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3 Mindset Changes to Master Before Starting Your Business

3 Mindset Changes to Master Before Starting Your Business

When you are thinking about starting your business it can be like a battle inside your head.

You’ll have many positive feelings also mixed with many negative ones.

Are you excited, motivated but also nervous and uncertain? This mindset is normal especially when you’ve worked at your 9-5 for many years. You’ve been told what time to arrive, what to do and when to leave.

But following someone else’s orders causes you to lose your own sense of self-direction.

Tuning into the right mindset doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel uncertain or nervous. But you’ll be able to control these emotions that are keeping you caged from reaching your potential. You’ll still experience negative thoughts and emotions but the successful mindset automatically transforms into positivity.

With such confidence, you’ll be progressing and will rarely be stuck in procrastination.

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So, let’s look at the 3 mindset changes you need to master before starting your business

The Secret Handler

Your subconscious plays a big role in the thoughts you think and the outcomes as a result of these thoughts. At the moment, if you are not conscious of what your subconscious tells you, then it’s likely to be having a negative impact on your success.

Your subconscious takes in and processes everything around you. It then replays this information back to you like a message of confirmation. Whatever is in your subconscious hard drive can expand or decrease your chances of success when starting your business.

The first step to reprogramming is through meditation. Harvard Gazette explains that meditation changes the structure of the brain. 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation increases the areas of the brain that helps to control emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There is also evidence of decreases in this part of the brain too. Cell volume in the Amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety and stress, showed a lower level for people who meditate regularly.

Alongside meditation, simple quiet time is another great tool. You’ll be finding out the reasons behind why you’re holding yourself back.

Sit in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Get a pen and paper and sit as though you are getting ready to meditate. Write down all of your worries and anxieties. Listen and feel what your subconscious is trying to say.

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What are its fears? Why isn’t it helping you work towards your goals? Is it trying to protect you from something? List the broad reasons and then you can start to dig deeper for specific answers. For example, your subconscious fears success which is a broad reason.

Listen to the specific answers about what it fears about success?

Is it scared of letting people down? Is it scared you might grow apart from your partner? Is it scared that business will take over your life?

Your subconscious is trying to prevent you from harm and disappointment so let it have its say. Use the opportunity to find genuine answers without judgement or anger. By tapping into their reasons why this is the priceless information you need to turn things around and reprogram your mindset.

The Luxury of Negative Thought

Business is tough and sometimes life can turn up the pressure. It can feel easier to stay in pajamas, eat cake and feel sorry for yourself. But this attitude never created anything positive.

Once you start becoming aware of your thoughts and committing to a positive attitude your perception of the world changes and so does your mindset.

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Commit 1 day to being a bystander on your own thoughts. Have you ever seen Supernanny? She spends one day monitoring the family and the next day she tells them where they are going wrong. This is what you will be doing with your own thoughts. Spend a day thinking your usual thoughts without interference. But every time you think a negative thought make a mental note of this.

By the end of the day think about how many negative thoughts you have accumulated? Can you even remember?

If you can’t, then it’s time to change. Instead of unconsciously committing to negative thoughts, why not conscious commit to positive ones?

Think about what makes you happy. Think about who you love. Think about it so much until you can’t help but smile. When you are filled with this positive, warm feeling you can begin to write down the things that you are grateful for. Make this process a personal one. It doesn’t have to be obvious. For example “I’m grateful that my family loves me”.

Make this about you, write down things like…

  • “I’m grateful my dad phones to check I’m home from work safely”
  • “I’m so lucky to have an accountability partner who cares enough to support me when I wanted to quit”

Write down 3-5 items. The next time you have a negative thought, take a minute to gather your thoughts and think of 1 item on your list. Take a deep breath in and breathe out slowly. When you do this imagine that you’re expelling the negativity, only being left with the gratitude of your positive thought.

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Success Steps Look Like This

New start-up owners make goals, want to hit targets and grow their business. But when it doesn’t happen within the time frame it can bring on impatience. The feeling of impatience creates negativity, anxiety and frustration which is the mindset that you don’t want.

A mindset that is constantly in a state of ‘chase’ will always be just out of reach from its intended goal.

You have to relax and know that no amount of shortcuts results in success. The reason it never works is because there is no shortcuts, no secrets and no get-it-faster technique.

Be in a state of focusing on growth and laying down strong foundations so your mindset is in the place of careful processes.

