I’ve founded two companies and co-founded two others, but some days, I still feel like I never know what’s going to hit me next. Luckily, I’ve found a few simple mantras that help me stay steady even when things get ridiculously hairy. Some have more to do with business, and others are more about the personality and mindset I need to bring to the business. They all help me cut through the mental clutter and uncertainty that can come with entrepreneurship.
Try reminding yourself of these mantras when you’re in a bind or have a decision to make. With a little repetition, they will soon become a natural part of your thought process, keeping you on a continual path to success.
1. Get your head in the game. As the leader of your company, you need to portray a winning state of mind and exude positive energy. This is relatively easy to fake over social media, but in live interactions, meetings and events, there’s no substitute for having your game face on. A good attitude is contagious and inspires others. If you need to fake it until you make it, so be it.
2. Narrow your objectives. Constantly distracted by the newest shiny thing? Most of the entrepreneurs that I know and have worked with are. By nature, we seem to be idea people, so we’re good at identifying opportunities and finding ways to take advantage of them. That means it’s equally important to figure out which opportunities are extraneous, and to ignore them completely. Pick up every shiny thing and you’ve got a magpie’s nest, not a successful company.
3. Steady your reactions. Steady as it goes. This is always at the top of my list of essential entrepreneurial qualities. Passion, fire, and drive are at the core of many entrepreneurs. We all need those things. But it can be easy to let these attributes unduly influence your reactions to day-to-day events. Abrupt reactions and decisions that aren’t well thought-out don’t do you or your company any good. To prevent them, try to plan proactively and keep the big picture in mind.
4. Know and stick to your moral compass. It's easy to get swayed by great opportunities or quick fixes. Set yourself and your company up for success by knowing your boundaries. What are you willing to do to achieve your objectives, and where do you draw the line? This is one area where going outside of your comfort zone will do nothing but get you in hot water.
5. Perception is King. Any press is not always good press. Your reputation is here to stay. Protect your personal reputation and brand, as well as that of your company, by building an image that's meant to last.
6. Get your fight on. If there's one thing I've learned from a lifetime of competitive athletics, it's that the best athlete doesn't always win. The one with the most fight and determination always wins out. Someone else may be bigger, faster, or temporarily ahead of the pack, but you will come out on top if you fight smart and stick it out.
Need some more inspiration? Dream big. Be disruptive. Color outside the lines. Decide what these phrases mean to you, or create some of your own mantras that will keep your compass pointing north.