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You have all heard the saying, "You can do anything if you set your mind to it." For entrepreneurs, this adage couldn't be truer.
Successful entrepreneurs tend to have what is referred to as a “growth mindset” as opposed to a “fixed mindset”. As the leading psychologist on the topic Carol Dweck puts it, "In a growth mindset, people believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work -- brains and talent are just the starting point," whereas people with a fixed mindset believe "their basic qualities, like intelligence are fixed."
As I have become more aware of how malleable the mind is, I decided to challenge myself to develop my own growth mindset. By changing the way I think about problems, I have been able to overcome hundreds of hurdles.
Want to develop your own growth mindset? Here are three changes you need to make:
1. Deconstruct: Break down large problems into smaller tasks.
If you put “start a company” or "develop a new product line," on your to-do list the sheer scope and complexity of the project will overwhelm and paralyze you with fear and uncertainty.
Instead, break down projects into smaller tasks and rank them based on value and urgency. Then begin to execute or delegate projects in priority of importance. If you takes projects step-by-step, you start to build self-confidence and momentum for the business, because the projects seem more doable.
This worked for me when I started my first company back in college. I focused on what tasks I could solve in a day -- everything from acquiring customers to attaining a tax ID and opening up a business account. By stacking smaller successes on top of one another, I eventually built a business that started to run on its own.
2. Evolve: Learn from your mistakes.
When you develop a growth mindset you begin to view obstacles differently. Instead of giving up when faced with these hurdles, you begin to view these situations as learning experiences. And the quicker you can learn and adapt from your mistakes, the better off you will be in the long term.
This mentality has played a huge role in my current sports-drink company Amara. I recently wrote an article detailing all of the branding mistakes we made. It took us several tries and dozens of changes to really get our branding dialed in to connect with our target customers.
3. Persevere: Persist in the face of setbacks.
Some problems can be daunting and difficult to solve, but I would venture to say few, if any, are impossible. If you become stuck, research the problem until you find solutions. Talk to experts, mentors, employees or anyone who might be able to offer insight. The solution may involve a number of steps but at least you have a clear path you can follow.
At Amara one of the biggest challenges we faced was capitalizing the business. The beverage industry is a competitive space so we had to bootstrap, until we had traction with distributors and retailers. We spoke to investors early in the process, though, and learned what milestones they were looking for so we had a path to financing.
How has changing your mindset helped you as an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments below.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Greg Connolly is the founder of the Berkeley, Calif.-based health-drink maker Amara Beverage Company. Amara is made with coffee berry, the red fruit that grows on coffee plants, found predominantly in natural-food stores like Whole Foods. The company makes a fruit-based sports drink designed for the rapidly growing fitness segment CrossFit.