After 15 years as an entrepreneur I have discovered one key difference between successful creative entrepreneurs and the ones who continue to struggle year after year.
The biggest difference I see is their MINDSET.
Dictionary.com defines “mindset” as: A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations. An inclination or a habit.
You might think successful people are naturally wired with a fixed positive mindset but that is not the case. Many of the most successful people I know actively work on their mindset just like they work on their business – me included. Fixed and established don’t mean permanent.
I believe that mindset is a choice that we make each moment of every day. What mindset are you choosing?
In order to shift your mindset, you have to see your mindset as flexible and capable of growth. Below I share 3 ways you can reset your mindset for success.
How to Reset Your Mindset
1. Choose A Growth Mindset over a Fixed Mindset
A growth mindset takes on a different perspective that may feel uncomfortable or stretch you outside your comfort zone – mentally, emotionally or physically. A growth mindset takes on challenges as a way to expand and grow. It also dictates that there is room for hard work, learning, and achieving as in the case study below.
A Mindset Case Study
I worked with a very introverted entrepreneur who hated networking, maybe you can resonate? Many of my clients can. But no one I have worked with was as nervous as Jane (not her real name). In fact, I met Jane at a networking group and she kept going because it was small and she felt super safe with the group as long as she didn’t have to speak.
Just standing up to introduce herself was painful. But if it was her turn to present at lunch about her business, she would have a glass of wine at the bar before lunch to help calm her nerves enough so she would be able to do her 10 minute presentation and she would feel exhausted afterwards.
Jane knew networking would grow her business but struggled so much with nerves, she eventually gave it up, watching her business dwindle because she stopped connecting with new people. When we started working together, she wanted to try networking again but she had a fixed mindset that networking was too scary and nerve wracking and she never knew what to stay.
We worked hard to shift this mindset to one where she could see networking as fun, playful and profitable. It definitely required her to stretch outside her comfort zone!
After working together, we finally got her back into networking by coming up with a funny commercial and creating some visuals about her work she could share that would take the focus off of her. She had to shift her mindset to see networking as fun, not terrifying. Once she did, she relaxed, made friends and got new clients. Speaking from a place of fear and nerves didn’t position Jane as the expert or showcase her brilliance. By focusing on the benefits she would get from networking and creating a 30-second commercial that felt truly aligned with her personality, she was able to reset her mindset for success.
Networking is one example of tackling a mental and emotional mindset shift and choosing growth.
2. Choose Your Thoughts
There are several ways we create a fixed mindset that tells us we can or can’t do something.
First, growing up, you may have been told that you are not as good as someone else in a certain academic subject, sport, or talent. This has been your belief for all of your life. After all, you were told this over and over again. You heard people in your environment from parents to teachers that you were not as good as someone else in a certain area. This is especially true in the arts!
On the other hand, you may have been told that you were perfect in a certain subject or area and never really taught to question those parameters. You may think that the bar was set, you reached the goals and that your job is done. This is part of growing up with a fixed mindset.
Second are the stories you create as you grow up; you may have judged yourself as someone who is not as good as someone else simply because a statement was made on one occasion. You held onto that belief with no prompting from someone else, yet you continued to carry it into adulthood. Either way, there is no need for blame in either of these situations. As an adult, you are free to re-create your life as you see fit.
I remember being at my grandmother’s house singing Christmas Carols and my mom told me to stop singing while she was singing Silent Night. The story I told myself was “I can’t sing, I will never sing in public again.” I still have a fixed mindset about my ability to sing and never sing in public, not even at a karaoke bar.
This belief impacted my public speaking career for a long time. Getting up in front of people was terrifying when I kept waiting for someone to tell me to shut up and sit down. I knew I wanted to be a public speaker so I just kept at it until my new mindset was, “Hey, I’m good at this and I can keep getting better!” Still working on the singing…
To create new habits first requires being conscious of these old mindset patterns that are stopping us from growing. Sometimes as adults we have memories and flashbacks of these stories from childhood that can feel painful. I invite you to reframe each story from the perspective of your life now and what you want to create.
3. Choose Your Words
When it comes to yourself, do you beat yourself up, criticize yourself and not give yourself the same break you would give your child or your best friend? Choose kinder words of communicating with yourself and be aware of too much negative self-talk.
The way I see this specifically impact creative entrepreneurs is getting stuck in perfectionism. “It’s not perfect, I can’t share it yet!” And the book, blog or new program never get shared because of self-judgment and criticism. You stay at home, trying to get it right rather than getting it going and wondering why you don’t have any clients.
A growth mindset allows you to take action now, to tell yourself that perhaps you did not do as well as you had hoped but you know you will do better next time. A growth mindset keeps moving forward, not getting stuck in the past stories or beliefs that we are not good enough yet.
“Maybe someday” is a dream-killer! Imperfect action is infinitely better and more profitable than no action at all.
Choose your words carefully and treat yourself with the same loving-kindness you show to your family and friends. You are worth it! Affirmations are one way to create a practice and habit around choosing positive words that reset your mindset.