Want to be a Successful Business Owner? Stop these 2 Self-Defeating Behaviors Right Now.

Living on the beach means I don’t have to travel far to find inspiration. So when I’m asked to be a guest lecturer at the Strome Entrepreneurial Center or am teaching a seminar series through my local SCORE Hampton Roads Chapter, I simply go for a walk on the beach and something intuitively connects for me.

It was on one of these walks that I realized the two self-defeating behaviors holding back everyone that wants to be a successful business owner.

Yesterday I was walking by the marina and noticed the boats docked by the pier. Most boats were tethered by just a lowly rope and an occasional anchor for the larger vessels. I thought about it: each boat is more powerful than the things holding it back. This is the first self-defeating behavior holding us back from actualizing our true potential to be industry game changers.

Stop being held back by invisible anchors.

Usually, it’s the voice inside telling us we’re not good enough, smart enough, strong enough or powerful enough to be a successful business owner. That self-defeating behavior will only continue letting us achieve low-hanging fruit accomplishments. We must realize that, like the vessels tied to the pier, we are powerful vessels capable of overcoming the burdens anchoring us in place.

The small business statistics are grim; I get it. 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. Make it past the first few years and a whopping 50% of small businesses fail within the first five.

The odds are definitely stacked against us as business owners. Numbers like those can be daunting and frightening.

Yet when we operate from a place of respect for small business statistics without succumbing to them as fate, we are able to achieve more than the weight of their probabilities.

I’ll repeat that because it’s important: when we operate from a place of respect for small business statistics without succumbing to them, we achieve more than the weight of their probabilities. We turn our unlikeliest probabilities into viable possibilities.


I know what you’re thinking: “Leslie, it’s not that easy. My anchors aren’t invisible; I’m being held back by *insert arduous life situation here*. I can’t just walk away from that.”

I’m not asking you to walk away from your life’s problems or responsibilities. I’m asking you to reevaluate your ability to navigate through them without being stopped by them. This means nothing without a rational plan for actually accomplishing it.

What that looks like, is first figuring out what you’re anchored in before you can get uplifted and set sail to calmer seas. Successful business owners are tethered by two lines: personal anchors and professional ones. Wherein our personal anchors lie, there too will we find the mindset from which all our intentions originate.

Our Personal Anchors as Successful Business Owners
Ask yourself: am I personally anchored in…

  • Negative self-talk?

  • Lack of purpose or direction?

  • A support system of stagnant talkers and no doers?

Or am I personally anchored in…

  • The abundance of God’s power and mercy?

  • An understanding of my purpose according to His will?

  • Knowledge of how to use my tools to further His kingdom?

Getting personally anchored in the right way means lifting our anchors out of muddy waters holding us back and immersing them in that which will power our vessels forward.

I find 2 Timothy 1:7 to be instrumental helping me achieve this.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Whenever I find my personal anchors rooted in anything except what is going to further my agenda to fulfill God’s Will in my life, then I refocus. I lift them up and immerse them in God’s love, power and self-discipline. Only then can I, in turn, BE love, power and self-disciplined.

Our Professional Anchors as Small Business Owners

Ask yourself: am I professionally anchored in…

  • Emotional ties to products that my consumers don’t really need or want

  • Trying to do everything myself instead of empowering a team of solid employees or contractors

  • Asking for help instead of assuming I know everything

Or am I professionally anchored in…

  • Producing goods or services that are a value to my consumer’s needs

  • A core team of professionals and employees that help my business scale up

  • Resources able to help me grow my business in a healthy direction at a pace I can handle

When we immerse our professional anchors in substance that will fortify our businesses, we often find ourselves becoming less of a failure statistic and more a successful business owner.

Quit letting fear of storms of life stop you from setting sail.

Fear is a dirty 4-letter word that keeps otherwise successful business owners stuck in limited potential. It prevents us from actualizing abundance because we’re bound by negative possibilities. We halt our what could be for what might happen.

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

If you’ve never heard this adage, then you’ve not dated enough U.S. Navy sailors. (Kidding! But no, really…) How many of us are willing to sacrifice awesome possibilities because of what we think might go wrong? It’s as if our vessel is stuck docked on dry land because we are afraid of encountering a little bad weather at sea.

Well, I’ve got news for you.

The smooth-sailing journey was never promised. There WILL be storms at sea. There WILL be times when we feel completely rocked from side to side, questioning our ability to go on. That’s life.

What we can’t do, is let fear stop us from experiencing the voyage of a lifetime. So my challenge to you, successful business owner: lift your anchors and immerse them in something real… then prepare to set sail on the journey towards your best life.