Momentum Podcast: 317
Why We Sabotage Success
by Alex Charfen
It's debilitating for me when I start watching an entrepreneur make bad decisions and sabotaging themselves and their team. When you’re overwhelmed by an opportunity and you don’t have clarity on where to go next you will sabotage that opportunity because it only feels like pain. Consciously or unconsciously, you sabotage the opportunity in a protective way. If you don’t have clarity, strategy & process, eventually you’ll come undone. Are you stuck in a sabotage loop?
Full Audio Transcript
I've been working with entrepreneurs for over 20 years. And nothing is quite as alarming, or jarring as watching an entrepreneur sabotage the opportunity, and the success that they have created. That's why it's so frustrating that it happens all the time.
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average, and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just dreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability, and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution, and we always will be.
So much of entrepreneurial lack of success isn't due to us not having an opportunity. It's due to us not taking advantage of the opportunities we have. And I think there is a clear reason why we sabotage success, or reasons why we sabotage success. And I want to share it with you because watching an entrepreneur implode, watching a company close down, watching an organization recede is one of the most frustrating, and painful things for me in my life.
When I was really young, right around eight years old, and I have perspective now as to what that means because ... Or not, I'm sorry, not eight years old, five years old. 'Cause now my daughters are nine and twelve. When I was five years old, my father had a business that grew like crazy, and I watched it until I was about seven and a half, and it closed down. And so I went to the factory where he made the U shape, the double U shaped roofing tiles. The tiles you see everywhere now. My dad started that, patented that here in the United States back in 1977, when I was five years old, when we moved from Mexico.
And he had this factory that grew over years. So, as a kid I watched the factory grow. I see it ... I watched it get the machines, and have the building put on. My dad actually bought a piece of land, and built a factory. And I watched this custom factory get built to build the roofing tiles that you see everywhere. The ones that where one tiles lays inside of another one. That was my dad's business in the '70s. And when Carter was elected, and new housing started to ... And interest rates went up like crazy. New housing started to actually ... Went to a negative number. My dad owned a construction business, and he was manufacturing those tiles. Or a business in construction, he was manufacturing those tiles.
And I was there the day that they had the auction. I was there when he and his partner flipped a coin, and the partner took the drinking fountain, and my dad took a drill press. And that drill press stood in my garage, in my family's garage, I think from that day until I was in my teens. I don't think my dad ever used it. It was just there. And I remember as a kid, like going out and looking at the drill press because I knew what it represented. It represented this incredible factory, this massive opportunity that closed down.
And it started this obsession I had around the question how do you make business grow? And then that was a pivot to ... After I was ... When I was in my twenties, I had figured that out. I mean, I read so much. I obsessed over this. I didn't stop reading. I read about successful people. Then I read business books, then I got into business at a really high level, and I obsessed around how do you make business grow. And here is the reality, in my twenties, I learned how you can make any business grow. And I did it over, and over, and over again. So much so that a lot of those businesses grew out of business. More businesses die of indigestion than starvation over a million dollars.
So, I watched how you make business grow, but then I had this insight, "Hey, you've got to keep it in business." So, I started asking the question, not just how do you make business grow, but how do you stop business from failing? And it's a quick pivot to how do you make people grow? So, I obsessed over human beings. And in all of my work with entrepreneurs, I've watched it over, and over again, entrepreneurs sabotage their success. You know, it is one of the most painful, and ... I get a little emotional talking about it. It's just debilitating when I watch an entrepreneur just start making bad decisions, and sabotaging their team, sabotaging themselves, and not showing up in way that they should.
And here are the symptoms of sabotage, I want you to just ... I want you to know what they are. The entrepreneur who starts to procrastinate excessively. They're doing well, but now they're procrastinating. They're not doing what they need to do. Or the entrepreneur who just doesn't show up. Like, makes a commitment, and doesn't fulfill the commitment, and doesn't show up. This happens all the time. Talk to people who ... And ask them, have you ever been burned by a small business? And they'll tell you stories of these things. It's the entrepreneur who starts having increasingly erratic behavior, has trouble showing up. A lack of focus, not getting the right things done on a daily basis, making commitments and not fulfilling them, all of those things are sabotage of success. That is you sabotaging your success.
If you don't feel like showing up, those are all symptoms that you are in a sabotage loop. And here's what my experience says about being in a sabotage loop, is that if you have an opportunity, and your not fulfilling it. Now if you don't have enough opportunity, if you're not generating enough leads, and you're doing all of those things. Well, those are the symptoms of you not taking the right actions. Go generate leads.
But if you have a business that could grow, and you've created and opportunity that should grow, but you're not making the right decisions. You know that you've got ... You're leaving money on the table. You know there is more opportunity there, you know that there is more that you should be doing. You can see the million dollar, the ten million dollar, the hundred million dollar company. You know the math would work, if you could just get the things you need to get done, but it's not happening, you are in a sabotage loop.
