Starting a business is a marathon.
As a business owner you must be mentally prepared to live with uncertainty and fear while pushing through obstacles for years on end.
Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that before they had success stories they had numerous unsuccessful stories. Bill Gates watched his first company crumble, Milton Hershey started 3 candy companies before Hershey’s, Walt Disney was told he lacked creativity and was forced to close his first animation company and the list goes on.
The ability to control fears and detach from the outcome is what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from other business owners. They are visionaries who have the ability to turn the most trivial condition into an exceptional opportunity and are in their best when dealing with the unknown.
They say that entrepreneurial personality is not something that can be taught in school but I think that it can be encouraged, practiced and improved. If you've started or are thinking of starting your own business this probably means that somewhere inside, you too have entrepreneurial skills. All you need now is to train and strengthen these muscles, just as athletes train their muscles to perform better.
Here are 5 things you can practice in order to improve your entrepreneurial mental skills:
1. Let go – When starting a project from scratch there are so many details in order to arrive at your goal. But overanalyzing and spending too much time trying to achieve perfection on minor roadblocks will drain your energy and cost you time. Trust me it’s not worth it! There will always be parts that will not work as expected; fix what’s possible, adjust and move on. Remember, perfection is in the eye of the beholder and it takes time to achieve. Sometimes it’s better to go with what you have instead of dwelling on what you want.
2. Positivity is a mindset, not just a word – Action speaks louder than words. When we say the “right” positive words but still act negatively that doesn’t count as positive. The trick for truly thinking positively is perspective and time. How many times have you felt as if the worst thing just happened to you but a day later it didn't look as bad or you might have even forgotten about it and a few years down the line the same bad mistake turned into a positive lead! The challenge is not to panic. It’s very easy to paint everything in black but taking a deep breath and stepping outside of the situation for a few minutes will put everything into better perspective. Allow yourself to think clearly with logic rather than emotion and you’ll see the positive and find a great opportunity. Once a day, choose something going on in your life and search for the positive in it. Practicing this for a week will start a pattern of seeing and acting with positivity.
3. Work on your business, not in the business – Spending too much time with internal tasks in the business is one of the biggest mistakes owners do, and admittedly I myself was guilty of that. But as the founder of your business you, more than anyone else, holds the vision for the business. Therefore, your first goal should be to focus on promoting your vision and building a strong platform to execute it. Ideally you will create a scalable business which will free you from working in it. Block a daily or weekly time where you will only work ON the business re: setting up collaborations, organizing the business, thinking of new ventures, ideas etc.
4. Build your support system – Surround yourself with good people, both on a personal and professional level, people that you trust, value their opinion and enjoy spending time with. You need people who don’t have any secret interests in being your “friend” and who will be objective, supportive, and honest in all times. Think of them as your vitamin supplement. And don’t forget to be there for them when they need you!
5. Take a break – The assumption that you should be working around the clock is neither scalable nor healthy. In truth, the beginning may be this way but it doesn’t have to be this way all the time. No matter how motivated and passionate you are about your business, overworking yourself and not allowing your body and mind to rest and recharge will catch up to you and eventually effect your level of energy or worse, hurt your body. No matter how much you have on your plate, block out some personal time on your calendar and schedule a time away every few months. There will always be more to do and treating yourself will allow you to be fresh and sharp when you are working especially when you need to make crucial decisions.
It’s commonly assumed that the biggest commitments you will face as a business owner are financial and physical (long hours, hard work etc.), but ultimately it comes down to a mental commitment! The mental battlefield is where important decisions are made or broken so start by teaching yourself to be a successful entrepreneur by training for it. Maybe you are not meant to be a serial entrepreneur like these mentioned above but you sure can be a very successful entrepreneur for one business, the one you have now.