Four Ways to Guarantee Failure in 2011

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Who wants to guarantee failure? I certainly don’t. But while we put a lot of our focus over the next month on the New Year approaching and what we hope to achieve/earn/become in 2011, I thought we could all use a dose of reality.

It’s good to have a positive outlook and dream the big dreams, but it’s even better to temper it with a touch of fear that things won’t end up exactly as you hope they will. This fear can get you moving, encourage you to do the necessary hard work, and boost your chances of success.

To help you figure out where your planning may be flawed so you can improve and fine-tune, here is a list of actions that can lead you to failure, unless you take steps now to prevent it from happening.

Turn Down a Should-Have-Taken Opportunity

Some of the best opportunities come when you least expect them and require that you take a full step outside of your comfort zone. This can be the epitome of fear, especially in business where you’ve already taken risks.

You can avoid missed-opportunity regrets by having a process for researching, analyzing and making educated decisions on opportunities that come your way, even before it happens. With careful consideration and thoroughly weighing the cost against what you stand to gain, you can act purposefully and without regrets.

Don’t Bother Thinking About a Plan B

No one can say with 100% certainty where they will be and what they will be doing in the future, so there is always the possibility of surprise. Even the most on-target goal with extensive research and planning doesn’t guarantee success.

While you can’t foresee every possibility, you can have a general contingency plan ready to put into action if life, your circumstances or something else changes your path abruptly.

Spend the Year Spinning Your Wheels

Complacency often comes with success. Once it hits, it can not only cause you to undo your previous successes through lack of consistent forward-moving action, but it can also cause you to enter a state of uncertainty.

Goal setting is an ongoing activity, and by working it into your schedule on a consistent basis — weekly, monthly and/or quarterly — you can ensure you’re continuing to move forward and not stuck in one place.

Don’t Learn, Grow or Develop

No one has all of the knowledge, experience and skills, at least not if they want to continue to succeed and thrive. Continuous learning, targeted growth and skill development takes time, and finding extra time is one of the most common challenges among small business owners.

The only way to continue to advance professionally is by making learning a priority. It can be through informal reading, formal classes and even networking with others in your industry. The key is to continue to look for and make time for opportunities of growth, even when you have a full schedule.

What are you doing to ensure 2011 is a successful and satisfying year for you?

Image credit: allenp

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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