Four Ways Frustration Leads To Failure

Ambition can fuel behavior that can actually set you back

Joe Procopio
5 min readJan 16


image by yanalya

One of the most difficult things for me to come to grips with is that the success I’m constantly striving for always takes longer than I want it to.

If it happens at all.

In my last post, I wrote about how quickly entrepreneurs need to run with their startup idea. There’s only a small window of time in which to act before even the most innovative ideas become obsolete. But it’s like running with scissors. You have to move fast, but if you trip over your own feet, you can hurt yourself pretty badly.

After a couple decades of success, failure, and a ton of time spent living in between the two, I’ve learned that the fire of ambition that fuels your success can burn you pretty badly when the frustration it causes prompts you to do things that might not be in the best interest of your business.

So you wake up most days wondering why you’re not further along, and asking yourself what it’s going to take to get there. Frustration over lack of customers, lack of revenue, lack of traction — however it may present itself today — can put tomorrow’s opportunities at risk.

If you can anticipate the bad behavior that frustration can surface, you can avoid most of the pitfalls. These are the four frustration-borne behaviors I’ve seen lead to failure most often, why they happen, and what I do to avoid them.

Bad Behavior #1: Injecting pressure into sales and marketing

Just because I constantly hear a ticking clock in my head doesn’t mean that my customers need to hear it too. One of the first signs of frustration is when my marketing and sales messaging becomes more pressurized. I double my efforts, I push prospects a little harder.

Why it happens: When I need more revenue, it seems like conventional wisdom to throw more money into sales and marketing to “buy” that revenue. But there’s an inescapable organic nature to sales. The only time I should accelerate is when I can prove that a method will work for a certain channel or prospect type. Anything else produces diminishing returns.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at