If you’re needing to strengthen your business success mindset, this article will help you to develop empowering mental habits that build business resilience and a greater sense of freedom in our work.
In the next two articles, I’m going to be looking at how we can build the habit of the business success mindset into our daily work and life. So we’re getting in the zone for success and learning how to deal with obstacles and challenges as we grow our business to achieve a greater sense of freedom and work-life balance.
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In part one here, we’ll cover ways to get in the success zone and stay there with 3Ps you need to empower your business success mindset. And then in part two next week, we’ll dive into how you can deal with obstacles and challenges that can impact your business trajectory, your sense of fulfilment and your mojo, and 5Rs that help you develop business resilience.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression living in the success zone – that state of mind where everything feels in tune and effortless.
In the iSuccess Business Academy, our very first foundations are around the success mindset. And in my book, I spend a fair bit of time on aspects of success and mindset. So it seemed right to share some ideas here on the blog.
In this article, I’ve pulled together some thoughts on how to get yourself into a pattern of thinking and behaving that works for you, not against you, because when you know how to create and leverage the right business success mindset, it boosts your productivity and enjoyment in growing your business.
As you can imagine the business success mindset isn’t a “top ten tips” kind of topic. (Bit of a tongue twister!) In pulling together the material, there ended up being a lot of material I wanted to include, which is why we decided to make it into a two-parter. And I love it when a plan comes together.
Today, we’re talking about what is the success saying what success is and isn’t. About the importance of having directions skills, attitude, and about recovering from failure and we’ll touch on what it means about pulling out those strengths in your character and pushing forward with integrity.
What is the “Success Zone”?
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “in the zone” particularly as it applies to athletes or others who are unflappable as they eye the goal. Sometimes you can be in the zone regarding your success and nothing gets in your way; other times you can do everything right and find that whatever can go wrong, will.
And when that happens, all those inner demons descend on you and it feels an uphill battle to stay positive and keep the faith.
It’s no coincidence that in a lot of books on success whether in life or in business, we hear authors and leaders say that mindset is 80% of the game for success. And certainly, that’s emphasised as a required trait in entrepreneurship.
So what are the cornerstones for getting out of your own way, such that you can put yourself squarely in the success zone and stay in the success zone as much as possible.
Let’s go over a few things about how we might envisage success.
Success: What it Is & Isn’t
Success is defined in different ways by different people and it’s going to depend on what’s most important to you as an individual.
Recognising that as a business owner, we’re all individuals – that “I” is one of the cornerstone “I’s” in iSuccess – since the purpose, audience and occasion for all of your business activities stem from YOU – the individual at the heart of your business.
But for now, let’s talk a bit about what most people agree “success” looks like.
•knowing you did a good job during your day and had positive interactions with other people.
• looking forward to going home to your family and sharing yourself with them.
• knowing you have enough funds to pay this month’s bills and the bills that will arise in the future.
•knowing that your spiritual life is in order and that you have somewhere to turn when you hit a bump in the road.
• having hobbies that you enjoy and having the time to work at them.
o Success isn’t: putting your work ahead of your career.
o Success isn’t: running home and then hiding from your family because you’ve “had a hard day”.
o Success isn’t: having all the money in the world and then trying to figure out how to amass even more.
o Success isn’t: going to a worship service and creating your “to-do” list during it.
o Success isn’t: burning the candle at both ends, never having time to play or relax.
In short, success is not always money-related; you aren’t deemed “un-successful” if you don’t earn a six-figure or multiple six-figure income. Success is more than moving up a corporate ladder and it touches more than just your career. It affects your marriage and family, your home life (finances, etc.), your spiritual peace, sense of fulfilment, joy and more.
Being successful is a balancing act. One isn’t considered successful in life if you climb the corporate ladder but end up with a home- or family-life that is in shambles.
One isn’t considered “successful” if you earns plenty of money to retire on, anticipating spending that retirement with family, only to find that your children are gone and disinterested in any family relationships by the time retirement is possible.
So is there one formula to be successful?
