are you really stuck with your biz plans or are you just making excuses?


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  1. a mental attitude or inclination.
  2. a fixed state of mind.
  3. a disposition that determines how we will interpret and respond to situations.

we all have them. sometimes a mindset can be a good thing. the belief that nothing will go wrong, the propensity to take risks, the tendency to see the glass as half full… these could be helpful as you build a little biz.

but what i hear more and more often from the little biz builders i work with is that they feel like something, some lack of confidence, is holding them back.

limiting mindsets are the excuses we make to ourselves about why we can't do something. the automatic instinct we have to reply "yes, but..." when faced with a new idea. in the end they just boil down to fear.

we can choose to carry on as we always have. to state that those fears are actually based on logic, reason and experience. to push them outside of ourselves, lay the blame on something out of our control, and to carry on as we always have.  to continue answering every idea or opportunity with "yes, but..." and holding back, not moving forward.

or we can choose to acknowledge them. to see them for what they are, to embrace them as part of the way our brains work. to be aware of them so that we can do things differently and move past them. to say instead "yes, i can..." and move forward. 

let's just say that again. be aware of your mindsets. the “yes, but...” thoughts that hold you back. stop them in their tracks. say “yes, i can...” (click to tweet this message. let's spread the word and make a change!)

the first step in moving  forward is to be aware of your own mindsets. not sure what mindsets you have ingrained? the next time you think about moving forward with a plan and then come up with some excuse or automatically think “yes, but…” that is probably a mindset coming in to play.

yes, but…

  • it’s not good enough.  i’m not good enough. i don’t have enough experience. i’m not smart enough. i can’t compete. no one will like it.
  • it’s pointless. no one cares. it’s too late. i’m too old.  there is too much competition. no one is going to like it. i am just going to fold under pressure.
  • it’s risky. it might fail. i don’t know what to expect. i am too uncertain what the outcome will be. i will let everyone down.
  • it’s the wrong time. i can do it later. i have too much other stuff to do. i need more time. i am not ready yet. i am too busy.
  • it’s impossible. it’s too hard. it will take too much time. i’ve got too much to do. it’s never going to work. i don’t have enough money. i don’t have enough information. i have no support.

do any of these things sound familiar? do you find yourself responding with these replies often?

(not to say that sometimes these fear aren’t unfounded. if a plan is actually not good enough, or your product is actually not ready, that’s not a mindset. mindsets are our automatic responses before we really even have a chance to be realistic. sort of our ‘go to’ reaction whenever something feels a little bit scary, new, or uncomfortable.)

what can you do to conquer these mindsets?

1. first, as we said you have to recognize your mindsets. be aware that you have them and be conscious of when they pop up.

for instance: if your minsdset is ‘i can’t do it, i don’t have enough time’ – recognize that you are laying the blames outside of yourself on time, and that you probably do have enough time. mindsets are sort of self-fulfilling. if you ‘never have enough time’ it really feels like you never have enough time. you protect yourself from failure by filling your time with ‘busy-work’ and time-wasters (hello checking my email every 5 minutes!)

2. when you find a mindset popping up, stop. stop the thought in its tracks. come up with a new statement to take its place.

‘i can’t do it, i don’t have enough time’ –> ‘YES i do have enough time, i have the same number of minutes as everyone else has.’

3. focus on the opposite of your mindset.

‘i can’t do it, i don’t have enough time’ – make a plan to allow yourself a little more time (maybe giving up a time waster like checking email 10 times a day or watching TV) and devote those extra minutes to working on your project.

4. a mindset is a habit like any other. replace it with a positive daily habit, such as focusing on your successes, reading your manifesto/brand promise/vision statement for your business, or looking at inspiring quotes/messages.

5. give yourself time before making decisions (eg saying yes or no to an opportunity) – don’t let your mindset do the talking, think it through.

6. stop trying to find the right way. accept that there is no right way. there is just your way, however that is.

7. play ‘what if the worst actually happens’ and imagine the outcome. allow yourself to go ahead even if things won’t be perfect, and see that the mistakes that you will make are opportunities to learn. you cannot do better until you make the mistakes to learn from them!

8. set yourself a real goal to accomplish one of those things you have been making excuses for not doing. share your goal so that you have people you need to be accountable to.

9. find a partner to work with on your next idea or create a collective of other little biz builders in your niche that you are responsible too. it can be easier to overcome excuses when you do it for someone else.

10. keep track of your successes, victories & positive feedback - create a scrapbook or a bulletin board that you can look at every day, to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.

11. visualize a successful outcome. what would it look like, feel like...  what would the steps be like along the way? when we look for something negative to happen, that is often what we find. so we need to replace negative visualizations with positive ones.

12. give yourself time – it took a long time to build the negative mindsets it will take a long time to change them into positive ones.

13. listen to your heart, your gut, your intuition… you know, that little nudge you feel when you are thinking ‘logically’ about time/experience/quality etc. remember the mindset is an automatic response that we pass off as being logical, but underneath it your gut is telling you to go for it. listen to that!

what mindset is holding you back from moving forward with your biz dreams? find a way to move past that mindset. follow your heart. (click to tweet this message. let's spread the word and make a change!)

further reading:

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quote inspired by one i found online, which i cannot find the author of. new quote and image my own. copyright karen gunton 2011