Recently, I listened in on a conversation between various entrepreneurs about “the entrepreneurial mindset” and what made them successful. A very interesting thing happened. After kicking around several ideas about mindset and attitude, they concluded that actions, not attitude or mindset, are what set successful entrepreneurs apart from those who either fail or never make it big.
That is a super interesting position to take. Let’s dive in.
Actions over Attitude Does Play a Role
There is definitely something to be said about consistent action. If you haven’t been in business for yourself yet, then any entrepreneur can tell you it’s easy to fall into the trap of not taking action because of:
- sheer exhaustion
- lots and lots of other reasons.
Success tends to come to those who take action often, consistently, and even at those times when they’re uncertain or just don’t feel like getting out of bed and doing it. There are times when a business can be a hard slog. Keeping the flywheel of business moving means keeping forward motion moving. Don’t stop. Never stop.
And That’s a Mindset
Re-read that last section. That’s a mindset. The attitude that you must keep moving… you need to keep forward momentum… That’s a mindset.
Interestingly, everyone in the discussion I listened in on agreed that “constant action” was an absolute, unnegotiable key to the success of entrepreneurs. Yet none saw this as a mindset.
It is. “Constant forward motion” is one of the most critical mindsets for successful entrepreneurs.
And there are a few other closely related mindsets.
But before we dive into those, why bother? Why care?
If you’re new to entrepreneurship, it’s valuable to assess yourself and see where you’re strong or weak, and surround yourself with people who are strong in your areas of weakness. Nobody is strong in all areas, so that’s where finding your balance in others comes in. With that, let’s look at a couple other related attitudes.
Related, Critical Mindsets
Successful entrepreneurs tend to be incredibly focused. Specifically, they’re focused on the goal or goals they’ve set out to achieve. There are a lot of unknowns and uncertainty in business. While these things provide a lot of confusion, the best entrepreneurs are anchored in their goals, using them to constantly re-center their thoughts and actions.
Note that this has nothing to with working style. Lots of entrepreneurs are naturally scattered people, “multi-tasking” on dozens of things at once, and for whom their biggest hallmark is the messiest desk anyone has ever seen. It just means that in their mind, they are hyper-focused on their goals and what it is they’ve set out to do.
Failing Fast, or… (my favorite) Pivoting
Being hyper-focused on goals means the goal comes first and if whatever we’re doing to reach the goal isn’t working, great – let’s try something else. The best entrepreneurs aren’t bashful when their tactics to achieving a goal aren’t working. They’re the first to admit it and look for a new path. The goal usually stays the same, but small pivots to pursue that goal are the order of the day.
I’m In Control
This is related to a concept in psychology known as “Locus of Control.” The happiest and most successful among us tend to see things as under our own control or influence. Less successful and less happy people tend to see things happening “to” them as being caused by things outside their control and by forces out in the world.
Successful entrepreneurs as a group tend to have internal locus of control.
What’s Your Mindset?
The group I listened in on, much like fish in water, didn’t even recognize many of the elements of their own very powerful mindsets that had made them successful in the first place! So what about you? What is it about your mindset that makes you successful? And what is it where you turn to others for strength?