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By Nnenna Anyanwu

Most people who are starting or running a business will generally commit one or more of these sins which potentially sabotage their chances of success. We have all done it. We have an idea or spot an opportunity get all excited and fired up then our mind starts playing games with us or we speak to someone and they pour cold water over it. This takes the form of anyone one of the following;

1. Procrastination

2. Lack of discipline and routine to see the idea through

3. Lack of focus or concentrated effort

4. Self doubt

5. Disorganisation

6. Fear - borne out of ignorance

7. Inaction

If you have suffered from any of these then you need to overcome them and clear your path to unlimited success.

If you really ask yourself what is success you will find that it is a deep desire to be happy. We all pursue success because we think it will make us happy or bring us happiness.

The 7 deadly sins are bad habits we develop over time and block us from achieving the happiness we desire and thus prevent success.

The first deadly sin is Procrastination. As the saying goes, 'don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today'. In psychology, it is defined as the act of replacing high priority actions with low priority tasks for which they derive enjoyment. 1 in 5 people actively procrastinate and this is one of the biggest destroyers of success. It is believed that procrastination is due to the mind trying to avoid a negative feeling or emotion thus putting off a stressful task until later. The trouble is procrastination usually results in stress, a sense of guilt, loss of personal productivity, as well as social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or deadlines. The result of these negative feelings is yet more procrastination to avoid them.

Have you ever put off making sales calls, going to meet with a difficult manager or staff or doing a piece of work which was particularly challenging? Then after putting it off you later felt bad and guilty that you have not made the money you need to pay your bills or your manager labels you as incompetent or the work then reaches 5 minutes to the deadline and you get into a blind panic to finish it and just miss the deadline.

Often we go through life actively procrastinating and it actually cripples us and blocks our chances of success. You need to recognise when you are doing it and face that challenging situation head on. It never is as bad as you think. Try this;

· Divide up your day: 1 hour for phone calls; 1 hour clearing emails; 1 hour marketing; 4 hours' client work or delivering the service/product.

· Before you leave the office each evening make a list of the top 3 things you want to do the next morning. Do them BEFORE you start getting distracted with the days issues.

2. Lack of discipline and routine to see and idea through. We are all creative human beings and we come up with lots of fantastic ideas. In addition there are millions of opportunities to be successful all around us every day. But what separates the successful from the unsuccessful is the self discipline and the routine actions to ensure that the idea comes to fruition. You ever heard the saying 'I get things done'? That is just it. Many people give up even before their idea has had a chance to hit the paper. Others give up at the slightest obstacle put in their way. How many times have you said I will increase my sales this year but as soon as you make one sales call or put in one proposal and it fails, you give up and blame the system, the economy, your staff, etc.

Successful people stick to it even when the going gets tough just like athletes they training their brains every day on the same thing. They make 10 sales calls a day regardless of how many nos' they get. They put in 20 proposals a week regardless of how many are rejected. You will always experience obstacles when trying to get something done. The bigger the idea the greater the obstacle. You have to find ways round obstacles and negative outcomes if you are to achieve the success you desire.

3. Lack of focus and concentrated effort. In order to be successful you must be able to focus on one thing at a time. That is not to say that you cannot do many things or have several businesses or business ideas. You can but you must focus on your efforts on one thing at a time. The mind can only work successfully on one thing at a time. If you are in one place and your mind is in another place you will not be successful. Have you ever been sitting at your desk working and thinking about your holiday or your sick child, etc. the chances are you would have made some mistakes or the quality of your work would not be up to scratch. The mind often wanders and it is sometimes difficult to concentrate but you need to train your brain to concentrate using a series of concentration exercises and practice. Just like basketball players practice their shooting hundreds of times until they perfect it so you must concentrate your effort on one thing until you perfect it. If you give up, get distracted or lose concentration, you will not be successful.

4. Self doubt. Even the most self confident amongst us experiences self doubt once in awhile. Self-doubt is that feeling of uncertainty about your ability to accomplish something. This dark shadow of insecurity can lead to hesitation and indecision. If left unchecked, it can cause massive failure in what would have otherwise been a hugely successful project. There are certain words that we tell our selves which causes us to weaken our own confidence. Things such as 'I'm not sure, maybe I was wrong, I don't feel up to it, this is too difficult'. When we say and think these things we should check the source and address it immediately to counteract the doubt. Self doubt is very destructive and if left unchecked it can eat away at our belief system and create insecurity. Often it is our self doubt that stands in between the success or failure of our business and projects.

5. Disorganisation- this is a condition in which an orderly system has been disrupted. The mind is very precise and organised. It is the same with your life and your business. If it is not orderly the mind will work overtime to make it organised. You will feel anxious, frustrated and bogged down with mundane tasks and unable to get big highly productive tasks done. You will find yourself struggling to find the simplest of things and starting from scratch every time you get to work or to a project rather than building on what you had done previously. This makes the mind work overtime and is counter-productive.

6. Fear - every single person on this planet has experienced fear at some point in their lives. However, successful people feel the fear and do what they have to do anyway, whereas unsuccessful people feel fear and take flight. Fear is the natural response of every human being when he is placed in a situation that he is not familiar with or is not expecting. Sometimes, a sense of shame and insecurity also leads to development of fear within a person's mind. Fear is often the result of aggravated tensions and an agitated mind. It is very important to know the reasons of your fear if you have to overcome it. To kill fear you have to first identify the source of that fear. Confront your fear by doing that which you are fearful of and you will notice it disappear. Plan for those uncertain situations by writing down what if scenarios and what your response would be. For instance you may be fearful of not making enough money in your business however, the real reason for your fear may be that you will not be able to pay the rent. Then what is the worst that will happen if you can't pay the rent? Then what can you do to avoid the worst happening. Doing this process regularly for your fears helps you to work through them and avoid the stressful outcomes that lead to failure such as inaction.

7. Inaction - this is often caused by fear of the unknown. Fear is the minds response to perceived or actual physical or emotional danger. When we are fearful we freeze/stand still and do nothing. This is the worst thing that any business person can do. It is guaranteed to lead to failure of any venture. You must keep moving, keep doing, take action when new opportunities come your way and keep learning how to improve on your past performance. If not success will always allude you.



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