Why a Strong Mindset is the Foundation of a Successful Entrepreneurial Career

Words like optimistic, determined, persistent and unwavering tend to define established entrepreneurs, but what about the resolve required to just get started?

learn more about Jennifer Spencer

By Jennifer Spencer

Oscar White | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's often the case that when one wants to start a business, they think it should begin with an idea and a business plan. But while these are necessary ingredients in entrepreneurship, they overlook the most necessary ingredient of all: their own mindset. There's a quote from author and entrepreneur Idowu Koyenikan that says, "The mind has a powerful way of attracting things that are in harmony with it — good or bad." And it's true. If you hit one obstacle in building your business and believe it's a sign that you should give up now, you likely will. But if your mindset is focused on perseverance and success, you'll keep at it.

Now, many words come to mind in association with an entrepreneurial mindset: optimistic, determined, persistent, unwavering. But what about the mindset required to just get started? Entrepreneurship has a way of taking over our lives, colluding with our identities and forcing us to confront everything within us. That's why a strong mindset is the most powerful building block for any successful company.

Related: Learn How To Start Your Own Business - Take A Free Sneak Peek Into Our On-Demand Start-Up Course Now

Do you believe everything happens for a reason?

Some of the very best companies began because the founder went through a setback, then realized something better was ahead. When Vera Wang was rejected for the editor in chief role at Vogue, she decided to create her own bridal design line. When Oprah was fired as a news anchor, she was put on a talk show, which sparked the rest of her wildly successful career.

Believing that even the setbacks serve a purpose is a valuable mindset tool. If you're going into entrepreneurship to win right off the bat, it's likely you'll have a hard time rebounding after your first obstacle. Also note that in the above stories of resilience, the founders made the conscious choice to take control of their own story. Vera Wang wasn't in control of the fact she didn't land the editor in chief job, nor was Oprah in control of being fired and placed on a talk show. It's what they did next that mattered most.

Practice this very important resilience mindset hack by going through all of the past memories and events of your own life story. Are you able to see how one setback propelled a new opportunity? The sooner you make peace with the fact that obstacles are inevitable but bouncing back is always required, you'll have the resiliency mindset to conquer a successful entrepreneurial career. A flipside to this mindset would be feeling like "everything is rigged against you" or what you were attempting "wasn't meant to be." You get to choose what's meant to be after each obstacle.

Do you believe that you have limitations?

Do you have limited beliefs or fears that keep you playing safe, or are you coping with something else that's holding you back? While building your foundational mindset, it's a good time to assess what could be hurting you. Balazs W. Kardos, founder of the Diamond Life Blueprint, recently shared with me that he considers the first act of greatness he ever completed to be "pulling himself out of the darkness of depression".

As he told me, "It took a great deal of inner work, but I now believe I needed to prove resilience and endure my bout with depression to get to where I am today. I know I can win against anything, which was a powerful shift in mindset for me."

It's a personal undertaking to assess one's own limitations, but since the journey of entrepreneurship often entails coming up against these limitations, it's best to assess them before you begin a company. See if there's a coach or counselor you can work with to help you bust through the limitations, or even a mastermind group that can hold you accountable to your real visions of the future.

Related: 4 Limiting Beliefs Sabotaging Your Business Growth

Do you have thick skin?

Rejections are just another obstacle that you'll inevitably run into, whether it be your 36th "no" from a potential investor, an "I'm not interested" from a potential retailer or even a failed process of designing a prototype. We often hear the story of how Thomas Edison tried more than 10,000 times to create the lightbulb, but rather than giving up after so many failed attempts, his mindset turned 10,000 "failures" into "10,000 ways that won't work."

Another story exemplifying the same persistence is the story of Sir James Dyson, the founder of Dyson vacuum cleaners. He tried in excess of 5,000 prototypes before perfecting his company's core design — and Dyson is still a frontrunning company today.

Begin to think of "no" as just a word. Better yet, shoot for thousands of nos in the spirit of Edison and Dyson. If you go into business thinking it will be a long string of yeses or bust, you're in for a tough haul. Ultimately, your mindset is the only thing you can always control in entrepreneurship. Even the best-laid business plans will come up against moments that test your resolve and determination. Build a resilient mindset first, and you'll be successful no matter what.

Jennifer Spencer

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

CEO of Energent Media

Jennifer Spencer is the founder of Energent Media, a digital marketing firm for tech startups. She is passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world.

Related Topics

Business News

Police: 82-Year-Old Woman Found Alive at New York Funeral Home After Being Pronounced Dead

The woman was found breathing almost three hours after she was pronounced dead.

Innovation

The Greasy, Glamorous Rise of Mascara

You won't believe the grimy gunk people used to smear on their eyelashes -- and still do.

Innovation

4 Ways to Use Customer Feedback for Business Innovation

Innovation is as much about understanding customer needs as it is about passion, and customer feedback is essential to entrepreneurs. Here are four ways to use customer feedback to improve businesses.

Business News

An NFL Rookie Scores a $514,000 Jackpot in Las Vegas

Los Angeles Rams running back Ronnie Rivers sat down to play 3-card poker and left a half million dollars richer.

Business News

Actor Says Kiss in Netflix's 'You People' Was CGI Generated. What Does It Mean for the Future of Rom-Coms?

On his "Brilliant Idiots" podcast, "You People" actor Andrew Schulz said the kiss by Jonah Hill and Lauren London was completely fake.

Growing a Business

5 Ways You Should Be Using Technology to Unlock Growth (and Stay Afloat) This Year

For agencies in 2023, there's no shortcut to working hard — but with smart systems and processes in place, you at least have a chance to spend your time on the activities that have the potential to move the needle and, as a result, move you into the next stage of growth.