your way to failure image

Assumptions are dangerous.

At the very least they can be self-limiting and at the worst they be your own worst enemy.

We've probably all experienced the danger of assumptions in our every day lives:

  • We never ask out the pretty girl, assuming she would never go out with us.
  • We don't bother to apply for that job, because so many others out there are probably more qualified.
  • We don't participate in sports because we're just not good at that kind of stuff.

Assumptions and Your Business

The above examples are from various aspects of our lives, but what about your business?

What assumptions are you making that are holding you back, and choking off the life of your business?

Can you recognize them?

Do you even know they exist?

I assure you they do.

We all make assumptions about our business that are based not of fact, but on belief.

  • We don't tell anyone about our business because people will laugh at us.
  • We don't continue blogging because there are so many bloggers that are better than us, and no one is listening anyway.
  • We stop placing ads for our business because there's too much competition.
  • We don't invest in that marketing course because it would be a waste of money.

Any of these sound familiar?

Some Personal Examples

I can give you some examples of assumptions we've made in our own business that, when challenged have proven to be wrong:

Assumption:  “We're not sales people, we'll never be any good at network marketing.  We'll get rejected for sure”

Fact:  After months of letting this assumption hold us back, we realized that we weren't getting results because we hadn't been exposing our business model to anyone.  When we did, we overcame our fear of rejection, people listened and some even joined.

Assumption:  “We can't compete with other Marketers, we're not experienced enough.”

Fact:  Once we armed ourselves with some basic knowledge of placing ads and understanding the game, we started marketing on the Internet, testing and tweaking and not soon after had our first $10K month in our business.

Assumption:  “We will never be able to compete against other bloggers who write full time.  We just don't have the time.”

Fact:  By writing consistently and speaking directly to our readers, we built a pretty darn popular blog in our niche.  In fact, we even finished 7th in our first blogging contest!

The Best Way to Challenge Assumptions

I've found that best way to challenge assumptions is to detach from the result.

Perhaps it's because I have training as a scientist that I got this fairly quickly, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Assumptions are for the most part based on EMOTIONS,  not on FACTS.

They are borne from self -limiting beliefs you have in yourself.  

So what if you could take the emotions out of it, and TEST rather than assume.

What If You Try… and Fail?

That's great, because it means you tried in the first place.

Too many never do.

If you write a blog post and no one comments, analyze it.    What was it about the post that failed to capture people's attention?

Compare it to posts that drew quite a few comments and social media shares.  What was different?

Why did this post flop when the others were popular?

LEARN from your failure.

After all, the only real failures in life occur when we never try.  

Marketing Takeaway

Assumptions can be lethal to your online business.  They cause hesitation and doubt and, in the worst cases no movement at all (paralysis).

Challenge your self limiting assumptions by detaching from the result.

Rather, gather information, find what worked and what didn't and try to learn from the experience.

The next time you try, you'll do a little better, and then a little better again.

Until finally, you'll realize that the assumption you made in the beginning was 100% false.

What assumptions are holding you back?

    17 replies to "Are You Assuming Your Way To Failure?"

    • Astro Gremlin

      When I began blogging I had to accept the idea that most of what I tried would lead to failure. I wrote posts that no one read, had a standard design that no one liked (including me), and didn’t have a clue about social media. To some extent all of that is still true! That most blogs fail is a fact of the internet. But I made an assumption: If I listened to successful bloggers and took their advice, my blog and marketing success had nowhere to go but up. I’m still experimenting and learning, and meeting some amazing people in the process. This month my affiliate marketing started bringing in a few dollars. Success? Well, it beats 100% failure!

    • Steve Nicholas

      Great post, Dr. Bob! You are so right about the need to make an effort rather than talk yourself out of things. It’s one thing if you know you are patently unqualified for something (For example, I’m not applying for a tenure-track position any time soon, because I haven’t earned my Ph.D. yet.), but you have to try, because you might be able to surprise yourself by how much you can do.

      • Bob

        Very true, Steve… many people misunderstand this concept.

        Of course you can’t apply for a tenured position without the proper degree, but that’s not to say that one cannot take small steps towards getting that degree and, indirectly moving towards the goal of tenure.

        It’s the small, directed steps taken consistently over time that moves us towards the big prizes in life, don’t you think, Steve?

        Thanks for helping me clear up this common misconception. You made a great point!

    • Frank

      Hey Bob, my heart sinks when I read posts like this. I make a lot of assumptions and I’ve been really trying not too recently. I suppose if I don’t try I’ll never know, like you said.

