“Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.” James Altucher said this, the multiple bestselling author, and a man who has failed (and overcome failure) more than most. The truth is, mistakes hurt.
Whether it’s your mistake or somebody else’s, it stirs all sorts of fears and worries within you. You start to question yourself. You wonder what will happen next, and what the worst case scenario may look like. Mistakes are NOT fun, but mistakes also play an important role in your growth and success. For as Albert Einstein once said, “a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
So assuming you don’t wish to play it safe your entire life, you must accept mistakes happen. Some mistakes are unavoidable; there to test and teach us. But what if I told you many of your mistakes were avoidable, and by looking in the right places you could spot them before they happen?
Most mistakes begin small; tiny little things that barely register in your day. But because you pretend they don’t happen, disregard them, or make poor decisions on the back of them, these little mistakes grow into big mistakes, which in turn develop into life-altering failure.
Certain mistakes are thrust upon you, and you cannot do much to avoid them. Yet many begin slowly, and by keeping your eyes open you can spot them before they happen. So if you notice any of the following, take note for a mistake may be near.
1. You Become Complacent
One of the biggest warning signs of all is when you grow complacent. You may enjoy the idea of an ‘easy life’, but the truth is you need a challenge. When it comes to growing a successful business, this is never more true. You need to remain motivated. Like a shark, you can never stop moving.
Such complacency lead to Thomas Frank’s biggest mistake of all. As he built ‘College Info Geek’ while still at university, he was always busy. Between studying, blogging, and marketing, he had little time to spare. So as his site grew, he decided to cut back on his studies and take fewer classes. This made sense, as more time spent on his business meant more chance of success. Yet with this extra unstructured time on his hands, Thomas grew complacent.
Instead of growing, his business plateaued. He didn’t feel as motivated, and it wasn’t until he got this motivation back that ‘College Info Geek’ continued its growth.
“If you look around, complacency is the great disease of your autumn years, and I work hard to prevent that.” – Nick Cave
2. You Get Stuck in your Own Head
Although you may surround yourself with people all day, this entrepreneurial roller coaster is a lonely ride. It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, as you work on your ideas, your plans, and your growth. You become so fixated on your work that you shut yourself off to the rest of the world. You become blind to opportunity, mistakes, and everything else.
Take John Corcoran, the co-founder of Rise 25, and a man who has built his career around connecting with influential people. Despite building a successful career in politics, entertainment, and the tech scene, John desired more. He started his own practice, and got to work on his own version of the American Dream.
He worked so hard that he went months without networking and creating new connections. All those relationships he had built during his successful career slipped by the wayside. He condemned himself to a lonely entrepreneurial existence, and had little to show for it.
Sure, he was busy, but did he grow? No! John got stuck in his own head, and it lead to what he described as his biggest business mistake of all. This entrepreneurial rollercoaster is lonely enough as it is, so don’t make matters worse by getting stuck in your own head.
3. You’re Surrounded By “Yes Men”
“Yes” is a dangerous word. If all you say is yes, you’re sure to drown under work, responsibility, and commitment. Yet it isn’t only when you say yes that issues arise, because when you’re surrounded by a bunch of “yes men”, mistakes are often close. Scott Oldford experienced this as he became a well known “web guy” at a young age.
During a period when most of us plucked up the courage to ask that girl or guy to the dance, Scott made large sums of money and won prestigious awards. He had everything a teenager could want, including a group of people who told him what he wanted to hear.
Scott soon lost everything he built, as he began to believe his own hype. He had to start from scratch. Today, he’s doing fine, but only after he lost track of what matters. That’s what happens when you surround yourself with “yes” — it blinds you from what you need to see and hear.
“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.” – Richie Norton
Of course, warning signs like these won’t vanish mistakes from your life. Some are unavoidable. Some provide invaluable lessons you need to experience for yourself. But the sooner you nip these mistakes in the bud, the easier you’ll find your road to success.
I learned this from speaking to those who have been there and done it; successful folk at the top of their game. Don’t wait until you make your own mistakes. Learn from those who have been there and done it. And while you do, keep your eyes open for these three big warning signs.
Share with us a mistake you made and how you overcame it! Let us know by commenting below!
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