I think it is safe to say we are all approaching the new year with a combination of excitement and levity. Reviewing our receivables, getting feedback from our clients, considering our goals for 2014, and looking for inspiration under every rock we can physically peek under ... 

Parallels abound in life. I find it remarkable how frequently you can draw lessons for running a business from outside of your professional bubble. And for the independent professional, your personal life is often a goldmine. 

I really want it to work

Implicit within this seemingly benign statement is anticipated failure. The moment you utter this remark, you have already begun to construct excuses for the eventual failure of whatever it is you want to work. 

There is only one possible outcome for the preceding statement.

I really wanted it to work

Anyone who has been successful in anything will almost reflexively respond to the statement "I really wanted it to work" with the question:

Well, then, why didn't you make it work?

Success in anything requires commitment, perseverance, patience, and the belief that you will be able to surmount any obstacles lying in your path. Yes, there are times when catastrophic outside forces or intense pressures may stop you in your tracks. After twenty years of working for myself, and scraping by through tough times, I can say with absolute conviction that if you stick to your guns you can make anything work. 

The moment doubt creeps into your outlook, you will begin second-guessing every decision you make. You'll begin focusing on every single potential negative you can manufacture to support your fears. And obstacles will begin materializing out of thin air. Sooner or later those obstacles will become walls. Walls without doorways. And, trust me, this pattern is the sole reason 99% of small businesses fail.

I didn't go from self-employment to creating a viable web design company because I "wanted it to work". I committed myself to making it work and, with time, built a business that was capable of sustaining itself. 

The irony is that web design wasn't what I really wanted to do with my life. I "really wanted to be an illustrator" and for years made up every excuse in the book why it wouldn't be a prudent career move. In the end, I finally realized that the lessons I learned from running 16toads would help break down the barriers I created to confine my inner artist.

You are and you have always been your own worst enemy.

Success, whatever it means to you, doesn't happen because you want it to work. Success happens because you make it work.