    • Bethany

      Does he have to admit to his past? I think the answer is it’s no one’s business what he used to be. If he is a successful teacher now, just let him do his thing. If he had a rough past, it was probably not his fault and even if it was, he corrected it and now has a better life. He doesn’t have to answer to anyone about his past mistakes or failures. If he is not telling anyone, he is letting the past stay where it belongs. In the past.

    • Nicky

      Ohh that is such a powerful post Bob – I can totally relate to it too. I still do make these assumptions, and probably worse, I still make assumptions about other people too. Working on it ‘though!

      • Bob

        We ALL do it, Nicky. Half of the reason for writing this post was to remind myself not to make assumptions, as well.

        The fact that you are aware of it and making the effort to work on it is terrific, Nicky. It’s the first step, right?

    • Adrienne

      I made my own assumptions about blog commenting Bob. In my mind, I was too intimidated by some of the blogs I visited thinking that they were so popular and successful that the blog owner could care less about my opinion.

      I also had the same opinion with running ads. I thought there were way too many people advertising the same thing so I didn’t go into certain areas. I just needed to learn how to write them so people would pay attention.

      This whole thing is a learning process but in the end, we are the ones holding ourselves back. No one else so you’ve made some great points here. Thanks so much for sharing!

      • Bob

        I love what you say here, Adrienne… “in the end, we are the ones holding ourselves back.”

        How true is that? Great insights, Adrienne.

        So glad that you were able to break through your false assumptions regarding blog commenting, because your comments are always insightful and add to every discussion.

        Just wondering, Adrienne… what was the breakthrough for you? What changed in your mind that gave you the courage to comment on the really popular blogs?

        • Adrienne

          You may laugh even more now Bob but I signed up for a training program late last year and I told myself I was going to do absolutely everything they told me even if it was outside my comfort zone. See, I still had certain things that were holding me back from moving forward.

          One of them was blog commenting so I started within our training community and then because of CommentLuv, people came back to my place and I decided that I would visit their blog and leave a comment so it just grew from there. I MADE myself do it Bob even if I felt stupid at that time. I told myself I was just going to be me, voice my own opinion and what happens happens. Thank goodness it all turned out well. I have really made some lasting friendships because of it too. I’m so thankful I stepped outside that comfort zone and learned that these other bloggers are just people to. They all started at the same place we all did.

          And that my friend is my story! 🙂

          • Bob

            You certainly have become a master at blog commenting, Adrienne. I feel like I see you everywhere! 🙂

            It is so telling that, even with your success in online marketing you decided to push yourself out of your comfort zone, get the knowledge needed to improve your skills and then went after it, no matter what.

            Doesn’t surprise me because I’ve gotten to know you well this year, but I think others who are just starting out should take notice, befriend you and utilize your strategies.

            Thanks for your contributions, Adrienne!

    • Herbert

      Failure is really not my option nowadays as I am motivated and been inspired by people around me 😀

      • Bob

        Awesome, Herbert…. keep going! I’ve been watching your progress and it is inspirational.

        Thanks for contributing here!

        Herbert, what has been your biggest motivator {or “why”} that keeps you going?

    • Cat Alexandra

      Hi Bob,

      I think you make some great points here. I used to be a little shy at first when I started blogging…then I realized how egoic it was. lol And then I also realized that this was just an emotionally immature way to behave and allow myself to feel.

      Emotions are like clouds. They come and go before we know it.

      How we allow ourselves to feel about life, based on emotions, is what allows some to improve their life experience or to succumb to fickle emotional tug-of-war and literally fail ourselves out of what we truly desire of this life.

      This is all an opportunity for us to grow…if we knee-jerk our way through the process by assuming our way OUT of business, there’s nothing to be gained.

      Love the common sense here, Bob, thanks as always!

      Cat Alexandra

    • Ryan Biddulph

      Hi Bob,

      Spot on post.

      I made similar assumptions for quite a while. As I stopped assuming, I learned these blocks were the exact reasons why I was being held back. Our assumptions are generally imprisoning. Release them, detach from outcomes and you become free.

      I so relate to the advertising assumption. For quite a while I didn’t promote as persistently due to the competition, or due to diminished returns (the attachment to outcome again). When I decided to persist with a clear, focused message, wonderful things began to happen. Amazing, the power of persistent and maintaining the habit of detachment from outcomes.

      Thanks for sharing your insight Bob.


      • Deb

        Assumptions will create your reality. Be strong, assume leadership. Believe in yourself and the rest will fall into place.

      • Bob

        Hey Ryan, great insights here!

        I love the part about assumptions being imprisoning. So true!

        Ryan, what changed in your mindset that allowed you to break free of your self-limiting assumptions? Was it a book, or maybe a coach. Or was it just experience.

        Always love to hear the details of people’s breakthroughs to success!

        Thanks for your contributions to this interesting discussion, Ryan!

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