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5 Things Entrepreneurs Do Mindlessly Every Day That Sabotage Their Success

5 Things Entrepreneurs Do Mindlessly Every Day That Sabotage Their Success

Would you sabotage your own success?

Not intentionally, of course. You wouldn’t do obvious things, such as showing up late (or not at all), being too casual with clients, procrastinating to the point of inaction or wearing flip-flops to meetings.

But if you take a close look, you might be surprised to discover you’ve picked up a few daily habits, practices and perspectives that keep you stuck in a rut and incapable of moving toward your goals. If you want to be the CEO of your life and make success happen, you first must take 100 percent responsibility for your present.

Don’t be your own saboteur. Here are five things to stop doing now — and what you should be doing instead.

1. You listen to your gremlins.

You’re not the only one with voices in your head, telling you you’re not good enough or smart enough. I call these voices gremlins. Gremlins lock you in your comfort zone to keep you safe from the risk of failure. This means they also hold you back from discovering your full potential.

Do this instead: Gremlins aren’t bad. They’re scared. Thank them for looking out for you, but tell them their fears are not welcome. Then shut them out. Give the megaphone to a different internal voice — the one that says, “Go for it! You can do it! This will be amazing!”

2. You focus on failure or setbacks.

Things won’t always work out the way you’d hoped or planned. That’s disappointing. But focusing on the things that don’t work blinds you to seeing things that might be worth pursuing. Much like those pesky gremlins, fear of failure will keep you stuck in a negative frame of mind.

Do this instead: Confront your feelings so you can move past them. It could be as simple as talking it through with a trusted friend or mentor. If you’re still struggling internally, consider writing your feelings by hand and then (safely) burning them. Release these negative emotions as you watch them literally go up in smoke. The symbolic gesture actually can be a powerful practice that frees up energy to welcome positive thoughts and feelings. Once you do so, you’ll gain the perspective to see the failure or setback as a gift. Take what you can — a hidden lesson, an experience to be shared — and then move on.

3. You don’t celebrate success.

How can you be excited about your path if you don’t acknowledge the steps you’ve takem along the way? Motivation can be the most difficult part of any journey. Recognizing your successes, however small, helps keep you fired up about what’s ahead.

Do this instead: Celebrate and record your achievements. Did you finish that huge project a day before deadline? Celebrate! Did you assemble that Ikea desk for your new home office on your own with no leftover bits? Celebrate! Then record that success. At the very least, use a distinct color to mark the accomplishment in your planner or calender so you can look back and see at a glance how incredible you are.

4. You see struggle instead of opportunity.

No matter what you’re trying to achieve, challenges are inevitable. If you choose to see only the struggle, you’re in for a tough road.

Do this instead: Accept that certainty as being out of your control and work to better yourself by changing how you perceive these challenges. What you view first as an obstacle could reveal a chance to increase your knowledge base, develop a technical skill or make new contacts. You might even boost your resume in the process: The next time an interviewer asks you for an example of a time you overcame adversity, you’ll be ready.

5. You focus on tasks over the big picture.

Life gets busy. You’ll never run out of tasks that need doing. But are those duties helping you advance toward attaining what you truly want? If you aren’t consciously taking daily steps toward your big-picture vision, you’ll end up lost in a sea of to-do lists.

Do this instead: Make decisions from where you want to be, not where you are. Visualize yourself in the moment after you’ve achieved your goal by aligning actions with your core values. What do you need to do today to become ideal-future you? Make a list of the responsibilities that demand a “yes” and also define which tasks should be a “no.” Maybe it’s “yes” to that weekend workshop or working on your side business but “no” to social media or an extra shift at the job you don’t want to be doing five years from now.

 

Originally posted on entrepreneur.com by Melissa Dawn

 

7 Ways to Improve Your Life in 7 Days

7 Ways to Improve Your Life in 7 Days

The only way to improve your life is to consistently make choices that will make your life better. It’s tempting to think you need to make sweeping changes in an effort to shake things up and improve everything all at once. But the reality is, it’s the little things that add up and have a huge impact on us.

If you really want to start improving your life, start with small but meaningful steps that you can build on over time. Take on new and exciting activities, but begin slowly so you don’t get overwhelmed. In no time, you’ll begin to see your life improved by taking steps that help you build knowledge, improve confidence and engage in activities that make you feel healthier and more connected to your inner self and to others.

