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Four Traps that Catch Entrepreneurs
By Claudette Rowley

"A problem cannot be solved on the same level that it was created."
 - Albert Einstein

Trap #1: I am my business.

Truth: Who you are is so much bigger than your business. Your business is simply one expression of you. You as a person are complex and multi-faceted, and in the best of situations, your business doesn't define you, you define it. Just as it's unhealthy to let a relationship define all of who you are, so is it unwise to allow your business to completely define you.

A common subset of this trap is: "If my business fails, I'm a failure." When discussing this topic with clients, I often hear two responses to business success and failure. When an entrepreneur fails, she or he often falls right into self-blame. And when an entrepreneur succeeds - "I just got lucky" is a common response.

Trap #2: If it's worth doing, it must be hard.

Truth: This is a consistent message in our culture. If something is worth doing, we think it must involve incredibly hard work. When I coach entrepreneurs, I often ask the question "How could this be easy?" The notion that hard work equals worth is so embedded in us, that we sometimes feel uncomfortable when a great opportunity drops in our lap or new venture comes together seamlessly. Yes, as entrepreneurs, we work hard when we need to. However, hard work does not have to include the notion that struggling, suffering and working 80 hours per week makes us better entrepreneurs or more virtuous people. As much as possible, let it be easy. Accept great opportunities, and let people help you.

Trap #3: My success is measured in profits.

Truth: Expand your definition of success. What does success actually mean to you? Success is measured in many different ways, profit being only one of them. Are you making a social contribution? Are you creating an innovative product? What is your vision and are your realizing it? Do you have autonomy and control over your own time? Success is relative and a matter of perception. One person's success is anothers failure. How high is your bar? Some entrepreneurs set the bar so high for themselves that they can never "succeed" in their own minds. They can't win - kind of like a dog chasing its tail.

Trap #4: I can't have what I want.

Truth: Often as entrepreneurs, we feel that we must follow a set of rules about how to "do" entrepreneurship. These rules may or may not match what we want as entrepreneurs, leading us to feel like we can't have what we want. For example, you might identify that you want to structure your business so that you don't work on Friday afternoons. In response, you might hear a voice in your head that says something like, "You'll never be successful unless you work as many hours as possible."

You get to want what you want. In my own life, and the lives of my clients, I've noticed that the more closely aligned my life is with what I want - the more easily my business flows to me. Here's why: when you are doing something you don't want to do or don't like to do, it drains precious mental, emotional and physical energy from you. Remember a time when you were so engaged in an activity that you forgot to look at the clock. You might have forgotten to eat lunch or missed an appointment. When you're that "high on life", you create energy. When you do what you deeply want, your energy flows in a positive direction, creating opportunities that might not have previously existed.

Related Articles:

Building a Successful Future One Moment at a Time
Ten ways to begin to create the success you desire when the cards seemed stacked against you. It focuses on being aware and staying in the present.

Is Opportunity Knocking at Your Door Right Now?
Opportunities come disguised in many forms and shapes. They may come disguised as hard work, hardships, difficulties and obstacles. When you see them as opportunities and take them, who knows where you may end up?

Tough Times Demand Resilient Leaders
Are we stuck in out-moded patterns of behaviors that no longer serve us? What assumptions are we making and what actions can we take if the assumptions are confirmed? What resources can we call upon? How have we nurtured our relationships and support network?

Claudette Rowley Copyright 2003

Claudette Rowley helps entrepreneurs harness their potential and soar to new heights of prosperity and fulfillment. Contact her today for a free coaching session at 781-676-5633 or at

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