Have you ever suffered from a streak of bad luck?
Maybe a string of business deals fell through, a meeting didn’t go according to plan, or a big marketing campaign went belly up.
I have bad news for you: All that misfortune is probably your fault.
Part of being successful in business means overcoming challenges. The other part is making sure those challenges aren’t self-inflicted.
I have a few cautionary lessons for you to read on how to avoid self-inflicted bad luck.
Mistake 1: Not Doing As You Say You’ll Do
I run across this all the time. Promises are made and rarely kept. Excuses rule the day, but so few people realize how much this costs them.
I recently hired a temporary employee (not at The Newsletter Pro), and we set up a work agreement for them for a period of time when they needed some extra cash. The employee did a great job, and I made plans based on their performance and commitment.
Now, this side arrangement wasn’t with some random stranger; it was with someone I’d known since they were a kid. A couple weeks before our work agreement ended, they put in their two weeks’ notice to pursue another opportunity. This left me in a bind for those last two weeks. To my employee, it didn’t seem like a big deal, but to me, it was huge. Little will they ever know that it cost them big time.
Just two days before this person gave notice, I was scheming to help them out. They had done such a good job that I wanted to give them a boost; I was going to write a check for $6,000 to pay off their student loans. But because they didn’t honor their commitment, that extra money is now off the table.
I see this kind of miscalculation with CEOs, employees, family, and friends. I’m even guilty of it myself from time to time, but that doesn’t make it right.
When you just can’t keep a commitment, you need to go to the other party, explain the situation, and make a new deal. Of course, people do this all the time, but it’s typically minutes before the deadline or after the deadline has already passed. The best time to make a new deal is the moment you know you can’t meet the terms of the old deal.
By keeping your word, people will trust you more, and with more trust comes greater opportunity.
Mistake 2: Being a Bully
This mistake is common and can go hand in hand with the above mistake.
Let’s say you’re going to miss your deadline or don’t want to continue an agreement of some kind. Instead of being open about their position, I watch people from all walks of life try to bully their way into a better deal. The bullying tactic often works, but it can cost you dearly in the long run.
Employees, customers, and vendors have bullied me many times over the years. In those cases, I was in no position to argue about whatever terms they threw my way. But you better believe I worked hard to make sure that person couldn’t bully me in the future.
Just because you have the upper hand today doesn’t mean you’ll have it tomorrow, so you should treat people the way you want to be treated.
I’ve found that the way people in power (even if it’s short-lived) treat those who are not in power speaks volumes about the person in power’s character.
Mistake 3: Not Taking Ownership
When something goes wrong in life, you have to first be introspective. What did you do wrong? How could you have achieved a better result?
I just signed an agreement that now appears to be a bad deal based on bad information I got. I’m not responsible for the data, but I am 100% responsible for not verifying the data 100% before I signed the agreement. It’s going to cost me a lot of money, but I will do better next time.
Years ago, I was chatting with a prospect, and he told me marketing never works for him. Then he asked me to sign him up for newsletters, and I told him that was a mistake. He was taken aback and asked why. I told him that if all marketing fails for him, newsletters would fail as well, because the problem wasn’t the marketing. There was something wrong with his methods or his business.
We went back and forth, and he insisted he wanted to sign up. I told him I would note in his agreement that I strongly suggested he not sign up so that when he came back 12 months later and said it didn’t work, I could remind him of my initial advice.
He signed up, and, sure enough, 12 months later, he said it didn’t work. So, I showed him the agreement and advised him to take a hard look at himself and his employees because they are the reason the marketing doesn’t work.
I can only imagine how much money he wasted over the years because he wouldn’t take ownership of all his failed marketing efforts.
Hopefully, I’ve given you some good reminders so you can avoid any self-inflicted bad luck in the near future.