5 Acts of Mental Discipline to Maintain the Positive Mindset Success Requires
Entrepreneurship will knock you off-kilter once in a while. You need a plan for dealing with it.
As entrepreneurs, we’re constantly pushing the envelope, growing and developing ourselves, and creating new ideas and work. It's a fun and exciting ride, but there’s also a major downside to this way of life: the inevitable discomfort that comes with the expansion and constant changes.
Seemingly out of nowhere, we can find ourselves dealing with a slew of negative emotions. Overwhelm. Scarcity. Insecurity. Stress. Just to name a few. Sure, riding the ups and downs is part of the excitement of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. But we all know that we are more effective, creative and just overall happier when we’re in a positive state.
That's where our flow comes from. It's when our genius shows up, and where we’re able to enjoy, actually enjoy, the process. In order to be our best, most successful selves, we have to learn tools for shifting back into a positive state when we get swallowed up by these heavy emotions.
Here are five powerful strategies for a quick reset to get yourself back into a fun and juicy, positive and creative mindset when you get off track.
1. Put yourself first! And second and third.
In business, it’s far too easy to create endless obligations to other people. When this starts to happen, pause. Slow down and remember that your well-being is the most important thing. If you don’t have you and your health, you truly have nothing.
One powerful way to care for yourself is to spend an hour on Sundays planning for the week ahead. Book massages, plan workouts and set time aside to just be creative. Make it fun! Personally, I love to color-code my calendar. But make it your own: Pin some images on Pinterest that bring up the feelings you want to have during the week. Think about what will nourish you.
If you prioritize scheduling out meetings and work time, your self-care and enjoyment should be just as high a priority. And don’t assume that you’ll do it once everything else is done. If you don’t make it a priority in your schedule, it will not happen.
2. Practice saying no more than you say yes.
Here's a skill every entrepreneur must learn. Whether it’s people reaching out on Facebook to “pick your brain over coffee” or employee requests, we must liberally exercise our right to say no, and find graceful ways to do it.
When my business really started blowing up, I got dozens of requests to meet for coffee. I realized that most of the time I didn’t enjoy having these meetings in my calendar. Nor was it the best use of my time. But I didn’t want to come off rude or elitist.
Instead I use a “not that but this” approach. In response to a coffee request from a stranger I say “I currently don’t have space in my calendar for coffee, but I am going to this entrepreneur’s meetup on Thursday; would you like to join me there?” Learning how to say no (without feeling bad about it) will be one of the most valuable lessons to learn.
3. Let go of the idea of perfect.
It’s natural to want to do our absolute best all the time, but that’s simply not realistic. We are sentient human beings, with emotional fluctuations. If we hold ourselves to impossible standards, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. This is a reminder to be gentle with yourself: No one is judging you as much as you think they are. We are always our own worst critic.
Try this reminder when you’re getting down on yourself: “It’s not how we succeed; it’s how we fail.” Failing is inevitable, but it’s how you fail and treat yourself in times of failure that will determine how quickly you can rebound and regain a feeling of success.
If something doesn’t go your way, and you’re feeling “off,” it's a good time to return to the first tip. Figure out what you can schedule into your week that makes you feel good, and spend some time there.
4. Put things into perspective.
Sometimes we just need to leave town, go sit in nature, or cancel our afternoon of meetings. Getting away from the noise and remembering who we are is the absolute best way to get in touch with what we need to do next.
Problems can seem insurmountable if we allow ourselves to be swallowed by the drama and stimulus. When you’re in a state of overwhelm, it's easy for problems to get blown out of proportion. So take a step back.
Remember, you’re alive, breathing, no one is dying, and there is always a way out. Take time to reflect. Recall all the times you’ve handled hard situations or faced challenging times and choices. What did you do then? What got you through?
We can forget how cyclical business can actually be. When you’re absorbed in the moment you won’t remember all the times you survived the ebbs. So sit back for a few minutes and remember. You are strong, and you’ll get through this too.
And remember, you’re doing a great job. You deserve to grant yourself time off and consecutively spacious weeks. You are worthy of relaxing.
5. Allow others to contribute to you.
When you’re having an off-day, an off-week or even an off-month, there’s nothing to help bring you back up like community. Find your core group of individuals whom you feel like yourself around. Spend time with people who get it and who can help you work through your problems -- and then help you laugh about them.
In my community for female entreprenuers, Prosperity Possy, we create a group of women who support each other specifically through the journey of entrepreneurship and the challenges that go with it. It's incredible to see the way having this support network allows women to grow their businesses in a better, stronger way.
It's horrible to feel alone. And in our individualistic society, we aren’t always good at accepting or asking for support. But finding the people who bring you up and are with you through the hard stuff is one of the most important keys to staying on track as an entrepreneur.
In entrepreneurship, ups and downs are just part of the game. Feeling great all the time just isn’t realistic, and it's not why we chose to do what we do. The challenges are part of the journey. And when you learn strategies that allow you to reground and refocus when you get off track, you’ll truly set yourself up for long-term success.