You'll start arguing with partners. You'll start frustrating yourself if you're working on your own. You'll start getting down on yourself. You know what, you'll start seeing the people around you show up in a different way. You'll stat getting frustrated with the people around you. And if any of these things at any level on the spectrum are happening to you, I want to help you. Because here's what I've found, is there is a predictable reasons that entrepreneurs are in a sabotage loop.
See, I've been doing this for a long time. And when an entrepreneur starts to spiral, I don't like to watch. I want to jump in and stop it. When an entrepreneur tells me they have a business where they've gotten it to a million, but now they're having trouble getting to the desk. Or they aren't doing things, or they're procrastinating, or they're ... And you know, here's what I can tell you, they're not working with us. Because here's why we get into sabotage loop, there is several reasons.
So, first ... And by the way, I watched this over and over. And you can watch it in any industry. When we were in real estate, the top ten real estate agents in the United States was a revolving door because most of the real estate agents had these issues. In businesses where the average business size is small, like real estate, average business size is very small. The average realtor, I think makes up about 30, or 40, maybe it's up to $50,000 a year. But it's not that much, and that's gross. Half of realtors in the United States make nothing every year. That's an industry where the numbers are small. You see this sabotage of success all the time.
Let me share with you why this happens, so you can make sure you don't have this happen to you. Because you never figure out you're in a sabotage loop until it's done. First, if you can't see your next steps. If you're in a place where there is a lot of opportunity, but you don't have clarity around what you should be executing every day. You don't have a strategic plan that tells you where you're gonna be tomorrow. You don't have a process to create that strategic plan. Here's what happens: Eventually, you can only run project by project for so long. And without having a strategic plan it starts getting hard for either ... By yourself it's really difficult. With a team it's near impossible to grow without a strategic plan, so you'll start to sabotage your results. You'll start to have those feelings of procrastination, and you'll find yourself wanting to sleep in.
If you don't have a strategic plan, that's why. If that's what haunting you, the feeling of why am I sleeping in? See, sometimes we're so deep in a sabotage loop, it's not that we're even saying, "Why am I not doing everything I should do?" We're asking questions like, "Why am I sleeping in?" Because we're so backed away from the actual problem. Like, you're not doing the things you should do, and it's frustrating you. And your to-do list isn't getting done, and it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. And now you're getting frustrated with yourself, and now you're at the place where that is causing such a high level of exhaustion. You actually feel like you need more sleep because of all the pressure, and noise that's going on. It's brutal.
Another reason why entrepreneurs sabotage their success, get this, this is one that's going to shock you. It's when they're overwhelmed by the opportunity that's just around the corner, and they know how big it is. If you've looked at your business, and you've said, "Ah, I think this is so huge." But you're not getting the right things done, and you're not executing, you're not moving forward. It might be 'cause you're overwhelmed by the size of the business. And it probably means you're a highly integral entrepreneur. You're someone who tells the truth most of the time. You don't like ... You don't BS. You might tell a white lie every once in a while, but for the reality of your life you are an honest integral entrepreneur. And when you're overwhelmed by the opportunity, here's what happens, see if this makes sense.
You will sabotage your opportunity because if it's overwhelming, and you don't have clarity as to how you're going to deliver, or what you're going to do next, or how you're going to build the infrastructure around you, or what team members you need, or any of those things. You will sabotage that opportunity because it only feels like pain, and you know that the more you do, you're going to let someone down. And so whether consciously, or unconsciously you are sabotaging the opportunity in a protective way.
So, some of these things, they're so removed from our consciousness, that there is meta programs that are going on. Like, I'm an honest entrepreneur, I don't lie, I don't make things up. I tell people the truth. Well, if you're overwhelmed by the opportunity, chances are you're gonna have a really hard time growing it until you can see the next steps. Until you can see how to handle it all, then you'll stop the sabotage.
Here's another big one. You know, earlier I was talking about if you don't have leads coming in, go out and get crazy with lead generation first, then focus on that. But if you are ... If you have generated leads, and you've got people coming towards you, and you know ... And there is opportunity there, and you're not doing the right things, it may be because you're overwhelmed with your success. And here's what I mean by that: it's not just that you won't take the action because you don't know how to deliver. It's that there is so many people coming towards you, that there is such a high rate of flow.
One other reason that you might get into a place where you sabotage your success, is you are in a true growth equals pain cycle. You're in a place where you have created an opportunity where the more you sell, the more those clients will tell other clients, the more business you'll get. And the more you perform right now, the more pain you will be in because you don't have the structure, the systems, the people, the infrastructure around you to deliver on what that would take.