Here are seven steps that will help open your mind, release stress and remind you of what’s really important in life. Start today, and in just seven days you’ll begin to notice the small but profound improvements to your life.

1. Begin learning a new skill.

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn, but have never made the time for? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to speak a foreign language, play an instrument, knit or use a sewing machine. You may wish you had a practical skill, like Photoshop or Excel spreadsheets, but never made the time to learn it.

Or you may consider taking up an activity you used to enjoy but gave up on, like learning how to Rollerblade or ski. Pick something that’s been gnawing at the back of your mind and come up with a plan to learn it.

Next, look for the resources you need to help you master this new skill. To learn a foreign language, there are a number of apps available for download. LinkedIn Learning offers many tutorials to help you with business, management and software tools. YouTube is another great resource, offering free tutorials on anything from learning to Rollerblade to using a sewing machine. Set aside 15-30 minutes every day to work on your new skill, and see how awesome it feels to start chipping away at this bigger goal.

2. Give yourself a reward every day.

One of the greatest pieces of self-care advice is nestled away in an early episode of Twin Peaks, courtesy of Agent Dale Cooper: “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair or two cups of good hot black coffee.”

Too often, people get hung up on the idea that a self-reward should be a big, rare event limited to special occasions; that it needs to be planned in advance and earned through hard work. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be like that. You don’t need to push yourself in order to deserve something nice. In fact, it’s much healthier to indulge once in a while (in moderate doses, of course), rather than constantly live in deprivation.

Giving yourself a little treat each day will provide you with an extra boost of happiness and positive motivation. Consider it the emotional equivalent of hitting the “refresh” button. So, rather than burn out, you’ll be rejuvenated and ready to tackle the challenges of your daily life.

3. Start an exercise program.

Exercise is not only an important part of living a healthy life; it’s also a great way to improve your mood, maintain control over your weight, suppress your appetite and reduce the effects of stress. And as the ultimate incentive, people who exercise live longer and healthier lives than those who are sedentary.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two. If you’re not getting that level of activity now, it’s time to start doing something about it.

No matter what your fitness level, you can start a home exercise program. First, assess your fitness level by taking into account your basic level of fitness. Then consider what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight, increase flexibility, build muscle? Are you hoping to train for a marathon or another fitness challenge? Set clear goals so you can gauge your progress. You should aim to incorporate strength training of all major muscle groups into your fitness routine at least two days a week. Try making exercise a daily habit. Start slowly and work up to more rigorous exercise routines over time.

4. Declutter your environment.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the Marie Kondo approach of decluttering by asking yourself if an item “sparks joy,” you have to admit that living in an orderly and clean environment is a great way to improve your life. It can decrease feelings of stress and help you operate more efficiently.

A clutter-free living environment creates a feeling of ease and contentment in your home and office life. A neat and tidy space allows you to perform daily tasks more efficiently because everything is readily available and you know where to find the things you need.

Removing clutter is also physically healthier because it removes dust particles that accumulate on all the stuff we never use. And the process of decluttering can give you a sense of accomplishment. You’ll take pride in your environment, which means less anxiety or embarrassment when visitors pop by.

5. Make a bucket list.

A bucket list (a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”) is a great way to provide clarity on what’s important in your life. A bucket list can be whatever length you want it to be, and it can include both short-term and long-term goals you want to accomplish. This list is an important step to improving your life because it can help you see what’s most important to you.

The ultimate goal of a bucket list is to help you make the most of each day. Instead of letting your days float by in a blur, use a bucket list to give your life purpose, focus and direction.

It can help you determine what experiences you want to have, and help you reach for the things you want to accomplish. Once you have the list, you need to start having these adventures, exploring your world and building the memories that will make you smile each day.

6. Confront a fear.

We all have fears. Fears can help keep us alive and safe. But fears can also hold us back, especially if we let them control us. Take time to define your fears. Some fears are valid, but others are simply deep-rooted anxieties. Separate “real” fears from worst-case scenarios that you have let spiral out of control. When we confront our fears, we build courage and learn to overcome these dark thoughts.

As you work through your fears, you develop wisdom. Some of our fears may come true, but living through adversity helps us gain insight. Even if the worst happens, we can learn to overcome. Understanding our fears helps us develop compassion for others.

We can put ourselves in other people’s shoes and have empathy for what they’re going through. And most importantly, facing your fears will help you build resilience and tenacity. If you have confronted your fears, you have learned to overcome obstacles. You have learned that you can succeed even under difficult circumstances.

