As an entrepreneur and creative, there is nothing more that I love than brainstorming ideas and doing the hard work of making dreams come true. But 20 years of experience have proven that one ingredient comes before all others when determining success: Your mindset.

I believe that every single person has an infinite wealth of talents to share and that it’s possible to build a profitable business simply by following your passions. And I’ve dedicated my life to sharing stories of successful creative entrepreneurs and building communities that support beginners through my podcast “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” and music licensing agency Catch the Moon.

I’ve seen again and again — in my own work and all the incredible creatives that I know — that the first task is the basic mind training that expands the sphere of possibility and overturns stagnant beliefs to access new realities.

It is the often unsexy work done first upon waking, or in your mind while racing between meetings, or quietly approached in the shadow of the night. It is the mantras and prayers and journals and studies that take us from who we are today to who we wish to become.

Our subconscious mind is driving the ship and charting the course either towards or away from those results that we’ve been hoping for.  

We can learn all the strategies, find a mentor, take classes, set meetings and reverse engineer all the action steps necessary to achieve our goals, but we won’t get far at all with limiting thoughts floating in our subconscious. Ultimately, whatever you believe in your subconscious mind will determine your results.

I’ve come up with five simple steps to aligning your mindset for entrepreneurial and creative abundance.

1. Affirmations

Affirmations are the deep truths, positive statements, that we know but need to be reminded of again and again.

All affirmations start with the words, “I am,” placing you in a present moment in which whatever comes next already exists.

  • I am a talented writer whose words touch thousands.
  • I am kind and gentle soul who brings peace to every situation.
  • I am respected and clever gentlemen at the top of my field.

Affirmations can also come prepackaged with the right emotions.

  • I am so happy and grateful that my first painting sold.
  • I am so happy and grateful that I found the love of my life.
  • I am so happy and grateful that I have vibrant health.

Supercharging affirmations with feelings of joy and gratitude realigns your nervous system for a new reality.

Once you’ve crafted an affirmation, make it impossible to miss. Write them down and post them on your wall, your laptop and your steering wheel. Look in the mirror as you repeat them aloud five times a morning. Let the chorus ring as you’re standing in line or walking down the street.

Proactive repetition is critical to infusing this belief into every cell of your being, to constantly challenging old belief patterns, and rewiring neural pathways to make way for new truths.

A listener of my podcast “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” Nicolette Yates told me about how she used positive affirmations to help shift her mindset.

Rewiring her mind and broadening what she believed to be possible were the first steps to a new future. Nicolette was able to release the expectation of teachers and peers and ego to finally find her flow state.

“I achieved a true meditative state. I came back full circle to the wild abandon that I enjoyed on a canvas a teenager, but with the wisdom and discernment that came from art school and life. It is such a cliche! What I was searching for in my art journey was seeking me all along. It was there waiting as I chased what I thought the world wanted from me but so clearly had wrong. With my new flow, I am able to clearly focus on building an inventory,” says Yates.

Nicolette’s story really struck a chord because she saw so clearly how realigning her mindset was the secret to accessing creativity in a productive and natural way.

2. Visualization

Vision is the ability to see beyond limitations with the clarity on how to arrive there.

Even if you feel like you’re up again an impossible circumstance, you can still ask, “How can I turn this around?”

You have the power to change your thoughts which means you have the power to transform any situation which pains you. If you can glimpse even a percent of a possibility for something different then you’re starting to get back in control. You can even play a game, no matter how ridiculous it feels in that moment, to look for evidence that the exact opposite of what you believe about a situation to be true.

Phil Jackson, who coached the Lakers and Bulls to NBA Championships, made visualization a mandatory warmup. He asked players to visualize themselves moving throughout the game, the sensation of making a shot, and the fluidity to do so with ease. The players arrived on the court ready to achieve what they visualized.

You must prepare for life the same way that the LA Lakers prepare for the championships. No joke.

Take time daily to visualize yourself taking action towards your goal. It might be making a speech, securing a sale, or just writing for thirty minutes without pause. Then allow yourself to feel the sensation of receiving that first check, walking onto the stage, or pressing publish.

Allow that sensation to integrate into your body because ultimately what we’re aiming for is the feeling that comes with achieving our goals. As our systems becomes more attuned to the emotion of success, the wider our mind reaches in order to achieve it.

3. Cultivate Self-Awareness

I get it — you might feel like an imposter envisioning this powerful future for yourself when the reality around you is so far from where you want to be. I’ve been there too.

Recognizing self-defeating beliefs however is a powerful step in rewriting them. We can pause, reconnect to a higher and more conscious part of ourselves, and then reassess how much those particular thoughts are serving us.

Listening to the cacophonous of thoughts without awareness is like wearing headphones with an endless loop of soul-crushing doubts on replay. Awareness is about taking pause amidst the chaos.

Susan Kaiser Greenland is a best selling author in mindfulness and meditation who is adamant on everyone slowing the heck down. Rushing feels a lot like living in a state of fight or flight, which lights up our nervous systems and dims down our critical thinking.

Creating some space between our thoughts and reactions allows us to reassess the validity of our thoughts and perceived threats. You become the watcher of your thoughts giving you the God-like ability to choose only the most positive and empowered to absorb.

4.  Choose Joy

Every moment — good or bad — comes to pass so the very best that we can do is cultivate a practice of joy.

Your ultimate purpose here is to find a way to feel expressed and fulfilled, to find a means to feeling joy, to lean into each moment before it is gone, to have a little fun.

I got the opportunity to perform at the notorious Hotel Cafe when I was starting out as a performer in LA. It was a great spot where John Mayer and Katy Perry showed up for pop-up shows and intimate acoustic sessions. The thrill of booking my first show quickly morphed into fear and shame. I thought of a million reasons to cancel but will won out.

Standing in the green room, heart racing, I asked myself a question that I repeat to myself today: What is the priority today?

It was not to be a flawless human being or summon a perfect performance. My only objective was to have a kick ass time, playing music I loved for an audience that I respected. I wanted to give an honest and genuine performance to connect with at least one person in that room. Neither of those were contingent on being perfect.

Every time I step on a stage or pick up the phone, I remember that perfection is not mandatory to play and my confidence grows greater every time.

Proactively realign your subconscious to access the joy of being you. It takes courage but it is worth the risk. You are capable of beautiful and majestic creations, but you need to allow yourself to have fun every step of the way.

5. Find Support

Rewiring the neural pathways of your brain is no joke! So building a community is an integral part of this work. The great news is that there are literally endless resources that you can tap into starting today that will support you by being that voice you need to hear.

Surround yourself with a tribe of people that you respect. A community of like-minded people who are operating at your level or slightly above where you are today. You’ll be motivated to show progress and integrate their feedback. It also creates a healthy amount of competitiveness — nothing gets you moving like seeing someone else get results.  (psst join our DKYDJ Facebook Group and our local Don’t Keep Your Day Job Meetup Groups).

If you’re living in a small city or even the countryside then you can proactively seek out your tribe to connect with offline. You can look for MeetUp groups, travel to conferences designed specifically for your industry, or plan a trip to a larger city. This is – of course – all in addition to the connection and support that you’ll find through countless digital resources.

Support equals accountability.  Enlist a coach, boss, teacher or mentor who encourages you to raise the bar. They create a space of elevated expectations and push you to broaden your perspective of what’s possible in both quantity and quality.