If you are reaching for success, the only thing that can hurt you more than procrastination is complacency. When you procrastinate, you hold off on doing what you know will inevitably need to be done. You may hesitate, but at the end of the day you are fully aware what steps you must take in order to get to the next level of your career or business. Your internal struggle is to get physically or mentally motivated in order to complete a task.
Complacency is an entirely different beast. When you are complacent, you feel your best has been done or perhaps you just don’t care to do better. You are happy to rest on your laurels and ride the wake of mediocrity that followed your initial effort. Your internal struggle is to convince yourself that putting forth the effort to learn a new skill or bring in new customers will be worth your time. When you get to this place, be afraid… very very afraid.
Why? Complacency kills. Complacency is like an unneeded nap. It feels great in the moment, but you wake up groggy and struggling to catch up on what you missed while you were knocked out. It happens to people at all stages of their business life. I’ve seen colleagues get stuck professionally because they didn’t think they needed to learn new skills. I’ve watched businesses crumble because they weren’t willing to adapt to the new norms of their industry (Borders book stores anyone?).
The good news is that even though there isn’t a magic pill you can take to prevent complacency, there are some things you can do to help avoid it.
Be Alerted of Your Competition… Literally!
Google has a wonderful free tool called Google Alerts. With the tool you can set up alerts to be notified when new things appear on the web regarding a specific keyword. Load up the names of a few competitors and you’ll have a regular reminder that your competition is out there hustling as well.
Build A Support Crew
These could be people in your field of interest, other business owners, or friends and family who don’t mind throwing on a cheerleader outfit some days. Find a group of people that will be a positive influence in what you are trying to accomplish. If you have haters and doubters in your inner circle, push them out. Successful people don’t tolerate negative Ned’s or Nancy’s.
Be OK With Failure
Avoiding complacency doesn’t mean you’ll do everything correctly. You may fail and learning something new or try business tactics that don’t work out. That is perfectly acceptable. Many times you can learn more from losing than you can from winning. The key is embracing the fact that you can always learn more.