1. FocusThe most successful people I know are the most focused. They don’t get distracted by shiny tactics. They’re not looking for a shortcut. They don’t need one. They’re focused on their goal. Do you know why you’re working so hard? What gets you up every morning? If you can’t remember, connect back with that. Remind yourself what your business does, who your business helps, and what it’s allowing you to do. Keep focusing on your goals by having them somewhere that you can see them.
2. Eliminate the negative……mindset, that is. There’s a better-than-average chance that you have a negative mindset and you don’t even know it. See, being mean isn’t the same as being negative. In fact, negativity is an extreme form of self-deprecation and does more harm than good. Way more harm. Here are three things to watch out for that may indicate a negative mindset:
a. Not being all-in on your successDoes your backup plan have a backup plan? The more you focus on things not working out, the more doubtful you become about your success. I’m not advocating recklessness. But I do know from experience that safety nets can turn into the same escape fantasy that starting your own business was when you went from being an employee to an entrepreneur. Plus, you know that building something successful takes time. Give yourself permission to push through when things get tough.
b. Believing you don’t deserve to be successfulI know, I know, “deserve’s got nothing to do with it” and talking about what we do or do not deserve ends up getting us tagged as whiny millennials who don’t know what hard work is like. But the thing is, if you think you don’t deserve business success, the universe is going to prove you right. On the other hand, the universe is going to prove you right if you believe you’re the type of person who can be successful in business. “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right,” goes the Henry Ford apocryphal saying. But in order to be successful, you have to believe you’re the type.
c. Being uncertain and unsure of yourselfWe’re not talking about imposter syndrome — everyone, even those at the very highest levels, has that. We’re talking about you not being sure of yourself, period. That’s a sign of a negative mindset, and one you can fix. You have all the tools you need to be successful. You just have to go for it.
3. Think like an entrepreneurI know it’s not true, but it really feels like there’s a gene out there for entrepreneurs. Striking out on your own means eschewing the relative safety of a steady paycheck, paid vacation, subsidized health insurance, and help with your retirement in exchange for… …for what, exactly? If you can’t answer that, or the tradeoff isn’t worth it for you, then you don’t have the entrepreneur gene. But if being your own boss, creating your own business, and carving your own path light your way, you’re on the right path. The exchange, in my mind, is clear. I’m trading all that so-called stability for the freedom to make my own way and I’m happy about all the risks, responsibilities, and rewards that come with it. In fact, I see it a different way. I see employees who are miserable at their jobs stay in them because of fear. I see what they’re giving up in exchange for that stability, and I know from experience that stability is a myth.
4. Believe in what you doYou don’t have to think you’re the answer to the world’s collective prayers, but you do have to love the product or service you’ve created in order to be successful. I know people who claim to be able to sell anything. But they’re outliers. For the rest of us, knowing that the thing you’re selling makes a difference to the lives of the people who will buy it is the difference between success and failure. And this is never truer than when you’ve created the thing — be it a piece of art, a piece of software, or a consulting call — that you’re selling. If you don’t believe in your product or service, there’s nowhere to go from here. But if you do… there’s no stopping you. Keep the mindset that says your product or service is absolutely worth it.
5. Don’t tryWho knew we’d get this far into this post before we channeled Yoda? But in this respect, he was right. You can’t try to succeed in business. Saying that you’ll try, or you’ll do your best, is a sign that your mindset is negative. Think more along the lines of “I will” or “I can.” Thinking “I’ll try” is a non-committal mindset that is not conducive to success. Do or do not. There is no try.
6. Get educatedSometimes our lack of education keeps us from the success we seek. If you graduated from college (or even high school) thinking your days of learning were over, you’re in for a treat. Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and there are a variety of places you can keep your skills sharp:
Business booksSome business books read like 200-page business cards, but some are worth their weight in gold. Read books by people who have expensive courses and masterminds, because the content is going to be more or less the same. Learn from the greats at a fraction of the price of working with them.
Blogs in your nicheOn that same token, devour the free content people you admire are giving away. The inbound marketing rule is, “give away 80% of your best stuff and charge like hell for the remaining 20%.” So, again, read what the people who are charging a lot for their paid programs are giving away for free.
Join a paid groupOnce you’ve found someone you know you can learn from, pay to join their course/mastermind group/group of courses. Some of these have coaching calls included in their packages, and no matter how long you’re online (actually especially if you’ve been online a long time!), there’s something new to learn, and someone new to teach you.
Get certified as an expertHubSpot has an inbound marketing certification course, Microsoft allows you to get certified as an expert in a variety of their products, and a quick internet search shows all kinds of certifications you can take.
7. Stop comparing yourself to othersIn yoga, we call this staying on your own mat. It’s the same for business. You can’t look at someone else and think about how much farther along they are. I mean, you can, but it’s not going to be very useful for you. In yoga, if I look at the person one mat over from me and think about how much more flexible and balanced and strong they are, I’m not doing any of the work to make myself stronger, better at balance, and more flexible. Instead, I’m feeling sorry for myself, and thinking I’ll never get to where they are. We do the same in business, too. And we have just as much context there as we do looking at strangers in a yoga class: hardly any! You don’t know how much longer someone else has been at this. You don’t know how hard they work. You don’t know how many people they have working with them. You don’t even know how much money they’re making! And comparison leads to envy, which does not lead to anywhere productive.
In SummaryBeing successful in business takes a lot of hard, dedicated work. Focus, dedicate yourself to your craft, don’t focus too much on your backup plans, believe in what you’re doing, never stop learning, and stop comparing yourself to others.
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