I think there is, and the components are: positive thinking, having direction, the right skill set, the right philosophy, and having character.
All of these things make up a formula for success, and each of these things, if left out of the formula, will cause an individual to lack success in life.
Learn how to think “success” so that you are successful at whatever you choose to do.
Philosophies that Support the Business Success Mindset
Across the wealth of books I’ve read across both business and self-development – personal growth, entrepreneurship, business building and success manuals – there’s four philosophies that jump out to me.
Achieve Success by Expecting It
You must understand that the path from where you are to where you want to be is not always smooth or straight. When you hit those inevitable bumps in the road, your character, commitment, and attitude will help get you “in the zone” or at least, keep you there.
Success Breeds Success
In business, we often talk of getting traction or getting momentum and it’s important for many reasons. Momentum is the ability to continually succeed and build on the past successes you’ve had – mo-mentum is where your mo-jo comes from!
Psychologically, most people have experienced that when they have one success – whether big or small, those “wins” encourage you and make you believe you can do anything. Entrepreneurs recognise this and they seek every little success out. Sales people know it, and they strive for those daily or monthly targets to feel successful.
When you start unlocking the combination to your success vault (whatever’s inside it for you), when you hear the clicks as each piece gets dialed in – that’s when you you’ll find your “mojo” and then nothing can get in your way.
We all understand that we can choose to be happy or miserable, and that our choices will affect our lives for the better or worse. When you opt to be happy, you choose to identify with the accomplishments in life that exude who you are and who you have striven to be.
You can choose to look on the positive side, just as you can choose success. Remember, success is more than just wealth. Choose the positive side of things and you choose to remember and live your successes, not your regrets and failures.
Experts Don’t Know Everything
If you have a plan that seems to go against all the conventional wisdom and yet you know in your soul that this WILL work, then follow your gut instincts. The “experts” are wrong all the time—from medical experts who predict incorrectly to future-trending experts who foretell the wrong trends and cost corporations millions.
More than 100 years ago, someone wanted to close down the US Patent office because he thought everything that could be invented had been and that no one would need to patent anything else, ever.
So don’t listen to the naysayers and so-called “experts” who often say “that kind of marketing is dead” or “that method doesn’t work anymore” or “no-one’s doing that” — sometimes they are dead wrong!
It’s just most marketers love to chase new shiny tools and end up forgetting the fundamentals. For sure, sometimes, it’s wise to follow what’s working, but sometimes you need to take the road less travelled.
Personality and a Positive Attitude
In his book “The Winning Attitude”, John C. Maxwell, noted author and speaker tells us that attitude is:
- The “advance man” of our true selves
- Has inward roots but outward fruits
- Is our best friend or worst enemy
- Is more honest and more consistent than our words
- Is an outward look based on past experiences
- Is a think which draws people to us or repels them
- Is never content until it is expressed
- Is the librarian of our past
- Is the speaker of our present
- Is the prophet of our future.
Choose Your Attitude Wisely
Your attitude, or your willingness to think positively, affects many people—from your family to the stranger you smile at in the grocery store. An optimist will see opportunity in difficulties, while a pessimist will see difficulty in opportunities.
You must choose which you will focus on: if you choose poorly, you could doom yourself to never achieving your goals and being successful. So take action on that idea.
So how do you begin to think positively if you’re a natural pessimist? I don’t really believe there ARE natural pessimists, just people who have been taught how to consider the darkest side of every cloud.
You cannot change the fact that a problem exists, but you can do a lot to determine what opportunity is within that problem. Begin to see that problems are a fact of life and that your job is to find a way over, around, under, or through them—as quickly as possible. When you’re upbeat and consider how quickly a problem will be behind you, it’s easy to be optimistic.
Cynicism is another killer when it comes to attitude. It’s a cousin of pessimism—it considers everything suspect and everyone as having an ulterior motive. It never looks at someone handing you a piece of candy just to be nice, it always considers that there is a reason you’re being handed the candy and the motivation of the person who’s giving it.
