Success Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe
Why are some people wildly successful in business, while others just don’t seem to ever get anything going? Sometimes the reasons are obvious. Someone who’s lazy, unpleasant to be around, overly negative, or just plain dumb, for instance, doesn’t have much chance of being a business success. They might win the lottery or something like that, but they won’t be able to successfully build a sustainable business. It’s not always as clear why someone is successful though, and many people who haven’t yet seen success resort to believing and repeating common myths to explain it.
The danger in buying into these myths is that they rob power from those who believe them. If you believe people are only successful if luck is on their side, for example, you’re saying success is out of your control. So look over this list of myths and realities and endeavor to eliminate these beliefs from your mind. Your business and your life will be better for it.
The Family History Myth: Some people are successful because they were born into a rich or entrepreneurial family.
Reality: As with most myths, there can be a piece of truth in this one. If a person’s family has the resources to support their entrepreneurial dreams, or if they grew up learning about business, they can be said to have some degree of advantage. Stories abound, however, of people who inherited the family business only to run it into the ground and end up broke. There are also plenty of stories about people who were handed family fortunes and squandered them away. The reality is that even though it can be helpful to have the advantage of a family history of success, a person with such a heritage still has to do what’s necessary to be successful with those advantages. The reality is, even with an advantageous family history, you still have to work for your success.
The R.P.R.T. Myth: Successful people make it because they’re in the right place at the right time.
Reality: It does help to be in the right place at the right time. Many successful entrepreneurs attribute their success to this. But that’s not the whole story. First, any successful entrepreneur who was in the right place at the right time, had to be the right person in the right place, at the right time. In other words, just being clued in on a trend, discovering an innovation, or getting a hot tip isn’t enough. In fact there are opportunities coming at us – all of us – all the time. We’ve all been in the right place at the right time at some point, and we will be again and again. It’s those who recognize those opportunities and act upon them who reap the rewards. Have you ever had a brilliant idea that you didn’t act on and then saw the same idea come to fruition for someone else years later? You were in the right place at the right time for the idea to come to you, and so was the person who made it happen. The reality is that “R.P.R.T.” can’t make it happen. Taking the opportunity given to you in the right place at the right time and making it successful takes work, dedication and focus, not luck.
The Who You Know Myth: People are only successful if they’re lucky enough to know the right people.
Reality: Many stories of success can be attributed to the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” In fact no true success story happens with someone doing it all on their own with no support from anyone else. Knowing the “right” people can indeed contribute to your success in many ways. What this myth fails to take into consideration is how successful people go about getting to know the right people. Successful entrepreneurs are networkers. They attend conferences, workshops, business fairs, and anything else they can find where they’ll have the chance to mix and mingle with like-minded business people. It isn’t luck that they know the right people, it’s their dedication to learn and grow through those relationships that has led them to the right people. Is it lucky that they happened to be at a conference with the one person who could help them take their business to new heights? Maybe you could say that, but they had to meet that person, talk to them, and do whatever it took to get them involved. No luck involved there.
The Timing Myth: Many successful people just so happen to launch their businesses at just the right time.
Reality: “The right time” is when there’s a need, and the most successful companies become successful because there is a need for their product or service. That’s kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? But this rarely has to do with chance. Entrepreneurs watch trends. They stay tuned into the market and the needs of their customers and consumers in general. Most importantly, they take that information and act on it. Successful people don’t let fear stand in the way of their dreams. They take risks, and often those risks pay off. This myth doesn’t take into account that most entrepreneurs have started several businesses during their entrepreneurial life. Some might have been successful, and many might have failed. The key is that they keep going. They keep trying until they make it happen.
The Background Myth: People who build successful businesses have the right education, training, work experience, friends, family, and mentors.
Reality: This myth combines several of the other myths and says that the only way to be successful is to be “lucky” enough to have outside factors working in your favor. The reality is that, almost without exception, successful entrepreneurs have realized their accomplishments because of what’s inside themselves, not because of their circumstances. Indeed, many have realized success in spite of their circumstances. We hear often about high achieving people with no formal training, little to no formal education, and very few if any advantages over “average” people. The truth is, success comes not so much from where you’ve been as from where you know in your heart you’re headed.
Successful people define luck as when preparedness meets opportunity. Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what happens to you but what you do with what happens to you that matters”? Maybe we can consider the “what happens to you” part as luck. Often we have little control over what happens, so maybe that’s called luck – good or bad. But when it comes to success, the luck piece of the equation won’t take you far. It’s what you do with your luck that determines your success. So if you’re counting on luck to make you a successful entrepreneur, good luck with that!