The Cycle of Unsuccess Explained

Overcoming the Limiting Behaviors that Sabotage Success

Michael Mapes
6 min readMay 24, 2023

Consider the multitude of behaviors and beliefs that contribute to self-sabotage and hinder our path to success. These patterns, collectively known as The Cycle of Unsuccess, encompass actions and mindsets that impede our progress, dilute our vision, and prevent us from living the life we truly desire. In this article, I delve into each behavior, give examples of how this might be showing up in your business, and guide you towards unraveling the underlying reasons behind these self-defeating patterns.

These behaviors are often rooted in inner fears, resistance, and a reluctance to take the necessary steps towards achieving our goals. To break free from this cycle, I provide practical action steps and empowering affirmations designed to help you shed these counterproductive behaviors and unlock a heightened level of wealth and fulfillment in your life.

Unsuccess Behavior 1: Procrastination

Is there anything worse than the feeling of, “I didn’t get done today what I needed to get done.” We all procrastinate sometimes, and there is a form of healthy procrastination that is necessary for taking good care of ourselves. What we’re talking about here is the maladaptive form of procrastinating, where delaying getting things done is having negative consequences.

Michael Mapes on how to stop procrastinating.

Procrastination can show up in your life and business in a variety of ways. Here are some of the potential manifestations:

  • External distractions
  • Overcomplicated systems
  • Excessive social media time
  • Focusing on low-value activities
  • Delayed launch dates
  • Missed appointments
  • Last-minute “emergencies”

Journal Prompt:

I put off doing the things I need to do because I’m afraid:

Conscious Entrepreneur Solutions

  • Focus on high-value activities
  • Play in your genius
  • Schedule joyful activities
  • Accountability partners

Affirmation

I easily and joyfully accomplish all activities that are important for moving me toward my vision.

Behavior 2: Stop/Start

If you struggle to get — and more importantly maintain — momentum this is the section for you. This Unsuccess Pattern is exactly what it sounds like. The habit of frequently stopping and starting projects can cause significant damage to your productivity, momentum, and overall success. It leads to inconsistent progress, hampers your ability to achieve long-term goals, and can create a sense of overwhelm and frustration, making it difficult to establish a solid foundation for sustainable growth.

Manifestations

  • Roller coaster income
  • Overwhelm
  • Radical variations in work style
  • Client drama
  • Feeling like marketing or sales “doesn’t work.”
  • Shiny object syndrome
  • Sales avoidance

Conscious Entrepreneur Solutions

  • Consistent focused action
  • Clear marketing and sales plan
  • Regular engagement with goals
  • Understanding actions that align with your vision
  • Joyful presence in your work

Journal Prompt

I’m afraid that if I follow-through consistently:

Affirmation

Taking inspired, focused action is key to creativity and joy in all areas of my life.

Behavior 3: Overanalyzing or Indecision

Thinking about things is good. Overthinking about things to the point of indecision, often called analysis paralysis, can be incredibly bad. When we constantly ruminate on every possible outcome and scrutinize every detail, we become trapped in a cycle that hinders our ability to make decisions. Excessive mental rumination drains our energy and creates unnecessary stress, stifling our personal and professional progress. This Unsuccess Pattern can rob us of opportunities, prevent us from taking action, and leave us feeling stuck in a perpetual state of uncertainty.

Manifestations

  • Overwhelming to-do list
  • Not honoring commitments
  • Saying yes to everything
  • Feeling pulled in multiple directions
  • Missed opportunities
  • Feeling like manifesting doesn’t work
  • Lack of self-trust

Journal Prompt

I overthink and get things done slowly or not at all beause I’m afraid:

Conscious Entrepreneur Solutions

  • Trusting your intuition
  • Practicing quick decision-making
  • Making small decisions quickly
  • Delegating to your team
  • Learning a productivity strategy that works for me (see my DONE formula)
  • Practicing an energetic practice like EFT

Affirmation

Today, I decide to be wealthy and trust myself to make great decisions quickly.