Cynicism comes from having unrealistic expectations. Many people expect great and wonderful things to happen to them with little-to-no work on their part. They expect things to fall from the sky in to their laps. When it doesn’t happen as they expect, they become suspicious of others who have achieved success and ultimately, cynical or ungracious.
You must harness the power of your thoughts and words when setting your course for success.
Use Positive Affirmations Daily
Here’s a few short, simple personal statements that can boost your business success mindset:
- Every morning (and evening if you wish), identify five things you’re grateful for.
- Remind yourself that a stumbling block is temporary and that you will overcome it.
- Admit to yourself that you are courageous and able to move on when others cannot.
- Reconnect with your vision for your life and your goals.
These are all ways you can stay in the success zone and not let pessimism or cynicism win out over an attitude of gratitude and optimism for the opportunities to come.
As you discipline yourself to do this, you will find optimism and positive thinking become a more natural part of your personality. And who couldn’t use more optimism and positivity when we’re aiming for success?
Recover Fast From Failure
Okay, so what if you’ve tried and failed? What if you’ve been giving it your all and success is still not in sight? Well, first, be honest with yourself, have you really, genuinely been giving it your *all*, or at least a good portion of your all? If so and you’re still not seeing any progress, now what? Are you doomed to more failure and never to succeed? No! Keep reading.
One thing that you need to understand is that failure is an event, not a person. It doesn’t define you as a “loser” for the rest of your life—unless you let it. Failure happens to you—it isn’t who you are. You’re not a victim, but it also doesn’t define you. So when it happens (notice I didn’t say “if”), pick yourself up and get ready for the next event in your life. Because not everything is going to go perfectly.
You must adjust your attitude as you recuperate from a failure. You’ll rise to your own expectations. Psychologists call this a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” and we are suckers to believe our own words. So adjust your attitude to the positive side of things.
Remember the guy who came up with the brilliant idea to change Coke? Back in the 80s (for those of you who were mere babes during that decade), someone had a stroke of genius—or so he thought. The Coca Cola company decided to compete more with Pepsi, and changed the formulation of their signature product—Coke.
They called it “The New Coke.” It bombed. No one enjoyed the new taste and the calls were immediate to bring back “the old Coke.” After a few months of hemming and hawing, Coca Cola executives brought back the original formula of Coke and ditched the new stuff—and its creator.
So what happened to the guy whose idea this was? He left Coca Cola and began to look for new work. The trouble was, his name was well known in the business community and everyone connected him to the failure that New Coke was. He finally landed an interview in which he got a fair shake: the interviewer asked what he had learned through the problems the New Coke had created.
Naturally, he indicated that he had many lessons learned from the fiasco. He didn’t let failure define him, and he ended up landing the job for which he was interviewing. Good for him, right? But good for the company that hired him, too. They were willing to take a chance on a creative risk-taker who had a very public failure on his record.
Many of those who are considered to be “successful” have had failures dot their lives. The difference with those who stay in the success zone is that they don’t permit failure to define them. Lots of failures are simply events from which people can recover and move on. And you should take the same tact when confronted with something that didn’t turn out like you hoped it would.
Be of Good Character and Integrity
Without character, the puzzle of achieving success falls apart. It is most important of all pieces to life’s puzzle. Someone can make money, but without character, it won’t add up to any real sense of success.
Character equals integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing all the time, even when no one else is watching. You don’t have anything to fear when your integrity is in tact, because you have nothing to hide. You experience no guilt and no fear. And without those two traveling companions, it’s much easier to climb higher and farther, faster!
What does this mean in a practical sense? It means that you will put the right philosophy (the golden rule) in to practice in all that you do. You will not step on someone else to climb the corporate ladder or grow your business. You will not stack bodies in order to reach the CEO position that you desire or beat your competitor.
You will treat people with respect, honesty, and trust. You will behave towards others how you want (and expect) them to behave towards you. So when you are in the success zone, you feel great about it.
