Success is a number of things done consistently well, across the spectrum.  Failure is the antithesis, with the reasons for failure caused by any one or a combination of the following:

1. Staying in your Comfort Zone – We place a high value on winning above all else; many equate the thought of failing with losing. Consequently, a mind-set of “never fail, never lose” is adopted, which is a flawed line of thinking.  Your commitment to succeed must be stronger than your fear of failure, otherwise you never try, which in itself is a failure since you are not doing anything and will never realize your full potential.

2. Lack of Belief – A passionate belief in what you are doing and confidence in your ability are essential. The absence of either one of these two ingredients will ultimately catch up with you.  Your strength of conviction and belief in yourself will imbue you with confidence to face whatever is put in front of you.

3. Lack of Competence – Your ability directly translates to your skill set. If do not have the requisite training or background you will lack confidence, have low self-esteem, and continually be on the defensive. Ensure you are a good fit for what you are doing, play to your strengths, and develop a distinct set of competencies which enhance your prospects for continued success.

4. Lack of Perseverance – Nothing good comes easily or quickly. You have to work for it, stay with it, and never give up.  It is imperative for you to have the conviction, determination, and will to weather the bad times in order to reach your goals.

5. Lack of Character – Character counts; it matters. Individuals with a negative attitude and fatalistic views do not imbue confidence.  Holding others accountable but never accepting responsibility is unfair to those on the team.  Intolerance and lack of empathy to those around you affects teamwork and morale.  Holding others to one set of standards, while compromising those same standards through your actions, undermines your personal authority.

6. Lack of Discipline – Discipline relates directly to self-control, which must be practiced in order to be disciplined. It means continually adhering to the highest standards of conduct and business practice, avoiding shortcuts and temptations to do otherwise.  You face problems head-on and do not procrastinate, understanding you have to put in the time, make sacrifices along the way, and exhibit a strong work ethic.

7. Lack of Focus – There needs to be continuing attention and focus on strategy, process, and implementation, including metrics and timeline. You need to be cognizant of direction, warning signs, and make course adjustments as necessary.  Avoid devoting an inordinate amount of time to distractions which do not contribute to your personal and professional goals.

8. Business Partners – Most of the problems in business are people related. Great care should be taken when putting together a team to ensure you have the right balance of talent with good chemistry.  Just as importantly, make sure who you hire is who they say they are and has accomplished that which is being touted.

9. Lack of Resources – This is usually finance related, pertaining to the inability to raise funds or the depletion of funds. Close attention must be paid to cash flow and trends, ensuring that reserves are put aside, and most importantly, that plans are realistic and attainable.

10. Poor Planning and Execution – When a business is in peril or fails, poor planning and execution are always central contributors.  An aggressive plan with bad management and poor communication is usually fatal.  Poor leadership combined with arrogance usually results in an inability, even unwillingness, to accept feedback, which later manifests itself in an avalanche of hidden problems.  A lack of clear goals and little to no accountability jeopardize your ability to track and determine progress toward objectives, metrics, and timelines.

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