It’s a relaxed Friday afternoon. You’re plugging away at the final tasks on your to-do list when the phone rings and you are confronted with devastating news: you’ve just lost your biggest client. After a brief conversation, you hang up the phone and are left to sit alone in the quiet office, your mindset drastically changed.
What thoughts are going through your head? What story are you telling yourself about what just happened? How are you interpreting the bad news? As it turns out, your reaction is one of the biggest factors in whether you will recover and grow your business or dwindle and fail.
Mindset is everything, and I explored this topic in an ICON17 interview with Pamela Slim. Pamela is an author, speaker, business coach, and the owner of a small business incubator in Mesa, Arizona. From her experience in martial arts and business coaching, she has seen people face all sorts of challenges and obstacles. Along the way, she recognized that what differentiated those who survived from those who failed was less about skill and natural ability and more about how they mentally approached the obstacle in front of them. It was a captivating discussion, and I urge you to listen in by hitting Play above.
Improving Your Mindset
As Pamela mentions in the interview, "One of the things I noticed that is so fascinating is not just that people run into obstacles, because everybody will run into obstacles at every stage of business, no matter what, but what is your attitude toward obstacles? What story are you telling yourself?”
“One of the things I noticed that is so fascinating is not just that people run into obstacles, because everybody will run into obstacles at every stage of business, no matter what, but what is your attitude toward obstacles? What story are you telling yourself?”
We have strongly programmed beliefs and attitudes toward obstacles, and this mindset will determine if you can grow your business and enjoy the process of doing it.
The first thing you can do to improve your mindset is simply to pay attention to your attitudes. When a challenge comes up, consciously recognize what you say about it—the internal story you tell yourself about what happened and why it happened. This will help you recognize the patterns, tendencies, and habits of your mindset that you have most likely taken for granted.
Next, it’s time to assess how helpful that mindset is and find something that is more effective. You should strive for a ‘growth mindset’ where you accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. Pamela recommends Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success as homework for those who want to learn more about why mindset matters and what they can do to achieve a growth mindset.
Pamela is currently conducting research on this topic in order to explore the challenges that small business owners face and their attitudes around those challenges. We’ll keep you posted when we learn more, but for now, you can get an intro to the topic by watching the video above.