There is more to business than just setting goals and accomplishing tasks. The entrepreneur mindset will keep you focused and on track for success.
There is a lot of rhetoric over mental toughness and being business minded. Some even suggest this is an innate trait. On the contrary, there are definite skills and perspectives that can be cultivated to lead one to better outcomes and success. We frequently see elite sports figures get mental coaching and higher-end executives contracting experts to enhance their mental decision-making and performance.
Here are 10 characteristics anyone can learn to help them build mental toughness to start and run their business.
1. Just decide
Decision making is seemingly simple, but so difficult for some. How many people do you know can’t even pick a restaurant or a TV show? While under the guise of trying to please others, the tendency to waffle on the simplest things can be exasperating. If you recognize this as one of your traits, start making quicker choices on simple things, like a movie. Don’t overthink it, just decide within 3-5 seconds. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Build up to more important decisions from there.
2. Don’t take it personally
Understand the whole world is not out to get you. Then realize most of the time how you react to things is generally the reason you get certain outcomes. Metaphorically, you don’t always have to be the first person at the scene of the fire (unless, of course, you are a fireman). Sometimes a pause to evaluate the best course of action given the circumstances will help you navigate the potholes. Again, be decisive, but don’t knee-jerk a response either. Take a breath, then just look at a couple of possible routes. Then calmly decide on the best course of action.
3. Exercise self-care
One of the best bits of advice given when I was starting a business was to take a vacation first. The thought here was there would be little to no time after the machine got started. I would suggest something a little different. Build intentional, occasional breaks into the schedule. A daily meditation break, say 5-10 minutes, can de-clutter your mind. Planned mini-vacations, even if it only a day “staycation” where you take a mental vacation from the demands of a business. Temporary mental escapes will help you keep charged and less fatigued. Plan these jaunts every two to three weeks and you will see a big difference in overall productivity (#9 will help with this).
4. Be Accountable, not hard
How many times have you beat yourself up over something you did or didn’t do? The mental theater looping over and over in your head can be exhausting. Instead of mentally chasing your tail, look at the incident in your mind, acknowledge it happened. Then consider what should have happened, learn from it, and then release it. Going over the same conversation or situation will not change what has already occurred. Just use this for future scenarios where you can apply a better sequence.
5. You don’t have to know everything
You have certain skills that are uniquely yours. Whether you are a baker or a brain surgeon, your knowledge is based on learning skills and how you have applied your perspective to it. Learning should be life-long. Having been in the IT world for the better part of 30 years, there is still plenty to learn. Always focus on your core skills then work on the weak points as you go along. What you don’t know will come or you can hire those with specific knowledge or skills. You don’t have to know everything on day one, but you should build in skills enhancement as a periodic goal.
6. You don’t have to do everything
This is where most people get emotionally drained, thinking they have to know and do everything. Here is an example. Having friends that do this under the pretense of exercise are only kidding themselves. They just don’t want to pay someone or just don’t have someone reliable to do it for them.
If you are a business owner, you understand your business has to make a certain dollar rate for a product or service. You buy wholesale and sell retail. If you make $50 an hour, why wouldn’t you pay someone $25 to cut the lawn especially if it took more than an hour to do? If you want to be a millionaire, do millionaire stuff, not entry-level stuff.
7. Read every day
Although trite, “Leaders Are Readers” is really true. I always look for books to improve my skills, teach a specific technique or method or study how others “have made it.” In his book, “The Millionaire Mind,” Thomas Stanley showed that millionaires were not superhuman, in fact only about 30% even had college degrees among those surveyed. The difference was the knowledge they had was applied daily. Reading was a large components of gaining new knowledge.
8. Celebrate your accomplishments
Several of my articles suggest that work for work’s sake is not the end goal. For example, check out my article Reward Yourself along the Way. While it may satisfy the bills, it is far from satisfying the soul. We are tasked for accomplishing certain things on a regular basis. It does not matter if you are a business owner or the first-job employee, there are certain things needing to be done.
There are plenty of texts and articles on goal setting and that is not the intent here. The focus here is to not just check the box, but recognize you had a certain body of work to make that happen. If you finish a particularly difficult task, reward yourself in some small way, even if it is a favorite cup of coffee and only you know about it. Your motivation will go up and your work ethic will grow whenever you can create an incentive for accomplishment.
9. Analyze for time
The most dreaded 8 words heard in the business world is “That’s the way we have always done it.” This nails-on-the-chalkboard expression is the result of either being too busy to do something better or just too lazy. Sadly, the latter response is exponentially more frequent. Time is the only constant we all have. Where we can automate a process, the realized time savings is more valuable than gold.
Technology on the web, in computer applications and in machines provide several avenues to automate ourselves out of a process. While this may be confusing to some, think about how more free time would allow you to either have more time to do more profitable things or simply have more personal time without sacrificing income.
10. Understand the “so what”
Lastly, do not let the thought someone is better make you feel inferior. Understand there will always be smarter, quicker people. On the flipside, there are people where you are smarter and quicker. This comes under the category of “so what?” Do not create a barrier for yourself by limiting thoughts when you compare yourself to others. Play the hand you are dealt. It’s how you apply what you know more than what you know. Over the years, I have met several people who were exceedingly smart. However, they had trouble paying the light bill. As a result, this exemplifies your action is better than sitting around idle and pondering.
You have all the tools you need right now to get started. If you have nothing, start with nothing and build something. It’s amazing how success shows up when someone is willing to work. Ultimately, the mental aspects of success makes the difference. The big takeaway here is appreciating the fact your business is to create a better lifestyle for you, not just slaving away at drudgery. Being able to step back and see how to make better decisions is key. Use time more to your advantage and elevate your standard of living through time and reward. In closing, just maintaining perspective will allow you the stamina to cross success’ finish line.
To your Success,
William Wheeler is a consultant, storyteller, teacher and IT expert. He has been a national subject matter expert for several universities and has written dozens of college level courses and is a published author.
William R. Wheeler, CEO/Principle Consultant
Wheeler Management Group