Behavior 4: Refusal to Invest Wisely

Refusing to invest wisely is a destructive pattern within the Cycle of Unsuccess that can hinder personal and professional growth. When we hold back from making strategic investments in ourselves, our businesses, or our goals, we limit our potential for success. This pattern often stems from a fear of scarcity or a lack of confidence in our abilities to make wise choices. By refusing to invest, we miss out on valuable opportunities for growth, learning, and expansion.

Manifestations

  • Debt or feelings of not enough money
  • Feeling unsupported
  • Slow business growth
  • Belief that success is always coming soon (but never seems to actually arrive)
  • Prioritizing others over yourself/wounded healer vibes
  • Impulsive program purchases
  • Piece-it-together approach

Journal Prompt

I refuse to invest wisely because I’m afraid:

Conscious Entrepreneur Solutions

  • Empowered investment
  • Limiting “either/or” beliefs
  • Quick decision-making
  • Gaining an understanding of strategic business investments
  • Understanding the 4 Phases of Business

Affirmation

I have more than enough resources to invest wisely.

Behavior 5: Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be detrimental to entrepreneurs, trapping them in a cycle of never-ending adjustments and preventing progress. The constant need to edit, tweak and change leads to an excessive focus on minor details, causing unnecessary delays and missed opportunities. It creates a constant feeling of dissatisfaction and can drain valuable time and energy. By striving for perfection and constantly tweaking, entrepreneurs may miss the chance to launch their products or services, connect with customers, and iterate based on valuable feedback.

Manifestations

  • Excessively high, difficult or impossible standards
  • Excessively tweaking/focus on minor details and adjustments.
  • Procrastination and delays
  • Lack of feelings of gratitude
  • Harsh inner critic/ism
  • Fears of failure and/or success
  • Refusal to delegate
  • Overcomplicated systems
  • Seeking one more thing before creating more clients or money

Journal Prompt

I feel everything, including myself, has to be perfect because I am afraid:

Conscious Entrepreneur Solutions

  • Embrace imperfect action
  • Cultivate self-compassion
  • Practice gratitude by celebrating your big/small successes
  • Align pricing and offerings to your unique talents
  • Learn from difficult situations
  • Detach failures and mistakes from your value as a person
  • Practice setting realistic expectations and deadlines
  • Embrace an iterative approach understanding things can be refined and improved over time

Affirmation

I have faith to stand in my power. I am good enough just as I am.

Behavior 6: Victimhood

Victim thinking poses significant dangers for entrepreneurs as it perpetuates a mindset of powerlessness and external blame. This is not to say there aren’t situations in which we are truly victimized — like in the case of sexual assault or natural disasters. Tragedy happens and processing the emotions around trauma and being able to speak truth to power about those experiences is crucially important. What we’re talking about here is something different. When entrepreneurs fall into the trap of victim thinking, they tend to focus on limitations, make excuses for their lack of progress, and avoid taking responsibility for their own success.

Manifestations

  • Making excuses
  • Feeling like things won’t work
  • Blaming external factors (when they really aren’t to blame)
  • Doubting your worth
  • Expecting negative outcomes
  • Black and white thinking
  • Scarcity mindset
  • Client dissatisfaction
  • Feeling competitive or desperate

Journal Prompt

If I showed up as powerful, creative and competent, I am afraid:

Conscious Entrepreneur Solutions

  • Taking 100% responsibility for your experience
  • Viewing situations as opportunities for growth and wealth
  • Learning to see nuance and embracing a multiplicity of perspectives
  • Distress tolerance and emotional regulation skills
  • Shadow work

Affirmation

I take responsibility for my own experience, and in the process manifest a new and amazing level of wealth.

Breaking the cycle of unsuccess starts with recognizing these behaviors, realizing they aren’t inevitable and working with the fears that drive them. By implementing the conscious entrepreneur solutions and affirmations provided, you can release these limiting behaviors and create a greater level of wealth in your life. It’s time to be powerful. It’s time to embrace the success you deserve.

Michael Mapes is an author, entrepreneur and business strategist, empowering conscious entrepreneurs to achieve sustainable growth and make a positive impact.

Ready to unlock your business potential? Join me for a FREE 30 Minute Business Breakthrough Session and take your business to the next level.

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Michael Mapes

Accelerating the success of CEOs & startups; FREE Breakthrough Session & innovate your business to get more clients http://www.coachwithmichaelmapes.com