Mindset Mistakes That Keep Entrepreneurs Stuck + How to Fix It
By Rachael Taylor
I remember the first time I read the word “entrepreneur”, it sounded so fancy and like it only belonged to CEO’s and Fortune 500 companies. “Big”, multi-people places with health insurance and 401Ks or people with millions of dollars who invested it in starting generation-changing ideas.
In other words, I didn’t think it applied to me. I had been an independent contractor, solo-preneur as a Pilates instructor for years, yet the notion that I was running my own business never crossed my mind. I woke up, taught people how to move better, connect with their bodies and stretch out the tight places all so they could have more strength and flexibility.
It didn’t occur to me that managing my schedule, talking to people about investing in Pilates, coordinating teaching times, creating movement routines and ultimately being paid for a service I was providing, was a business (which is literally the basic definition of a business).
This was one of many sabotaging mindsets that were keeping me small, restricted to a “barely enough” salary and preventing me from spreading my wings as a true entrepreneur.
It was only when I started to own the fact that I was a successful business owner, that my mind began to shift. Not only did I begin to see what was possible, but also how I had been thinking way too small in how I could positively impact the world and help the people in my life.
Once my eyes were opened, I began the transition into an online business world but at the same time my mindset showed its true form. I began the dance of retraining my limitations, facing fears and eliminating doubts, so I could courageously move forward into a business that I knew held my future.
Why am I telling you this story? Because when you buy that domain, print out your business card or tell that first person that you’re starting a business, you begin that mindset dance too.
It can make or break your business, and be the difference between enjoying growing and building and living in constant stress and discouragement (regardless of how much money you’re making). Being a successful entrepreneur with a long-lasting, profitable business requires you to create a new perspective about money, success and other people in business.
The good news is, your mindset will tell you exactly where it needs an upgrade – all you need to do to change it, is by increasing your awareness around your thoughts and reactions to two specific areas: comparison syndrome and a scarcity perspective.
#1 Comparison syndrome
A common mindset mistake that affects most people on this planet at some point in their lives, comparison syndrome. Essentially, looking at another person’s life and accomplishments and attempting to put your life, wishes, dreams and desires into their box and individualized situation.
It’s the job of an entrepreneur to always be open to learning, growing and adapting to better serve their customers and grow their platform. This requires the entrepreneur to invest time, brain power and sometimes resources into other people’s business, training, instruction and experience-based advice.
However, there’s a fine line between seeking out information to consume something that will help you, and slipping over into a negative self-reflection of where you and your business is.
This comparison syndrome can often bring up jealousy, disappointment and self-criticism that plugs up your creativity, productivity and ultimately blocks your progress that day (or maybe week) in accomplishing what you wanted to/needed to in your business.
Don’t fall into this trap or make this mistake. Simply remember, everyone is unique and on a specific path that has been customized to them. When you see other people have success, perhaps pass you by or reach the goal that you haven’t yet, identify the first thought that comes into your mind.
Is it “good for them” or “why am I not there yet”?
You want it to be the first, because the first reaction recognizes it, identifies it as a good thing and then goes back to the task at hand. The second one throws a dramatic and sudden stop in your thoughts and creates a vortex of negative concentration and criticism on yourself, which doesn’t help your business.
Think about it, what’s a better place for your mind to be in for creativity, productivity and serving your clients? What thought process makes it operate at its best?
It’s easy to make the switch from an inward attack to an outward support, but it starts with you being honest with yourself about where your mind goes when it sees other people’s success.
The second part is then actively deciding to change your reaction to one that celebrates success instead of criticizing it. The reasoning behind it is this, the way your mind responds directly affects how it will react when you achieve the same results.
Think about, if every time you read or see someone have huge financial success or their website looks stunning and your mind lists all the reasons why you can’t/don’t/won’t be able to have the same thing, then that will become your reality. Your mind will call on sabotaging actions like procrastination, resistance and fear to stop you from reaching it.
It all starts in your mind, the thoughts you have and your beliefs about success, money and business directly affects how quickly you will hit your milestones.
This is a mindset mistake that is easy to fall into, but again simple to get out of. I find the best way to turn my perspective around is to physically say out loud a direct contradiction of the negativity that just ran across my thought process.
For instance, if I start to feel small, left behind, jealous, overwhelmed and discouraged when I look at someone’s financial and personal success, I immediately say out loud “I may not be where I want to be right now, but I know that my hard work, consistency and willingness to show up will pay off in the way I want in the end. This is a stepping stone, a moment in my business and journey that will take me to the next level.”
