We’ve been looking at very practical ways in which you can set up your business to bring you the results you want – whether by creating systems, outsourcing, leveraging your time… But you can have all the strategies and tactics in the world and you can still fail in your endeavours because of one, very important, thing: your mindset. In order to truly achieve great success (whatever that means to you), you’ll need to shift your mindset so that your beliefs and actions are aligned with what you really want.
What is mindset?
Your mindset is made up of a set of beliefs – assumptions, notions – that shapes how you experience the world. These beliefs, in turn, have been shaped by your past experiences, inherited from your parents and the society in which you live.
The bad news is that this mindset, however subconscious the underlying beliefs, can create blind spots and stop you from achieving what you actually want.
The good news? You can change it! Maybe not overnight, but you can work on shifting it, reshaping it, and embracing a new, more productive mindset.
How do you shift your mindset to set yourself up for success?
Okay, so if it’s possible to change your mindset, how can you go about doing that? How do you let go of those underlying beliefs that have been programmed deep into your psyche? And what are the new beliefs that you need to be embracing in order to be truly successful?
Let’s look at three powerful ways in which you can start to shift your mindset…
1. Challenge your limiting beliefs
The first step has to be to challenge your beliefs that are preventing you from getting to where you want to be – or, even before that, identifying what those beliefs are.
We’re talking about business here, so grab a pen and paper, set yourself a timer, and then just brain dump anything and everything that you believe about this topic and what’s possible or not for you. This includes the good, the bad, and the neutral! Here are some examples to get you started:
“I’m not an entrepreneurial person.”
“This is never going to work.”
“My business isn’t successful because of X.”
“I can’t charge higher prices because of Y.”
“I can’t afford to invest in Z.”
Once you’ve identified these beliefs, you want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this belief serving me right now? (It’s possible that a particular belief was helpful to you in the past, perhaps protecting you from some disappointment or pain, but it may not be as useful anymore.)
- What would be a more helpful belief? (This is not about making up some unicorn miracle belief but about finding a constructive belief that is just as true, if not more so, than the old belief.)
- What evidence is there to support this new belief? (Open your eyes and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to all the positive examples you will find that will validate your new belief!)
Although it will take time to really internalise these beliefs and transform your mindset completely, this exercise can actually shift things almost instantaneously; and with new beliefs will come new ways of looking at your business, and the world, and with that will come incredible new results.
For more on beliefs and how fear that can hold you back, have a look at my article on Breaking Free of Your Beliefs.
2. Adopt a growth mindset
Psychologist Carol Dweck is credited with having popularised the modern-day usage of ‘mindset’. In particular, she argues for the importance of a ‘growth mindset’ rather than a ‘fixed mindset’.
The fixed mindset is, in my experience, how we were conditioned at school. Teachers and parents would tell us:
“You’re (not) smart.”
“You’re (not) good at X.”
“You’re (not) an A student.”
This fixed mindset assumes that your intelligence and talent are fixed traits – you’re either born with them or not, and it doesn’t matter how much effort you put in.
This reminds me of the time at school where my report card gave me top marks for achievement and bottom for effort! (While that seemed impressive to me at the time, I now realise how awful it really was.)
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you are failing at something because you’re simply not good enough – so you give up, and you retreat into the limits of what you’ve been told that you can do.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, has you believing that your brains and innate talent are simply a starting point and you can absolutely improve on this. Failure, then, becomes a useful signal as to what you need to work on. It puts you in control of your own destiny – which has to be a good thing!
If you have a growth mindset, you’ll be more determined, more resilient and, ultimately, more successful. This actually ties back into the previous point on your beliefs: start believing in the possibilities of growth and learning, and you’ll be able to look at your successes and your failures in a very different way.
For more on this, check out Carol Dweck’s book on Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential.
3. Stop making excuses
As comfortable as a comfort zone may be, staying there – when you know you want to be somewhere else – can be incredibly painful. Setting goals and then not following through, or not setting the goals in the first place and giving up before you’ve even tried, will gradually break your spirit.
You most likely have a whole set of ‘reasons’ for why you didn’t do X, or why you couldn’t do Y… and, yet, those ‘reasons’ are based on the beliefs that I talked about at the start and, really, they’re just excuses.
“I can’t do X because I don’t have the time / money/ [fill in the blank].”
“I can’t do that now – I’ll do it when…”
“You don’t understand, my situation is different because…”
Underneath these excuses are, first, those limiting beliefs and, second, FEAR. Fear is the biggest reason why you’re actually holding yourself back from truly committing to your big dream and taking decisive action to move forwards.
The irony is that as soon as you do commit and start taking action, you’ll quickly gain more confidence and create momentum and, before you know it, you will have done the very thing that you thought was impossible.
So instead of “I can’t because…”, turn that into “How could I…?” Consider what’s really missing for you to move forwards – money, skills, clarity – and then work out what you need to do – cut down on expenses and save more money, take a course to up-skill in a particular area, work with a coach to help you get clear on what you want, and need, to do.
Or don’t. But, then, let go of that dream and live your life comfortably in your comfort zone. Don’t cling to the dream along with all those excuses if you’re never going to do anything about it.
These are just three ways in which you can shift your mindset to set yourself up for bigger success than you ever thought possible. This is deep work, important work, and you need to commit to making this a core component of your personal – and business – development.
Know that you are in this for the long haul, commit to making your vision happen – staying true to the ‘what’ while being flexible on the ‘how’ – and keep going, knowing that you will find a way and you are going to get there, eventually.
Next week, we’ll be shifting gears a little to look at how you can recognise, and avoid, burnout as an entrepreneur.
If you accept that you need to shift your mindset, and you want support in working through these blocks, then get in touch to book a free consultation with me. We’ll dig into those limiting beliefs, help you embrace a growth mindset and stop making excuses, and explore how I can support you in achieving your most audacious goals in your business (and in your life!).