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5 Ways Entrepreneurs Unknowingly Self-Sabotage Successful people look for what they do that isn't working so they change it.

By Jacqueline Whitmore

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You're going along fine, profits seem to be improving, when suddenly something goes wrong. Just when you thought you were on the brink of success, about to make a breakthrough, you hit a roadblock. Yet, it's not the first time this has happened.

You could chalk it up to fate, but ask yourself "Why haven't things ever worked out for me?" If you can see a pattern of failure just when you are about to break through to the next level, it might be the problem is you unconsciously sabotaging yourself.

Even the smartest people come up against psychological barriers. Until these obstacles are addressed, your pattern is bound to repeat itself.

Here are some ways you might be getting in your own way on the road to success.

1. You try to do everything without help.

Nobody can succeed on their own. Every successful person has a support team. Concentrate on the aspects of your business at which you are passionate, and hire talent to assist with the rest. Create a team of trusted advisors or use a business coach. Build a team on which you can rely and stick with what you do best.

Related: 4 Ways for Control Freaks to Get Comfortable Delegating Tasks

2. You're too distracted to continue learning.

If you are under constant stress to churn out your work, you eventually need to take some time off to fine-tune your skills. The business world and technology are constantly changing, so it's important to keep abreast of the latest developments in order to remain successful. If your nose is always to the grindstone, you risk missing what is going on around you, and deprive yourself of opportunities to make valuable connections with others.

3. You're unduly cautious.

"Courage is the commitment to begin without any guarantee of success," said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Opportunities don't simply come to you. You need to be open-minded and vigilant about seeking opportunity and pursuing it. Believe in what you are offering. Show your passion for your product or service. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

Related: Don't Let Caution Turn to Cowardice. Leave Doubt Behind.

4. You won't act first.

When you work for others, you can wait to be handed assignments. This is not so when you are the boss. You have to make things happen. Opportunities come your way when you put in the effort first. However, while opportunities won't land in your lap, they are manifested all around you. Actively look for opportunities and act on them quickly. Set aside at least an hour each day for prospecting, networking and following up.

Related: How to Rise Above 5 Self-Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back From Success

5. You settle for mediocrity.

Take a close look at the product you are providing and the way you are running your business. Do you have top-notch values in place? Is your product or service known for its quality? You are known for what you sell and how you interact with your clients and customers, so make sure everything that has your name on it also displays your mark of excellence. Always put customer satisfaction first, even if you have to subdue your own ego to satisfy a problem.

"Just imagine how much you'd get done if you stopped actively sabotaging your own work," said best-selling author Seth Godin. You might be your own worst enemy -- without even knowing it. See if you can spot any of these self-sabotaging behaviors, then turn yourself around and learn to become your greatest ally.

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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