The Founder of Ubuntu Baba On Why Mindset Is Your Most Important Success Tool
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
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Player: Shannon McLaughlin
Company: Ubuntu Baba
Shannon McLaughlin is the Founder of Ubuntu Baba baby carriers. Her business was born out of a personal need to help her baby sleep for longer periods of time and to have more freedom as a struggling and overwhelmed first time mom.
Before she launched her business, she was a freelance web designer, working mainly with female start-up businesses. This experience made Shannon passionate about the user experience journey when shopping online, and she tapped into that passion and the knowledge she’d acquired when she launched her own produce-based business and online store.
Ubuntu Baba launched in February 2015, and currently has a team of six helping to run the business, as well as six machinists in their factory.
Entrepreneur chatted to Shannon about the mindset that she’s fostered to enable her success, and how she’s carried this forward into her business.
Q. What is the best advice or mantra you live by that has defined who you are today?
“There is nothing to do. There is no rush. There is nowhere to go.”
I was on Instagram one day and I saw these words flash in front of me. They were handwritten on a post-it note and the lady who wrote it just uploaded it to her Instagram page, and for some reason, I just loved it.
It made me stop dead in my tracks and realize, that actually, yes, what is the rush? Why do I always feel all this pressure – to do something, or to be somewhere – constantly.
I printed it out and stuck it on my wall and I often go back to those words today. Of course, they aren’t actually true, but that is something that I say to myself every day, to slow down my thoughts and to just ground me into the present moment.
Q. Do you have a daily ritual that positively impacts your success?
I practice kundalini meditation, which I learnt about through an online course I did in 2015 – this was back when I was searching for a way to manage my anxiety and I read up a lot about how meditation could help.
I didn’t think it would make such a difference to sit on the floor for just five minutes every morning and have that quiet time, but it really does.
Meditation allows me to check in with myself every morning – to quieten my mind and see what comes up, be aware of the thought, analyze whether it’s important or not, and then move on.
After a few minutes of this my mind is quieter and I feel so much calmer and focused within myself. I’ve seen my stresses, I’ve acknowledged them and… I’m still okay.
This makes me feel so much more able to deal with my day, my life, and the world around me. These are crazy times we are living in and I don’t believe that anyone out there is really coping with everything that is happening in the world.
Things affect us and create anxieties within us, whether we’re a part of them or not, and if we want to impact change and able to hold our own space, we need to make sure we have a strong connection to ourselves. We need to find a way to focus on what is truly important to us.
Q. What have you come to learn about your own mindset and how it impacts your life and business?
Your mindset determines how you perceive the world around you. Whether you’re fostering a positive mindset or a negative one will have a huge impact on how you live your life.
If you view the world as a negative place, always out to get you, you won’t trust anyone and you’ll protect your space too much. That’s also what you’ll get in return, because the people around you will feel your negative energy.
You see people leaving a country because the grass is so much greener on the other side, but I think that those people will always struggle if that’s their mindset.
You could be living in the most perfect place in the world and something could go wrong, and then what? How do you deal with it when life isn’t perfect, if you constantly strive for perfection?
The beauty of life is in our experiences. Everything we experience teaches us something and leads us onto the next thing. So, when it comes to mindset, I try not to view anything that happens to me as ‘bad’.
Instead, I try to approach it from a more solution-based mindset, so I’ll say to myself, “okay, this has happened, and I’m still alive – how do we move forward from here and what can we learn to prevent it happening again?”
If you’re stuck in a negative thought pattern, then when something bad happens to you, you’ll spend so much time defining the problem, studying why it happened and looking who you can blame for the issue and how they’re going to pay for it, that you never move forward. You’ll also end up miserable.
Q. What do you wish you had known ten years ago that you know today that would have enabled you to build greater success faster?
I wish I knew more about the flow of the good and bad energy that we create for ourselves. We are forever blaming everyone else and outside circumstances for the way we feel, and that’s completely backwards.
The way we feel is what determines our outside circumstances and how others react and act towards us.
I really do believe in the law of attraction – when you focus your energy on the things that bring you joy and you bring that into your day-to-day life, it has a strange way of showing up elsewhere and things start to fall into place.
Q. What from your childhood has shaped who you are today?
I distinctly remember being in Sunday School and asking the teacher why there were no dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible.
I also questioned the timeline of BC and AD, because in school I was learning something totally different, when all the continents were together and they were called Pangaea and the earth was 300 million years old and dinosaurs ruled the planet.
I remember two of the Sunday School teachers looking at each other. They weren’t quite sure how to answer, and so they ended up just making up some silly answer and changing the subject.
It made me feel like I had just discovered Father Christmas was a fake and everyone was lying to me. It was such a weird feeling as a child, knowing that these adults didn’t even know the answers themselves.
I think it was right then that the entrepreneur inside of me was born, because I started to question everything and never took anything at face value.
If my Mother told me broccoli was good for me I’d say “but how do you know?” When it came to high school, there were so many things that didn’t make sense to me: living according to a ringing bell and having to ask to go to the toilet, for example.
I was very anti-authoritarian and eventually left high school and did correspondence college to finish up Matric. It was amazing – I could go surfing every day and study when I wanted to.
I think these experiences really shaped my adult life and wanting to be an entrepreneur from a very young age. But they also brought accountability with them – surfing is great, as long as you also do the work. It’s all about finding balance in doing what you love.