The Most Important Business Trap To Avoid

June 12, 2014

I like to call this the sand trap.  Because once you’re in the sand trap, it takes a LOT of effort and focus to get out of it.  Usually, you just end up dumping more sand on top of yourself and feeling bad + frustrated about it.   Or at least that’s how I play golf.

Here’s how it goes: You set a big shiny goal for yourself.

Land my first client.  Get 3 guest posts published.  Quit my day job.  

And then, as soon as you do that thing, you IMMEDIATELY look to the next thing, or feel bad about the goal that you just achieved.  I landed my first client! Only 10 more to go…. Or Only 3 guest posts out….I need to do like 10.  Better not go out tonight.  or Holy crap I have no more stable income! I better work freaking HARD to make this happen….and stress the heck out in the process

It’s like as soon as the thing happens, the NEXT big goal kicks in and you’ve taken zero time to appreciate the success of the goal you just reached.   Without a second given to appreciate the effort and energy it took to achieve, you’ve kicked it to the curb in pursuit of the next big thing.


I talk about business building as climbing a mountain a lot.  And it’s TRUE.  If you just hauled ass up one summit, you would NOT go charging up the next face.  You would sit.  You would enjoy the view.  You would take a million selfies to remind future you + all your friends how hard you worked and how stunning the view is.  You would drink tons of water, enjoy some food, and then, when you are nourished, rested and properly photographed, would you continue on. Or at least that’s how I climb mountains.

So here’s why this is such a dangerous trap.  If you don’t take time to celebrate and appreciate succeeding in what you set out to do, you train your body, mind, spirit, business and the universe not to take you or your goals seriously, and to live in a constant state of stress and uncertainty.

If you do not let your self experience the success you have just created, you make it impossible to advance into the next level of success/abundance/possibility. 

If you don’t let yourself really feel your wins, you’ll block yourself from future wins.   Or put another way, if you’re CONSTANTLY obsessed about what you want to happen in the future, you’ll never get there without appreciating your present.

This is not just a business thing, it’s a LIFE thing.   How many of you have had that friend (or been that friend…) who all she wanted was a boyfriend.  And as soon as she got one, all she could obsess about was when they were going to get engaged.  And then the wedding, etc.  And…..that sucks. It totally blocks her from enjoying the life she’s created and the wins she’s achieved.    You can see how over-obsessing about the future is totally limiting her enjoyment of her life, and you feel bad for her. 

So here’s how this phenomenon almost caught me in it’s sticky, sandy trap. 

Months ago, in 2013, I made a promise to the Universe, and myself, that when I hit my first 10K month, I would fly my sister and I to Hawaii as a celebration for all our hard work.   My sister has been ground zero for my businesses development.  She’s had more late night teary “I’m freaked out about the future” phone calls to count.

She’s had to give me the “You’re Lorelai Gilmore building her Dragonfly Inn” pep talk MORE than I can count.  She’s been stalwart in her belief that I can make a good living helping other people, and it’s through her support I kept going was things were hard.  We deserved a chill out, relax, super fancy vacation to celebrate.

So I did it! I made ten thousand dollars in one month.  It was amazing.  And due to her work schedule, we had to wait to book the Hawaii trip.  And every month that went by I would think “Should I really spend the money on this? What if that was a fluke? What if I never make that kind of income again? I should probably just save all my money for a rainy day…because the economy.

And every month, I would continue making solid money (and working with incredible clients!), but I wasn’t letting myself ENJOY it because I was too busy obsessing about all the bad things that could happen in the future.  And I was also feeling bad and stressed that I hadn’t done the thing that I said I was going to do.  But I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger and make it happen because of uncertainty! fear! doubt!

And the Universe started to notice that I was not keeping my promise.  I started to feel trapped at a certain level of business growth.  I literally could not advance to the next level without doing what I promised to do and celebrating the heck out of hitting a major milestone.

So I did it.  I booked us tickets to Maui and three weeks later we were snorkeling with tropical fish.  It was an incredible, transformative trip.  photo (12)

We talked  a lot about what we wanted for our lives, and we both made more promises to the Universe, witnessed by the crystal blue waters of Hawaii.

I feel different now.  Grounded, more focused, clearer than ever about my big mission to help change the way people think about starting and growing their independent businesses.   There are some big shifts on the horizon and I could not be more excited about them.  I had to experience the success I had created. I needed to  enjoy it, and release it to make space for the new and more in my future.

My sister decided it was time to stop sharing her deep wisdom exclusively her closest friends.  After months of talking about creating a podcast for busy women like herself who want to live happier, healthier lives without spending a fortune or quitting their day jobs (or listening to hour long podcasts), she did it. Within 2 weeks of being home from Hawaii she’d launched it, and within the first week she’s been on the outskirt rankings of New + Noteworthy.

It’s short ‘n sweet, powerful and sassy, not to mention smart as hell.  She’s really over delivering on content and I could not be more proud of her for stepping out and sharing her voice with the world.

So, don’t fall into the sandtrap of not celebrating and appreciating the hard work you’ve put in.  It’s a surefire way to burn out and give yourself an ulcer, and limit your business growth.  

Celebrate your wins, no matter how small.  And when you get more frequent bigger ones, don’t stop appreciating yourself.


Put more you in your business

(regardless of your myers-brigg)

4 thoughts on “The Most Important Business Trap To Avoid

  1. Ellen … what a GREAT post! This is such a timely reminder for me and I couldn’t be more grateful.

    Congrats to your Sister – you two are blessed to have one another’s backs <3.

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