6 ways you're sabotaging your own success

It’s no secret that there are many obstacles standing in the way of success. You may say these obstacles are out of your control, but that isn’t always the case. More often than not, the only thing standing between you and your dreams is you. Here are some common ways you may be sabotaging your own success.

I originally wrote this post for Founders Canada — a volunteer-driven not-for-profit dedicated to empowering Canadian startups and entrepreneurs. You can learn more about Founders Canada here.

You compare your “blooper reel” to other’s “highlight reel”. In this digital age, it’s easier than ever to connect to others through social media. But Facebook posts, Twitter hashtags, Snapchat stories, and Instagram selfies don’t show the entire story; what you see is a curated “highlight reel” of people sharing their life’s accomplishments, achievements and milestones. You end up comparing this to the obstacles and failures you face daily (your “blooper reel”). You can avoid this by avoiding comparisons between yourself and others, being aware that social media isn’t a good representation of other people or just outright avoiding social media.

You’re waiting for the “perfect opportunity”. Life is hectic at times, but there will never be a perfect time to start your own business or pursue that idea you’ve stored in the back of your mind. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come to you, be in charge of your own destiny. Jot down ideas that come to your mind. Avoid procrastination by using tools like the Pomodoro technique. Set goals and make time every day to work toward these goals.

You’re doing everything on your own. There are so many resources available to you, why not use them to your advantage? Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and things will work a lot more smoothly if you focus on your strengths and aren’t afraid to ask for help with your weaknesses. Whether it’s simply searching online for start-up resources or finding another passionate person to partner up with on our website, the amount of help available is endless. Check out our blog post about Student Entrepreneurship Resources for more tips.

You refuse to accept anything short of perfection. The biggest critic of your work is YOU. Although you do want your work to be of a certain standard, being overly critical and over analyzing small problems can be self-destructive to your goals. Hyper-analyzing small details and worrying about potential mistakes takes away time that could be spent working on another aspect of your project or business and can make your project seem daunting, eventually causing you to lose motivation. Know that your product will never be perfect; there will always be flaws, but you need to be set realistic goals and learn to be confident in the work you’ve done.

You are afraid of failure. Most startups experience failure along the road. You will, with 100% certainty, encounter failure at some point. How you deal with this failure will set you apart. Take Microsoft, for example: After facing heavy criticism for the radical directions the company had taken with Windows Vista and Windows 8, it learned from its mistakes and introduced Windows 7 and Windows 10, respectively. Both were massively successful and praised, which never would have happened had Microsoft not originally released Vista or 8. Imagine if Steve Jobs had given up after he was ousted from Apple, the company he had cofounded. Learn not to be afraid of failing, and take every failure as a new opportunity to create something better.

You feel like an imposter. This phenomenon is known as “Imposter Syndrome” and often occurs in environments of high achievement or academia. We all feel at some point that we don’t deserve what we have achieved in our life, that we have no idea what we are doing and we are just “imposters” among other more deserving people. It’s a feeling of inadequacy caused by self-doubt. You can overcome this by accepting that you did have a role in your own success and by thinking about all the hard work you’ve put in to achieve the position you are in today, without comparing yourself to another person.