3 Sources of Limiting Thoughts – Don’t Put Limits on Yourself

I attended a black business expo in southwest Georgia this past weekend. Allen Payne, one of the actors on Tyler Perry’s show House of Payne gave an appearance. He spoke about being from Harlem and how he was headed for trouble in the streets until he began to study acting. I too grew up in a rough and tumble inner city neighborhood. I was raised on Chicago’s south side in Roseland. There were drugs, there was prostitution, and there were fights. But my parents raised us differently and encouraged us to go to college.

What resonated with me as Allen Payne spoke was the message that to succeed, you must stop putting limitations on yourself. He spoke about limits that our loved ones can put on us; our peers; and ourselves. I think this is a valuable lesson for anyone, especially small business owners. This article shares some thoughts I have about how this rule of thumb should be applied by small business owners.

First source – Loved Ones

You may have to love some friends and family members from a distance. If they are being negative about your desire to start and grow a business, then love them from a distance. Distance yourself from them. If you cannot physically relocate, then find a group of like minded individuals that can give you support. You may have parents, spouses, children, and others discourage you and tell you that you cannot make money. Find strength in God and don’t quit.

Second source – Our peers

Allen Payne talked about having to pass the thugs he once hung out with in order to get to the Actor’s Studio for training. I had a similar experience as a youth. I attended college classes at a local junior college and at Chicago State when I was in high school and participated in college prep programs at the University of Illinois in Chicago. When I was sixteen, I worked as a civil engineer in training at Harza. I had to pass our neighborhood thugs, and others that labeled me an uppity goody two shoes. Luckily, my parents taught us at an early age to hold our chin up and walk pass taunts.

That life lesson still applies. As a small business owner, you have to hold your head up and walk pass peers that are jealous, petty, unsupportive, or evil. You must surround yourself with supportive people. The use of social media and trade organizations are a great ways to find like minds. Meet online and take the conversation offline when there’s synergy.

Third source – Ourselves

You can put limits on yourself with nay saying thoughts and reluctance to move out on tasks that can catapult your business. From time to time, I talk to a fellow female business owner that I met in a small business development program. We share our business development challenges and ideas about how to improve our businesses. What I have notice over time is that on some ideas, she is quick to point out (a) how she has tried it once already and failed; (b) how it may become too costly; (c) how it can get you in trouble; and (d) how she would not try this and that because she just hates it.

Well, first of all, hate eats up A LOT of energy. You cannot succeed in business by trying something only once. You have to be consistent, work a routine, and be persistent. For example, it may take 6 to 24 months to land a first government contract. Further, successful entrepreneurs are optimists rather than pessimistic, risk averse people. Business owners can plan ahead to control costs and risks. One of my favorite quotes is “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. George S. Patton”.

Getting back to Allen Payne – he shared a few other important lessons that I have lived by for years. It was refreshing to hear him share these sentiments. Allen spoke about seeing your life as a miracle and finding strength in God. He compared his journey and relationship with God to riding a wave. I have a similar experience.

Years ago I more than doubled my salary. I called it being on auto pilot. I simply moved out on faith; focused on my career goals and dreams; and set out on a journey that took me to several states and great career posts. This is the mindset you have to have to survive this down economy. Having the support and strength of a Higher Spirit certainly helps.

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with 25 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans. Contact Clovia at http://www.lemongrassplanning.com or follow Clovia on Twitter @lemongrassplans


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