To stay in the success zone, aim to be the model of “doing the right thing” in your office, even if it isn’t appreciated or understood. Chances are very good that if you’re the only one doing the right thing, you won’t last where you are, but you will find something better where your integrity is appreciated and applauded.
Character realizes that the most important things in life are not office- or work-based. They are family and a sense of responsibility to that family. Character will not sacrifice your family on the altar of “I’ve got to finish this project,” nor will it tell you children, “Maybe next time,” when they ask you to play with them.
The most important thing to remember as you consider character is that your children will grow up to be just like you. John Maxwell once said, “We teach what we know; we reproduce who we are.” So as a person who is full of integrity and character, you will reproduce those same traits in your children, your team and all the people in your whole work environment.
As you climb towards success in your life, it’s equally important to recognise the contribution of other people. And isn’t that really what it’s all about – that sharing, that celebration of being in the success zone together?
Persistence – in the Right Direction
Let’s say you’ve got the right philosophy and personality for empowering your business success mindset. You’ve got your attitude correct, and you’re honing the right skill set. Great! There’s just one more piece of the puzzle to stay in the success zone.
But make sure it’s persistence in the right direction!
In Stephen Covey’s famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he tells the story of the manager versus the leader. The manager is furiously chopping through the jungle with his team behind him, working hard to clear the way forward. In another forest, the leader has climbed the tallest tree to get a better look at the landscape. He sees more because he has the top level view, while the manager has the ground level view. He shouts across to the manager – STOP! You’re in the wrong forest, come over this way. And the manager responds: SHUT UP! We’re making progress.
There’s very little point to persist if you’re making progress in the wrong direction.
While you’re on your path to success and overcoming obstacles along the way – persistence is key. There will be setbacks, you may need to pivot and change direction. However, if you don’t have the direction planned out in the first place, you’ll simply wander aimlessly or burn out thrashing through the wrong forest.
Let me give you another example. In construction, you don’t attempt even the smallest of jobs without a plan, and yet many people work in a field they just happened to “fall into” because it’s what they’ve always done, or someone suggested it, or a friend was doing it, or even worse—they didn’t have anything else to do.
Wandering through your career or thrashing away at your business can be just as deadly as trekking through a thick jungle without a compass, machete, and basic survival pack —in both places, you can die a slow death of thirst and exhaustion.
You must know where you want to go in order to set a direction for your life and business. You’ve probably heard the saying, “No one plans to fail, but they do fail to plan.”
So, from time to time take a step back, climb the tall tree to get a 30-thousand-foot view so you can determine more strategically where it is that you want to go (i.e., what you want to do) and set a course for it.
Now that you know where you want to go, you must plan and prepare for your destination. As you plan and prepare, it’s perfectly fair to expect that you will achieve that goal—expectations play a large role in success, no matter what the field. If you plan well and are committed to the work involved, then and only then, can you expect to achieve the desired results in your life.
The Right Know-How and Know-Why
As I said earlier, attitude is an incredibly important magic ingredient of the business success mindset. But even the most enthusiastic and overtly positive individual will fall short of their goal of success if they aren’t educated about what they’re selling, why they’re selling it and if they don’t have the right skills to sell it effectively.
Education for a particular skill set is preceded by motivation. If you desire to succeed in your chosen field, you will pursue the education necessary to do so. That ties in to your attitude.
You don’t have to have a Master’s degree in order to be successful—you don’t even have to have a Bachelor’s degree! Some of the least-successful people I know have advanced degrees, but the education does them no good, as their attitude and aptitude are poor.
If you have advanced degrees and no ability to educate, inform and encourage others, you’re not likely to end up in the success zone as far as attracting people to work with you without those broader understandings.
Right, so that was the 3Ps for developing a business success mindset – living with a great PHILOSOPHY, playing to the strengths and positive side of your PERSONALITY, and going in the right direction developing the skills you need to PERSIST through challenges.
And in part 2, next week, we’ll tackle five Rs for how to deal with circumstances and change on our growth trajectory and how to build your business resilience.
Let me know if any of this resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you about what works for you personally.