On Toxic Thought

positive

I am an entrepreneur and I spend a great deal of my time mentoring others who want to be entrepreneurs.

I love what I do.  And like most things in life, I learn a great deal from my coaching students.

One of the greatest challenges to success is the self-doubt, second-guessing and downright toxic thought process that invades their minds.  Most people that want to be successful entrepreneurs have a clear vision of their goals.  Unfortunately, many are not really sure if they’re capable or worthy of leading the process.

You can’t succeed unless you believe you can.  Period.

We all have doubts about our own capabilities.  That’s not the issue.  The skill is to get past the doubts.  I don’t know of anyone that built a successful business while thinking “I’m not capable”.

John Rampton is an entrepreneur and blogger.  He created a list of ‘toxic’ thoughts and some great counsel on getting past them. I agree with him.  Totally.

John writes:

I’M GOING TO FAIL

You’re more likely to fail with that self-talk, certainly. Plus, you don’t really have statistics on your side since the numbers don’t lie: The vast majority of startups do fail. It’s how you see those challenges and take them on that make a difference.

You only have two options as a potential entrepreneur who knows the failure rates: Think you’re going to fail, or think you’ll be an exception. Choosing the latter is a much healthier option. However, should you fail (it happens), learning valuable lessons will make you much more likely to succeed next time.

Related: The Morning Rituals of 10 of the World’s Most Inspirational Entrepreneurs (Infographic)

I SUCK AS A LEADER

Nobody is a natural-born leader, but everyone has traits they can hone to make them a great leader. Remember there are many different types of good leaders, and you don’t need to mimic a particular style to find success. Of course, there are a lot of successful entrepreneurs who aren’t good leaders. That’s why they hire a CEO to take care of the overall leadership for them.

Entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades, masters of none (it’s kind of a requirement), so if leadership isn’t your thing, work on that weakness but also consider bringing on a stronger leader to fill the gaps.

I’M NOT A REAL ENTREPRENEUR

There’s no industry-wide degree, certification or licensing to become an entrepreneur. It’s not like saying “I’m not a real plumber.” The reality is that even the definition of an entrepreneur is up for debate. It’s not about fulfilling a certain number of criteria to “be” an entrepreneur. Don’t ask yourself if you’re really an entrepreneur or put yourself in charge of defining what it is. It’s not important. If you want to start a business, you’re on an entrepreneurial track. It’s time to step out of your shell and become the leader that you’re meant to be.

Related: Are You a Real Entrepreneur or Just a Fake?

I’M A HORRIBLE SALES PERSON

Join the club. It takes a very special kind of person to be a “natural” salesperson, but anyone can learn those skills. There are many ways to work on your sales skills, but remember that the ultimate goal isn’t to be the salesperson on the floor talking to every single customer. Right now, you need to “sell” yourself, your business and your goods/services to investors and your early customer base. There’s an end in sight, since ideally you’ll eventually hire sales teams. You can do anything for a while. Remember: It’s not only “salespeople” who can sell.

MY WORTH IS, WELL….

If you don’t think you’re “worth it,” why should anyone else? A lot of entrepreneurs don’t believe in themselves and devalue their worth, which sets them up for failure. Don’t focus on your “worth,” but instead work on your business drive. Being scrappy with a hustler attitude is what it’s going to take in the early days. Also, “worth” is very subjective, and not necessarily tied to a specific figure. There are plenty of other things to focus on at this point.

You’ll face plenty of negative talk on this journey, so why join in? Welcome support from all angles, especially yourself.

Related: 6 Toxic Beliefs That Can Ruin Your Career

Bottom line for me is that, like any other challenge in life, it’s up to you to push through, abandon your comfort zone and just go for it.  It’s absolutely worth it.

Closing as always with something to think about: “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” (Elvis Presley)

On Broken Sticks And Balloons

REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A KID?

No matter how much homework, time spent on chores, school or other non exciting activities, there was always time to play.  We played because we loved to play.  And without even knowing it, our play taught us important life lessons.

We learned how to share.  We learned teamwork and how to tell time because mom wanted us home before dark.  We learned that not all of our friends would be our firends forever.  We learned how to settle disputes and that usually the majority wins whether you’re part of it or not.

We learned to pick up all the marbles because you could twist an ankle if you left them laying around.  We developed the skill to deal with the hurt of not being picked first for our road hockey game.  We learned how to tease gently and how it felt to be teased not so gently.

AND WE LEARNED HOW TO IMAGINE

I remember in great detail running as fast as I could over to the local arena right after the minor hockey game ended and grabbing a broken stick out of the dumpster.  If I had a broken hockey stick it could become a guitar or a dozen other incarnations.

THEN WE GREW UP

And for some reason the adult world frowned on playing.  The older we got, the less we played.  I’m here to tell you I don’t think that’s healthy.  And I did a little research on this.

James Altucher is a blogger that focuses on the positives of life.  I like that.  He recently got me thinking with an article proposing that success can be inspired by playing like a child but with the experience of an adult.  And he cites some great examples of how creativity and success can spring from play no matter how old you are.  He writes:

“Einstein found his passion because he wondered what a man traveling the speed of light on a spaceship would see if he looked out the window and saw a man standing still.  He daydreamed and doodled and found his passion.

DaVinci found his passion drawing machines with wings that flapped like birds – the first illustrations of what 500 years later became planes. Just doodles. Thousands of them.

Mick Jagger had no musical talent at all but would collect blues records from America and he and his childhood friend Keith Richards would lie around listening to them. When his parents sent him off to study at the London School of Economics, he was still listening to those records and scribbling down lyrics rather than paying attention to supply versus demand.”

HEY, IF ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR MICK ITS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME

So I proposed a little experiment to myself and myself agreed.  I identified those things I loved to do spontaneously when I was younger and for the past month I’ve tried to accomplish one every day.  I found a broken hockey stick and played air guitar in the front yard one afternoon.  Yep, I got some strange looks from people walking by but wow, it felt good.  I played some harmless pranks on one of my friends.  Somehow they weren’t surprised it was me.  I decided to have ice cream before going to bed one evening.  It was fantastic except for the fact that I had some challenges falling asleep brought on by the sugar high.  Small price to pay.

Here’s my point.  I’ve been struggling lately trying to keep my creativity fueled and articles written for my blog.  Actually, this is the first post since April.  Apparently today’s blog post is proof that playing like a child with adult experience does indeed create success.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have some balloons that need to be filled with water……

And as always, something to think about:  “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” (Pablo Picasso)