7. Reconnect with an old friend.

There is nothing quite like the joy of reconnecting with an old friend. Sometimes we let space and time come between us and those we cherish. Sometimes friendships fall away or become muted, not out of any feeling of misgiving or malice, but because we get busy and don’t make the effort to maintain those ties.

But when we revive old friendships, we reconnect with our past. And you may find that those connections are still as strong as ever; that you can pick things up right where you left off.

Old friends can remind you of who you were before life got complicated, and this can help you see who you want to be in the present. They can reawaken those old dreams and desires you once had. Perhaps you’ve moved beyond those old ambitions. Perhaps those old desires are no longer valid. If that’s the case, those friends we’ve had forever can help us gauge how far we have come, and remind us how far we have yet to go.

 

 

Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Deep Patel

6 Things Business School Won’t Teach You About Entrepreneurship

6 Things Business School Won’t Teach You About Entrepreneurship

Business school won’t teach you everything you need to know about starting and running a successful business. I learned that the hard way.

While business school taught me how to negotiate, communicate effectively and understand the foundations of finance, economics and law, it wasn’t until I started a business that I realized there were significant gaps in my knowledge.

The relationships and network I built in business school are worth more than the cost of tuition. However, I wound up learning a lot more about business by being an entrepreneur for four months than I did sitting in a lecture hall for four years.

Here’s what I learned as an entrepreneur that business school didn’t teach me, and that it won’t teach you about building a successful business.

1. A business can be scrappy.

Starting a new business will require you to “figure things out as you go.” While business school will emphasize the importance of funding, hiring and scaling, starting a business means making the most of the few resources you have.

The reality is most successful companies today started out very scrappy, and from zero. They didn’t really have a plan, they didn’t lease a space, nor did they stick with their original idea in some cases.

Your success will depend a lot on how scrappy you can be and how you can make the most out of the resources and tools available to you right now. Even if this means launching with a minimum viable product to test the market before trying to get the funding, staff or resources you think you need.

2. Plans aren’t the most important thing.

It’s counterintuitive, but overplanning can kill your business, especially when you’ll be pivoting and adjusting based on how your customer uses, perceives and buys your product or service.

Business schools like to treat every new business idea like a massive venture that can be completely planned for. “Want to start a business? Create a business plan, determine your product-market fit, calculate breakeven, etc.”

The truth is a lot of this will become more clear as you test and first bring your product or service to market. It’s much more important to execute on your idea and get proof of concept, instead of trying to plan every single aspect of your business to perfection. Excessive planning before execution is usually just procrastination.

3. How to set goals.

With so much emphasis on planning and strategic decision-making, it’s kind of ironic how little business schools go into setting goals and reverse engineering what you want.

So many entrepreneurs know what they want to do, but they don’t really know how to do it. Setting goals makes it easier to determine the path since you can reverse-engineer from where you want to be.

Goals keep you accountable, as well as align everyone on your team. The last thing you want as a business owner is for your team to have different motivations that contradict (or compete with) one another.

What’s that one goal you want your whole team focused on? Zero in on it to drive a bigger impact.

4. Marketing in the 21st century.

Many schools are finally starting to improve their marketing classes to fit in with the digital age, but you’d be surprised how far behind a lot of the marketing education still is. To be fair, it’s because this information changes a lot faster than most business schools can keep up.

As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to stay in the loop on the current trends in digital marketing, as well as the tactics that work right now.

A lot of the fundamental marketing principles business schools teach are still useful and relevant. However, it’s crucial to your success that you have a deep understanding of things like pay per click advertising, search engine optimization, and email marketing, just to name a few.

If you want to learn how to create a successful Facebook ad, for example, you’re not going to find the answer in a classroom. You’ll have to create one and tweak it as you go.

5. How to be creative.

Entrepreneurs need to channel their creativity often, whether you need to come up with unique solutions to your customer’s problems or find that great business idea.

Creativity is very hard to teach, so it’s no wonder this is something lacking in business schools. Business schools teach systems and rules. They show you the parameters you’ll work within as an entrepreneur and how to make the most of them.

Creativity is about working outside those parameters, thinking outside the box. As an entrepreneur, sometimes the best solution isn’t the most obvious one. Sometimes it requires an inspired solution.

When you think about some of the most famous cases of companies succeeding despite the odds, or the most well-received marketing campaigns, there’s usually a lot of creativity behind it, not a cookie-cutter formula taught in a business school.