Conclusion

When it comes to starting your business a big mistake is to believe that years of a stagnate 9-5 will have no effect on building a mindset geared for success. You can break this mound and it’s not out of your reach. The mindset you seek is one that you already have; you only have to activate it. The seed is already planted and you just have to grow it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on mindsets. Leave me a comment

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/ via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on April 23, 2019

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

How to Set Stretch Goals and Keep Your Team Motivated

Stretch goals are a lot like physical fitness. When you adopt a physical sport such as running, continual practice leads to increased stamina, growth and progress.

While commitment to the sport improves performance, true growth happens when you are stretched beyond your comfort zone. I know this from personal experience.

For years, I was an avid runner. I ran with a variety of running groups in the Washington, D.C., area and in Columbus, Ohio, where I lived prior to moving to the nation’s capital in 2011.

While I was initially fearful about slacking off on my exercise habit when I moved to D.C., running enthusiasts in the area provided continual motivation, inspiring me to lace up my shoes day after day. Much to my surprise, many of the area’s running stores (including Pacers and Potomac River Running) boasted running groups that met in the mornings and evenings. So, it was relatively easy for a newcomer like me to connect with like-minded peers.

I was never a particularly fast runner, but I enjoyed the afterglow of the sport: being completely drained but feeling a sense of accomplishment; setting and reaching goals; buying and wearing out new tennis shoes. The sound of throngs of feet pounding the pavement in semi-unison is still enough to bring tears to my eyes. Yes, I sometimes tear up at the start of races.

Of all the groups I ran with, the Pacers Store group that met on Monday nights in Logan Circle boasted the fastest runners. I met up with the group week after week only to be the slowest runner. It was difficult to muster the courage to get up every week and meet the group knowing what was waiting for me: sweating and watching the backs of fellow runners.

Each time I joined the group, I was stretching myself without even realizing it. Instead of feeling like I was transitioning into a better running, for a long time I felt I was torturing myself.

Then something remarkable happened. I went for a run with a different set of runners and noticed my time had improved. I was running at a faster pace and doing so with ease. What was once uncomfortable for me I now handled with ease.

The reason I was becoming a better runner was because I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally. This example illustrates the process of growth.

Fortunately, we can create situations that stretch us in our personal and professional lives.

What Is a Stretch Goal?

A stretch goal – as authors Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller and Kelly E. See detail an article “The Stretch Goal Paradox” in Harvard Business Review[1] – is something that is extremely difficult and novel. It is something that not everyone does, and it’s sometimes considered impossible.

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In general, you establish stretch goals by doing things that are difficult or temporarily challenging.

For instance, when I was first promoted to a senior communications management role, I knew I needed to beef up my relationships with media personalities. I set a goal to once a month book a day of media interviews in New York City – which is home to many media outlets, including SiriusXM radio, CNN, NBC News, HuffPost, VIBE.

This was a huge goal because it meant not only identifying the right people to meet with but convincing them to meet with me and my team. While I didn’t end up meeting the goal of doing a full day of media interviews in New York City, I met more people than I would have met had I not established the goal and instead stayed in the comfort of my D.C. office.

It is important to note that just because you establish a stretch goal doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the goal each time. However, the process of trying is guaranteed to provide some level of growth.

The Importance of Creating Stretch Goals

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to assess where you are excelling and where there is room for you to grow. I typically start the year by creating a yearlong strategic plan for myself.

I think about the things that are necessary to do and things that would be cool to do. I assess the people I should know and think through how to meet them. Then I ask myself if the goals are realistic and what would need to happen for me to achieve them.

Over time, I have learned that there are five things I can do to set stretch goals:

1. Get Outside of Your Head

If I exist within the confines of my imagination, I imperil my own growth and creativity.

If I examine my accomplishments and celebrate them in isolation of others’ accomplishments, my vantage point is limited.

I want to be comfortable with what I accomplish, but I also want to be motivated by watching others. In some respects, stretching is about expanding your network of friends, associates and mentors. These are the people who will propel or slow your growth and development.

Since two are better than one, I always value being able to share my progress with others, seek feedback and then map a plan for success.

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2. Focus on a Couple Areas at a Time

When setting goals, it is important to focus on a couple of areas at a time. Most of us are only able to focus on a few things at a time, and if you feel you are unable to tackle all that is before you, you may simply disengage.

