7 Red Flags That Your Mindset is Creating Business Problems

And four techniques for fixing it.
7 Red Flags That Your Mindset is Creating Business Problems
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Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
Service-based Business Scaling Strategist
7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When your business isn't as successful as you planned, there are red flags that show you when your mindset is creating the problems. 

Common red flags include disappointment, bad experiences, lack of growth and uncertainty. Without immediate recognition, these stressors can slowly alter the mind from "can" to "can't" attitude.

These flags often sound like the words: can't, won't, never, ever, no one. For instance, have you heard yourself or a team member saying (or maybe just thinking) any of the following:

  1. Everyone else is luckier than me.
  2. Nothing ever works the way it should.
  3. Nobody ever listens to me.
  4. You can't hire good help.
  5. I can't find an employee I can trust.
  6. That never works.
  7. Why don't people ever do what I say?

Allowing this kind of negative mind chatter to continue ultimately creates problems in your business. 

As negative thoughts cycle and grow, this pattern keeps you from being fully successful by limiting your potential. The good news is you can fix it by protecting your mindset and directing your thoughts back to growth mode in your business.

Realize that mindset is a habit

In the book The Worry Cure, author Robert Leahy discovered that 85 percent of the things that people worry about ultimately had positive outcomes. That means those visions of failure that send you on an emotional rollercoaster a couple of times a day are similar to walking through a haunted house at Halloween — the fear is real, but the threat is not. Leahy explains the remaining 15 percent of negative worries people experience, 79 percent of those situations turned out better than expected.

Leahy explains that while having negative thoughts is normal, they are not always accurate. This is why the practice of a positive mindset is essential. To work on those negative thoughts, we need to understand mindset and the mind's habits.

The dictionary defines "mindset" as an established set of attitudes, disposition or mood held by a person. That means your mindset is under your control and malleable — like clay. 

Luckily, you can use the same part of your brain that creates negative thoughts to replace them with positive thoughts.

The Reticular Activation System, or RAS, is the part of the brain that proves your thoughts or observations true. It is also the part of the brain that validates and reaffirms personal choices. If you've ever purchased a new car and suddenly noticed how many cars like yours are on the road, that's your RAS at work.

Your RAS works against you when you think negative thoughts, because you then tend to have more negative thoughts. It can also work for you when you think positive thoughts, because you then tend to have more positive thoughts. 

Your mindset and how you take care of it is within your control. The business owners who abdicate the choice to cultivate their mindset intentionally seem to spin their wheels and struggle to gain traction. 

Those who intentionally show up with a can-do spirit and create a mindset practice can see improvement in their attitude and their bottom line. According to a 2020 Mind Over Money Study by Capital One, when people have a more positive mindset, they tend to make better choices and better habits when it comes to managing their money.

Here are four steps you can take to train your brain to be more positive, and in turn, elevate your business.

Technique 1: Flip the switch

As soon as you notice a negative thought arise, find a way to flip it to be more positive. That doesn't mean sugarcoating or ignoring a thought and heading to the direct opposite with rose-colored glasses. The goal here is to aim for a positive statement that you can believe. The statement should be real, probable and should not cause your inner critic to go into a tizzy.

The process of negative-thought-flipping is about subtly correcting the thought pattern. Instead of repetitively thinking: "Nothing ever works." Try flipping the thought to, "Some things work out fine." 

This adjustment holds more realism, even for staunch critics, because you're not trying to convince yourself of the full opposite thinking: "Everything always works out for me." Using this technique, you can eventually work up to the most positive thought, but what's most helpful when you're learning to pivot your mindset is repeating new thoughts you can believe.

Related: 20 Wise Insights on Gratitude to Spark a Positive Mindset

Technique 2: Practice mindfulness or gratitude

To balance out the negative thoughts, spend time recognizing the positives attributes or appreciation for your personal or business experience. Most successful business owners cite this practice as a contributor to their success. They often claim the habit to be the defining thing that sets them apart from others.

Here are some ways to put this technique into practice. 

Jot down what you are thankful for in a journal. Start by focusing on one topic — a particular person or thing. For one week, list ten things you are grateful for or that describe the positive aspects of the person or thing that has your focus. 

After the end of the week, observe what's changed in your thinking and general feeling toward the subject. 

Related: Cultivating Gratitude and Happiness Will Boost Your Business 

Technique 3: Feed the light

The poem, "White Wolf, Black Wolf: A Cherokee Story," holds excellent guidance for improving mindset. The poem addresses the duality that exists in all people: the struggle between the light and dark sides of the mind. The poem ends with the prophetic line: "Which one will win depends upon which one we feed."

Today's modern world easily and continually feeds the dark side. You don't even need to seek it out; it shows up everywhere your attention lands. From your social media feeds to Amazon product reviews, people have learned to be critical and share those views with anyone who will read them.

Feeding the light side takes intention and attention. The habit of finding positive and encouraging messages is a vital practice. Positive and inspirational videos, music, interviews, meditation and overall mindfulness practice are all ways to feed the "light wolf."

Consistently take time at the beginning and end of each day to feed the light side of your mind. This step can change the entire tone of the day, as well as improve the therapeutic nature of your sleep, according to research performed by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough.

Related:: 3 Ways to Change Your Self-Perception to Directly Benefit You, Your Business and Your Clients.

Technique 4: Throw it away

Ohio State University conducted three experiments with students in 2012 where researchers found that a simple three-step process diminished negative thoughts. 

The process included:

  1. Write a negative thought on a piece of paper
  2. Crumple it up
  3. Throw it in the trash can 

The experiments also found an interesting correlation when students wrote down positive thoughts. Instead of throwing away the paper, the experiment directed the students to carry the positive thought paper with them throughout their day. The result: the positive impact of the positive thought grew.

There is a mind-body connection that happens when you write things down. It's a practiced used by business owners to help cement an idea into action. It is a simple act of commitment.

The act of writing serves to give an invisible thought tangible substance and body. When you replace the negative thoughts with positive ones, tangible good follows. This process makes success more natural and likely. When this happens, you'll see team members step up their game, opportunities come out of nowhere and chance encounters will multiply because you are subconsciously looking for them. 

Managing your mindset red flags is a strategy that helps you solve problems in your business before they even start. Practice these strategies, and you and your business can get back into growth mode and become more successful


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