But that inspiration often comes from trying new things, making mistakes and learning from others. And that kind of experience gets fast-tracked when you’re an entrepreneur.

6. Risk-taking.

Schools are designed to teach students not to fail. They teach students to be more risk-averse than risk-taking. They are designed to have students work within a set of rules. This is the antithesis of being an entrepreneur and running a business.

Running a business means failing, a lot. Entrepreneurship is about taking risk. It involves thinking outside the box and creating an unconventional path.

Failure should be seen as part of the learning process. Because students are discouraged from failing, they never see the value of failure as a way of learning. Thus, B-school students that go into entrepreneurship may become more risk-averse.

The problem with this of course is that entrepreneurs give themselves an excuse to give up too early, and they avoid taking the risks that could help their business take off.

Any roadblock or challenge you encounter as a business owner shouldn’t be perceived as a stop sign. Instead, it may simply mean you need to push forward in a different direction.

 

Originally posted on Entrepreneur by Corey Ferreira

 

4 Reasons LinkedIn Has Become Indispensable to Business Leaders

4 Reasons LinkedIn Has Become Indispensable to Business Leaders

Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has come a long way. Originally little more than a Facebook for the working world, the professional social network now boasts more than 575 million members. Along the way, it’s become a top recruiting platform, a must-have for marketing, a networking platform and a saving grace for salespeople.

But LinkedIn’s legacy isn’t written just yet. In fact, the social media platform’s future looks brighter than ever. Media consultancy 4C reported last August that the only social media platform to beat Instagram’s 204 percent year-over-year growth in ad spend was LinkedIn, which posted a 212 percent jump over the same period. For all other social platforms, 4C found that ad spend grew less than 50 percent last year.

Why leaders are banking on LinkedIn.

Getting ads in front of the right people, however, is just one of many reasons why business leaders are investing more in LinkedIn. In addition to its networking tools, LinkedIn offers:

1. Best-in-class integrations.

To help salespeople convert their connections into revenue, LinkedIn offers a suite of tools it collectively calls Sales Navigator. Although Sales Navigator offers lead recommendations, connection maps and real-time updates on accounts, its real magic is its partner integrations. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Application Platform (SNAP) features integrations across the sales stack, ranging from Engagio to Demandbase to Adobe Sign.

The latest addition to SNAP is Mixmax 2.0. The email automation platform’s latest iteration lets users send LinkedIn Mail and connection requests, view Sales Navigator profiles, get icebreaker suggestions and check prospects’ recent activity. Users can also add connection requests and communications to Mixmax sequences, which automate routine tasks like follow-up emails.

According to Mixmax CEO and co-founder Olof Mathé, the partnership is a natural fit for Mixmax’s mission to help businesspeople communicate more effectively. “Many of our users live in Gmail and our integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator ensures users can conveniently make richer connections and seamlessly expand their networks as part of their email workflow,” said Mathé in a press release.

2. Smarter sales education.

Nothing about sales is static. There’s always a new tool to discover, trend to learn about or prospect to sell. But while 87 percent of Millennials — the generation your young salespeople likely belong to — approach jobs as development opportunities, Spherion Staffing found that just 14 percent of surveyed workers would give their employer an “A” rating for training and development.

So where can workers turn for training they’re not getting at the office? LinkedIn’s Sales Academy provides online coursework and training resources for salespeople looking to get a leg up. Two currently on offer are “The Art of Selling,” which covers how to understand, target and engage buyers across channels, and “The Art of Sales Coaching,” which digs into management and mentorship tactics that sales managers can use to maximize their impact.

Kurt Shaver, chief sales officer at Vengreso, suggests LinkedIn’s sales training, particularly for inside salespeople. After using it to help train an external team in digital sales, Shaver points to its universally relevant recommendations, high-quality content and peer engagement tactics as helpful legs up.

3. Exclusive research.

What do 1,200 talent developers, 400 people managers, 200 executives and 2,200 employees have to say about workplace training and development? To find out, download LinkedIn’s latest Workplace Learning Report. Surprisingly, the survey showed that all groups surveyed on the subject agree that it’s more important for employees to learn “soft” skills like communication and collaboration than role-specific skills.

But LinkedIn doesn’t just dump the data and forget about it. LinkedIn’s learning center covers topics ranging from talent acquisition to marketing to employee engagement, often drawing insights from its own research. LinkedIn’s “8 Ways to Engage Your Learners” playbook, for instance, combines its first-party data with case studies from companies like Sage.