And what happens when you feel that way, is in the moment you will not show up in the way you want to. You will not do what you want to do. You will be thinking, "Why am not getting all this stuff done?" Or people around you will be questioning, "Why isn't he getting all this stuff done?" It's because you're in a growth equals pain cycle. And this can be one of those things where ... And you know where you see this like crazy, is in real estate. Cadey and I did ... Like I said earlier, we did a ton in real estate. The top ten is the revolving door. There is a reason. It gets to a point in real estate where because there is no training on team building. Everybody trains how to lead generate and sell, but no, or negligible training on team building.
Everybody gets to a point where growth equals pain, even in the top ten businesses in real estate. And rarely do they have a strategic plan, rarely do they have a communication's system to deliver to their people where they're going. And rarely do they have any idea how to build their company, and that's exactly what you need to stop the sabotage of success. Is to have clear structure around you, so that there is always a strategic plan. So, if you get to the place where you feel like you're procrastinating, you go back to that strategic plan, read through it, get back confident, and excited in it, and you will move forward. You will stop procrastinating.
You get to the place where you have a clear communication's structure in your business. So, not only do you have a strategic plan because that's only one part of it. That's one leg on a table. You also in addition to strategic plan, where you are going, you have to have a communication's structure, where you can tell a team where you're going, get their help, and do it in a repeated way where you can predict the future. Because then you will never sabotage. When you can do that over, and over again, it gets more, and more exciting. You will find yourself waking up earlier, energized. If you were there, and now you're not there, ask yourself if what I'm saying has any validity.
The last thing you need is a system to consistently, and constantly identify what infrastructure is needed next in your business. I have news for you, if your business is growing, you're never gonna stop building it. And at the beginning, it's gonna be up to you. You can't just go hire somebody to run it. And so you have to make the decisions as to how to build that business, how to build the infrastructures around you. You have to have clarity around it. And this is how I know these are the things that stop entrepreneurial sabotage because that's been my obsession forever. Helping entrepreneurs create more, and that's why I built systems around these three things. And that's why the entrepreneurs who work with us have businesses they don't grow, they explode.
We had ... Now I'm her client, Mariah Coz, and Megan Minns, her COO joined our program. There were only two of them. Mariah told us at one point ... Or told me at one point. The first time I ever met her, she actually said, "I don't think I'll be able to manage people, or lead a team. And I have one person, her name is Megan, and I just don't think we will ever be able to. And I just don't know how it will ever work." And I explained to her, "Megan, or Mariah, that is one of the most limiting things you could say as an entrepreneur." And then I went on to explain to her what we did, she became a client. And she learned how to create a clear strategic plan of where you're going, and she was excited about it.
And then she and Megan put the communication's structure, a cadence into the business. When it was just the two of them, they did it just the two of them. They showed up to daily huddles. They did their weekly meetings. They did their quarterly meetings. They did the monthly meetings. They did exactly what they should do. They created targeted interactions, so as they started to add people, it worked. And they had clarity as to who they were hiring, why they were hiring them, and what their role, responsibility, results ... Everything, that coming in, what was going to happen, so they were hiring with confidence.
And because they had those things, they stopped sabotaging. When Mariah told me she didn't she would ever be able to work with people. That is a sabotage statement. That is a I can't see forward statement. I can't see clearly statement. But then given the structure, so that she ... So, that I can't see clearly went away, and she's now confident in where she and Mariah ... Or she and Megan are going with the company. They've gone from two people to ten people. And from a million, to now I believe well over three million in run rate.
And I was just ... I had tons of conversations with Mariah last week, and because now we're working together. And it's just amazing to watch her company grow, and her opportunities grow. And what she's doing is now up-leveling and growing. Why? Because she has a strategic plan. She can see the future. She's not doing all the work anymore with Megan. She has an entire team in place doing what she was doing. And just so you have a perspective on time, we've been working together about five months. They've experienced 300% growth in their business. Why? Because they were in a sabotage place before, and now they've eliminated all of it, and you can too.
So, there is a clear reason why we sabotage success. And when you put the right systems in place, and eliminate those reasons, you protect yourself. And I really want you to let this sink in because often times you don't realize, you don't recognize how much of a sabotage loop you're in until you're so deep. Or when you come up for air, it's ugly.
I want to help you avoid that. Far too many entrepreneurs end up in a place where they question how they got there, and you don't have to. When you know where you're going, you can communicate it clearly to the people around you. And know who, and how to hire next on your team, you will stay of sabotaging yours success.
If you're ready to move your business forward in a way that you never thought possible, go to BillionaireCode.com. Answer a few questions from my team, and fill out the information, and book a call with one of my team members. Let us share with you how we help entrepreneurs grow their businesses fast, in a way that things like sabotage and procrastination are a thing of the of the past. Because there is so much to focus on, because your excitement is about how fast you're growing. BillionaireCode.com.