You may call it skewed optimism, but I say its “calling it in.” Sometimes we need to actively call in the future we want, in order to change the limiting beliefs around money and success that we grew up with.
By facing your current limits head on, you’ll change the mindset mistake of falling into a downward spiral of comparison syndrome and start to believe that an abundant, successful business is in your future. Your actions come from your beliefs - if you believe it to be possible, then your actions will reflect that and you’ll be stronger at resisting side streets of criticism, and stay straight on your path.
#2 Scarcity Perspective
The second mindset mistake that entrepreneurs make is thinking that because you’re not where you want to be, you’ll never get there. This is similar to comparison syndrome, in the sense that it brings up a lot of inner criticism, doubt and insecurity about your business and where you are.
Essentially, a scarcity perspective continues to reinforce the thoughts that your financial goals for your business will forever be out of reach, regardless of how much work, time or effort you put into what you’re doing.
This mindset normally comes from our upbringing, from stories and perspectives we have around money and how easy it is to receive it. It’s a common mindset mistake that many of us share because we all have strong stories around making money, many times (or more often than not) they are stories involving struggle, lack, instability, debt, sacrifice and loss.
Understanding your story and relationship to money is important as an entrepreneur because having a scarcity mindset will block your financial progress and create self-sabotage in allowing money into your business. There can be a guilt we share, especially as women in business, for making money doing something we love or that comes easily to us because we have a story of watching those around us struggle and sacrifice for what they have.
It can show up in your mind as “Who am I to make money in a way that’s easier than my grandparents and those before me? Is it ok that I do this?” Your scarcity perspective comes from your subconscious and shows up by driving your actions directly into fear, sabotage, guilt, resistance and procrastination.
This mindset mistake requires attention to solve, but with time can be changed. One way I knew that my scarcity mindset was running the show was in how I answered the question “What do you do for a living?” and in how I marketed my business. I would do my best to avoid talking about my business and when I couldn’t dodge the question, I would stumble through a jumble of answers that didn’t really make sense (even to me).
If you find yourself doing the same, then it’s time to turn introspective and ask yourself what your relationship with money is because it could be affecting your business – and not in a good way.
Ask yourself, “Do I believe that I can make more money than I ever have before?” Be honest with yourself and don’t feel bad about the answer. You don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to, but know that this information is priceless. Being aware of how you interact with money will do more for your business than most entrepreneurs realize.
If your answer to the following question was “No” or something along those lines, I recommend you do the following mindset exercise. Think back to why that could be true, look at the way your parents talked about money or how much money your family had as you were growing up. How did they treat money? Once you know that, you’ll understand where you’re coming from and will be able to start shifting your perspective from scarcity to abundance.
The simplest way to do this is to first forgive yourself and your family for living with this mindset. Release any anger, frustration or sadness around money and decide that from now on you’re going to do your best to change the path for your family.
You can be the one to break the scarcity cycle and create a new perspective about money for generations to come. Think about other entrepreneurs that we admire so much, more often than not they came from humble beginnings and forever changed the trajectory of the world (and the lives of their family). You can be a difference maker if you want, but you have to watch out for this money mindset mistake.
When you’re in a scarcity mindset it’s natural to hide what you do and keep yourself (and your business) under a rock, when you know the best thing to do is to shout it from the rooftops. You’ll know that your mind begins to shift away from scarcity, when it becomes simple to confidently tell people what you do and (if appropriate) hand them a business card to your website or contact information in case they want further information.
The little things in business like chance meetings, an opportunity to share what you do or a genuine connection with a person you’ve just met, are all part of the bigger plan for your success. By being open to practice sharing what you do and growing more confident in showing up, you’re preparing yourself to be ready for bigger opportunities that are just outside your comfort zone (but necessary for you to do and grow).
These two mindset mistakes will become easier to change the more you build your awareness around when they happen. Half of being in business is doing what you know and that’s where your mind and the beliefs you have around money, success and business come in.
Remember, being an entrepreneur is a big adventure with limitless possibilities and potential but it requires you to grow, be bold and pull on courage to stand up to what’s in your way. Growing to a new level may not be comfortable, but it’s always worth it.
You have this dream for a reason and it’s the perfect time for you to chase it! Enjoy the journey and trust the process.
From one entrepreneur to another…