5 Mindset Changes for Entrepreneurs
Today’s post addresses five main mindset changes that I believe entrepreneurs should make. Our ideas, passions, and creative dreams are here for a reason. Our main purpose on the planet is to create and to be of service.
Train yourself to be bold and to be of service. Give up the indulgence in our thoughts that says:
These are all whiny, crappy little thoughts that don't have any basis in reality. Remember, you have a mind but you are not your mind and you are also not those petty little, whiny thoughts that you are holding in your mind.
No matter what that crap talker is saying up in your brain, it has no relevance on reality. I am training myself to hear my crap talker and then say “Yeah, thanks for sharing that” and then get back into what I’m up to because it’s making all the difference in my world and I know that you may also have those thoughts, regardless of whether you’ve been in business for years or you’re just starting out.
If you’re transitioning into a new part of your business, I am sure you’re having considerations such as, “Uh-oh, what if this doesn’t work? What if no one likes it?” And listening to those very thoughts is like putting your foot on the brake of your life and then weeks,
months and years go by without results (well, none that you'd want).
So whatever you’re working on right now, whatever you’re dreaming up, whatever idea or business that you want to see grow or come into reality, you have to be willing to set aside those thoughts, to not give them any credence, to not believe them and simply get yourself into action.
I want to share an inspiring story that I found in the news years ago but never forgot about. It is about an incredible eight-year-old who demonstrates that if she could do it, you can do it also. The title of the article is “Girl Scout’s Cookie-Selling Scheme Crumbles” and you should click on the link to read it. The interesting thing was she was talking with Matt Lauer on“The Today Show” and she says, “’Last year, my friends and I were looking through magazines that had Girl Scout camps and we thought that it would be really fun’. She knew that selling 12,000 boxes would be enough to send her troop to summer camp.
So Wild tried selling cookies the old-fashioned way, hitting neighborhoods and businesses. But then she approached her dad and asked, ‘Why can’t we use what you do at work?’. So her dad, Bryan, obliged by helping his daughter put a decidedly modern twist on the nearly 100-year-old tradition of Girl Scout entrepreneurship. She moved over 700 units at $3.50 each before disapproving parents complained. That is whooping $2,450 in cookie sales by an eight-year-old who was being innovative and put a video online.
What really struck me was that this eight-year-old said, “Why not? I have this idea. I want to take all my friends to Girl Scout summer camp.” She had a huge “why”. This young girl is an incredible entrepreneur. If an eight-year-old can bypass her thoughts about, “Well, what if it doesn’t work?” and just go and do it, you can too. Use Wild as a little inspiration as I’m doing to just say, “You know what? We’re going to do this.”
Turning pro is really about giving up being an amateur/hobbyist and giving yourself permission to be fully professional at everything you’re doing--including your business (but not limited to it). From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, be professional no matter where you find yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to be stiff or serious. Just handle things with excellence and presence.
The following is an excerpt from an amazing book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. If you don’t have this book, I would highly recommend getting it. Talking about “A Professional Acts in the Face of Fear”, he writes:
The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist. What Henry Fonda does, after puking into the toilet in his dressing room, is to clean up and march out onstage. He’s still terrified but he forces himself forward in spite of his terror. He knows that once he gets out into the action, his fear will recede and he’ll be okay.
This whole idea of turning pro is brilliant. When I first started my business, I remember treating it like it was a hobby. I’ve always done a pretty good job but, in many respects, I wasn’t operating like a pro.
Take a look at a business. What else can you do to start operating like this is who you are? This is what you do? If you’re working on a book for example, can you just start saying, “I’m writing a book”?, “I’m writing a children’s book”? When people ask you what you do, can you represent yourself like that?
For some people, it’s a matter of just getting business cards made up. I’m shocked because I have private clients and people that I meet and when they tell me about what they’re up to or they’re just starting a business and I ask “Oh, do you have a website?” Some have responded, “Oh, no”. When I ask, “Oh, do you have business cards?” I'm sometimes met with “Oh, no.” It is as though they are treating their new business like a hobby. I asked one of my clients, “What email address are you using?” Well, she was using a Gmail email address. I asked, “Wouldn’t it be better for you if you left a Gmail email address and just had your own domain name, which can be firstname.lastname@example.org?”
How can you start interacting with every moment of your business and every moment of your day like you are a professional? You start operating like you’re a professional no matter where you are. I guarantee, no matter what you want to create in your business or what you want to create next in your business, it is going to be seamless. How you do one thing is how you do everything.
Steven Pressfield was talking about Henry Fonda, the actor, in his book. We all have these ideas that professional people don’t get scared. That they’re not nervous before they do something or that the idea of this professional actor right before he goes on stage, throwing up in the garbage can, is crazy. But he is a professional. He does what he has to do. He has nervousness and he goes on and he carries out his performance.
Take a look in your own life. If you have a project that has yet to come to completion, are you operating like an amateur? Are you treating it like it doesn’t really matter?
One of the other things that Steven Pressfield talks about in his book is if you currently have a job or if you have ever had a job, it’s like there’s no choice. You wake up and you go. Unless you want to get fired really fast, you show up and you do what has to be done. Oftentimes, with our creative or entrepreneurial dreams, we let the fear take over and we get sidetracked and we don’t treat our lives like it really matters or our ideas as though they matter.
