Why Do People Fail?

If you have read enough articles and books or listened to the many self-help experts out there you will find consistent factors as to why people fail. We could be talking about many different kinds of failures. Certainly business failures but also failures in many other endeavors such as weight lose, improved health, relationships and so on. The two common denominators that I have observed with any failure seems to be the lack of planning and the lack of taking correct actions to achieve that plan. 

I meet with business owners and many other business people on a daily basis. I am constantly amazed as to how many people don’t have a business plan. I’m not talking about a 100-page document that addresses everything from the competition to a five-year financial projection. I’m talking about a simple vision of what the business will look like a year out, or three years out or even five years out. As Stephen Covey talks about in his book titled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People….”you must start with the end in mind.” When I meet with business owners many times I ask this question… “what is your business going to look like when it’s finished?”  That usually creates a look on their face that says….”what in the world are you talking about?” As a business owner or anyone in and around business you must have a plan. You need to understand exactly what it is you want to accomplish and when you will accomplish it. You also need to share this with many of those around you.  They can be the ones that help you get there. I always like to first look at the big picture a number of years out. Then break it down into shorter-term goals and objectives within a year and then within the next 90 days. Taking your plan to a shorter term and smaller objectives will make the process seem a lot less daunting.

Once you have a plan you need to take the correct actions to achieve it. A plan is useless unless it is acted upon. This is the second common denominator that leads to failure. That is, the lack of taking the correct actions that will lead you to your objectives. Notice I said “correct” actions.  Many people take action but it is the wrong action. Jim Rohn who is a business speaker and author explains why people fail very simply.  He says “failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day.” He goes on to explain why people make errors in judgment every day. Basically it is because there is no immediate consequence. People will eat the wrong foods every day that don’t result in immediate problems. Quite the opposite, it creates a sense of immediate satisfaction. People will smoke a pack or more a day with no immediate consequences. But in both of these examples the long term health affects can be dramatic. In business the actions you are taking today will determine the results you get in the future. And yet so many don’t consider the future and consequently don’t know exactly what actions they need to take in order to get there. Why is that? I believe that most are so wrapped up in what has to happen today they fail to consider the future.  The old adage “work ON your business not just IN it” comes to mind.

Armed with this information it becomes clear as to what you need to do in order to achieve success.  First you must plan. I would suggest a yearly cycle that is visited every 90 days. Once the plan is in place determine the actions necessary to achieve the objectives. Take the opposite approach to Jim Rohm’s definition of failure.  What correct actions can you take on a daily basis that will propel you to success? Ingrain those in your daily routine. Also determine any actions that you are performing that are in direct conflict with your objectives. Have the discipline to discontinue these.

In the end, the formula for success and the avoidance of failure is not that complicated.  Yet many of us don’t do the things that are necessary and worse make the daily errors in judgment that lead to failure. Don’t be one of those people. Prepare your plan and take the correct actions. The results will be amazing.