Your business is only as good as your mindset. Your mindset has the power to sabotage everything you’re working toward or propel you forward. I want to help you develop a mindset that is going to serve you and help you move forward so we need to re-examine the way you’re looking at certain things in your business.
Failure is not a bad thing
Yup that’s right. Failure is not bad, it’s how we learn things. If you never continued after failing & learning, you wouldn’t know how to walk. You have to try things, fall on your ass, and then learn from that.
If you try something and it doesn’t work, that’s fine. We’re all in the business of experimentation so don’t set yourself up to think it’s as binary as success or failure because it’s not. It’s a test, everything is and you tweak it and move on with what you’ve learned. When something doesn’t work that is actually very important because it’s giving you data and feedback and you can take that and figure out what to change….or you can collapse into a ball of sorrow and self-loathing. That is your choice. You decide how you view things like failure and how you react to it – no one else.
We’re all scientists here and business is a huge series of experiments. The outcome isn’t tied to you or your worth, it’s just an experiment. If scientists looked at experiments that way they would have quit when the first thing they tried didn’t cure every disease. That mindset shift is crucial in business.
Evolution does not happen overnight
Your business is forever evolving (hence the name of my business) and that takes time. Building a business is a journey, not a destination. You get to choose if your journey be angst-ridden or an exciting adventure. That’s not to say that everything is always rosy when you do have the right mindset. Sometimes thing suck and that’s okay. Building a business is a journey on a roller coaster in the dark and you’re building the track as you go.
Because this is a long journey, it’s important to take stock of your wins as you go. Think in terms of missions instead of the big picture. If NASA only measured it’s success in terms of getting to Mars, it would have failed at everything it has ever done. Instead, they measure their success by mission. What did they learn? What did they find?
Every month I have a CEO date with myself where I review all of the important metrics in my business like my financials, website traffic, email list growth, sales, etc. I also write down what went well this month and what I achieved. This forces me to stop and appreciate the progress I’ve made. It is so easy always be looking forward and miss the wins along the way. I also write down what didn’t go so well, how I can improve it and what I’m focusing on for the next month. It sounds small but that review process really keeps me on track and makes me celebrate the wins, no matter how small.
Give yourself a freakin’ break
We entrepreneurs have insane expectations of ourselves. Those expectations often result in us working hours that we would never ask anyone else to work for us and we try to do everything under the sun ourselves. Your best friends are focus & discipline.
You can’t do everything all at once, you have to focus. That means choosing one goal or outcome to focus on for the month instead of frantically trying do everything you’re “supposed to do”. You are not the kind of person who does things that you’re “supposed to do”. I know that because you run a business and that in itself goes against the grain of the 9-5 culture the most people belong to. It doesn’t matter what you should do. What matters is what is going to move you closer to your goals and that means saying no to things that don’t do that for you.
Entrepreneurs are the only people in the world who need the discipline to NOT work and take time for themselves. If you tried to explain this to someone who had only worked a 9-5 they’d look at you like you were crazy….because it is crazy. If you wouldn’t treat an employee the way you treat yourself, you need to make some changes.
It is actually scientifically proven that our brains need down time to process things. That’s why you get your best ideas when you’re in the shower or taking a walk. If you don’t allow yourself that white space, you’re going to feel stuck.
Feel the fear & do it anyway
Having the right mindset doesn’t mean you’re not going to feel fear or anxiety. These are biological reactions to doing things that seem scary or risky to our lizard brain. Our lizard brain is the most primitive part of our brain that controls things like our fight or flight reflex. It lives in a constant state of alertness and fear but that doesn’t mean you should listen to it.
Even famous people who perform all the time on stage struggle with this. Adele has panic attacks and in her own words “throws up quite a bit” before her shows. She feels the fear and she does it anyway.
Have you ever jumped from the high diving board into a pool? When you’re up there for the first time, it’s terrifying. That’s your brain making sure you don’t kill yourself. Intellectually you know that the pool and diving board have been engineered so that you’re not going to die but it still feels like a threat. Feel the fear, and do it anyway.
Every time you feel fear in your business it means you’re about to do something you’ve never done before or something big. That’s your lizard brain looking out for you. If your lizard brain had its way you’d never do anything that requires any risk and that would be a really boring life. Thank your lizard brain for the heads up, and move forward.
Get comfortable saying “I don’t know”
This might seem weird but it’s really important. We humans have this weird tendency to always want to pretend like we know everything and that we know what’s going to happen in the future. We can’t possibly know what’s going to happen in the future and the sooner you accept that, the easier riding a roller coaster in the dark while building the track will become.
Even if you’re in a so-called “stable” job, nothing is guaranteed. Your company could decide to cut down their staff tomorrow and there’s nothing you can do about that. At least when you run your own business you get to be in control & make the decisions.
If you’re approaching your business like a scientist running experiments the best you can have is a hypothesis about what the outcome will be. We all need to tweak and pivot our businesses as we go, that’s why we build the track that’s just ahead of us instead of building the whole thing. An “I don’t know let’s see what happens” mentality will serve you well. You don’t know what’s going to happen next and neither does anyone else.
What is the goal of your business?
If you never consider the goal of your business you may lock yourself into a lifestyle that you hate. Beyond paying your bills, what is the goal of your business? Do you want to work the hours you’re working forever? Do you want to scale things and delegate them to others so that you can have more of a life? Do you want to sell your business in the end? If you don’t know what your goal is you’re on a journey to nowhere without a map.
My goal is to have a business that allows me to do the work I love with lots of awesome wedding professionals in a way that allows me to have time freedom and financial freedom. I want to be “retired” by the time I’m 40. I want this so that I can spend more time with my family & friends and travel more. For me, it’s about freedom. I’ll still work because I love what I do but I’ll have the financial assets & structure in place to live as if I were retired.
That goal takes a lot of planning & strategy and if I never set it for myself I’d just be roaming around aimlessly. That goal tells me what I need to do in my business to set myself up to reach it. Once you know what you want, you can map out how you’re going to get it.