Entrepreneurial positive thinking: Six ways to give yourself the greatest chance for success
The business world is a scary place, no doubt about it. As an entrepreneur you are going to encounter all kinds of obstacles as you carve out your career—it's just the nature of the craft. No one is going to part the sea for you or make your way smooth and easy, so, inevitably, problems will arise. You can count on it. That's why now is the time to acquire the unlikely skill that will actually create a profound impact on your success in business . . . Positive Thinking.
Before you gag from all the sappy connotations these two words imply, keep reading. Positive thinking goes beyond clichés and fluffed up ideals about "looking on the bright side" or "making lemonade when life hands you lemons." The truth is that the way you think about yourself, your ideas, and your abilities as an entrepreneur have a direct effect not only on your personal well-being, but upon your financial success and stability as well. Read on to learn six ways that you can change your thinking and drastically improve your career along the way.
1. Our perceptions, our selves.
We mold our lives by the way we interpret the events that happen to us. Your reaction to these good and bad events is already engrained into your psyche, and chances are, if you are dealing with the things you view as negative in a self-destructive manner, you already know it. Consider how you react when something moderately bad happens in your world. If you're like most people, you become upset, angry even, and a multitude of physiological changes take place in your body: sweating, increased blood pressure, and overall muscular tension, to name just a few.
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Interestingly, these physical symptoms indicate that in the event of something unwanted or unplanned, you literally begin to shut your own body down. Doesn't this speak volumes about the self-destructive nature of negative thought patterns? If your own body listens to your negative thoughts and impressions so loyally, imagine what the rest of the world hears! Hopefully this illustration explains how important your reactions become in the scheme of your success. If you don't believe you are a competent and worthy businessperson—and believe it with your whole mind, heart and body—no one else will either.
2. The Optimistic Approach.
Positive thought is also known as optimism. It is all in the way you interpret your life and its events. If you view the world as a dangerous and terrifying place, you're likely stay locked up safe in your home when you could be out experiencing life's challenges and joys. Fear will shut you in. But if you chose to perceive the planet as an interactive classroom, you will recognize all of the untapped opportunity and energy floating around waiting to be claimed by someone brave enough to search for it.
Optimism doesn't necessarily mean that you must keep smiling when something sets you back grossly in your career. It's okay to feel and experience disappointment. But immediately afterward you have to stand back up and say to the world, "Plan A didn't work, now I am going to find Plan B!" Negative thought only takes you backward, but by maintaining an optimistic focus you will repeatedly lead yourself to a new opportunity, a new connection, a new level of success.
3. Negativity is fear in sheep's clothing.
All negativity is fear and self-doubt in disguise. When you think you can't do something, you are just responding to an acquired belief that you are unworthy to achieve your goals. It is not coming from fact, but rather fear. You fear that you are not intelligent enough, not lucky enough, not rich enough to succeed. But let me tell you now, if others have made it before you, then you too possess all the attributes you need to find your place in the world.
Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones, because positive thoughts come from courage, and you will have taken an important step toward believing in your potential. A word of caution: Often beginning entrepreneurs can confuse negative thoughts with cautious thoughts. There is a difference between thinking something is impossible and thinking something is a bad idea for your business. Don't allow positive thinking to skew your vision of reality. A good entrepreneur knows the difference between thinking positively and thinking irrationally.
4. Go with the flow.
For all you micromanagers out there, what I am about to say may be difficult to swallow: The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who optimistically go with the flow. If you loosen up just a little, you will find how easy it is to float while others are sinking. Business types often try to control every single degree of their world, whether professional or personal. This is a dangerous tendency, because no one can control the universe and there are limitless factors that could at any moment fall upon your little controlled microcosm.
The most successful people in business and in life are those who allow their plans to be fluid. Don't stress over the two thousand definite steps between point A and point B. Instead establish your intentions—"to successfully own and operate my own business so it may provide for my livelihood"— and just do something! If that something doesn't work, take another step with a different approach. As long as you don't trap yourself in a rigid formula you think you need, the right opportunities and success will eventually find you.
5. Ward off Worry.
Worry is what happens when you continually fret over events and situations over which you have no control. It is toxic in every situation. When people worry, they fill their minds with "what ifs" and worst possible scenarios. (Sound familiar?) When you worry, you give all your fears and neuroses liberty to trample down your courage and your self-esteem. What's worse is that you're exclaiming to the universe that you don't believe you and your plans are worth a fair chance. So eliminate worry from your life immediately.
Don't get me wrong. It is okay (indeed, advisable) to doubt and be uncertain from time to time. Just doubt with logic, not fear. Instead of sitting at your desk worrying about a problem, take action. For example, like many entrepreneurs, I used to worry about not having enough money to cover a problem in one of my businesses. Rather than sit at my desk and hope no problems came up in my day-to-day transactions, I made a promise to myself that I would always have a certain amount of cash in my account. This way if a problem did arise I knew I would have the money to take care of it, and I wouldn't surprise my banker by not being able to make my start-up loan payment for that month.
6. Eliminate the "C" word.
Can't is a word you must avoid if you ever plan to create anything, be it a salad, a rocket ship, or a successful business. Positive thinking begins and ends with a vocabulary of affirmation. Check the degrading lingo at the door and you are going to do better in your career. It really is that simple. Words have great power to create—and also to destroy.
I read an article about a Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who has experimented with directing positive and negative intentions to water molecules. Apparently, he "talks" to very cold water samples using spoken and written words and music and, unbelievably, the water actually responds. When kind and loving words or phrases are communicated, the water crystals form intricate and breathtaking structures, only to change expression to dull, incomplete, asymmetrical patterns when spoken to harshly or negatively. Now, consider that human beings are primarily made of water. Don't you think you should affirm your career and existence with positive language and actions? Don't tell me you can't.
I've found that all of these tips can be boiled down into one single rule for positive thinking that you should always keep in mind. Here it is: When opening a business or starting a new project, always think of the worst possible outcome as the least likely scenario.
If you have tried everything you can think of and your business is just not where it needs to be, give "positivity" a sincere chance. If you have been unsuccessful thus far in your career then you have nothing to lose, and if you are already successful, you have the opportunity to become not only more successful, but also happier and more at peace inside and out.
Above all, you should become an optimist because it is your birthright. We were not placed on earth to hide and be fearful, but rather to live courageously and learn to experience joy. It is your purpose to make your way in the world and when you approach life and your career with optimism and excitement, you will be blessed in your efforts indeed.
By Ty Freyvogel
Ty Freyvogel is the founder of Freyvogen Communications and is the author of "It's Not Your Smarts, It's Your Schmooze" and "Seize the Century!," as well as an advice guru on his new website, MakingSenseofYourBusiness.com.