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Which Mind Traps Stop Your Business Growth?

Being a Growth Coach, I'm fortunate to work with many leaders at all levels in a variety of businesses where mind traps emerge as a consistent barrier to success.


What are mind traps? The definition provided by Bryan Robinson in his article on this topic is clear and concise:


“Mind traps are irrational thought patterns that blind you to the truth, causing you to make errors in judgment.”

Why is this a problem?


"times when our reflexes are wrong...fundamentally mislead us in a complex, unpredictable world", according to Jennifer Garvey Berger in her book, Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps. In essence, our minds are powerful and can guide us toward actions that,


"sets us on a course of action that is the exact opposite of what the situation really needs."

The good news is that with awareness and understanding, leaders, CEOs, and founders can develop practices that minimize and sometime eliminate the impacts of mind traps.


Mind traps often stem from biases, fears, or misconceptions and here are some of the most common ones:

🚫Fear of Failure:

Fearing failure prevents taking calculated risks or making bold decisions that could lead to growth. What new opportunities or innovations are being missed? Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.”


🚫Overreliance on Past Successes:

Past successes can create a sense of complacency, often leading to a false belief that what worked before will continue to work in the future. This mindset can create blindness to changes in the market or industry and prevent adapting and evolving.


🚫Fixed Mindset:

Having a fixed mindset is believing personal abilities and skills are static and cannot be improved. This can limit our willingness to learn new things, seek feedback, or invest in personal and professional development. If you avoid trying new or difficult things, stop when frustrated, or overly criticize yourself, you likely have more fixed mindset than a growth one. "Believe you can and you're halfway there."


🚫Micromanagement:

Leaders who micromanage every aspect of their business may struggle to delegate tasks and empower their employees. Sharing or delegating control is much easier said than done and often stems from lack of trust. It can hinder growth by limiting the scalability of the business and preventing employees from taking on new responsibilities.


🚫Confirmation Bias:

Confirmation bias occurs when we seek out information that confirms our existing beliefs and ignores or dismisses information that contradicts that. This leads to poor decision-making and missed opportunities for growth.


🚫Short-Term Thinking:

Focusing exclusively on short-term goals and immediate results prevents making investments or strategic decisions that could lead to long-term growth. This may result in prioritizing quick wins over sustainable growth strategies.


🚫Lack of Strategic Planning:

Prioritizing initiatives that drive growth may be a struggle without a clear vision and strategic plan. The result is often getting bogged down in day-to-day operations and failing to allocate resources effectively.


🚫Fear of Change:

Change is inevitable in business, but resistance often develops out of fear of the unknown or a desire to maintain the status quo. This can prevent seizing new opportunities or adapting to shifts in the market.


🚫Perfectionism:

Striving for perfection can be paralyzing, as it prevents taking action until everything is just right. This mindset can lead to missed opportunities for growth and innovation.


🚫Failure to Seek Help:

Leaders may hesitate to seek help from mentors, advisors, or other experts, either out of pride or a belief that they should be able to solve problems on their own limits their ability to learn from others’ experiences and perspectives.


Addressing these mind traps that hinder business growth requires a combination of self-awareness, mindset shifts, and practical strategies. Here are ways to address these mind traps:

✅Self-Reflection and Awareness:

Reflect on personal thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that may be limiting your growth. This can involve journaling, meditation, or regular self-assessment exercises. The power in writing things down or journaling is the activity itself which unwinds thoughts like unraveling the threads of a rope.


✅Education and Learning:

Continuous learning and skill development is critical. This includes reading, attending workshops, seminars, or online courses related to business management, leadership, innovation, and industry trends.


✅Mentorship and Coaching:

Mentors or coaches can provide guidance, feedback, and support within a confidential exploration. Mentors and coaches can offer fresh perspectives, challenge limiting beliefs, and navigate challenges more effectively. Coaches can help reframe limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns.


✅Networking and Peer Support:

Connect with peers and industry professionals through networking events, mastermind groups, or online communities. Peer support can provide valuable insights, encouragement, and accountability. Form accountability partnerships or joining accountability groups can be a powerful practice.


✅Strategic Planning and Execution:

Develop a clear vision for the business and create actionable plans to achieve goals. This involves identifying key priorities, setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives, and regularly reviewing progress with a cadence that ensure effective execution.


✅Risk-Taking and Feedback:

Test new ideas, approaches, and strategies, even if there is a possibility of failure. Solicit feedback from customers, employees, and stakeholders. Learning from failures can lead to valuable insights and growth opportunities. Regular feedback loops help identify areas for improvement, validate assumptions, and iterate on products, services, and strategies.


✅Celebrate Progress and Success:

Celebrate milestones and successes along the way to keep morale high and motivation strong. Recognizing achievements reinforces positive behaviors and encourages continued growth efforts.


By incorporating these practices, leaders can gradually overcome mind traps and create a more conducive environment for business growth and success.


Jerome Dickey, MA, ACC, CPHR, Q.Med

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