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Productivity / Performance

Are you guilty of repeating the same mistakes? Join the soloist guilt club.

Small business owners seem particularly good at beating themselves up for the sins of the past. ‘Soloist guilt’ could well be a thing! Here are 5 simple strategies to banish repetitive small business mistakes and limiting mindsets.

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small business mistakes

Business owners have mastered the art of punishing ourselves over the things we’ve gotten wrong, the mistakes we’ve made and the “what could be”.

I’ve done it for years and in many ways I’m writing this article to remind myself to get better at forgiving myself and embracing change.

1. Be clear on the lesson learned

If I look back at the mistakes I’ve made, and the ones I keep repeating, often the problem was that I’d never really understand why they happened or learnt my lesson.

I’d never really sat down and thought about why I kept making the same mistake. What pattern was I repeating? What limiting belief kept coming up?

"Repetitive mistakes can wear us down over time, but we also get kind of comfortable with them. We start to accept them and actually make excuses for them. This is the real danger."

Once I worked out the lesson to be learned, I could identify the same situation in the future and stop making the same mistake.

2. Every day is a new beginning

No matter how many things we get wrong in business, the issues we have or the mistakes we make, every day is an opportunity to start fresh.

Perhaps it’s time to draw that line in the sand, forgive yourself for the past issues and errors and look at today as Day 1 of your new business life. As the saying goes… “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”

This might sound like a cliche, or a Hallmark card moment, but it’s worked really well for me a few times, and it might just work for you.

3. Don’t put up with less than your best

While we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves, we do need take responsibility for our errors and face up to our weaknesses.

OK, let’s be honest, if we have figured out what’s causing our mistakes, but still keep making them, then we need to get a bit grumpy with ourselves.

Generally there is a bigger issue at hand that we haven’t admitted. Now is probably the time to look in the mirror and give ourselves a stern talking to – and work out exactly what this repetitive mistake is going to cost you if you don’t put an end to it once and for all.

4. Create a better alternative

It you’re struggling to change behaviours, especially those long-term patterns, one powerful technique that might help is to create a more compelling future alternative.

What would your business look like if you stopped making the same mistake or eliminated the negative behaviour? What would your life look like? How much better would you feel? We need to really think about this, visualise the alternative future and repeat this exercise often.

5. Get some help to solve repetitive issues once and for all

If there are some mistakes that no amount of lesson learning, or stern talkings to, or compelling futures seems to stop, maybe it’s time to get some outside help.

Who do you need to help you put an end to your repetitive mistakes once and for all? Is it a mentor? A professional advisor? Take your time to find the right person or people to help you – but start looking for them today.

Repetitive mistakes can wear us down over time, but we also get kind of comfortable with them as well. We start to accept them and actually make excuses for them. This is the real danger.

Even when we know that they are holding us back, causing us all kinds of grief and they will do more damage as time goes on, accepting this and learning to live with them is not a solution.

Try my suggestions and do something about them today.
Believe me, life will be so much better if you do.

Andrew Griffiths

has developed an international reputation as one of the leading global entrepreneurial authorities. His books and articles are considered street smart wisdom, designed to both inspire and challenge conventional thinking.

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