Cognitive Distortions That Hold You Back From Business Success

All Posts, Business Coaching, Featured, Mindset • March 12, 2024
the thoughts that hold you back in your business

In the challenging world of running a business, our minds can either help us succeed or hold us back. The truth is, I see more women struggle with winning in their business because of a mindset than any other reason! Your thoughts directly impact your success as a mompreneur? Your business is only as successful as the strength of your mindset! The problem? Cognitive distortions can easily impact our mindset- weakening our potential for business success.

The visual below shows how your mindset can impact your level of success. Basically, if you believe in something (and it is important to you), you are more likely to put in the effort and actions needed to achieve it. If you do not believe in it, you are less likely to invest your time, energy, and resources to make it happen because you do not believe it is possible.

Do You Kiss Frogs?

Let’s use a ridiculous example so that we can really step away and view this from an outside perspective. Do you believe that if you kiss a frog, he will turn into a prince? If you do not believe frogs will turn into princes from a kiss, you aren’t kissing any frogs. But if you believe kissing a frog will turn him into a prince- you might be puckering up those lips!

Notice that the Level of Importance is right under Belief in the above visual. That is because believing it is not enough to achieve levels of success. Why? You can believe all you want, but if it is not important to you, then you are not putting in the effort or tenacity to achieve the desired results. (AKA importance often is the WHY behind what you do.)

Let’s go back to frogs. If you believe that kissing a frog will turn it into a prince- BUT you do not want to marry a prince, then you will not give any effort or take any action to kiss a frog. Do you see where I am going with this? However, if you do want to marry a prince, and that has been on your happily-ever-after-list since you could walk, then you will put in a ton of effort to finding your prince charming!

This all leads to your Results and Tenacity. Again, how important is it that you find a prince by kissing a frog? If it is critical, you will kiss thousands of froggies before you ever consider giving up. Giving you a higher chance of experiencing the highest level of success. But if it is not as important to you, then you might give it a few tries before deciding frog kissing is not your thing after all. And since you put in less effort your level of success will not be anywhere near the level of our determined froggy finder.

Now, as mompreneurs, we must decide whether we want our fairytale business dreams to come true. If so, it’s time to work on our belief system and remove the cognitive distortions that hold us back from kissing those frogs!

Cognitive Distortions Keep Us From Our Dream Business

Since belief plays a significant role in our success, we must look at the biggest obstacle surrounding our beliefs. In my opinion, it is cognitive distortions.

So, what are cognitive distortions?

According to Wikipedia, “Cognitive distortions are thoughts that cause individuals to perceive reality inaccurately1.”

For moms running a business and caring for their family, sneaky thoughts can make a big difference between succeeding or failing hard. Learning how to take our thoughts captive is critical to our business success. It allows us to focus on what is true, which helps us make wise business choices that lead to success.

As a mompreneur, if you are making business decisions based on inaccurate realities, you are doing a massive disservice to yourself and your business! So, let’s dive deeper to see which cognitive distortions might be impacting your business success.

7 Common Thought Distortions that Hold You Back

which cognitive distortions are holding you back in your business

1. Emotional Reasoning

A mompreneur who uses emotional reasoning lets their feelings shape how she sees things. This can lead to quick business decisions based on emotions rather than facts.

What is the Cost of Emotional Reasoning in Your Business?

Loss of: income, growth, opportunities, and dreams

Now, you might think I am exaggerating, but I am not.

Example of Emotional Reasoning: Say you are starting to learn to market your services, and you see all the social platforms, lead magnets, and everything else that is associated with marketing. Maybe you feel confident with Instagram and Facebook, but when you look at YouTube or Pinterest, you feel so uneducated and this causes you to start to feel overwhelmed. At this point, you do not even know where to start because it all “feels so new and big,” so eventually, you decide not to even try and just keep doing your IG and FB posting.

This action was based on emotion. Not on the logic of what was best for marketing your business. This kind of emotional reasoning is costing you! It is costing you the opportunity to serve an audience on a new platform. It is costing you networking opportunities with others on those platforms. Both of those are costing you income and growth.

And you because you are so focused on gaining comfort by eliminating the emotion of overwhelm, you often do not realize what you just gave up by not pursuing it.

Do you see how dangerous cognitive thoughts are for a business owner?

Choose to look at the facts, not your emotions.

2. All-or-Nothing Thinking Mentality

Some people see things as great or terrible, with no middle ground. They think every business effort is either a big win or a huge loss. This can make running a business feel like a wild emotional ride and can prevent us from even starting!

Mompreneurs who have an all-or-nothing mindset, often have strict and unrealistic expectations for themselves. Their self-made rules can cause guilt, frustration, and a false ideal of what achievement looks like, adding to stress and burnout.

Have you ever decided not to do something in your business because it was not exactly like you wanted it? Maybe you haven’t perfected that website, lead magnet or blog post so you decide to scrap it completely.

BE CAREFUL! It says in the name, “all-or-NOTHING’. Don’t let this cognitive distortion cause you to have nothing! Quality is important in our businesses, but something less-that-perfect is still better than nothing.