4. Sector-specific resources.

Neither sales nor networking look the same in the retail industry as they do, say, in financial services. To help leaders take a tailored approach to talent development, LinkedIn regularly publishes guides and webinars that cover best practices in each industry.

LinkedIn’s latest industry webinar, for instance, helps those in the financial services sector maximize its tools. “The growing complexity of the advisory business is requiring Wealth Managers and Financial Advisors to rethink the way they do business,” LinkedIn’s Jennifer Benincasa wrote in a blog post. “Social networks can help financial professionals differentiate their value proposition to prospects and clients.”

In addition to its content for the financial services industry, LinkedIn also publishes articles and guides specific to marketing, higher education, recruiting and more. What’s more, LinkedIn encourages users to fill its industry gaps by suggesting the best content for company pages to share.

No longer is LinkedIn just a place for professionals to connect. Whether it initially meant to or not, the social network has shaped itself into a forum for learning, leadership, sales, marketing and just about anything else its users might want to learn about. With more than half a billion users, LinkedIn really has become the backbone of the business community.

 

Originally posted on Entrepreneur by Rashan Dixon

 

How Much Does Luck Have to Do With Startup Success?

How Much Does Luck Have to Do With Startup Success?

Today is St. Patrick’s Day—the holiday that, although it originally was established to honor the patron saint of Ireland, has been commercialized into a day of parties, parades and celebrating the proverbial “luck of the Irish.” That said, how big a role does luck play in startup success?

In recognition of St. Patty’s Day, we whipped up a list of five iconic business owners that struck it rich and prove that, while the luck of the Irish certainly helps, all that small business owners need to succeed is hard work and the resolve to overcome failure.

 

5 Business Owners who Didn’t Need the Luck of the Irish

 

James Dyson

James Dyson, head and namesake of the now dominant vacuum cleaner manufacturer, did not receive too many lucky breaks in his pursuit of fortune. Before earning his billions and dominating his market, he first designed 5,127 failed vacuum prototypes over a fifteen year span.  Can you imagine fifteen years of unlucky breaks? But Dyson didn’t let the failure phase him—he kept at it, despite his bad luck, and is now estimated to be worth north of $4 billion.

Bill Gates

It is funny to think that the man whose very name is associated with the epitome of wealth was ever grappling with an unlucky failure. But sure enough, success did not come easily to the world’s richest man. His first business venture, Traf-O-Data, couldn’t turn a profit and eventually failed. A resilient love for computer programming kept Gates in the game, though. He later founded Microsoft, and the rest is history.

Thomas Edison

The Thomas Edison story of a thousand failures has become the stuff of legend—the inventor of the light bulb is an icon for resilience and a can-do attitude. Before he launched the world into a new era with his invention, he tried—and failed—1,000 times to successfully create a light bulb. Luck had nothing to do with it.

Steve Jobs

If you would’ve looked at Steve Jobs as a young man—a college dropout who was backpacking India and taking psychedelic drugs—you wouldn’t necessarily have thought that he would one day found one of the most successful brands in the world. The business scene didn’t come naturally to the creator of Apple. Nonetheless, he took the path less travelled, experienced some unlucky low points and eventually went on to kick start one of the planet’s richest companies.

Gary Vaynerchuck

Vaynerchuck, who through relentless work amassed a fortune with his family’s wine company and has since become an investor, is very proud of how little luck had to do with his rise to success. Having learned to rely on hard work rather than luck, Vaynerchuck continues his affinity for entrepreneurship by dabbling in a multitude of different industries—he has even written books, mastered social media and hosted a very popular podcast.

So, it can be seen from the above examples that although the luck of the Irish is certainly helpful when it comes to starting a successful company, many have changed the world despite years of misfortune. That said, every entrepreneur needs a bit of help to get started. Need funding to launch your small business? Factor Finders is an industry expert when it comes to securing small business funding for startup companies.

 

Originally posted on FactorFinders.com.

 

Getting Into Entrepreneurial Shape Means Working Your Mind

Getting Into Entrepreneurial Shape Means Working Your Mind

A couple of years back, Elon Musk famously tweeted that an entrepreneur’s life is not all glitz and glamour, but one also full of “terrible lows and unrelenting stress.”

