Two subtle shifts and four proven practices for guaranteed success and significance in business and beyond

From my article originally published in Business Fit Magazine September 2018.

If you’re anything like other business leaders I’ve coached, you are constantly working in your business. Creating programs & products, delivering services, managing finances, leading a team and much more. Sometimes you feel successful and believe your work has significance. Other times you’re overwhelmed, overworked, and discouraged. If you desire less overwhelm and more joy, more success and deeper significance, you’re on the right page!  As a seasoned entrepreneur and business coach, I’m delighted to reveal 2 mindset shifts and 4 proven strategies that have powerfully impacted my clients’ businesses. To expand your success and achieve deeper significance in life and work, follow these practices.

First, assess your perspective. Reading “Mindset” by renown psychologist, Carol Dweck 5 years ago changed my life. Her research shows that our mindset, not just our abilities & talents, bring us success. According to Dweck*, success in any area of life can be dramatically improved by how we THINK about our efforts. Entrepreneurs with a fixed mindset believe their efforts don’t make much difference because results are predetermined. Another hallmark of a fixed mindset is looking at every situation through the lens of “success or failure”. Fixed mindsets create an urgency to prove yourself over and over. Fixed mindsets keep us stuck.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs with growth mindsets believe basic qualities can be cultivated through our efforts and that we can change and grow through application and experience. A passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it even when things get tough is a hallmark of a growth mindset.

What mindset runs your “mental operating system”? Be honest with yourself, is it fixed or growth oriented? By consciously, consistently choosing a growth mindset, you will grow, learn and evolve as an entrepreneur and as a result, so will your business.  You and you alone have the power to choose your mindset, behavior, and results. Choose wisely, choose often and commit.

Second, ask yourself, I am working on or in my business? Working IN your business means delivering your services/products, managing your team, paying your taxes. You get the drift. Working ON the business includes activities that keep your funnel of new business full. As busy entrepreneurs, we must be vigilant in working ON our business while simultaneously working in our business. If we don’t, at some point, our funnel will be empty.

Here are 4 proven strategies to work ON your business for ultimate success:

  1. Block time in your calendar weekly to cultivate new relationships. 30% of your time should be devoted to business building. Make phone calls, send thank you notes to current clients, ask for referrals, get out of your office and network.
  2. Make a personal connection with prospects. In our current state of the world, the personal touch is disruptive and it pays dividends over time. Pick up the phone, send handwritten notes or interesting articles. The point is to make it personal and they’ll remember you. You can send emails and text messages and post to social media- but in the ever-increasing world of technology, the power of authentic relationships trumps all.  When was the last time you received a handwritten note? How did you feel when you did?
  3. Block time into your daily calendar for business creation- program development- anything that will help you serve more clients in the future. A slow steady trickle of this activity will help your business grow. It is not rocket science but many fail to attend to these matters.
  4. Manage your thoughts or they will manage you- have you ever gotten through most of the day and realized that you spent 70% of your time on busy work- cleaning your office, responding to emails, sending emails- but realized you did not actually accomplish the top 3 actions on your goals list? Perhaps you were avoiding the critical actions because you frustrated with a co-worker, puzzled by a prospect or worn out from family challenges. These thoughts consumed your mind- and you couldn’t get to the important actions. business.

Your feelings should never drive the train of your daily actions. To help you manage your feelings, try my “control chest” thought experiment. Imagine a beautiful small chest with a lid and lock. Now take that “consuming thought” place it in the chest and lock it. You can come back it when you want to. But now, the negative thoughts and feelings are locked up and have no more control over your day. This simple strategy has helped my clients stay focused on the business of growing their business- feelings no longer drive the business, the entrepreneur drives it.

The secret to success is found in our daily routines. Take your first step to ultimate success today!

* Carol S. Dweck , PhD, MINDSET, The New Psychology of Success, 2016 Ballantine Books