When you’re employed, but also dream of running your own creative business, there are always a few “valid” concerns that come up.
- How am I going to do it?
- How can I take such a big risk?
- How could I quit a safe and secure job?
The problem with those questions is that they lack quality and depth. They come from a place of fear, and instead of serving as a call to action, they’re an invitation to self-doubt. A couple of better questions would be:
1) What kind of person do I need to become to make this a success?
2) How would that person think and act?
Today we’ll explore the best Mindset you can practice as a creative entrepreneur. We’ll see how your thinking affects your life, why it’s important to have a mindset practice, and what you can do to create a bulletproof mental game.
If you dream of running your own business one day–but you're still experiencing self-doubt, perfectionism and procrastination–this blog post is for you.
Your Mindset Determines Everything in Your Life
Have you ever struggled with impostor syndrome? Ever been anxious about your work or battled with perfectionism?
These are just a few of the mental challenges we all face in life. They can affect and change our mindset and mental health–both in positive and negative ways–and truly define the way we experience reality.
An interesting theory says that everything we experience in life happens because we mentally “create” it, and that our behaviours are the main cause of our success and failure.
This theory, explored by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D, is called “The Self-management Sequence”.
The self-management sequence
The self-management sequence is broken into 5 different areas that directly affect each other.
In his book What To Say When You Talk To Your Self, Helmstetter explains how our results in life are determined by our actions. Yet, the reason why we take those actions is determined by our programming.
Maybe you're like me, and you grew up in an environment with no good examples of how successful entrepreneurs think and act. That would become part of your programming, and if you don't do anything about it, you're presented with scenario A.
Every time you think about starting your own business you doubt yourself and give up before starting. Your programming says it’s impossible (e.g. no clear examples around you) and you believe those fears to be true and objective. You feel inadequate, and even the thought of starting scares you, so you put it off indefinitely. This stops you from starting a business you believe in and using your potential.
But, if you work on your programming and do the required work to change it, you're presented with scenario B.
Every time you think about running your own business you feel a rush of excitement. While your programming says it’s impossible, you challenge it and start connecting with entrepreneurs who show you that it's not. Now you believe and you start feeling good about the possibilities of doing it yourself. Your attitude changes as you think this can have a great impact for you and those you loved. Now you're equipped to start a business you believe in and use your potential to make an impact.
Let's look at how the self-management sequence works in detail:
Programming is the conditioning we take with us from the day we are born. It’s what we think we know about ourselves and others. It’s influenced by many things like the environment, culture, and the family we grow up in.
Programming creates our beliefs and affects the way we see the world.
Beliefs are what determine our reality and worldview. They are so powerful they don’t need something to be true, they just need us to believe it is. Many of us struggle with limiting beliefs that prevent us from taking the right action, or worse, from taking action at all.
Beliefs create our attitudes and determine how we show up in the world.
Attitudes are our predisposition towards events, people, and things. In a nutshell, it’s how we interpret the world around us and how we approach things in response to that interpretation.
Attitudes create feelings and affect our thoughts.
Thoughts and feelings are the filters of our behaviour. How we feel about doing something determines how well we do it, or whether we do it in the first place.
Feelings dictate the actions we take in those areas of our lives.
Actions (our behaviour) directly contribute to our successes and failures. If you we do or don’t act on something, we will see a result in return. Statistically, the right series of the right actions will always end up making things work better than the wrong series of the wrong actions.
Actions create results.
Why Everyone Needs a Mindset Practice
Mindset work is crucial because it's what allows you to change your programming. If what you experience doesn’t serve you, you can shift your perspective and decide to program yourself differently. Empowering, isn't it?
Some of the amazing benefits of working on your mindset, according to Stanford Report, include:
- Increased awareness and ability to spot new opportunities.
- Higher self-esteem, confidence and happiness.
- Greater ability to solve problems, big or small.
- More patience and acceptance towards new challenges.
While it may seem like a minor thing to worry about, mindset plays a huge role in how you create your vision and how successful you are at pursuing your goals.
