Sometimes the right thing to do is just more of the same…
This can be confusing advice to follow because often there is very little feedback to tell you are on the right path.
This is especially true in business, because success is not a result of just one thing working.
I can remember during the early years of one my first startups.
I had some success. I was making sales but it was all very erratic.
I felt lost because I wasn’t sure what to do next. Should I change my strategy, should I try something new or keep doing what I was doing?
Everything felt so slow at the time. This lack of feedback made me feel insecure about my choices.
Fast forward to two years later, and I could look back on the previous years and see it was because I stuck to a plan and continued to do certain activities over and over again that led to the more consistent income I was looking for.
Your Mind As Enemy
The challenge for new entrepreneurs is that lack of experience breeds lack of confidence.
You second-guess everything because you’ve not done something long enough to see it work.
Not everything will work, but it’s easier to find focus when you’ve had a win or two before.
Before you have these wins, it’s just you and your mind, all alone, trying to make something take off.
I struggled at the start with this problem myself.
For years I switched ideas, got excited, then depressed, then excited again as I felt I finally had the right idea.
Thankfully during this time I was also reading books that helped to fortify my mindset.
If I didn’t constantly reinforce my belief in a direction and a process, I’d probably still be waiting for my first success story to hit.
I had to train myself to push away doubts and to complete tasks that I wasn’t sure would take me to where I wanted to go.
Books helped because over and again, whether I read a personal development book or a biography of a successful entrepreneur, the same advice appeared.
When you start to see these patterns of success, it’s easier to follow them yourself even when you are not yet successful.
What I Learned About Mindset
I wrote an ebook called ‘Master Your Mindset‘.
Of the six ebooks I have written, this one hasn’t sold as many copies, yet I consider it the most valuable.
In the ebook I teach three of the most helpful concepts I learned during my earlier years as an entrepreneur –
- The 80/20 rule: Choose the most important activities
- Theory of Constraints: Prioritize those activities in the order that makes the most sense
- The Sprint Technique: Do the activities in concentrated periods of action
These concepts I took to heart because they were based on nature, science and came from practical implementation by other successful people.
They guided my decisions and kept me working towards my goals.
However, ultimately the most important thing I had to deal with were my own limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are stories you tell yourself and choose to believe in.
The thing to remember is that they are just stories.
For many years I went through a self-reflection process to surface my own limiting beliefs.
I did this by asking myself what was holding me back. What was stopping me from doing something I know I should do based on the goals I had set myself.
In terms of my business, often my limiting beliefs were based on fear of failure, or fear of wasting time.
The irony is that my fears led to lack of action or choosing to do actions that were comfortable and familiar to me, but didn’t actually take me to where I wanted to go.
The end result was my fears came true.
For me the big breakthrough came after much-self analysis and then a simple reframe.
I decided that the only true failures were not taking action and not learning from my actions.
If I took action but did not get the result I wanted, that wasn’t failure… that was called experience.
Experience is what I needed more than anything, so I had to make that my win criteria.
Take action. Get a result. Adjust and continue.
That was it.
It’s so easy for me to write this explanation for you today, but it took me years to fully come to follow this doctrine of success.
This incidentally, is why I value what is written in ‘Master Your Mindset‘ so much.
It took me so long to adjust my own mindset, but it’s the rock that the rest of my success is built on.
I Still Practice What I Preach
I’m typing this email newsletter to you today after experiencing a lot of fun in the last few months with my current business InboxDone.
It’s been fun because my business has tripled in size in less than six months. Growth is satisfying.
However, if you go back over a year ago, it was not so fun.
I’d invested a lot of time and a lot of effort to grow my business, but we were just stalled.
It was frustrating. I felt lost at times. There were some months that I mentally ‘checked out’ to focus on other ideas.
There was a moment though, were I reminded myself of the path…
Take action. Get a result. Adjust and continue.
I decided I would keep testing marketing ideas and follow the threads of success until I hit the goal I wanted.
There was a sense of inevitability about this decision.
I believed in what we offered to the world and I knew there were enough people out there who would pay for it.
I just needed to find them.
This decision and the sense of inevitability about my outcome reminded me of previous moments in my life.
Go back 20 years ago and I made the decision to keep putting up posters at universities to promote my essay editing company until I earned enough money that I could support myself financially.
Five years later with my blog business, I decided to keep writing blog posts and email newsletters until I earned a full time income.
Each time I made the choice to do the work and let my outcomes guide my actions.
The Slow March Of Progress
The final hurdle to overcome is your own impatience.
We all want results now.
When you do finally hit upon a positive outcome, it’s a rush, a feeling you want every day.
Typically though, you’re not going to get that win every day.
You might enjoy a week of new sales, or a sudden burst of exposure, but then next week it’s quiet again.
Your test worked. You took action, you got a result — the path forward is a little brighter.
Yet, you’re not there yet. You have to keep at it, keep taking action, adjusting from what you learn, and repeating what works.
More often than not, as time goes by, you will come to the conclusion that the right thing to do is just more of the same.
Keep doing what works.
If you’re not sure what that is yet, take action to gain experience, and adjust based on what you learn.
That’s all you have to do.