatience and negative thinking can make it impossible.

By Sherrie Campbell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Success is what every business person and entrepreneur desires from the very core of their being. They have a dream, a genius idea and an initial excitement to make it happen. Having a great idea and building a sustainable empire, however, are very different things and many, if not most, fail. To rank among those who succeed you must master certain disciplines to avoid sabotaging your own success.

1. How you think.

Your thoughts color the way you see all of life and ultimately determine your destiny. To be successful take a hard look at your idea of yourself, how you perceive yourself, your potential and what you believe your ability to succeed is. Keep it positive.

Negative thinking is easy. It takes zero effort and it creates assumed or imaginary roadblocks to your success everywhere you turn. You are not likely to succeed if you let negative thinking rule your mind. You must not tolerate this type of thinking. Instead, call upon your more innovative thinking. Negative thinking is rigid, unmoving and works against the flow of life. To be successful you have to train your thoughts to be flexible, hopeful and inventive.

Become conscious of your thoughts to direct them properly. When you are in control of your thought process there will not be an obstacle you cannot creatively bypass. If you want to be successful you must eat, drink, sleep and think about success. Infuse your thoughts with hope, passion, positivity and trust. Do not entertain defeatist thoughts because actions follow thoughts.

A negative mind is a success killer. Let the way you think be your greatest asset, rather than your toughest obstacle.

Related: 5 Negative Ways of Thinking You Need to Stop Today

2. Lack of commitment.

You cannot fulfill your dreams if you are unsure and only half-way committed to getting where you want to go. Never assume the climb to success should be easier than it is. Assumptions of ease of effort will derail your success nearly immediately. When things end up more challenging than you expect, frustrations and resentments develop that kill your drive.

There is no greater a success killer than frustration backed by resentment.

To live your purpose you must know, without a shadow of a doubt, what you want. Sustainable success requires a deep and dogged commitment to a detailed and solid plan of action. Having a clear commitment cuts through the confusion and doubt when you face obstacles on the road to success.

Without a genuine and unwavering commitment to your larger purpose your goals lose their importance and value. A lack of commitment creates delay, chaos and frustration poisonous to any living goal.

Be in to win it, no matter what it takes. If you want to succeed at elite levels you must be willing and able to sacrifice.

3. Lack of self-regulation.

To be successful focus on developing the skill of self-regulation. Learn to understand and control your own emotions so they don't become turbulent and derail your success.

Whether you are emotionally high, low or in between, be acutely aware of your state of mind and conscious of when it is good to make decisions and not. Decisions made from fear or anger take you off course and often ruin potentially successful relationships and connections. Decisions made at the peak of excitement can lead to impulsivity which doesn't best serve your mission in the long term and may leave you with regret. However, it is in the flat or bored emotional times where the most danger lies because these times may cause you to put things off and coast when you really need to be moving forward.

To succeed you have to show up and do the work. You cannot win today's game based on yesterday's points, and nor do you stop being innovative or hard working because you have some future deals or meetings to look forward too. Show up to each day calm and resolute. Make sure to be rational before making big decisions. Stay conscious of the fact that erratic emotions lead to poor decisions.

Related: Capt. Sully: 5 Tips for Making Decisions Under Fire

4. Lack of time management and structure.

Being an entrepreneur you will have a lot of freedoms you may not have otherwise. You have the freedom to set your own schedule, decide when you go to work and how much you work. Freedom is wonderful if you have self-discipline. If you are not a self-starter or self-disciplined this could lead to laziness and the failure of a genius idea.

Too much freedom placed in the hands of an undisciplined and unorganized person will not show positive results. The inability to manage time leads to poor decision making, an inability to prioritize and other success-killing habits. This type of behavior doesn't allow an idea to even take off.

Time can be a daunting and oppressive energy to manage when there is too much of it on your hands.
Create a schedule like you would have if you were working in the corporate world. You are your own corporation now and all corporations need organization, scheduling and time frames to serve as guideposts for goal achievement.

If you can't keep up with time you will not keep up with your competitors. You have to do better than your competitors in time management and organization if you want to get ahead. As you schedule all your time you will come to find the busier you are the more true free time you have to enjoy in your personal life.

To be a successful entrepreneur it takes more than a big dream and a great schedule. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline, pristine organization and the willingness to work.

5. Lack of patience.

As an entrepreneur you can have the greatest ideas in the world but without patience you are not likely to see them manifest, no matter how genius they may be. To be successful, learn patience. Patience is something you do, it is not something you have. Patience is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more successful you will become. People without patience give in to frustration and give up too easily. Lasting and sustainable success is not based in instant gratification. True success is a dynamic process built upon change, challenge and growth.

Patience gives you the determination to stick to a goal despite the odds. It helps cultivate persistence, acceptance and hope. It allows you to see the big and small picture giving you a sense of control over your mind and impulses when things look bleak. When you are patient you greatly increase your odds that you will make your personal dreams come true.

Success is an art and a discipline, not just a sought after ideal. For this reason, many people chase an ideal without the necessary skills to get there, but rather, only armed with a great idea and big dream. Without being able to discipline your thoughts, manage and organize your time, control your emotions, be completely committed to your cause, and have the patience to get through your challenges, further fueling your hope, you cannot reach the desired outcome you seek. You will get trapped in negative thinking and aggravation. Frustration trumps patience and before you know you it, you have sabotaged your dream. Don't let this be you.

Related: 3 Occasions Where Patience Is Key

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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