Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you spend your days like Katrina and the Waves “walking on sunshine” or are you normally shadowed by a small black cloud like Joe Btfsplk from Li’l Abner? I don’t want to sound like a New Age guru, but I really believe that much of what happens to us in life is influenced by how we think.
No, I don’t believe you can actually think your way to success (or failure), but I do believe that your attitude can affect the outcome of most situations. If you are a negative thinker, that attitude will eventually wind its way through your company, lowering morale and eventually revenue. If, on the other hand, you’re a true Pollyanna, burying your head in the sand at the first sign of bad news, you’re going to miss the red flags warning you of possible trouble ahead.
Am I calling for an attitude adjustment? Not really. Actually, maybe it’s time to eliminate attitudes — both good and bad — from our entrepreneurial vocabulary altogether and leave them to the teenagers where they belong. Instead of attitude, let’s think mentality.
Attitudes live in the short term. Many things large and small can send you soaring into the heights or bring you crashing down to earth. Mentalities, though, are more permanent. They aren’t triggered by events, but rather become an ingrained part of you. In other words, your mentality sets the pace.
Now that we’re emerging from the economic mess of the last few years, it’s a great time to assess your mindset and, if it’s not working for you, adopt one that will help propel your business forward. Need a little help with this? I’ll share my secret with you: abundance.
I will admit I didn’t come up with this myself. I was having lunch the other day with a very successful businessman. It was the first time we’d met, so I was trying to be on my best behavior. I was saying to him that to more easily make the transition from recession to recovery, entrepreneurs have to change the way we think. Sure, we all want to make money and lots of it. But it shouldn’t be about accumulating wealth and pocketing it. It’s about spreading the wealth around; sharing it with your employees, your community, and those in need.
It’s the “give/get” cycle: The more you give, the more you get (and the more you get back). My dining partner called it an “abundance mentality.” Abundance is defined as “overly plentiful” or having more than you need of something. Frankly, I didn’t think much more about it until the next morning when talking to a friend who was excited about several job prospects because she finally had decided to work at something she loved. And she knew the timing was right, because, as she said, “Jupiter is no longer in retrograde.” For those who aren’t students of astrology, allow me to translate: Jupiter, the planet of, yes, abundance, would now be creating opportunity for all.
Coincidence or not, I took it as a sign that it was indeed time to adopt the abundance mentality. Here’s how to do it:
Reexamine your goals. It’s almost 2010, so you should be doing that anyway. Have you set them high enough? In sales, they’re called stretch goals, objectives that go above and beyond. But shouldn’t we always be aiming high?
Create a plan. We’ve talked about this before. It doesn’t need to be formal, but you need to lay out how you’re going to achieve your goals. And since you’re thinking abundance, once you reach a goal, don’t forget to set new ones immediately and adjust your plan accordingly.
Share the wealth. The point of abundance is getting more than you need. Some might say there’s no such thing, but I disagree. Like I said, when you give, you get. At my small company, we send money to a charity or other good cause every month. We can’t afford to give a lot, but we know we’re doing good and that makes us feel good. You can’t fight karma.
Work hard. The overnight business sensation is mainly a Hollywood myth. Most people who appear to have achieved success overnight have actually spent years working on themselves, their ideas, and their businesses.
Believe it. The horrendous economy has tried many an entrepreneur’s patience and chipped away at our confidence and security. Many small businesses started with humble beginnings, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay that way. And while I am not an advocate of The Secret, I do believe we need to switch our mindset to one of abundance. It’s not greedy to want abundance. And we all deserve it.
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