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The Success Secrets of Entrepreneurs You Need To Know

The Success Secrets of Entrepreneurs You Need To Know

The success secrets of entrepreneurs actually aren’t as secret as you think.  In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you first need to understand what type of entrepreneur you are.  There are two primary types of entrepreneurs – those that have created their own businesses in reaction to their life and those that create business from inspired vision and action.  Reactionary entrepreneurs got fed-up with working for someone else. They are dollars driven and fear-based.  They want to have their own business because they’re tired of reporting to someone else and fantasize about making more money than they could in their day job.

Then there are inspired entrepreneurs.  They have an inspired vision, are fearless in negotiating unchartered territory, and love the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Risk-taking comes naturally to them, they know how to be in the unknown, and the more they integrate themselves with their businesses the more success they experience.

These 15 success secrets can transform a reactionary entrepreneur into an inspired entrepreneur

1.  Be conscious.

Here’s the deal: understanding your business means understanding yourself.  If you don’t intimately know what motivates you, depresses you, inspires you, or diminishes you, you cannot be successful as an entrepreneur.  Consciousness is gold to an entrepreneur because it allows us to move from being reactive to being proactive.  If you understand why you respond the way you to to the things that happen in your business, you can consciously make a choice to respond differently.

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2.  Embrace the unknown.

A lot of entrepreneurs say they like the excitement of living in the unknown and charting uncharted territory, but the reality for many is that when the mortgage is due, when your car needs emergency service, or when your child gets sick and you can’t afford to pay for health insurance then living in unknown stops being fun.  How do you respond when you have a bill you don’t know how to pay?  Is it, “Oh my God, how will I ever pay this?” or “Now I know how much money I need to earn this week.”  Your mindset around the unknown will affect your success as an entrepreneur.

3.  Take inspired action.

Most of my inspired action gets generated not when I’m in front of my laptop or networking.  It shows up when I’m walking my dogs, washing dishes or folding laundry.  It is the small, quiet whisper that floats through my mind. It is, unconditionally, an easier, better, quicker way to get the results I want.  It is also, unconditionally, an out-of-the-box approach I wouldn’t have considered while strategizing in front of my laptop. Out-of-the-box thinking generates success for an entrepreneur.

4.  Define the vision and stick to it.

This is not the time to daydream about Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out.  Ensuring Plan A’s success requires perseverance and focus.  Million dollar businesses don’t happen overnight.  You have to be willing to live in the muck of creating your business in order to generate long-term, sustainable results. If you are sure that Plan A is a viable business plan, and if you’ve got support for making it happen, stick with it long enough to see what kind of results it can generate.

5.  Define success.

Define what success means to you, and not just financially.  Take a holistic approach to understanding your definition of success.  Does it mean that you will have a balanced lifestyle, working 20 hours a week or less so you have time to care for yourself and your family? Does it mean creating an automated system for your business so you can run it from anywhere in the world and travel as much as you like?  Define what you want your life to be like and that will help you create goals for achieving success.

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6.  Understand your mindset.

“Success isn’t something that you do on the outside, success is something that you are on the inside. The rest will follow.”Chuck Danes

Know your limiting beliefs. Do you believe it isn’t possible to have your cake and eat it too? Do you believe you don’t deserve to have a lot of money? Do you believe that you aren’t qualified enough to run your own business or offer the product/service you’re marketing?  Everyone has limiting beliefs.  Get to know yours.  Get into right-relationship with them so they no longer dictate your decision-making.

7.  Embrace change.

Wake up in the morning delighted to learn how your life will change that day.  Change is fun for inspired entrepreneurs.  What wasn’t working today paves the path for something else that could work better tomorrow.  When change needs to happen welcome it with open arms.  Build a vision for your business and then be willing to be flexible for how that vision unfolds.  You may be surprised by the results generated when change happens.

8.  Work smarter instead of harder.

Take the offensive instead of the defensive stance.  Ask yourself, what do you need to change in order to get your business moving in a different direction in an area that isn’t working?  It’s the difference between patching a leaking dam because you’re afraid of getting flooded and recognizing that the dam isn’t where you want to be in the first place.  Reactionary thinking leads to a lot of needless action in order to address limiting beliefs.  Offensive thinking leads to inspired action and elimination of limiting beliefs.

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9.  Know your feelings.

Staying in your head all of the time actually doesn’t benefit you as an entrepreneur.  Getting in touch with your intuition (that guttural, knowing place in you) and activating your intuition will radically increase your level of success as an entrepreneur.  Staying in your head and trying to think through everything logically will slow you down, confuse you, and keep you from being able to see the bigger picture.  Going with your gut will save you time, will build your self-confidence, and will keep your business moving forward.

10.  Yep, feelings, again.

Cultivate more feelings and less strategy.  Be in the feeling of being successful.  There is not a cause and effect for success. We’re trained to think: If I get this thing, then I’ll be fulfilled. You have to be fulfilled, and then you’ll get this thing.  Like attracts likes.  If you feel confident, you will experience more confidence.

11.  Expect the unexpected.

I am continually surprised by the directions my business takes and how I have transformed in my journey of being an entrepreneur.  I have stopped assuming that I will know what my business will look like this time next year, and I have stopped assuming what I will be like at that time.

12.  Learn to love the journey.

To be an inspired entrepreneur you must unequivocally love the entrepreneurial journey.  In this lifestyle there will never be traditional safety and security.  You will never be able to definitively predict your income.  You will always be learning new things about yourself and your business.  You will always experience unexpected challenges.  Loving the journey and living in the unknown will be your only safety and security.  Inspired entrepreneurs know and accept that reality.

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13.  Treat your business like a newborn.

A new business, or business idea is like a newborn.  Newborns need to be held close, to have absolute attention given to them, and to be supported in every possible way.  Do the same in your business.  Do not expose your business to negativity.  Hold it close.  Allow your business ideas time to gestate before exposing them to the dark, dangerous world.

14.  Create your own acknowledgement and celebration.

It is a habit of many entrepreneurs to always be focused on the next goal, instead of acknowledging and celebrating the goal that has just been met.  You are your own best (and sometimes only) cheerleader.  Taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate each and every goal will help to motivate you to continue to move forward, and, more importantly, to recognize how far you have already come.

15.  Start.

Stop daydreaming about your business idea. Start taking bold action to make your business a reality.  Your business begins with you.

After reading all this you may be saying to yourself, yes, but how do you actually be a successful entrepreneur? All this stuff about feelings and mindset are interesting, but what do I really need to DO in order to be successful?  Here’s the thing: 90 percent of the coaching work I do with entrepreneurial clients is around feelings and mindset.  Why? Because that’s 90 percent of what makes an entrepreneur successful.  The remaining 10 percent is implementation.  If you’re serious about being a successful entrepreneur then hire a coach, mentor, or join a mastermind group, and start taking a serious look at your mindset and your feelings.

Featured photo credit: John via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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