February 2, 2021 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Developing a Mindset for Success
As business owners, I think it’s fair to say many of us feel most comfortable working with the tangibles. Written quotes and data-driven analytics are predictable, understandable, and provide a solid starting point for moving forward on action. In a similar vein, we’re typically adept at reading the behaviors of others. We’ve worked hard to understand our customer base to serve them better. We study what motivates and encourages and will most likely support the retention of our employees. And yet, as business leaders, I believe the single most impactful tool we have at our discretion is our own mindset. And I’m here to tell you, maintaining a mindset for success is a powerful, efficient, and proven tool.
Capitalizing on Mindset
I’m a marketer, not a neuroscientist, but I’ve been applying the power of mindset in the operation of my company successfully for several years now. I became even more interested when a client, a successful life coach, reached out to me for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) help for her coaching enterprise website. As I dug into her business and began to update her website, including her titles, keywords, and key phrases, I continually circled back to her core concepts, which include “emotional intelligence” and “coachable mindset” and “personal values.” A big part of her message centered around gaining the tools and self-awareness needed to foster the right mindset for success.
As we crafted and promoted her success stories, my interest grew deeper. It was personally relatable. Even when I thought I was staying safely and comfortably in my realm of measurable outputs, they were influenced by my emotions – in positive and negative ways. When I was feeling optimistic, I was more creative and could tap into greater energy. When I felt down or frustrated, it bled over into all my decisions and dampened my outputs. And this trickled down to my team members – it was contagious.
My client’s message was alluring because what was at the center of her product was something I already possessed – a mindset. But, with reflection, it was clear that I was not capitalizing on all that I had in front of me. I wanted to learn more.
Limited Investment with Unlimited Potential
Vague and intangible? Perhaps at face value, but I can assure you this is not all rainbows and unicorns. There’s good science that backs me up on what I’m sharing, with more coming in every day as the field of neuroscience drills into mindset and human potential. Numerous variables influence mindset, but I’d like to focus on three key areas I believe offer great potential for business leaders: tapping into your passion, aligning your work with your personal values, and fostering an attitude of gratitude. The great thing is, taking advantage of these three mindset influencers is relatively simple. The biggest investment you’ll have to make is a commitment to growing your self-awareness.
Why do we do what we do? The Self Determination Theory (SDT), developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, posits that, in addition to external motivations, all humans are intrinsically motivated to act, and generally most productively and creatively, when engaging in activities that address three core psychological needs: competency, autonomy and relatedness. I’ll give a brief explanation of each here:
Competency – engaging in activities one believes will enable them to master a skill, trade, concept, etc.
Autonomy – having the ability to direct efforts towards a goal, choosing what to do, when to do it, and with whom.
Relatedness – participating in activities that produce feelings of belonging or attachment to others; “others” could be a patient or client, a work team, or even the collective “greater good.”
When we find behaviors that check the boxes on these psychological needs, we’re driven to continually engage in these behaviors and generally do our best work. It’s like the magic sauce if you will.
Finding My Passion in Marketing
For me personally, my passions began to emerge early in my career. Even when I held roles not directly related to online marketing, I found myself weighing in on strategies. I’d step up for responsibilities above and beyond my designated role, agreeing to create website design updates and digging into any web traffic analytics I could get my hands on. I was driven to try out my ideas, and it was rewarding to be given the opportunity to try them out. I was passionate about watching my efforts unfold and studying what worked and didn’t work. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance to start my own digital marketing business.
Related: 7 Growth-Mindset Principles
Passion Translates to Better Business
I encourage my clients to share their passions when crafting their unique “About Us” pages for their websites. It is a big part of their being authentic, and clients and customers respond favorably to authenticity. We all do. I see this firsthand in website analytics. Well-crafted “About Us” pages get more traffic. People want to see the person behind the brand. When the message resonates with them – the company history, the owners’ motivation, the collective company ethos – the client’s decision to engage is positively supported.
Aligning Your Work with Your Values
Closely related to passion is this concept of aligning your efforts with your personal values. Professional coach Kathy Walter of Brain Basics calls values “the secret force behind our ‘yes’ and ‘no.” There are many personal values, but examples include purpose, family, solitude, financial security, and generosity. All of us have top personal values. The majority are established early in life, primarily through interactions with our closest caregivers, but some values can be adopted later in life through significant life events.
Keen Awareness Around Personal Values
As business leaders, we’ll be called to make many decisions. Bringing the informative input of our core values into our decision-making process is valuable in-and-of-itself. When we make our decisions in line with our core beliefs, our passions stay intact. When we feel discontent, a survey of what troubles us, examined through the lens of our values, will often bring insights. You cannot be passionate about an activity that stands in contrast with your high-ranking personal values. Aligning your daily activities with your personal values will contribute to your passion, which will promote greater productivity.
An Attitude of Gratitude
The concept of gratitude is my favorite piece of this business leader mindset discussion because it’s straightforward and achievable, starting now. In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor emphasizes the role gratitude plays in obtaining overall happiness. He explains that simply writing down three things you are grateful for, every day, for 21 days in a row will generate results-generating optimism that will last for six months. To be certain, research has shown that gratitude physically changes the brain through a process called neuroplasticity. For purposes of our discussion, I’d like to underscore that gratitude has been proven to:
Help find meaning in our professional work.
Make better managers, i.e., increase our tendency to engage in prosocial behaviors, including offering emotional support to team members, which, in turn, boosts their productivity.
Improve decision-making, primarily by reducing “economic impatience,” basically allowing the decision-maker to think beyond immediate gains or rewards that could come at the cost of future, greater gains.
Become a Curator of Your Mindset for Success
This success mindset curation process is doable and rewarding; that’s why I’m so passionate about sharing what I’ve learned. Sharing this with you supports my high-ranking personal value of helping others reach their true potential.
Build that attitude of gratitude – there is always something to be thankful for. Become a curator for the mindset you need to achieve your best, and I assure you success will follow.