Are You Getting In Your Own Way…Again?

Published by Mike Michalowicz (Google+)

By Margaret Prusan

You have a great product or service and you just know that you could be successful, but something keeps getting in the way. Well, don’t be surprised if the biggest thing that is getting in your way is you.


Internal hurdles are often the biggest reasons entrepreneurs, especially women, feel stalled, stuck, uninspired, overwhelmed, confused or lost. They can be the very reason a potentially great business results in mediocre success or failure. The key is to identify these behaviors and make a plan that allows you to eliminate or push through them.

Below are just a few of the success-preventing roadblocks that many entrepreneurs encounter.

Needing Perfection

  • If you’re a Type A personality, high achiever or pleaser, you are likely a perfectionist. So, it’s really important to keep this in mind, perfection is subjective. Remember, what one person thinks is perfect, another may not. So, let go and let it flow! Launch whatever it is you’re working so you move onto the next thing.

To Do: Make a To Do list. Carve out a block of time to finish and check off as many things on your list as possible. Your goal is to complete these items, not make them perfect. Check one off, move on to the next—period. No looking back.

Seeking Approval

  • Sometimes you need to make hard decisions that will tick people off, make you less popular, or result in an uncomfortable conversation. This is all part of building a business. If seeking approval is always a factor in your decision making, it’s time to ask yourself why. Try making a bulleted list of whose approval you’re seeking and why. Keep in mind the need for approval can also be an excuse to avoid taking full responsibility for making your own decisions.

To Do: The next time you’re looking for someone’s approval, write down the reasons why. If the reason is emotional (fear, reassurance, approval, etc.) consider working with a consultant or coach to help you work through those needs.

Analysis Paralysis

Needing all the Answers First Before Launching

  • Do you have a great product or service that you’re just dying to launch, but you’re waiting for even more market research to come in? Do you want to advertise a workshop but are still looking for space? Do you have a great product concept, but are still working through the back-end? Well, here’s the deal. Answers have a way of showing up once the problem is put out into the universe. They can come from clients, partners, colleagues, family members or a random person you meet on the street. So, just put it out there.

To Do: Make a list of everything on which you’re waiting for answers. Then, go ahead and promote, launch, deliver or sell whatever it is you’ve been holding back. Often, simply taking action and “putting it out there” gives us the answers or reassurances we seek.


  • Eliminating overwhelm starts with setting priorities. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you have a To Do list a mile long. The keys to controlling overwhelm is 1. ) identifying priorities, and 2.) Letting go. Priorities are those items that will gain you visibility, credibility or revenue. If the task doesn’t fulfill any of those three needs, then let go of it. This means, eliminating or outsourcing those tasks to a VA, bookkeeper, ghostwriter or a college kid, for example.

To Do: Make your To Do list. Next to each item write one of these words “visibility”, “credibility” or “revenue.” If those words don’t apply to the item, outsource it. If that’s not feasible, set aside a few hours on one day each week to focus just on those non-revenue generating items.

Living the Legacy

  • What beliefs from your childhood are you still carrying around with you? Do any of those “legacy” beliefs sounds like “men should make more money than women”, “you don’t have the education”, “you didn’t do well in school”, “My parents struggled. I probably will, too” or other self-limiting legacy beliefs? You can have the greatest idea, but as long as those beliefs are still given a voice in your mind, they can get in the way of your success.

To Do: The next time you’re hearing these negative internal voices, stop and ask yourself “What is this belief based on and does it really have any application to me or my life now?” The odds are that it doesn’t.


Not Asking for Help

  • Entrepreneurs, and particularly women, are often reluctant to ask for help. After all, their business is their “baby” and they can probably do it better themselves. For women, this shows up in their reluctance to “bother” others. The reality is that is that most people are often flattered to be asked for help because it says you respect and value them. Your business’ success is limited by your very human inability to do everything. Once you learn to let go and allow others to help you, your opportunity for success increases.

To Do: Make a list of five things you need help on then make a list of people you can ask to help you. The more specific with your request, the better able the person will be to help you. Now, ask them.

Not Owning Your Successes

  • First, it’s important to get clear on what you consider success. Women, in particular, have a tendency to celebrate others’ successes, but are blind when it comes to their own. Owning your success is empowering. Not owning it often gets in the way of marketing ourselves and our business. Remember, comparison to others’ success only sets you up for disappointment. Success, like failure, is subjective so focus on you, not everyone else.

To Do: Make a list of your success (experience, education, achievements, awards, deals won, countries traveled to, etc. Whatever YOU consider a success) now, how can they be applied and leveraged in your business?

Margaret Prusan is the founder of Illumin, a consulting firm that helps professional and service based entrepreneurs get out of their own way to build brilliant businesses.


***Need help with getting out of your own way?

Contact me for a free ½ hr. consult at

Category: The Right Actions
Tags: , , , , , .
  • Ken

    I found this article so appropriate, at least for me. All the things you mentioned are so true. I do marketing and find so many people just lose faith in their abiity and don’t whole true to their focus. This is interestingly appropriate for me because I found this site because I have two new clients that I’m trying to market. One is a career/life coach that helps people get past these hurdles and a manufacturer that sells spare toilet paper holders. I shamelessly plugged both of them in my website address and e-mail. But the article just rang my bell so to speak.

  • kay Plantes

    This was very helpful Margaret. I’ve added speaking and writing to my strategy consulting business and trying to deal with the complexity of roles has at times felt like I have that rock in the road–lots of motion, no huge steps forward versus my ultimate goal. I need to celebrate my success to date e.g., a published book and successful speaking gigs, and just move forward using your three-word priority statement. Thanks. I’ll be more relaxed this weekend. Kay

  • Mike Michalowicz

    @Margaret – Really a good article! Spot on. It was a nice way to start the weekend. And opened my eyes to the “in my way” ruts I slip into…. and I’m not even a woman.

    - Mike

  • Pingback: Goodness in the blogosphere… | What My World's Like

  • Lisa

    That was a really helpful article, and I definitely can relate-especially to the “needing perfection” roadblock. I am actually working for a new career resource site called and think this article would be great resource for site. Please take a look and let me know.

  • Mike Michalowicz

    @Lisa – You are welcome to link to it or copy the content, please just make sure that the credit for the article is given to this site, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

    - Mike