As a career entrepreneur, I can unequivocally attest to Musk’s assertion. I still vividly recall being overcome with anxiety driving to my own wedding, not from marriage jitters but because I was seriously worried my company would not survive in my absence. We were in the midst of the Dotcom crash and when such crises strike, all hands need to be on deck, keeping the boat afloat. Luckily we made it through that rough patch. But it was only one of countless moments of unrelenting stress I’ve experienced over the last two decades.

Throughout this entrepreneurial journey, I’ve developed a more empowering mental framework to get through these high-stress moments. And these simple mind exercises have helped me prevent myself from burning out — at some of the most critical of times for my team and business.

The “data approach”

Understand that what happens is neither good nor bad. A few years ago, my company’s email newsletters were hit by a spam issue, and we were blocked from Google. The potential fallout could have had a very serious impact on our business. However, as a team, we intentionally switched out of reactive panic mode, and instead stepped back and assessed the situation with a more neutral, holistic approach. We came up with a plan, which was to, first, fix the immediate issue — and then ensure we took measures to have the cleanest email lists around.

By shifting our perspective, my team and I fixed a potentially devastating situation and also made it an opportunity to make ourselves even better and stronger as a business. This has worked on more than one occasion for us.

In this vein, over the years I’ve developed a mindset that I like to call a “data approach.” It’s not always easy, but the idea is to understand that what I see or hear is simply inbound data. Data is neutral. Good and bad things don’t happen. It’s how we perceive that data that makes us feel stress — or joy. So when something seemingly catastrophic happens at work, first try and step back and see it for what it is — data — before getting swept up in the implications.

A good question to ask yourself as part of this process is “How can I look at this in a way that will make it a win?” Or, try and replace negative questions such like “Why did this happen?” with a more positive question like “How can I make this a win?” I have found this exercise is a great way to train your mind to be able to shift perception toward proactivity.

Energy is energy

Learn to leverage seemingly negative feelings to your advantage. Amy Purdy is a Paralympics bronze and silver medalist who recently told ESPN that fear and nervousness are actually her unique competitive advantage. “Nerves are important,” she told the sports outlet. “I’ve heard they can either make you 15 percent worse or 15 percent better, so it’s not about suppressing them — it’s about using them.” The champion snowboarder goes on to describe her fear and nervousness as “energy trying to escape,” and that she uses that to fuel her game.

Indeed, science has shown that excitement and anxiety — while seemingly opposing feelings — actually involve the same chemical process in the brain. What separates the two are the associations we make with them. Another study, conducted by Harvard professor Alison Wood Brooks, showed that subjects who took a moment to reframe their anxiety as excitement outperformed the others across math, music performance and public speaking.

As Purdy describes, energy is just energy, and it’s in our power to leverage seemingly negative feelings like fear or anxiety to fuel positive outcomes.

Foundation first

Mentally commit to creating an optimal environment for success. Choosing the right pot, soil and climate can make or break whether a plant grows or withers. This is no different for “planting” a successful career or business. One of the most effective mind shifts you can make as an entrepreneur is to commit to creating an optimal environment for you to flourish. What does such an environment look like? I’ve found, time and time again, that the first and most important optimal “layer” is people. One of the most powerful decisions I’ve made in my career is eliminating those with negative mindsets around me. But don’t just take it from me. There is a ton of research out there to back this up. One particularly compelling study done by Harvard social psychologist Dr. David McClelland, showed that the people with whom you habitually associate with determine up to 95 percent of your success or failure.

Of course, there are many other small shifts you can make towards a more optimal environment for success. Say being in rush-hour traffic stresses you out. Adjust your commute times so you are in a better mindset when you arrive to work. If I don’t exercise daily, I don’t function as well. So I drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn and do my morning workout at 5 am every week day. It lays a favorable base for the rest of the day.

In business and life, you may forget to water the soil or have a stretch of poor weather. But if you’ve laid out an optimal solution to begin with, it’s much easier to get back on track.

Revered today for his groundbreaking leadership at Tesla and SpaceX, it can be easy to overlook that Musk has overcome his fair share of extreme lows. In 2008 for instance, both of these world-changing companies were on the verge of bankruptcy — and he was going through a divorce. And further back, in 2000, Musk was fired as CEO of PayPal while he was on his honeymoon.

The oft-cited statistic says that 75 percent of VC-backed startup fail. With such data looming over their heads, even successful entrepreneurs have their work cut out for them. One way to get through these high-stress moments is to develop habits around the one, very powerful thing we always have control over — our minds.

 

Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Randy Paynter

 

 

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