One thing that I’ve always been pretty fortunate with is that I seem to have a pretty good mindset naturally to take on new business ideas and turn them into something. I don’t get disappointed easily, I handle setbacks well and I don’t get too high when I have some success. I’m generally a pretty cool customer.
As I’ve been talking to more people in the last six or seven months through Casual Marketer that are trying to start a business on the side or create something from scratch, I’ve come to the realisation about just how important it really is to have a strong mental game when building a business.
I know, I know… I’m like Captain Obvious on this one, but for whatever reason, I just assumed that people who decided to start a business were ambitious and motivated. I always figured they were doing this entrepreneur thing to make something for themselves and their family which should be reason enough.
I struggled to understand why people who seemingly were on the path to success or had the right fundamentals in their business sometimes failed or just quit.
And in that light, I’ve had this kind of epiphany about just how important it really is to have your headspace squared away and keep it like that.
I’m going to dismiss one group of people right away from this discussion – the Wantrepreneurs. These are the people who you see that want success and the accoutrements that come with running a solid business, but they just don’t quite know yet what kind of business they want. In essence, they have nothing. They hang out talking to other business owners and “learning” but actually never applying it.
To me, wantrepreneurs are like air guitarists. They put themselves on stage and then they pretend like they’re real musicians but they’re probably unable to play a single note.
Wantrepreneurs don’t have a mindset issue, in my opinion, they’ve just should pack up, go home and come back when they have a real idea to work on.
Never fear, there’s enough “mental game” failure going around that we can easily dismiss one group.
The biggest group of people with a mindset problem are lazy people. Of everyone I’ve ever known that’s started a new business, particularly online and have failed, the biggest problem is that they just aren’t willing to do the volume of work required for as long of a period of time as needed. For most of us, gaining success is about doing the right things and putting in the hard work over time.
But people who fail want shortcuts. They don’t want to actually have to do the work so they cut corners. You see this play out with people who take important tasks and delegates them to junior, low paid staff who are patently unqualified to do the work. They call this building a team, but the truth is, they don’t want to have to put the effort in themselves. To these people the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself” never applied because the “do it yourself” part is way too much like actual work.
The next biggest group of people who fail because of mindset are the folks that just lack confidence in themselves.
I say it all the time, confidence cannot be given, it must be earned. To overcome a confidence problem you have to be willing to put yourself out there, take some risk, have a win and then build on it.
One interesting mistake I see people making all the time, particularly with coaches, is that they tell people to do stuff to build their confidence that’s too easy. Sure they get a “win” but the result was never in doubt.
“Ok, this week, I want you to get started on your business. Register a domain name and get some hosting. These are critical things and this will get you moving forward.”
I actually saw that in an eight-week coaching program as the first week’s “homework”. The guy running the program said that he wanted his students to get traction right away by achieving something. He was establishing confidence.
That’s was a nonsense way of going about it. Remember, you must earn confidence and the only way to do that is by doing something that has some risk attached to it and succeeding despite that. I think confidence is a biochemical response – when you do something where you might lose, but then you win, you get an endorphin rush. Endorphins make you happy and excited, which are similar physiological responses to confidence.
And you can train yourself to be more confident.
In business, confidence is way more important because it’s not just needed to get started, it’s also a fundamental underpinning to everything you do. Confident people assess situations and take actions that they know will improve their chances of success. They’re willing and able to drive the boat rather than just be a passenger.
I don’t swear very often in these emails, but I will in this one. The last major mindset problem I see is with people who just don’t own their shit. These people look for scapegoats or ways to find a reason for failure that isn’t about them. They blame other people or circumstances for their shortcomings.
This is a really big problem and one that when I see it, I can honestly say I think is the hardest to fix. Getting someone who refuses to take responsibility for their own outcomes to finally own up to it is a big leap. It’s a bigger leap than most people can take.
Some of it is confidence, some of it is fear, but in many cases, it’s just a character flaw – a weak person for whom it is easier to blame than it is to accept fault and endeavour to improve.
Sadly, if you’re someone that doesn’t take responsibility for your own stuff, then it is unlikely you will come to this realisation on your own, you’ll probably need to be aggressively confronted with it. And if we’re talking about a deeply rooted character flaw, then that makes it even harder.
Normally, people get called out and they come to a landing that eventually, they’ve blamed everyone except themselves and if the light bulb is ever going to go on, now is the time.
In simple terms, there are three pieces to having a good mental game:
1) Don’t be lazy, be willing to put the work in;
2) Work on and develop your confidence; and,
3) Take responsibility for your own outcomes and the situation you find yourself in.
There are tons of self-help books, courses and videos you can take around mindset and personal development, but I’m going to synthesise it all down to one simple sentence.
Make a list of important things you need to do to build or grow your business, knuckle down and do them and when they don’t work, accept that and refocus on fixing them.
In one sentence, you will get more work done, build your confidence and own your results and those are the holy grail pieces of having a strong mental game in business.