There’s a lot at stake when you’re a small business owner. You work long hours, make tough decisions, and carry the weight of your business on your shoulders. What’s often overlooked, however, is the emotional toll that comes with the job – in particular, self-blame.
Self-blame is a typical psychological response to failure or setbacks. When sales are low, a marketing campaign doesn’t work, or an employee makes a mistake, it’s natural to look inward and question your decisions and abilities. But self-blame is a slippery slope – allowing it to become pervasive and overwhelming can lead to even more feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy.
It’s not hard to see why small business owners are particularly susceptible to this cycle. You wear so many hats. You’re the CEO but also the marketer, accountant, HR manager, and customer service department. So if something goes wrong, it’s easy to blame yourself and feel like you’re letting down your employees or customers.
Plus, unlike large corporations that can absorb a mistake or failure, your business could take a bigger hit because of the same mistake or failure. For example, a failed marketing campaign can mean lost revenue, a bad hire can lead to decreased productivity, or a mismanaged cash flow can lead to bankruptcy. That’s a lot of stress. So it’s no wonder small business owners take failure personally.
So, what can you do to avoid this trap of self-blame? Here are a few suggestions:
Focus on the positive
Instead of dwelling on mistakes or failures, celebrate your successes (no matter how small). Seek out the support of family, friends, mentors, or peers who can provide encouragement and perspective.
Learn from your mistakes
Treat your setbacks as opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge. Ask for feedback from customers, staff, or industry experts to better understand what went wrong and how to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Remember, you’re not alone
There are so many entrepreneurs who face similar challenges to yours. Build a network of peers who can provide support and advice. Join local business associations, attend industry conferences, or participate in online forums.
Self-blame is a big issue for many small business owners. However, implementing the right strategies and support can help you overcome the challenge and succeed. We’d love to help you on your entrepreneurial journey – schedule a time to talk with us!