What way of thinking results in success? Is there a success “mindset” that we can just lock into and cause our prosperity to materialize before our eyes? I wish it were that simple. There is no magic button. No magic pill. But there are proven ways to orient our efforts and even ways of thinking that are conducive to success. Some of them are as follows:
The first is rather obvious but needs to be said. Some aspiring entrepreneurs are looking for the easy way out and the quick fix. The world of business does not work that way. I’ve often recommended reading about others’ success stories – and I still do, but there is a drawback. Reading about others’ miraculous successes in business, the million dollar ideas and so on, can make it look easy – like you only need a great idea and the rest takes care of itself. Factually, those great ideas were accompanied by a lot of hard work, trial and error, disappointments, heartbreaks and emotional upheaval. So keep that in mind – you must, must, must apply yourself.
Being vs. Becoming
Some conceive that they are working in order to “attain success in the future”. Now, this is perfectly valid – you set goals, work steadfastly toward their attainment, and hopefully achieve them. But there is a flaw: you are constantly placing “success” in the future, in a different time frame, in a time other than now. Another approach is to simply state “I am successful” right here and right now. This does not negate your goals or make them any less important. Rather, it affirms “being” something as opposed to “becoming” something. Want to BECOME a “successful entrepreneur”? BE one. It’s a different mindset.
Thirst for Knowledge
Any successful person is constantly learning. Assuming you know it all, while rejecting any new information, is not a healthy approach. There is nothing wrong with being confident and acting on known data. There is something potentially fatal in ignoring knowledge and wisdom. So you have to open your eyes and ears. Develop a thirst for knowledge and a hunger for new approaches and new ways of doing things. Don’t be afraid of admitting that you simply don’t know, as this is the foundation for learning. Always be observing. Always be learning.
Ability to Delegate
If you must always do it yourself, you’re keeping yourself pegged down in the day-to-day business and you’ll lose sight of the big picture. While it is true that you must roll your sleeves up all the time and invest sweat and brain power, you must at the same time be able to hire competent people and hand them the reins. You may do so with great trepidation, holding your breath the whole time, but it must be done if your wish to move forward. And keep in mind that being able to delegate also implies the ability to mentor and teach others.
You’ve heard that entrepreneurs are risk-takers, which is another way of saying it takes courage. Be willing to fail. Be more willing to win. That’s an interesting trick, isn’t it? The exploratory spirit, the pioneer spirit and the entrepreneurial spirit are pretty much the same thing. The entrepreneur awakes each morning with a sense of adventure and a yearning for new possibilities and new horizons. I’m in the drug rehab business, which is really more of a calling and a lifelong commitment than a “business”. I cannot afford to take risks when it comes to people’s lives. I must know ahead of time that I am employing workable systems to help people safely detox and recover. At the same time, I work in a field that requires an unparalleled level of courage and determination. No matter what you do, steel yourself and be willing to overcome insurmountable odds and you’ll get an idea of what it takes. Courage.
Challenge Yourself & Others
Don’t underestimate people’s abilities – yourself and others. Give your people the opportunity to rise to the occasion and demonstrate their mettle. You’ll find that people perform better when challenged. When you only give them just enough so that they’re comfortable, they get bored. Not only that, when people don’t have enough problems, they create their own! Don’t be afraid to present challenges and expect them to be confronted and overcome. And this goes for yourself as well. Really, you want to bite off more than you can chew. I do this all the time and I discovered that I’m able to deal with it. Your comfort zone is a dangerous place to be. Venture beyond it.
Just because you crave adversity, doesn’t mean you can’t be organized. In fact, ideal organization is oriented around maximum speed and action. When you organize, do so from the viewpoint of how to accomplish more, accomplish it better and accomplish it faster. Using the newest software and apps can pay off, but keep in mind that they are only as good as the intelligence and ingenuity with which they are used. When we take on more territory, the necessity to get better organized becomes dramatically evident. Your weak links in the chain will crack, bend and break. Hence, strengthen your operation through better and stronger organization.
Half Measures Won’t Do
Are you a professional or are you a dilatant? A dilatant isn’t serious about what they’re doing. They’re dabbling. Don’t be that person. When you’ve decided to do something, carry it all the way through. Gain a reputation for being true to your word. People want to work with and partner with those they can trust. Conversely, don’t work with people who are not trustworthy. On the subject of rehab again: The addict notoriously lies their way through life. So anyone dealing with addicts must be the polar opposite – utterly honest! Oddly enough, often those best suited for this job are former addicts (myself included). The former addict can’t be fooled. My point: If you’re in, you’re in all the way. No half-assed approaches allowed. You’ve got to mean it.
Analysis of Facts
Don’t listen to rumor or prejudice. The facts and the figures tell the truth. A “generality” is a statement like “they say…” or “everybody knows…” When faced with such statements, always ask, “who are ‘they’ and what did they say?” and “who is ‘everybody’ and what do they know?” You will often find that “they” and “everyone” are really just one or two people – or no one at all! Getting the facts also means looking at the statistics and metrics. You get a negative report on someone and find out that that someone is your most productive person, so they get a pat on the back instead of discipline. You hear how a manager is doing a great job but their department is producing virtually zero, so you fix that with authority. Always analyze the facts and the figures. To do otherwise is to court disaster.
Cultivating a new mindset requires a clear concept of what that mindset is and it requires constant re-focus and constant action. In order to achieve success, re-affirm and strengthen that mindset each day and every moment – a continuous process strengthened by willingness to accept and conquer challenges. And one more thing, it’s also fun.