In this post I will address the 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.
Mindset Change 1: Stop Indulging In Petty Thoughts
Train yourself to be bold and be of service. We all should give up the indulgence in our thoughts that say:
- I’m not good enough.
- Who am I to do this?
- What if no one likes me?
- What if no one buys my book or signs up for my program?
- What if it doesn’t work?
These are all whiny, crappy little thoughts that have absolutely no 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 have 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, then saying “Yeah, thanks for sharing” and then get back into what I’m up to because it’s making all the difference in my world . I know that many of you 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?” 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). 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 was in the news years ago. 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”:
The interesting thing was she was invited to talk with Matt Lauer on “The Today Show” where she said that she and her friends were looking through magazines that had Girl Scout camps and thought that it would be really fun. She knew that selling 12,000 boxes would be enough to send her troop to summer camp. 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 a budding 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.”
Mindset Change 2: Turn Pro
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, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. If you don’t have this book, I highly recommend getting it. Talking about “A Professional Acts in the Face of Fear”, Steven 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 on stage. 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 your 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 web site?” They respond, “Oh, no.” And, “Oh, do you have some business cards?” is 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?” And she was using a Gmail email address. I asked, “Wouldn’t it be better for you if you left the Gmail email address and just booked your own domain name which will be something like email@example.com?”
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 in the book about Henry Fonda, the actor. We all have these ideas that professional people like 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 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:
- your website
- your web site presence
- how you present yourself
- how you talk about yourself
- the amount of time and energy that you’re giving to your creative and entrepreneurial endeavors
I will move on to Mindset Change 3 in my next post…