1. Too much ego or too little ego
It’s obvious that having too much ego is a sure-fire way to fail. But if you have no confidence you will also fail. Arrogance is like salt on a pizza. Too much and you ruin it. Too little and there is no taste.
2. Not listening or listening too much.
Ignoring your partners, customers and staff will lead to failure. But listening to everyone’s opinions will get you nowhere too. Listen, weigh up all the information, but chart your own path. Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
3. Spending too much money or spending too little money
Profit is the ultimate definition of success. The easiest way to make a profit is to spend less money than you earn. It follows that spending too much money is directly contradictory to making a profit. But if you spend too little money, you’re also doomed. There’s a reason for the saying, “Penny wise, pound foolish.”
4. Micromanage or over-delegate
Unless you employ illiterate unmotivated staff, micro-management is the path to poor morale. Ambitious smart people don’t like having someone looking over their shoulder. But you can’t hand the keys to your co-pilot on take-off and doze off for the flight to New York. In the end it’s your responsibility to get the plane safely from A to B, and you can’t do that without occasionally looking out the window and at the control panel. “He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.” Benjamin Franklin
5. Overly emotional or overly unemotional
Emotion clouds the mind. And, especially in times of crisis, you need a clear mind. But no one follows a robot with no emotion. Emotion leads to passion, and passion is the finest torch there is.
6. Too many hours or too few hours
Long hours do not guarantee victory. In fact, long hours can sabotage you. Lack of sleep, marital problems, neglected health, all these symptoms can lead to you not operating at your mental best. So don’t work for the sake of working, but just remember, no one ever made it big without putting in the hard graft.
7. Overselling or underselling
Making promises you can’t deliver on will lead to failure. Either the buyer will see through the pitch and reject you, or they’ll take the bait but be disappointed by your lack of delivery later on. Of course, you’re not doing yourself any favours by under-selling. If no one knows how awesome your product is, don’t be surprised if no one buys.
In the end it’s all about balance. As Johnny Cash said, you gotta walk the line.
Also published on Medium.