I see this in so many areas of life:

When people get in debt, if they believe the debt is insurmountable, they refuse to look at incoming bills for fear of facing down the debt. Unfortunately, many businesses go awry when setting stretch goals.

In “The Stretch Goal Paradox,” Sitkin, Miller and See note:

“Our research suggests that though the use of stretch goals is quite common, successful use is not. And many executives set far too many stretch goals. In the past five years, for example, Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of founder Elon Musk’s ambitious projections and missed half of them by nearly a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.”

Goal-setting is like a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t all need to happen at the same time, and pacing is extremely important if you want to get to the finish line. It is better to focus on a couple goals at a time, master them and then move on to the next thing.

3. Set Aside Time Each Year to Focus on Goal-Setting

When I was a managing director for communications for the Advancement Project, I spent the first part of every year facilitating a communications planning meeting.

The planning meeting began with the team members assessing the goals the team had established in the preceding year, and whether those goals were realistic or not. If we failed to meet certain goals, we broke down why that happened. From there, we brainstormed about possibilities for the current year.

For instance, one year we set a goal of pitching and getting 24 opinion essays published. This was audacious because no one on the eight-person team had the luxury of focusing exclusively on editing and pitching opinion essays to publications around the world. We would need to focus on pitching in between the rest of our work.

We hit this goal within the first eight months of the year. Remarkably, in total, we ended up getting 40 opinion essays published that year, which was an indication that our original goal was too low. We upped the goal to 41 the next year, and amazingly, we hit 42 published opinion essays or guest columns.

From this experience, we not only learned what was feasible, we also learned the power of focus.

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When we focused as a team on getting the commentary on our issues out in the public domain, we were successful. The key in all of this is that there was a ton of discussion around which goal we’d pursue and why.

Equally important, as a manager, I didn’t set the goals alone; the team members and I established the goals collaboratively. This ensured buy-in from each individual.

4. Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Model to Set Realistic Goals

S.M.A.R.T.

is a synonym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For the sake of this article, the realistic portion of the acronym is most important.

While you want to set audacious goals, you want to ensure that they are realistic as well. No one is served by setting a goal that is impossible to accomplish.

Failing to meet goals can be demoralizing for teams, so it’s important to be sober-eyed about what is possible. Additionally, the purpose of setting goals is to advance and grow, not depress morale.

For instance, my team would have been discouraged had I begun the year asking it to pitch and place 40 opinion essays if we didn’t already have a track record of placing close to two dozen essays.

By using the S.M.A.R.T. formula, we were able to achieve all that we set out to do.

5. Break the Goal up into Small Digestible Parts

I am a recovering perfectionist. As a writer, being a perfectionist can be counterproductive because I can fail to start if I don’t see a clear pathway to victory.

The same is true with goal-setting. That’s why I join Lifehack’s fellow contributor Deb Knobelman, Ph.D., in noting that it is critically important to break goals into bite-sized chunks.

When I had a goal of doing daylong media meetings in New York City, I had to think through all the barriers to achieving that goal and all the steps required to meet the goal.

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One step was identifying which reporters, producers and hosts to engage. Another step was writing a pitch or meeting invitation that would capture their attention. Another step was thinking through the program areas I wanted to highlight and the new angles I could offer to different reporters.

Since reporters want to cover stories that no one else has written, I needed to come up with fresh angles for each of the reporters I was engaging. An additional step was thinking through who from my team I’d take with me to the various meetings.

I was clear that, as a talking head, as public relations reps are sometimes called, I needed the right spokesperson in order to land repeated meetings with different outlets.

A final step was thinking through what I needed to bring to each meeting and which reports, videos and testimonials would buttress our claims and be of interest to media figures.

As I walked through what was needed to bring my goal of doing daylong meetings to reality, I realized that not only was the idea within reach, but I was excited to tackle the challenge.

From that point until now, I have learned to break down goals into smaller parts and tackle the smaller parts on the path to knocking the goal out of the park.

The Bottom Line

These are my recommendations for setting stretch goals, and there are a ton of other resources to support you in the workplace and in your community.

For instance, LinkedIn’s Lynda.com platform has a wonderful suite of leadership development videos, including ones on establishing stretch goals. This is a paid resource but may be worth the investment if you lead a team or want to invest in tools for your own growth and development.

Featured photo credit: Avatar of user Isaac Smith Isaac Smith @isaacmsmith Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: The Stretch Goal Paradox

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