Maxwell Maltz, psychologist and author of Psychocybernetics said:
The ''self-image'' is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.
How to Change Your Mindset
We know the importance of changing one's programming. But how can we put into practice?
Thanks to Mindset and EQ pioneers like Carol Dweck, Maxwell Maltz, Todd Herman, and Shad Helmstetter, we have many practical ways to do it.
I’m going to share two mindset exercises I give to my coaching students–so they can prepare themselves mentally–just before they craft their vision.
Exercise #1: Flip the script
This is a self-awareness and reframing technique. The more you practice self-awareness and reframing your thoughts, the better thinker you will become.
Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential inspired this exercise. Here’s how you do it:
Write down all the challenges (i.e. limiting beliefs) that stand between you and your dream outcomes. Focus on where you think you’re currently falling short. Look out for statements like:
It’s too difficult to…I don’t know…I am too…I don’t have…I can’t…I won’t…
If your goal is to open your own design studio you might say:
"I am too inexperienced/perfectionistic/young/old to launch my own business."
Ask questions that challenge the belief itself, with the aim to find a solution to the problem. Ask yourself:
“Is this really true? Why? What actions can I take to change this?”
“I am too inexperienced to launch my own business”
Some questions you'll come up with might lead you to action-based solutions. If you lack knowledge, you can educate and upskill yourself by reading a book or taking a course. If you lack action and accountability, you can team up with a friend or hire a coach.
Write down a list of all your life wins so far. Focus on what you’ve achieved, not just professionally, but also as a person. This is NOT the time to downplay anything. Learning how to swim counts. Getting your first job or promotion counts, and so on.
This is one of my own, completely unrelated to my career:
"At 23 I left my small village in Italy to move to London. It was scary, but the experience left me more adventurous and empowered."
Finally, use your wins list to create some momentum and write a list of empowering beliefs and how they make you feel. Use words like:
I am...I can...I’m good at...
I take risks and I face my fears. When I do so I feel empowered and confident to take on the world.
Exercise #2: Become the hero
This is an identity shift technique used to change your self-perception. In this exercise, you can define the negative traits you don’t want, and the good ones you want to see in yourself.
Todd Herman, mental coach and author of The Alter Ego Effect helped many top athletes and entrepreneurs with this approach. Here’s how you do it:
1. Meet Your Villain
Think of the negative part of yourself and paint it as your villain. This is the part of yourself that doesn't empower you and that you don’t want to be part of you anymore. To picture it clearly, answer the following questions:
- What’s its name?
- What are its key characteristics?
- How and when does it show up?
- How does it think and speak?
- How does it behave?
Clyde is a humpbacked lazy slob. He always tells me I’m an impostor. He makes me feel inadequate, and he constantly brings up silly doubts to shut down my excitement about some new adventure...
2. Meet Your Hero
Think of the part of yourself you dream of becoming and paint it as your hero. Describe the person you need and want to become to reach your dreams. To help with this, think about your favourite superheroes, real life heroes, or role models in life–and answer the following questions:
- What's their name?
- What are their superpowers (personality traits, values, etc.)?
- How and when do they show up?
- How do they think and speak?
- How do they behave?
Bruce King is a powerhouse, both physically and mentally. He shows up every day confident and energetic. His superpowers are unshakeable confidence, leadership and honesty. He’s always looking for ways to grow and challenge himself...
Whether you’re simply looking to improve your career or do a full-on lifestyle overhaul, the verdict is out:
When you actively start working on bettering your mindset, you become more adaptable, willing to learn and ready to take on the world.
By doing these exercises you will place your focus on positive self-talk and on creating an empowering picture of yourself. This will allow you to create a much stronger vision of your future that taps into who you’re really meant to be.
With practice, positivity and empowerment will become the norm in your life and will help you create the results you want.
In the next post, we’ll explore how to craft a detailed vision of your life and business, so you can gain clarity on what you want and why it's important.