If you go to Google and type in ‘challenges that business owners face’, one of the results listed in 2018 is ‘Lack of business funding, marketing, and cash flow’. Now, if you Google ‘business challenges for 2021’, suddenly results are very, very different; ‘how to avoid burnout, how to avoid fatigue and how to motivate employees’.
It’s clear that the challenges that business owners have dealt with in the past have evolved and now include much more emotional challenges like; fear, stress, frustration, and anxiety. Never before have business owners experienced so much pressure that is predominantly caused by factors that are out of their control. This makes it essential for business owners to be far more resilient than ever before. They have to change or transform their thinking around business principles in order to take advantage of new business opportunities that were never considered before.
It is clear that the business owners who will survive this proverbial “storm ” have a positive mindset and will bounce back efficiently from these challenges. The question therefore is, “how can we build a strong positive mindset?”
The Google definition for ‘business mindset’ is as follows; a business mindset is a way of THINKING that enables you to uncover and see problems as OPPORTUNITIES and then turning those opportunities into a BUSINESS.
My short definition is that a good business mindset is all about being POSITIVE and looking for the OPPORTUNITIES within the challenges.
At ActionCOACH when we speak about a business mindset, we refer to a person’s RAS – an acronym for Reticular Activating System. Your RAS is the compass for your brain and is determined by your goals and aspirations. The less complicated definition describes the reticular activating system as a ‘bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so that the important stuff gets through’. Some people suggest that you can train your RAS by taking your subconscious thoughts and marrying them to your conscious thoughts. They call it ‘setting your intent.’ This means that if you focus hard on your goals, your RAS will reveal the people, information, and opportunities that help you achieve them.
As with many things in life, there is no quick fix – developing a positive mindset takes effort. To ‘train’ our RAS to filter out the non-important stuff, we need to have an EXERCISE PLAN, much like an athlete.
Based on research and personal experience, I would like to suggest that you include these seven exercises in your plan:
- Keep a gratitude journal – take time out of every day and write down three things that you are grateful for. This is a very powerful tool that teaches you to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
- Start your day with a positive affirmation – it’s a fact that how you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. Find a routine that works for you and make sure that your routine includes quiet time to set your RAS for the day.
- Turn failures into lessons – you aren’t perfect, and you will make mistakes, so accept it and learn from your mistakes.
- Find a mentor – we all have the need to bounce ideas of others and to discuss our challenges, ideas and successes. A business coach will keep you accountable, and keep you focused to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
- Surround yourself with positive people – when you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll find positive outlooks, positive stories, and positive affirmations. Eliminate the negativity in your life before it consumes you.
- Practice positive self-talk – we believe what we say and negative self-talk can creep up easily and is often hard to notice. Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones and you will subconsciously set your RAS on positive vibes.
- Find humour in bad situations – South Africans have the ability to find humour even in the darkest or most trying situations. This is our coping mechanism and helps us to deal with the challenges we face.
When I speak to business owners, I often hear how unfair the world has become, how the market has changed and how people are not to be trusted. The reality is that in business and life we are guaranteed to face “storms” in all different shapes and forms, and these storms happen more frequently than before.
I believe that a positive mindset is one of the key attributes we need to successfully navigate through these storms and find the opportunities within the chaos. Let’s be honest, these days we can all do with a heavy dose of positivity!