As was published in an entrepreneurship series for Future Females in 2018.
For me the journey of becoming an entrepreneur has been about personal growth. About getting to know and appreciate myself. Talents and limitations included. It has taught me that the driving force of your newborn company is you. It is the embodiment of your vision for the future. But it is also a reflexion of the energy, thoughts and mindset that you put into it.
Entrepreneurs need a positive mindset to drive their business forward. Positivity creates opportunity, creativity and ultimately helps you reach your goals. Yet along with entrepreneurship also comes a lot of stress and anxiety. Relating to failures, to the unknown path you are following, or the pace of growth that you don’t always control. How to keep this vital positive mindset when at the same time you’re dealing with lots of stress and setbacks?
This quote explains Elon Musk’s take on entrepreneurship. I wrote this quote on a post-it at quite an early stage of setting up my business and it’s still hanging in my office today. I quickly discovered that for me talking about my company’s challenges and my personal limits really helped me to understand and to learn. However most of my (non-entrepreneurial) friends did not know how to respond or worse yet, they would get worried about me, and start doubting my decision to start this company in the first place. And that was not helping me at all.
So I started looking for other ways to help me clear my mind and keep a positive attitude when things would get tough or when I would start to doubt my decisions. This lead to the 5 musts for a balanced (business) life.
Why is positivity so important for business?
Who are your business-heroes? And do you know any or their famous business quotes? Do they help you get motivated? Of course they do. Business quotes are all about positivity, they are motivational and you need that!
Positive thinking is often related to meditation and a more spiritual attitude towards life. That’s great for some, but not convincing for everyone. Lately though more and more research is being done about the science of positive thinking. In this article James Clear explains how our brain is wired to turn positive thoughts and emotions into new skills to help you succeed.
Moments of happiness are also critical for opening your mind to explore and build the skills that become so valuable in other areas of your life. [..] Periods of positive emotion and unhindered exploration are when you see the possibilities for how your past experiences fit into your future life, when you begin to develop skills that blossom into useful talents later on, and when you spark the urge for further exploration and adventure. To put it simply: Seek joy, play often, and pursue adventure. Your brain will do the rest.
That gives me hope. We just relax, have fun and the rest will happen. However for most people a positive state of mind is not easy to get to and to stay in, and it requires hard work. We often find ourselves worrying, and that is so much easier than staying positive all the time. A positive mind takes practice, but it is totally worth it.
Nurture positivity and a relaxed mind
Whether you adhere to the practice of yoga and meditation or you are more of a science cookie, we all need positivity to thrive in business and in life. It would be very impressive to aspire to be 100% positive all the time. But more realistically just know that not everything will go as you thought it would. You will feel stress, and sometimes a lot. And you will make mistakes and be uncomfortable with that. It’s a given.
The practice of positive will help you to keep going, to keep motivated and ultimately to turn these negatives into positives; into learnings and into personal growth. The key is to find your balance and to always be able to return to a peaceful mind and positive attitude.
Here are the 5 musts for a balanced (business) life that will help you nurture a relaxed mind and positive vibes.
- Go outside, into nature
Feeling tired, feeling exhausted? Then push yourself to go outside and tap into some outdoor energy. Fresh air, birds singing, the smell of fall leaves, sun on your skin. Humans need this. A daily walk outside can help you relieve stress and it’s great for your body as well. A great commercial (unfortunately in Dutch) explains that some people are real outdoor types, but none of us are made to be indoor all the time.
- Meet people, new ones and old ones
Engaging with others helps us grow. We need fresh perspectives and we need social interaction. We grow by lifting up others and by making an impact on other people’s lives. One of my favorite quotes comes from the Holstee manifesto: “Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them”. Working together, achieving together and celebrating together with the people that you surround yourself with is so important. Invest in your relationships and be open to meet new people.
In order to control and to rest your thinking mind you need to tend to your physical body. Regular exercise will give you: dopamine (feeling happy), stress release, fresh energy, confidence, anti-anxiety and a good night sleep. I’m not kidding. It is tough to get up and to start your exercise, but you’ll get so much out of it. Totally worth your while. Continue reading: “6 reasons why exercise makes you happy” by Krista Stryker.
- Practice to clear your mind
For some this will be one of the above. For many people it is playing or enjoying music. Most important is that you find what helps you clear your mind. Ask yourself: have you ever experienced not having any thoughts in your head? How did that feel? Or if you haven’t, what would help you get there? For me it is when I’m horse riding, running or doing yoga. For the entire hour I’m not thinking about anything except being in that moment. And afterwards I am totally recharged. Explore what clears your mind and do that as often as you can.
- Do more or what lights your soul on fire
This brings me to the final must, diving in just a little deeper. At the core of your happiness, your positive attitude towards life and your peaceful mind lies the thing that makes you tick. It’s unique to you and very personal. But every time you think about it, or practice it, you feel invincible and full of love. Let this be your guide in life.
And if you don’t know what it is yet, start to explore, it’s fun! No need to go out too far, because the answer is probably right in front of you. It’s the things you do already. The things that your are concerned about the most. The things you do so well, effortlessly. The things that light your soul on fire.
Keep Moving 1:1 accountability sessions for entrepreneurs