Some may be thinking, “Yeah, but the whole point of being an entrepreneur is freedom and I can do things whenever I want.” Absolutely, being a professional does not mean you are a hard core professional in that you do not have fun. It is not about having this rigid 9-to-5 schedule. That’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about stepping into the possibility of treating your business and your life as though everything matters--like you are a professional.
If you’re just starting your business, some key places to look are:
Whenever you find yourself stuck, just put Google to work for you. Google has a great search engine that helps us discover lots of things. The idea that you want to see come to life or the challenge you have in your business, or that thing you want to create need not stump you. If yout Google search is not helping you find finding the information you’re looking for, then tap into your network or community. Be willing to let go of the fear of admitting that you don’t know it all already. Reach out to friends, family and colleagues and say, “I don’t know how to do this. Do you have any resources for me?”
Have you heard of the six degrees of separation? You will discover it is real once you start reaching out for support. Have you read Richard Branson’s amazing book, "Richard Branson Business Stripped Bare"? He writes, “Success in life never comes from inaction.” As long as you get moving, the universe bends to support you.
Why is this a mindset shift? Because when it comes to being an entrepreneur--when it comes to stepping into your greatness and taking your creative dreams out into the world--NOW is the time to do it. So many of us get caught up thinking, “Ah, you know what? I want to do that but I’ll do that next year” or “I’ll do it next month” or “When I have more time…” It is wonderfully freeing because, when you get that, you actually start behaving in a way that supports everything you are up.
Well, guess what? From the moment that you ARE born, you’re already dying. We just don’t know when. When you really get that, when you really understand that everyday that you live, you’re closer to dying, you start operating in your world just a little differently. You start treating things such as people and projects that you are passionate about with a bit more urgency.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you operate from stress, nor should you become frantic or go into overwhelm. It does not mean that you are so focused on getting ahead that you forget the important things. Quite the contrary. It brings everything into clear focus and gives you this awesome launching pad from which to operate into your life on a real and immediate basis.
Not play full out, not to pursue your dreams, and to not operate in your life like everything matters—what of that? Are you going to grow your business or are you going to create products and services that make a difference? Are you going to build your business in such a way that you are providing for your family?
How can you start recognizing that you are not going to be here forever? And can you use that as a catalyst to fully be engaged in everything that you are up to in every moment?
When it comes to your business, recognizing that you are here for a reason so those creative dreams that you have and those gifts that you have to offer, it’s like don’t steal that from us. Let us have it. We want that from you. We want all of you—your attention, your creativity, the things that you’re going to express into the world.
Most of us endure our way through our business and life. No matter what the task is in front of us or what request is made of us -- whether a phone call comes in, or an email comes in or a letter/friend/spouse/someone requests our time -- most of us have an instant “no” that pops up as though we haven’t orchestrated our businesses to be exactly the way they are. So when you do things and you resent doing them or you dig your heels in and do them half-hardheartedly, that is called ‘enduring.’ You actually become the victim of your life and you do things from a place of resistance, resentments.
It is like completing a task in your mind but your energy is “I don’t wanna.” So of course, it takes 10 times longer. There’s no satisfaction. It’s a total buzz kill and (this is the most important part), it is disrespectful of your clients, your customers, and anyone who you are dealing with. It is also a surefire method to ensure that you are miserable. It’s a fantastic way to destroy your business. It’s also a fabulous technique if you want to kill your relationship so if you want to be broke, miserable, and alone, definitely endure your way through life.
On the other hand, engagement is when you fully take on whatever you are doing in the moment like you came up with the idea in the first place. That is key. You are taking ownership of it. Even if someone made a request of you, you take it on as though it was your idea and you are going to have a great time doing it. Whether you are creating a new marketing piece, responding to an email or writing a chapter of your book it does not matter. The secret is to do it through engagement, not through enduring.
Do you have teenagers? When my son was 16 years old, he went through a phrase where he was really resistant to anything that I asked him to do. For example, I would ask him to take the trash out and instead of, “Sure, mom!” and go straight for it, I got, “Ha, fine!” And he’d stomp into the kitchen, knock the trash over in the process of pulling the bag out, then slam the door behind him. This was his way of demonstrating that he don’t want to be bothered and “Don’t make requests of me”. I recall having conversations with him about this very thing--engaging versus enduring. I said, “You know, when I make a request of you and you do it in that way, it doesn’t feel good and it totally negates the help that you have supposedly provided.”
I'm a lot better at this than I once was because all of this stuff was invisible to me. It was though I was going through my life and it felt challenging but I had no idea why. I had no idea about these concepts or these distinctions. Once you start bringing these ideas into your awareness and you actually take a look at them in your life, you get control and power about how you are creating in your business.
So look for anything in your creation process that you are enduring and cut it out. How do you cut it out? Look, if you have a hot potato in your hands, you just literally drop it, right? There is not anyhow-to. You just do it. If you discover when you are creating anything new in your business from this moment forward and you are in enduring mode, stop. Don’t beat yourself up for having gone there and shift into engagement. To endure anything is absolute madness because it’s your life. Your options are, complain about it, resist it, endure it and life’s going to suck or engage, make it your idea, have a good time doing it. Not only will your results be 10 times better, but your life is exponentially better because you are actually there for it.
So whether you’re taking out the garbage, you’re writing your book proposal, you’re sending out an email blast, you’re creating something on paper, engage with it like it really matters and like you’re going to win, and I guarantee you will.
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