When it comes to building a successful business, Mindset can be the slight edge you have over the competition. With so little differentiation among certain fields, maintaining a strong, confident outlook can be the reason one company succeeds, and another fails.
But, as an entrepreneur I know it’s hard not to worry.
- Am I able to sustain my business?
- How am I going to pay all my expenses?
- Can I get a steady flow of clients this month? Next month?
The thoughts that swim around your head can be all encompassing, leaving little room for the stamina you need to get through a day.
Yet, while it’s pretty normal to worry, the difference between a winning mindset and a losing one (ouch) can be how much real estate you give those negative, worrisome thoughts versus some of the more affirming ones that can propel you forward.
The term mindset literally means “a mental attitude or inclination.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
So, what kind of mental attitude or inclination matters?
More than being positive, having a successful business mindset means being adaptable to change. You have to know that being in business means facing change and adversity, even (especially) when you didn’t plan for it.
Let’s face it, no one really LOVES change (well, almost no one). But, when you can embrace a change-is-good mindset, no amount of adversity can really knock you down. Going hand-in-hand with that is this idea that failure really is a good thing.
Until about the age of 40, I thought failure was a bad thing. I avoided it at all costs. The problem with that mindset? I never ventured out of my safety zone and I never achieved the “greatness” I kept wanting.
When you have the mindset that change, and failure are actually good things for your business, you take more risks and you try things that could actually hit big.
Mind you, getting that “failure-is-good” mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time breaking out of perfectionism and adopting a “hey, this is good for me attitude.”As a certified life coach, I teach entrepreneurs that the key is not to look at failure as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to learn the lessons and skills you would have never learned if you kept yourself small and played it safe.
Each of our failures contains valuable lessons for us personally and professionally.
You may never get comfortable with the way failure feels, but if you can take the failure and purposefully look for the lessons and gifts they hold, it becomes easier to weather each misstep. In fact, after a while you might think that if you’re not doing something that causes you to stumble, then you’re not growing!
Another important part of having a winning mindset is having an unwavering belief in the end game.
That doesn’t mean that you’re always positive, it means that no matter what comes up, you know that you’re still headed in the right direction.
One of my favorite phrases that came from the late author, Debbie Ford is that you can’t put ice cream on poop because a few scoops down, it’s still poop. You can pile on affirmations, good thoughts and say all kinds of positive things, but if you don’t have the belief that you can get where you want to go, you’ll never get there.
Most people think they HAVE to be positive. It’s not true.
You can actually have negative thoughts. You can have bad days. You can get down. The thing is that when you are there, give yourself time to feel all those feelings and then let them go.
Your feelings are only predictors of where your business will go if you let them become the pervasive thoughts you have each and every day.
While I don’t advocate stuffing feelings down (because like a beach ball, they will pop back up), I do believe that releasing feelings that don’t serve you is important.
When I am angry, scared or doubtful I know it’s a sign that something is off. I usually use those feelings to see where I’m not taking care of what I need to take care of. By looking at WHY I’m angry or shifting my relationship with fear by reminding myself that I must be ready to bust through another challenge, I’m better able to release the feelings that don’t serve my business.
Having a mindset that every single emotion or thought is welcome but is not who you are, is essential if you are going to succeed in business.
The ancient 13th century poet, Jaladdin Rumi said it best in his poem The Guest House:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
This poem always reminds me of one of the other key components of a successful mindset: gratitude.
When you can be grateful for everything that comes your way, it’s easier to move forward and achieve the success you want.
When I work with clients, I always have them take stock of where they are and how far they’ve come. When we’re in the weeds, it’s hard to see the payoff. It’s hard to see that you’ve moved the needle at all – until you take a look back and see how far you’ve come.By maintaining a daily attitude of gratitude, however, it becomes easier to see that there are things working (even when they aren’t).
So, before your feet hit the ground, before you check email and before your morning cup of coffee, identifying at least three things that you can be grateful for can help shift your mindset for an entire day.
Rather than diving in, worrying about problems, you can train yourself to look for the good in everything.
Like everything else, it takes practice. Mindset is one of the things we work on least in our business – when, in truth, it should be one of the biggest things we focus on.
More than posting on social media. More than serving clients. More than hitting our markers, focusing on mindset can truly be the thing that differentiates you most among your competition.
People can see when people believe in what they’re doing and feel good about it.
So, this week, I want to encourage you to focus on your mindset. Become aware of all the sneaky negative thoughts that make their way into your day. Try to practice adopting some of the attitudes I’ve outlined here.
Maybe carry a journal and make note of some of the things you want to focus on or keep track of. See how even one small shift in mindset can make a difference. And as always, share! I’d love to hear the ways you focus on mindset in your business and the difference it can make!
P.S. If you haven’t ever picked up the book, the Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen, I highly suggest it. It’s the one book that made the biggest difference in my biz!
P.P.S. Want some help with mindset? I offer a 30 minute consultation to discuss the ways I help my clients shift their mindset and grow their business. Click Here to Schedule.