Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted. What do I mean by this? Well the idea of being your own boss, running your own company and dictating when you start work and when you leave, is great, enticing and even seductive. But the reality of it, is that owning your own business is not as easy as the glossy magazine headlines would have you believe. It takes a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. For every victory, be rest assured that behind the scene were tales of rejected proposals, unworkable plans, obstacles, un-replied emails, tears, sleepless nights and the list goes on and on. While this is the hard reality of being an entrepreneur, the rewards of running your own business will in the long run outweigh the sacrifices made to get there. The feeling of joy and happiness that you will feel from being able to achieve your dreams, provide for your family and live the life you always dreamed of. That said, how do you stay motivated during the initial stages of your entrepreneurial journey? Well it is all in the mindset. In February, I read a book called- The mindset by Dr. Carol. S. Dweck which centres around the belief that everyone has two types of mindsets- a fixed or a growth mindset. The person with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence and achievement should come naturally and bemoans effort. People with this type of mindset are of the belief that if something is meant to be, your natural aptitude will make it happen without much striving or effort. On the other end of the spectrum is the growth mindset. People who subscribe to this mindset believe that anything can be achieved through hard work, constant learning, consistency and effort. The fixed and the growth mindset can be applied to all aspects of life, including arts, business, sports, relationships and parenting etc. The type of mindset an individual, business or organisation embodies is what makes the difference between winning or losing.
As an entrepreneur, the type of mindset you have is what will make the difference between success or failure. I am sure that by now you know that entrepreneurship is a long journey. You will encounter a couple of pitstops and detours along the way. During these times of difficulty, the type of mindset you have will determine whether you will stay motivated and stay on the course or give up at the sign of the first hurdle. To be able to successfully stay on course, you have to be committed to the process no matter what. It will be a battle and to win, you will have to establish your battle field strategy before the war begins. In the entrepreneur battlefield, your key weapon is the growth mindset. Adopting a growth mindset that believes in hard work and effort will make the difference between winning or losing. Even though you may have a natural aptitude at entrepreneurship, and have gotten through life so far without putting much effort into achieving your goals, when it comes to entrepreneurship, it is a completely different ball game. You will still have to put in the effort if you want to see long-term success. You will have to be open to learning new concepts and ideas and changing the direction of a business plan if it is not marketable. Big companies like Google and Facebook are great examples of institutions that have a growth-institutional mindset, which focuses on growth and effort rather than a pecking order or institutional hierarchy. They are open to change when the need arises and embrace new concepts and ideas from their employees. This is a classic display of an organisation that has a growth-oriented culture. The good thing about the growth mindset, is that it is something that can be learned. Agreeably some of us have a fixed mindset or may have a fixed mindset in certain aspects of our lives- which we use as a survival mechanism. But the good news is that we can change this and adopt a growth-led attitude. It is never too late to adopt a growth-oriented way of doing things.
Over the past weeks, I have had the pleasure of interviewing some phenomenal people for my podcast show. They are from different walks of life, each with their own unique life experience. However, each time I talk to an entrepreneurial trailblazer, I hear the same story- said in different words, but the message remains the same. They all talk about the importance of working hard, being consistent, staying motivated and circumventing challenges. They strive to be better and do better and keep learning to stay with the times. They all have one thing in common. They all have a growth-mindset. It is something I have seen over and over again in these entrepreneurial trailblazers.
So how do you go about getting a growth mindset? Well, Carol Dweck suggests achieving this in four steps: step 1: Embrace your mindset. Embrace your mindset, whatever it may be. This is the first step to changing the way you think. If you have a fixed mindset, you have to accept it in order to be able to change it. Step 2: The next step is to become aware of fixed-mindset triggers. Things or circumstances where your fixed mindset is likely to show up. For some people that may be facing a challenge, learning a new skill. It is here when thoughts of doubt start to creep in telling you that “this is too hard” or “it will never work” or “people won’t take you seriously”. Step 3: This step involves naming your fixed-mindset after a character which will help you easily identify it when it tries to poke its fixed ideas into your mind. Step 4: involves re-educating your mind to step into a growth mindset. Now that you know your fixed-mindset triggers and where it is likely to show up, when it does you have re-educate your mind, by talking yourself out of a fixed way of doing things.
The Mindset by Dr. Carol. S. Dweck