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As an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand the influences that impact our day-to-day accomplishments. Established entrepreneurs know that it’s the small victories that accumulate and lead to large-scale successes. Every day starts as a new opportunity to take the next step in making your goals a reality.
While a linear and predictable path is not a common journey for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship is a far cry from a serendipitous series of events that happened to accidentally fall in your favor. Rather, it is more often a series of calculated risks and challenges that can be overcome with the right mindset and an abundance of smart work. Note, I don’t say “hard work” — which you certainly need — but it’s true that working smart beats working hard every day of the week. That said, the most successful entrepreneurs I know work smart and hard — and it usually starts with mindset.
A daily “win” that separates the most accomplished entrepreneurs is the ability to control and adapt their mindset. Today, I want to focus not just on having a “positive” mindset or the “right” mindset, but an “adaptable” mindset that will set you up for ongoing motivation and success.
1. Be honest with yourself
One thing I want to highlight upfront: Don’t fake positivity. That may sound harsh, but there’s a time and place for the phrase “fake it till you make it.” When you’re approaching a new project or business endeavor, it’s important to be optimistic, but realistically so.
As a business owner, the buck stops with you, and your business will rise and fall based on your efforts. This is both liberating and can be fear-inducing. There is no benefit to pretending a problem or challenge doesn’t exist. It’s best to be authentic and honest about what needs to be accomplished that day, week, or month in order to reach the next cornerstone in your entrepreneurial journey.
Just one caveat: When it comes to employees, they’re like children and animals — they smell fear a mile away. If you’re fearful and wallowing in self-doubt, you have to keep that to yourself or share only with peer advisors, not with subordinates. Your team can crumble if you are wishy-washy or can’t make a decision in a small business. This is why “it’s lonely at the top,” since you’re usually the OEO (Only Executive Officer) in a small business.
2. Maintain daily rituals
As an entrepreneur, there isn’t anyone telling you what to do or when it’s quitting time. Sometimes, entrepreneurs can become paralyzed by simply realizing the abundance of options they perpetually have. There isn’t a neat preset list of key performance indicators (KPIs) or a list of accomplishments that lead to your next raise or promotion. Therefore, the structure for success must come from you. One way of ensuring you are consistent and goal-oriented is to develop a set of daily rituals that force you to check in with yourself and your progress.
This can come in the form of a daily morning checklist, updating metrics that keep you on track, or documenting progress in various other ways. Each of these results in a routine in which you are holding yourself accountable. From this, you know that you’re starting your day from a place of clarity and control.
Note: You CAN create KPIs for your business — a franchise is supremely helpful for this. For example, Gino Wickman’s EOS (Entrepreneur Operating System) can help you monitor these daily.
3. Confidence, confidence, confidence
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for confidence. If you own a business or are on your way to becoming a business owner, then you believe that you are capable of accomplishing difficult things. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but if you are on the path of business ownership, then there is likely a reason that you are here. Take pride in the fact that you are on the road less traveled.
Be confident in your convictions and approach each new challenge with the understanding and mindset that this goal was planted in your head for a reason. Many people daydream, but only those who believe in their own abilities take the leap to venture out and start a business.
4. Become comfortable with being resilient
Not to bury the lead, but things in business hardly ever go according to plan, especially when you’re the one in charge. Picture a massive construction site in your hometown that says “expected completion in five months.” If you have any familiarity with construction projects, then you are rolling your eyes and expecting at least another year to be tacked onto that timeline.
While I don’t want to dash your hopes of completing tasks in a timely manner, I do want to emphasize comfortability with flexibility and resilience. It is very likely that whatever your new business endeavor is, it will look different a year from now than it does today. Become comfortable with the idea that “Plan A” is not the end-all-be-all and even “Plan F” may need some adjustments.
The key here is to remember that being a business owner is more important than a specific widget or a specific product. Plot twist: Your business will likely look different than you envision — but that doesn’t mean that you can’t control your mindset and approach each new day as an opportunity for great things to happen. The idea here is to keep your goals static but your methods flexible. Small controllable actions every day can be adjusted more easily toward long-term goals, then will start to snowball as they become cumulative.
Ultimately, there is no magic secret sauce or a one-size-fits-all answer to successful business ownership. After all, if it were easy, everyone would do it. However, if you’re reading this, it’s likely that you are an exception to the rule. Take pride in the fact that you are going for it and have the enthusiasm, confidence and authenticity to see your vision through.