4 Things That Women in Business Must Develop to Overcome Adversity and Fear

Even the most high achieving entrepreneurs will face adversity, change and fear as they move forward with their businesses. All the “trade secrets”, “proven strategies” and “done for you” products in the world can’t stop those obstacles from landing at your doorstep. If you want your business to turn heads and possibly even change the world then you had better learn to make resilience the “little black dress” of your business strategy.

Most of us when launching a new business or career will seek out some sort of advice — a hint and/or guidance that will accelerate our progress and spare us the nose dives and bruised pocket books (not to mention egos).

Most career and business coaches are quick to mention the basics like business plan, cost analysis, licenses, marketing plans, etc. While those are definitely important components of setting yourself up for success, there are millions of stories of entrepreneurs who have all of those “nuts and bolts” in place and whose businesses still fail. For example, two people can be given the same “marketing secrets”. One uses them to make millions and the other person sees no results at all.

Massive success requires the entrepreneur to master not only her outer game but to learn how to leverage her powerful inner game.

So what’s the best way to play this inner game to win?

Seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that all businesses should plan on facing challenges — yes, even major challenges. What separates the head turners from the wannabes is how you rise up after those crash and burn moments.

Millionaires and even billionaires have all seen their own share of heartstoppers (some would even call them “failures”). Bill Gates’ first company Traf-O-Data was a total flop — and yet the “failure” of that business set them up for the success of Microsoft.

This Huffington Post article details his story and the stories of 16 Wildly Successful People Who Overcame Obstacles ranging from Einstein to Richard Branson.

The common thread in these stories?

Resilience.

A mindset so powerful that it sees greatness in the midst of a fall and opportunity in the eye of the obstacle.

Professor of Psychology Carol Dweck calls it the growth mindset. Positive psychology’s Angela Duckworth calls it Grit.

To succeed in business, you may have heard that you must have “the right mindset and do whatever it takes”.

But what specifically is the “right mindset” and what is the “it”?

Clearly, allowing our minds to act like our own worst enemy is like searching out the most critical adversary and making them CEO of your new company. Probably not the best business plan — and yet, that’s often what happens.

So what are 4 of the most important things that women entrepreneurs can cultivate in their inner game to overcome adversity and make fear obsolete?

The answer lies in the word itself:

GRIT

Greatness Resilience Intention Transformation

  1. Greatness.

Successful people develop a culture of greatness where they realize that each individual’s expression of greatness is unique and valuable. Greatness shows up powerfully not simply when you are standing tall, but often when you feel like you have taken a plunge. And it’s not simply daring to be great yourself that will lead to success. A huge component of making it to the top tier is being bold enough to inspire your team to unleash their own brand of genius to compliment your own — and in some cases outshine it.

Application?

  • As you start your business, take time to write down 5 things (at most) that you are really great at, passionate about or have a talent for. The more honest you are, the better. Now rank each of those things on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being that you are already an expert at this and 1 being that you have a lot to learn. Based on those scores, what is the one thing that you could start doing consistently today that could grow your business, distinguish you from the crowd and eventually lead to massive, scalable growth?
  • Now that you have identified where your own strengths should be focused, it’s time to identify where you could use some help. Rank yourself on sales, social media, writing, administration– everything. Remember, that you are not helping yourself in the long run if you insist on spending time on the things that aren’t high on your skill set. If you don’t score at least a 7 or and 8, you should delegate it as soon as you can. This will allow you to focus on the areas where you are the best of the best. As you start your business, you may have to wear a lot of hats. As you grow your business, these areas that are not your strength are the areas where you are going to want to add support as soon as possible. Bonus idea: have job applicants rank their own strengths and passions. Not only can that act like a GPS into this potential team member’s wiring, but it can be a great launching point for additional insights into their own “why” and value points.
  • Do yourself a favor and retire the phrase “it’s not personal. It’s just business.” Gone are the days when a company could offer a motto on the wall of “quality, service and integrity” and see profits roll in. Today’s consumer wants to know who is behind the curtain and what they stand for. Today’s employee wants to know that their individuality has value and that they can impact the value of the whole. Your motto instead should be “what can I do today in my business that will establish me as consistently remarkable — in the eyes of my clients, my team members and myself?”
  1. Resilience.

Resilience is the ability to keep your focus deliberately on your goals — or more specifically, your WHY. Resilience is the power to make your WHY so important that nothing can extinguish that desire. Resilience is remembering the power of your own deliberate positive intent — remembering that a mind energized with the expectation of success is far more powerful than a mind crippled by an expectation of defeat. Failure is a judgment. Champions remember to include the word “temporary” in the middle of their challenges. They believe that if they are not seeing success, it just hasn’t arrived yet.

Application?