3. Fortune Telling

Fortune telling is a type of thinking pattern where an individual predicts a negative outcome without considering more realistic possibilities. This type of thought distortion is common among mompreneurs, particularly when entering new markets or launching new products.

If you tend to imagine failure, public rejection, or financial loss without any concrete evidence to support your predictions this might be you.

This way of thinking can prevent women from taking action, as the fear of an imagined negative outcome overshadows the potential for success. It’s essential to challenge such fortune-telling tendencies by evaluating the realistic probabilities of different outcomes and understanding that uncertainty doesn’t automatically mean negative results.

4. Discounting the Positive

PS This might be you if you have a hard time accepting a compliment or you do not celebrate your business success milestones…so pay attention.

Mompreneurs who discount the positive dismiss their achievements. This can lead to a cycle of undervaluing their accomplishments and self-worth.

Why does this matter? If you devalue yourself, you will devalue the products and or services that you offer. This means you will more than likely be undercharging, costing you money, which is costing you time with your family. Not to mention, our children often learn how to value theirselves based on the example set before them. If you do not want your children discounting their value, stop modeling it.

If you catch yourself saying, “Oh, I was just lucky,” or “Well, it was just that one time,” you are applying this cognitive distortion to your thoughts. Ladies, STOP discounting the positive. YOU ARE VALUABLE, so stop responding in a way that tells you and others that you are not.

The truth is you worked hard; you remained diligent in stewarding your talents so that when the opportunity came along, you were able to maximize it. You were faithful to the work that allowed you to achieve what was set before you. Yes, you may not have directly controlled the opportunity that was presented to you- but you did control the actions it took to be prepared for it and the actions it took to succeed in it, so do not discount that.

Again, you are valuable! No more denying it!

5. Labeling

Entrepreneurs who label often assign overly harsh or unjustified labels to themselves or others. Fueled by negativity, a simple setback may lead to self-classification as a “failure,” which can hinder confidence and motivation.

Looking for an Example of labeling? Say you have been consistently posting on social media, but you have yet to experience the growth or engagement you thought you would. It is easy to label yourself as someone “not good at social media” or label yourself as “not enough”.

The result of this distortion: You lose motivation by labeling yourself “not successful” with social media. This might cause you to put less effort into your social media strategy—less effort = less results. When you continue to go down this path you ultimately give up social media because you do not believe it is for you. Remember our visual at the top of this post? Prime example, except this one doesn’t include kissing frogs. Although, some of you might prefer frogs over social media marketing.

6. Mindreading

Mompreneurs often fall into the trap of thinking they know what others are thinking, usually assuming the worst. This can cause self-doubt, poor communication, and loss of income.

Do not assume; it is too costly for a business owner to assume. Forecasting with data and facts in front of you is one thing, but mindreading should be a no-go.

Example: Say you need to do market research to better brand yourself to target your ideal audience. But instead of sending out a survey to your ideal client, you think you know what their responses would be so you skip the survey and choose to mindread. The Problem. Everyone is different and you are not a mindreader (sorry to burst your bubble).

What can it cost you? Well, in this scenario, if you missed the mark, it not only wastes your time, money, and energy but it could cause you to fail simply because you choose to mindread instead of ask. It is not worth it! Do not mindread; instead, get the facts by asking so you can make educated business decisions.

7. Catastrophizing

Catastrophizing in mompreneurship means exaggerating the impact and chances of bad things happening. When faced with uncertainty, those who catastrophize tend to jump to worst-case scenarios, causing stress, worry, and a distorted view of risks, which can lead to missed chances.

I see this a lot when working with clients on increasing their pricing or attempting new product/service offerings. It is so easy for any business owner to catastrophize when the stakes are high financially. I have worked with many women who catastrophized that they would lose all clients and would not afford to support their families financially if they increased their prices.

But as soon as they broke free from catastrophizing, and focused on the facts, they saw substantial financial outcomes they never dreamed possible. Every single one of them was thankful that they overcame this to experience the success waiting for them on the other side.

There are other thought distortions, like overgeneralization2, jumping to conclusions, and others not listed above, but let’s move on to how to overcome distortions.

Tips to Help Fight Cognitive Distortions

As you can see, our mindset can really harm our business growth and success. The good news is- that you can take control and change those thoughts! And when we change our thoughts, we change our strategies. And when we change our strategies we pivot to create a new level of success.

5 Steps to Make Wise Business Choices without Cognitive Distortions

Step 1: Analyze your thoughts, and look to see which thought distortions you use.

Step 2: Write down what those thoughts are costing you.

Step 3: Rewrite the truth. What is true? Look for FACTS, not emotions.

Step 4. Restate the Truth and choose to make decisions based on Truth, NOT the distorted thought.

Step 5: REPEAT! Distorted thoughts are deep-rooted and will not be a one-time fix. Continuously repeat these steps as you work hard to eliminate thought distortions.

Do you find distortions are holding you back from business success?

I intentionally target mindset with business mompreneurs through ongoing business coaching. Feel free to schedule a free strategy call with me to share what holds you back in your business, and I would be more than happy to give you some tips and see if ongoing coaching would help you win in your mindset as a mompreneur.

how to fix cognitive distortions so you have business success

Cited Sources

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