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5 Things That Hold You Back In Life And How To Get Rid Of Them

5 Things That Hold You Back In Life And How To Get Rid Of Them

Habits: they are the things that we are used to doing on a daily or a weekly basis — or, basically, whenever there is an action that repeats itself in regular intervals.

After living a quarter of your life or so, you may think that what you’ve developed in your childhood is what will define you for the rest of your life. Even if some of the habits and personal traits that we’ve developed are holding us back, our mind often chooses to ignore the damages and to resist any kind of change that might usurp the status quo.

“There was plenty of time for that, now I have to live with the cards that I’ve been dealt.” After all, the fast-paced life, having (or not having) children, and a regular job can have you wanting for a routine that will define you and help you cope with everything. However, if the routine is damaging to your mental health and your self-improvement, maybe it’s time for a change.

The routines that we develop and our immediate surroundings (people we see every day or on a regular basis) can sometimes even hold us back and prevent us from fulfilling our life goals. It’s imperative to recognize these poor influences and elevate yourself above them, and the first step towards it is to realize that you are stagnating. There are some definitive signs of stagnation and here I will try to present them to you and (hopefully) show you how to tackle them.

Negativity

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    Have you ever started planning something that is supposed to change your life/make you rich/perfect your skills, only to have the mental piece of paper with the plan crumpled and thrown to the back of your mind because “it would never work”? This happens a lot to people. The current global situation (which, actually, has never been better), your material situation, or a lack of will can all keep you pinned in place. Like the link above says, it seems that it’s never been a better time to be a pessimist.

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      News flash: it’s been worse every step of the way in human history. Black people in the US were segregated until 1964, yet that has not prevented the likes of Ray Charles, John H. Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos in succeeding in their respective lives, just to name a few.

      Today, people have more freedom than they ever had. There is no reason to think that something will fail because “it would never work.” You cannot know until you’ve given it a well-planned try.

      However, negative thinking is not entirely your fault. It can also come through…

      Negative Environment

      This starts with your friends and family, but is not limited to them. Oftentimes, it will be your friends who will poke holes in your plans because they want to try and keep you in the status quo. They will not do this because they have ill intentions, instead, they will see it as doing you a favor and being honest with you. People like the status quo and do not like to see it changed. It will threaten their comfort zone (more on that later) and put them in situations they have not prepared for. Of course, none of this is on the forefront of their logic and most of the time they are not even aware of this fact.

      While this is no reason to abandon your friends completely and sever all ties to them, sometimes a change of environment can do a lot of good. Have a new hobby? Start hanging out with people who have the same one. Or, sit at a bar or café alone and try to find someone interesting to talk to. Talking to new people brings new perspectives on life. Sometimes, that is all you need to push ahead.

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      Inability to Make a Plan and Stick to It

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        When you do finally make a plan, the hardest part is actually sticking to it. For example, you want to improve your physical wellbeing by going to the gym. You’ve found a program that will get you fit and help you improve your conditioning. The plan involves daily exercises.

        You may do it for three or four days and then skip one — because, hey, you deserve a break. Or you just start procrastinating from day one, thinking how you’ll work twice as hard tomorrow, or something like that.

        This will effectively prevent you from making a change. The most important part of every plan is sticking to it. This may take a lot of willpower, but the change will be worth the mental effort. You can do it and you can do it today. Not twice as much tomorrow, not in a couple of days, but today, as it is the only day when you can fulfill what you planned, and it’s all up to you.

        This part may also include doing away with some things, like…

        Your Comfort Zone

        It is a popular saying nowadays that “you can’t make a joke in 2016 without offending anyone.” Everyone has their “safe space,” which works like a bubble of your beliefs and habits which comfort you, telling you that things are alright and nothing needs to change. Stepping out of it, sometimes even for a moment, brings about anxiety, panic attacks, or just a flat-out denial that there is anything good on the outside.

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        If you wish to change, there will be a lot of things that will lie outside this bubble. It will involve doing things that you have never done before or even heard of. And it’s always easier to default back to the comfort zone and feel content with what you have than to step outside of it and feel outright lost. But it has to be done. It is the only way to achieve personal progress.

        No one is good at everything at the first try. The whole history of mankind is a trial-and-error process and, without it, we would never get to where we are today. It’s not about “I can’t do this,” but about “I’ve failed now, but I know what not to do next time.”

        Also, living in your comfort zone almost always leads you to feeling like you know it all, and to…

        Not Identifying Your Weaknesses

        Habits and routines developed during childhood and teenage years slowly take over your life. We are all looking for stability. Once you are buried in your routines, you will not see that some of them are, actually, your weaknesses.

        Have you, perhaps, developed a habit that is hurting your health (mental or physical)? Do you have work to do, but you’ve decided to play videogames instead? You’d think that these habits simply help you to relax, take your mind off things, or just help you get the job done, but they will also prevent you from seeing how they are hurting you.

        Realizing that you have a weakness is the first step towards improving in that field. Smoking marijuana, for example, may relax you, but it will also keep you lazy and can even leave you unmotivated to do anything.

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        Alcohol may be good as a social lubricant (by far the best description of it that I’ve seen in my life), but drinking every day (even regular binge drinking) can create a habit. You think that everything is normal, but it actually heavily influences your decision-making and, in the end, can ruin your life. It is essential to see things for what they are, not only for the good that they bring you.

        Once you’ve realized that you have a weakness, you can choose to rectify it yourself, but this is not always possible. Some habits grip us hard and they (or we) do not wish to let go. That’s when it’s the time to talk to a professional and get some advice.

        Basically, habits can hold us back. The world is in constant change and we must change, too, in order to stay on top. There is no recipe for a perfect life, as much as you think you’ve found it. Challenge yourself at every step and step out of that comfort zone. After a while, you’ll feel that it was all worth it and that life has meaning again.

        Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/jill111-334088/ via pixabay.com

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        Vladimir Zivanovic

        CMO at MyCity-Web

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        Last Updated on May 28, 2020

        How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

        How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

        Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

        To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

        1. Digital Savviness

        As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

        Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

        Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

        For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

        How to Develop This Skill

        For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

        From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

        Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

        2. Financial Forecasting

        Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

        Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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        However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

        Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

        3. Video Production Skills

        The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

        If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

        In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

        • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
        • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
        • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

        4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

        As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

        Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

        Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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        5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

        Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

        Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

        For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

        Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

        6. Honing Pitches to Investors

        Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

        The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

        You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

        Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

        7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

        In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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        Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

        8. Automating to Your Advantage

        The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

        Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

        9. Managing Millennials

        Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

        In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

        Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

        A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

        Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

        Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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        Offer Constructive Feedback

        Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

        Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

        10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

        Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

        By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

        Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

        As the African proverb goes:

        “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

        Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

        More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

        Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

        Reference

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