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Proof Positive

Power ahead with a winning attitude.

With her natural elegance and persistent hard work, Michelle Kwan is an inspiration to anyone working to achieve great success. Even when the skaters she started out with retired, Kwan continued to compete. Despite multiple injuries, Kwan pushed through. She believes in herself, works hard and takes risks.

She attributes her remarkable athletic success to trusting her intuition and keeping a positive mind-set. To maintain her focus and increase her fortitude, she developed and nurtured a winning attitude. She often repeats to herself, "Don't focus on the negative things that can happen. Just think about the positive things."

Athletes practice what they are good at every day and tell themselves anything is possible. I call this "powering up your mind for success." You must do the same to conquer the challenges of entrepreneurship.

  • Control your approach to the world. To create and maintain a positive self-image, acknowledge that you have the courage to take chances and to accomplish tasks on your own terms. When Kwan started losing competitions early in her career, she concentrated on what her performances were lacking. Soon she realized her losses weren't due to undertraining. She simply needed to turn off the negative voice in her head and rededicate herself to her talents. Check in with yourself often, and do the same with your business.
  • Focus your attention on victory. Work hard to find unique ways to conquer challenges and realize your goals. Teach your mind to support your efforts by concentrating on your ultimate objective. When challenges occur, take a two-minute "focused intention" break. Remind yourself that every challenge has a solution. The result will be a more positive attitude that energizes you professionally and personally.
  • Be decisive. While most of our daily business decisions are not major, we frequently take too long to make them. We decrease our ability to stay positive by pondering possible outcomes over and over. Decide quickly--do it or don't do it, go or don't go. Decide, then move on. Taking forward action and being open to new ideas will enhance your self-esteem. With each new challenge you overcome, you will learn successful methods that you can repeat when you encounter new hurdles.
  • Train your mind. Turn on your "success thinking" switch and enjoy the rewards this commitment brings. Cement your self-confidence and increase your desire to take action by repeatedly trusting your mind, heart and experience to make the best choices in each circumstance. As you move toward your goals, your ability to manage new situations will blossom.
  • Reach for the stars. Your success can be bigger than you ever imagined if you allow your self-confidence to support your everyday goals. Hope and passion are powerful forces that can provide remarkable motivation--inject them into your action plan. Laugh--it releases tension and keeps your positive energy flowing. Your optimistic mind-set is the cornerstone for confidently approaching and resolving new obstacles.

Deciding to pursue your own business distinguishes you from others. Make successful thinking a habit that launches you toward your goals. Your clients and colleagues will value your positive mental attitude and support and encourage you to move on to even greater success.

Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Success and Kick Start Your Dream Business.

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This article was originally published in the June 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Proof Positive.

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