Psychological Strategy

I remember sitting in a mastermind entrepreneur group, listening to a business made with a great idea. There was a market, a painpoint, low start-up costs, and the ability to evolve with fairly low risk. Several of his colleagues even direct contacts, experience, and strategy to both help him build and to provide an initial customer base. Yet week after week, he stayed in the same position of questioning whether people were interested and if he should move forward. 

Part of building strategy, for both business and life, is an awareness of the personal psychological roadblocks that slow your progress.  This man’s psychological roadblocks came problems with his personal self-worth. The business plan was great, but he made negative assumptions about whether his potential clientele would see him as an asset. 

Three months later, he still had not acted on any of the leads. Building a strategy for addressing his psychological barriers would have better allowed him to progress through his business plan.

Cognitive and Emotional Projections

Another area of psychological strategy break-down occurs in how people deal with projecting the possible consequences of actions. This happens at a cognitive and emotional level.

Cognitively, it’s smart to assess the potential consequences of an action. “If I do ___, then ____ will happen. Assessing it this way helps us to see potential risks and benefits and to plan accordingly. It’s easy to under or over-assess the “if-then.”

Under-Assessment of “If-Then”

If people are in love with an idea, they may want to jump right in. In doing so, they can create extra risk because of the lack of due diligence, OR they can miss the potential opportunity that is foreclosed due to the lack of planning.

Over-Assessment of “If-Then”

By contrast, over-assessment of “if-then” can cause people to take too long to make a decision. Cognitively, the may want to map out all potential scenarios before they move. Emotionally, they may imagine too many worst-case scenarios and continuously rework the plan to mitigate their own anxiety. The added time may reduce both opportunity and revenue because part of success comes from the ongoing learning and restructuring when someone is already on the path.

Psychological Strategy to Move Forward

The most important aspect of developing psychological strategy is to recognize your hang-ups in the first place. Maybe you over-think things beyond the initial return on investment for good planning. You over-assess. Maybe you don’t believe in yourself, so no amount of reading or reassurance will help you take an action. It could be that you don’t feel that you deserve success or you are scared of letting others down once you achieve it.

Take a step back, grab a friend for perspective, and look at the pattern of thought, emotion, or behavior that tends to get in your way. From there, you can build plans that help you either resolve the roadblocks or get around them.