Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
During my 12-year journey as an entrepreneur, I’ve unearthed some game-changing mindset strategies and practices that I wish I’d known earlier. These shifts have the power to breathe new life into your business and personal journey once you start to practice them. And most of them are simple. I feel that if I’d known them sooner, I would have had more success and peace of mind.
Below, I’ll share these mindset shifts with you:
Related: 8 Mindset Shifts Entrepreneurs Must Make to Achieve Their Ultimate Goal
1. Creating momentum
What most people just accept as reality is that success begins in your mind and thoughts, and “thoughts are things.” However, real traction happens when you pair that mental attitude with some real-world action. It’s not just about thinking positively — you’ve got to match those thoughts with tangible action. The secret is keeping that momentum going even when obstacles arise. Believe me, I’ve been caught in this trap too, finding myself overthinking.
The myth we often buy into is that having a meticulously planned roadmap is the only way forward. Sure, it’s important, but the real magic happens when you dare to do new things with no safety net.
Movement is the name of the game, initiation is key, and keeping up the rhythm is everything. Breaking the habit of perfectionism is vital — doubts are normal, but feeling somewhat foolish doesn’t mean you are.
For instance, your online content doesn’t have to be internet-breaking. Just the fact you’re putting yourself out there is a big deal (lots of folks never even muster the courage to start — don’t be one of them.)
My very first marketing video was downright embarrassing. The sound was awful, I was stiff, and I cringed when I watched it. Actually, everyone cringed. But I did it anyway. Then I did the next.
And when we think back to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak building their first computers in a garage, they didn’t wait for anything to be perfect. They just did stuff. It’s a reminder that even the biggest names started from zero.
The results you want might seem like they’re far away. However, they’re achieved by taking one step after the other.
2. Going above and beyond
According to The Law of Reciprocity, whatever you put energy into creates a situation where something is brought back to you. And according to Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success, you need to go above and beyond what you’re paid for — a mindset that often is missing these days. There’s something magical about helping others without expecting something immediately or at all. And sometimes, as a bonus, that goodwill comes back to you tenfold. But then again, that isn’t the reason to serve at your highest level or to help someone out.
This isn’t to be confused with working for free. Nobody should work for free unless you’ve allotted some of your hours as Pro Bono and it’s part of your model.
3. Fear busting
Fear has a way of acting like our friend because it’s always there — but ends up stifling us. And its cousins Anxiety, Vulnerability, Frustration and Overwhelm are all part of this bundle. However, worthwhile endeavors and pursuits are never going to be a cakewalk. In entrepreneurship, you’ll need some serious determination, drive and motivation. And you will need to be able to sustain it. You need to remember WHY you started your business in the first place. Whether it’s about changing lives through coaching, combating diseases, chasing financial freedom or even creating a groundbreaking tech app or product, you need to sustain your energy and find ways to bust through the fear.
One way of doing this is breathing into the fear as you feel it in your body instead of avoiding it and then exhaling that space that holds the fear into the air around you.
Related: The Simple Mindset Shift That Can Change How You Think About Entrepreneurial Setbacks
4. Taking action
I mentioned action before, but I want to delve deeper into how to make things happen. Open up your calendar, block the times when you will do specific tasks, and stick to the plan. If it’s on the calendar, it will happen.
Then come up with some Huge Audacious Goals for your business. The more you imagine big things happening, the more they WILL.
A concrete practice for this is something called Creative Visualization, which I initially learned from the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.
You close your eyes for 15 minutes and play out the scene of what you want to happen in your life. Your mind cannot tell the difference between those Mind Movies and reality, which makes it all naturally happen.
5. Being accountable as a true entrepreneur
We all have a bit of laziness wired into us. It’s human. So, we need to find a coach or accountability partner and set up commitments that are non-negotiable. When I recently started my podcasting journey, I had very little bandwidth left for that new project, but knowing my producer is waiting for the shows makes it happen. And the enjoyment of speaking with amazing people keeps me accountable. So, find something that will keep you on track and push you when the going gets tough. All of us have flirted with the idea of throwing in the towel when things seem hard, so it’s important to have a sounding board. Another great way of staying accountable is to join a mastermind with other like-minded people. Group motivation is unmatched.
6. Being kind to yourself and practicing self-love
Entrepreneurs are high achievers who are very hard on themselves and have high expectations. Entrepreneurship demands a unique mindset that keeps us going. That’s what’s needed to succeed. However, if we don’t celebrate our successes or just be kind to ourselves, we can fall into self-loathing and blame when things don’t work — or even when things are working out and we keep moving the finish line.
Results are important, and our businesses are our babies. Developing an optimal mindset is a lifelong practice that’s completely worth it. You will trip and fall behind sometimes. That is par for the course. Just learn from the journey and see your quality of life expand.
Related: It’s All in Your Head: How to Shift Your Mindset for Serious Success