  • The key to unleashing your greatness is your Why. Simon Sinek writes that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it…” Knowing why you are getting up each morning choosing to spend these hours in this day investing in this business is critical. It’s deeper than the amount of money that you hope to make. Before you say “Go”, write down: why YOU? Why now? Why is this so important that you are willing to face every obstacle to see it come to life? Is there a legacy that you hope to leave? Is it a strong service that you would like to provide? Is it to have the freedom to travel the world or to leave a major impact on an industry? Look at this every day when you get up and every night before you go to bed. Knowing your why will help you make it through those dark hours right before you strike gold.
  • Resilience is learning to ask different questions and to tell the story from a different perspective. Replace the thought of “what is this problem doing to you with what is the problem doing for you in the long run?” What would it look like if 5 years from now you could see how this temporary problem lead to a great discovery? What might that discovery be? Assume that the solution is there. You just have to find it. A great example is the story of how Corning invented the first fiber optics. Originally, Corning was a giant in the glassware industry. Approximately 40 years ago, the top executives realized that their revenue was plunging and within a few months if nothing changed, they would not be able to cover payroll. Rather than tell “the story” that their current industry was failing, the executives took a new vantage point. They gathered all of the members of their teams. They told them that they had total confidence that they had some of the best people and some of the best resources. They challenged their teams to come up with a product using the same people and the same equipment to come up with the “next big success”. As the story goes, one of the products that the team unveiled was a version of the fiber optics that are used today. Corning went on to become the leading pioneer in the field. Had the top level management not had the mindset to look for the opportunity in the problem (with the expectation of success), the story might have ended very differently.
  1. Intention.

Remember to respect the power of intention. We do tend to get what we expect to get– even if that outcome is negative. We see what we expect to see and forget that our minds are wired to filter. “Seeing is believing” – or so the saying goes. While you are busy gathering the proof to support your expected outcome, might you be missing the clues that would lead you to something much greater? Studies show that when we are told to focus on the color red, we forget to notice that there is also blue. If your business is seeing a lot of red, it might be time to set your sights on looking for the blue. Pun very much intended. Believing has evolved into seeing for some of the most successful people in the world and that belief begins with intention. Let THAT be your story. 

Application?

  • Write down your goals. Notice that the instructions are not to write down goals that you believe to be “realistic”. The exercise here is to think big. Beginning to engage small habits that can eventually lead to achieving those goals will come later. For now, pick a date 5 years from now and write down what that day will look like for you and your business. And yes, write them down. Dr. Gail Matthews studied the Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams and found that those who took the time to write this down on a regular basis are 42% more likely to achieve them. Clarity is power.
  • Make a habit of verbalizing your intent in your mind before taking action. Before an important phone call or meeting, declare in your mind that you intend to see great results.
  • Write down an intention for the day and post it where you can see it. When you feel your mind going down a path of negativity, pull it back by reminding yourself of your intention. Feeling scattered? Ask yourself these questions: will doing this thing get me closer to my intention? Will not doing this thing get me closer to my intention? In business, mastering the art of de-prioritizing can sometimes be more important than learning to prioritize.
  • Write down the successes. When you see your intentions come to fruition, write it down. It has been proven over and over again that what you focus on expands. Focus on your intentions leading to success and you may be surprised how much more success comes your way. Welcome to the power of mindset.  
  1. Transformation.

Remember that many of the things that you will grow to cherish about your business and about yourself will be the gems (and boulders) that were part of the journey. Remember that there is always new brilliance around you. Remember to read, listen to podcasts, brainstorm. Do things that will keep your mind open and learning.

Application?

  • Seek out great mentors who have already made it through many challenges and are willing to share what they have learned. Ken Courtright is one of my favorites for creating massive growth in any industry. He addresses everything from sales to going from “Rookie to Expert”. Tips from his podcast helped me get media coverage on NBC, ABC, CBS, Prevention Magazine and more in less than 9 months.
  • Spend more time reading and listening to audio books on business. Warren Buffet claims that reading 500 pages a day is the key to success. No offense to mainstream TV or radio but you don’t hear any movers and shakers claiming that watching TV or listening to Top 40 was the key to their millions. If you are serious about creating an amazing business, start filling in those spare time slots by reading or listening to great content. Here are The 25 most influential books ever written about business according to Business Insider. It’s a great place to start.
  • Resolve to try something new every day. Meditation. A tango class. Ethiopian food. A new advertising strategy. A new landing page design. Practice getting outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis. That way, when you encounter unexpected change along the way, the feeling that you might have identified as fear will feel more like exhilaration. When dealing with uncertainty, you will feel more confident in your ability to run with it.

Keep looking for ways to grow your body, mind and business closer to your own vision of success. Challenge yourself to be your own version of amazing. Build a legacy. Make the positive impact on the world that allows you to be fully you. Evolve every day into the best version of yourself. Right here. Right now.

And then, with your gritty, unstoppable mindset as your ultimate accessory, go on out there and create a business that will stop traffic and turn heads. And while you are at it, don’t let anyone or anything stop you from living your vision and changing the world.

 

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