The Hardest Part Of Starting Up A Business: Keeping A Positive Mindset
The Hardest Part Of Starting Up: Keeping A Positive Mindset
‘Human beings are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by: our own minds.
We are each the masters of our own reality;
when we become self-aware to this: absolutely anything in the world is possible.’
When I came up with the idea of AMotherBrand, I tentatively referred to those hours at my desk as time spent working on a ‘business … idea’. In truth, I tried to avoid mentioning it, but if circumstances demanded I explained my time spent alone on my computer, not with my then 17 month old, I said those words really quietly, hoping no paid any attention. I made the ‘idea’ really, really, really small, so no one could challenge me about it, or really form any opinions about it – so no one could judge me or it.
Even as I tentatively pursued the idea, commissioning my friends to design a pilot website, I only really entrusted the full story of my ‘project’ to them, my husband and my mother. I kept the idea totally on the down low.
Months later when I decided to really invest some time and money into the idea, I still struggled to call it a ‘business’ without apologetically tagging ‘idea’ on the end.
Why was that? With hindsight I feel it was probably:
- Shame – as I talked a lot about my first business idea and yet it never launched.
- Fear of failure – fear of it not working out.
- Fear of giving up – powered by memories of giving up things when I was younger – trying to ride a bike or learning to play the saxophone for example. The failure of the latter became a family joke at my expense – I’d tried to persuade my parents they should buy me one before I started learning, only to give up lessons before the year was out.
- Fear of being vulnerable – feeling stupid for thinking I might be able to do it… and then failing to make it a success.
Now, I’m getting better at ‘owning’ what I’m doing. I tell people I’m working on or starting up a business – sometimes I even call myself a Founder or Entrepreneur. I work on my mindset as a discipline. I’m trying to develop a growth mindset and I use affirmations, meditation and visualization to work on building faith that what I want to achieve will happen…. And yet, it’s still a battle. Just this morning I was dropping my children off at my parents for the day so I could get some work done and I could hear my inner critic telling me how awful it is that they’re supporting me so much with childcare, when my venture is likely to be an embarrassing failure. That’s an intrusive, unhelpful thought.
It seems especially hard to keep a positive mindset in the holidays, when the changes to the standard life / work balance suddenly make everything feel a bit less secure and a bit more challenging.
We rise and fall by our mindset. So how can we to help ourselves develop a better mindset?
Here are 9 ways we can work on developing a positive mindset
1. Focus your mind on what you want, and keep looking for ways to get it. Be clear about your goals and trust that you will accomplish them, sooner or later.
2. Accept that there is no courage without vulnerability. Accept that you have to put yourself out there and be prepared that you will fail at some point. Know failure is not forever and there are valuable lessons to be learned through setbacks.
3. Listen to your inner critic and then counter what it has to say. Write a list – on one side list all the evidence that supports what your inner critic is saying. On the other side, write down all the evidence to the contrary. List all the reasons why you *CAN* do what you’re setting out to do. Looking at evidence on both sides of the argument can help you look at the situation more rationally and less emotionally.
4. Be kind to yourself – talk to yourself like a friend who needs encouragement or a coach, who knows you can win.
5. Affirm yourself daily. Practicing and reinforcing a positive mental practice helps you outtalk and ultimately mute your inner critic. An affirmation is a positive statement that something is already happening, for example, one of my favourites:
‘My courage is stronger than my fear.’
Select affirmations that feel right for you at any given time and repeat ten times in the morning and then throughout the day whenever negativity enters your thinking. Through constant repetition negative thoughts will eventually be replaced with the positive voice of your affirmations. Motivation from inspirational quotations can also be useful when trying to induce positive thoughts.
6. Set yourself up to win. This can be as simple as making your bed first thing and mentally ticking off an achievement for the day before you’ve even had breakfast or it can be setting yourself realistic goals for the day. If you’re realistic in your goals then you’re more likely to achieve and over-deliver.
“The feeling that you’re winning is a precursor to winning on a really large scale.” Tim Ferriss
7. Always celebrate your wins, however small – take some time every week to reflect. Be grateful for where you are, what you’ve achieved so far and where you’re going. The happiest people are those who give thanks for the many blessings in life rather than worrying or complaining about the things they do not have.
8. Try not to compare yourself to others. You’re on your own journey and your story will not be the same as their story.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
9. Surround yourself with a network of supportive, uplifting and inspiring people who ‘get it’.
What do you do to help you keep a positive mindset? Please share with us in the comments below 💕👇