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The Single Most Damaging Trait That Keeps Would-Be Women Entrepreneurs from Having Success
Some women seem to have it all – talent, brains, beauty, relationships, money. By anyone’s definition of the word, these women seem successful. Then there are others who seem like they should have it all but something keeps them from realizing their full potential. They are also beautiful, talented, smart, funny, and well-liked. But they struggle financially, or struggle personally. They seem to fall short somewhere.
I’ve seen it time and again.
There is one thing I’ve seen that consistently keeps women who would otherwise make fantastic entrepreneurs from being successful. That one thing is the inability or unwillingness to follow through.
Are You a Talker or a Doer?
The single most important thing you will ever do for your career, your life, and your sense of self-worth is to make and keep promises. And that’s what following through is. It is the habit of making and keeping promises to yourself.
Even when the thing you have agreed to do is something you’re doing for someone else, you are most impacted by your own willingness to do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it.
As it relates to entrepreneurship, plenty of women have ideas about what they could do in the market. Most of them are probably right. They could be successful…
…. If they would just get out there and do what they say they will.
“But the kids have to be at school by 7.”
“And I would rather have the baby home with me.”
“Then there’s my son’s soccer practice…”
“And I need to be available in case my husband leaves something home that’s important.”
“And my parents are getting on in years, and I want to make sure I can attend to them when I need to.”
“And my sister… there’s no end to her craziness. Gotta look out for her.”
“And I really don’t know that much about social media and you have to do social to make it in business today.”
“Besides, I’m making pretty good money working from home; my job was really cool about me having flex time after the baby was born.”
“Next year. Next year the baby will be older, Jimmy will be out of school. Next year will be a better time to do it.”
The list of excuses can go on forever. And the proverbial “next year” never comes.
The Problem with Not Following Through
The problem with not following through is every time you say you will do something then fail to perform it, you trust yourself a little less. The tiny promises you make to others and break – for whatever reason – chip away at you. You value yourself a little less because you begin to see a pattern of not being willing to keep your word.
This is separate and apart from how not keeping your word damages your other relationships.
How to Fix It
So, what is the remedy for failure to launch? How do you stop this nasty habit in its tracks?
Stop making so many promises.
Ask yourself why you keep making promises in the first place. I know you may not intend to make and break promises, but tying your future self to an obligation – particularly an unnecessary one – can result in not following through if you don’t make performing on your promise absolutely non-negotiable.
Don’t announce what you will do ahead of time.
Believe it or not, announcing your intent can give you the same feeling as actually delivering on your promise. If you get the emotional payoff just by making the promise, you may not be compelled to follow through on your word because you’ve already gotten your reward. So, keep your intentions to yourself until it’s time to act. As the old saying goes, “Don’t tell me what you’re going to do; tell me how you did it.”
Take small steps every day that make it hard for you to change your mind, or turn back when the time comes to perform.
This is especially true in business. If you are taking small steps every day, it’s much harder to walk away from your efforts than if you simply make a promise that you intend to act on at some time in the future. Make the promise real by taking steps to close the gap between your decision and the outcome you promised to deliver.
If you want to fix the problem of not being willing to follow through, there’s no way to do it except by following through. The fact that you gave your word should be incentive enough for you to keep it.