Business owners face a lot of challenges in running a business. Many of those challenges are external, but some come from within – in the form of personality traits that hold you back. Unfortunately, personality factors that can hold you back are often overlooked when business owners are trying to determine what needs to change in their businesses.
I think everyone could agree that the strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits of a business owner have an impact on their business. They directly affect …
- communication and response to feedback
- how you handle conflict
- willingness to adapt when changes are needed
- money and resource management
In addition, certain personality traits can influence how you view the world around you – in terms of growth mindset vs limiting beliefs.
Stubbornness is one of those personality traits that can be a problem for both you and your business. Or is it?
It depends on the definition you use.
Many business owners might say they’re stubborn and mean they consider themselves determined to succeed at all costs. But there’s a difference between being determined to do whatever it takes to succeed and being stubborn. Sometimes, being stubborn can actually sabotage your chance of success.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Stubbornness
There can be a good side and bad side to every personality trait. Stubbornness is no different.
There are those who argue there are benefits to stubbornness. There are even those who claim that stubborn children are more likely to succeed as adults. They have some valid points.
The “good side” of stubbornness can give you desirable qualities of determination and perseverance in the face of even overwhelming obstacles. You don’t see giving up as an option, but it’s not just a blind determination not to admit failure that drives you. With this “good” definition of stubbornness, you …
- Face challenges as the learning opportunity they are
- Seek out solutions and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work and keep moving forward
- Are confident in your beliefs but open to feedback and constructive criticism, because you believe there’s always room for improvement
- Are willing to make adjustments based on both internal and external feedback
- Are aware we all have weaknesses and are willing to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses
- See yourself as capable of learning and growth
- Accept and seek out the help of those who are strong in areas where you have weaknesses
- Realize everyone makes mistakes and see mistakes as opportunities for growth
If you look closely, you’ll notice all those characteristics represent a growth mindset. Despite your stubborn determination to persevere at all costs and not let challenges bring you down, you are open to making changes when needed. You think in terms of potential and problem solving, rather than being prideful.
- pridefully sticking with something and unwillingness to make changes (because that would mean you were wrong and you’re never wrong) – even when evidence shows changes should be made
- refusal to see another point of view and even bullying others
- denial of facts
- difficulty taking constructive criticism
- inability to honestly evaluate and compensate for weaknesses
- belief that admitting weaknesses is something only “losers” do
These traits feed into a limiting, or fixed, mindset. Perseverance is great, but when you stubbornly stick with a certain position or way of doing things, despite evidence that that something needs to change, that’s a problem for business owners. That “ugly side of perseverance” can make you too stubborn to succeed.
In a recent blog, I told the story of a business owner who struggled with stubborn determination that crossed the line into the “ugly side” of perseverance. He kept making the same bad choices over and over when his business started swirling the drain. He chose to ignore his weaknesses – both within himself and as a business owner – that negatively affected his ability to run a successful business and fulfill his dream. He brushed off the feedback he was getting and the conflict his decisions were causing in his marriage. His inability to face the reality of how his misplaced stubborn determination was destroying his dream, his life, and his health could be a “what NOT to do” case study for business owners everywhere.
His story is the perfect example of the ugly side of stubbornness and determination to push forward despite clear signs that something needs to change. He paid the price. In the end, he lost everything.
So, how do you know when perseverance and determination to succeed crosses the line to become a liability?
I think the answer to that is pretty clear. If you are stuck and struggling in your business, despite doing other things right, it is certainly something you should (or could) consider.
Taking the Leap from Self-Sabotaging to Healthy Stubbornness
Take the leap to finding out where you stand in terms of whether your stubbornness is helping or hurting you. Be open and willing to take an honest personal assessment. Also, don’t fear the results, because knowledge is empowering! After all, you can’t possibly change something without the knowledge that something exists and needs to change.
It can be difficult to look closely and honestly at yourself to identify traits that are not the most flattering or may be holding you back. But if the negative side of stubbornness is something you think you might struggle with (or if you’ve been told you possess this personality trait), you need to consider whether your stubbornness is healthy perseverance or keeping you from success.
It can be hard to let go of something, even if it isn’t working for you. Let go of it you must, though – if you want to get to something better. You can’t reach out for the right thing if you’re holding on to the wrong thing! If you’re clinging to habits, beliefs, or behaviors that aren’t serving you (or your business), you will most likely stay stuck right where you are, struggle to ever realize your dream, or – worse – lose everything.
As a business owner, learning to use your personality traits to your benefit is a good thing, but you have to be willing to take a good, hard look at the not-so-pleasant aspects of who you are and how you do things to get there. Once you do, you can work on the traits and beliefs that are keeping you from the success you’re capable of. And that’s a good thing – a VERY good thing!