8 Reasons Entrepreneurs Fail to Reach Their Full Potential

A wise person once said, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Now, granted, when you’re knee deep in problems, right in the thick of confusion and chaos, this saying may feel pointless- and even a bit disheartening.

But lemme tell you a little secret: I believe it to be true with every fiber of my being.


Simply because I know that the potential is inside each and every one of us, just waiting to be explored. I was raised by a mother that pulled me- and all of my siblings- up by our bootstraps and taught us the importance of not only understanding our worth- but our inherent potential for more.

As entrepreneurs, our potential is a part of our everyday story to succeed. Do you have it? Of course you do. Do you want to truly unleash it? I thought so.

These are 8 reasons that entrepreneurs fail to reach their full potential- and what you need to do to flip the switch:

1. Unclear Definition of Success

Often I talk to entrepreneurs that simply aren’t clear on how they would define ‘success.’ I ask them, “What does success look like- or feel like- to you?” only to be answered with blank stares and mumbles of “well, I don’t know… money?”

Sure, money is for most people an indicator of success… but I want to know what it looks like TO YOU. So ask yourself, if you reached your full potential, what would it feel like? Who would you be? Define those things and you’re already one step closer.

2. Passion In the Wrong Places

Let’s start with an example: Say a chef loves working IN the food and beverage industry. He loves his job, feels good in the role he is in and the work he is accomplishing, so he thinks, ‘I should open my own restaurant.’ Except that running your own business means committing to working ON your business day in and day out, not just IN the business (as you would for someone else.)

Sure, it’s exhausting- I get that. But the difference between reaching your potential and letting it fall by the wayside is the ability to have a mindset shift that allows you to think, see and act with big picture mentality. Being an entrepreneur means being able to transition your passion for working IN your business to working ON your business for the greater good of your overall success and growth.

3. The Need to Please

OK, let’s keep this one short and sweet: YOU DO NOT- AND WILL NOT- HAVE TO PLEASE EVERYONE! It’s so incredibly important to find the strength to say NO! every now and then. Remember, as an entrepreneur with #allthethings going on in a day- not to mention your own, personal lives- we need to learn when to ignore the distractions and focus on ourselves and our businesses. Keep being a “Yes Woman” and you’ll eventually feel the burnout take its toll on your true potential.

4. Blaming Others

One of the greatest gifts of being an entrepreneur is the ability- and freedom- to work for yourself. You call the shots, you make the decisions- but that also means you have to hold yourself accountable for the good, the bad and the ugly. Blaming others will only hinder your overall success and limit your potential to truly make an impact with your business. Bottom line: No pointing fingers… it’s time to step up to the plate.

 5. Playing It Safe

Being an entrepreneur is one of the scariest things in the world. Seldom does it come with safety nets, insurances, and promises of a better tomorrow. What it does come with are opportunities to be bold, make tough decisions and take the leaps of faith that are critical to your success.

6. Inaction

Think about it: standing still gets you??? NOWHERE- the answer is nowhere! How are you ever going to reach your full potential if you don’t take the risks, the gut feelings, the massive steps of action and actual DO SOMETHING? It’ll never be easy- but it’s always better than doing nothing.

7. Reactive Decision Making

We all know how unexpected life is. No matter how much we plan there always seems to be at least one surprise waiting for us down the road, right? While there may be some things that we can’t foresee, there are many other hiccups along the way that could be avoided altogether, rather than allowing them to happen and then reacting as they happen. If you’re only dealing with things as they happen then quite frankly, you’re not thinking far enough ahead.

It’s vital in business- especially as an entrepreneur- to be proactive in nature, so that you can make decisions for the future based on your mission, vision, purpose, passion and values!

8. A Lack of Willingness to Learn

Finally, let’s never overlook the importance of being the perpetual student. So many times the ones I see struggling in business are the ones who failed to continue to learn. I myself attend retreats and conferences every year to challenge myself with new ideas and pursue growth and learning in ways I never have before.

So what does this all mean, right? Well hopefully as you read this, you didn’t find yourself checking off the boxes to things that perfectly described you. I want you all to be incredibly successful entrepreneurs- and the opposite of the characteristics listed here.

BUT… if you did find yourself relating to some of these, the beauty is that you have the power to change it. Work to turn the tables on each of these items: playing it too safe? Go for that big client you’ve been dreaming about. Unclear of what you think true success looks like? Grab your journal and start mapping it all out.

YOU- and only you as an entrepreneur– hold the key to your growth, success and overall potential, both professionally and personally. What do you need to change to reach your full potential? The answers may be closer than you think.


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