This is the main article for the module P2M3 in Pillar 2, Your Inner Game.
The Critical Role Of Your Mindset & Beliefs In Determining Your Success
The more time I spend working with small business owners rather than advising corporates, the more I realise that mindset is a huge differentiator between the very successful, the people doing OK and those who are struggling.
Your Potential To Do Whatever You Want
What you do is detailed by what you can do mentally and physically.
The great news is that you can do much than you currently do.
The graph represents this opportunity for all the tasks – from those that are 100% physical and require no thought or emotion to those which you can do with no physical effort at all.
You have a choice.
You can take the easy way out and accept “that’s just the way I am” and stay at your Current Potential or…
You can exercise your physical and mental muscles and get stronger and have more stamina.
You can learn new skills and discover the insider secrets.
And you can make sure you don’t let any bad beliefs or negative self image issues hold you back.
It was Henry Ford who said “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”
This is one of my favourite quotes and it is a critical message to get into your head.
If you think you’ll fail… you will fail.
If you think you’ll succeed (and do whatever is necessary)… then you will succeed.
If you’re reading through these modules systematically, you have shown you are committed to learning new skills. Hopefully you’re doing the exercises and applying what you learn to your business.
The last gap to close concerns your mindset, your beliefs and self image. That’s the job of this module.
Why The Mind Is So Important
- You can learn all the skills, strategies and tactics
- BUT the unconscious mind can self sabotage your success
- Need to understand what attracts and repels income and wealth
- Changing the mindset is necessary to create long term change in behaviour
- Thinking (& Feeling) – Action – Results
It saddens me to say it but I have to deal with reality.
You can have the best training in the world and you can learn all the skills, strategies and tactics in the world and it still might not do you any good.
Because you may not put the skills, strategies and tactics into action in the right ways and work towards your big goals.
Your unconscious mind can hold you back in so many different ways.
You can see the logic in doing something but it feels wrong or unimportant so you don’t make time to do it.
In personal development it’s called self-sabotage and is summed up by the phrase “I know what to do so why don’t I do it?”
In this module we’ll be going through what attracts and repels income and wealth.
If you have issues in this area, then together we’ll work on creating a more positive mindset about money and success.
It starts by recognising that thinking creates feelings.
Feelings create motivation for action which leads to action or inaction.
And action creates results. Effective action creates positive results and better feelings which reinforces the positive loop.
Ineffective action either has little impact or it makes the problems worse. This creates more bad feelings and builds into a vicious circle.
Try it for yourself and look into yourself. Self awareness is the first step to creating a better mindset and belief system.
Think of something you need to do.
How does it make you feel?
Excited and eager to get started? If so you’re motivated and may be ready to start almost immediately (please finish the lesson first – finishing something you’ve started is a good habit to get into).
Or does thinking about this action make you feel nervous, worried, filled with negative thoughts that you don’t know what you’re doing or you can’t do it? [If you had a positive feeling, think of something else you need to do. I want you to experience the negative feeling while we’re together.]
If so you’re feeling bad about an action, then you’re not motivated and if you have two choices:
- To put it off until you feel more positive – this is the procrastination problem.
- To force yourself to do it but your mind is set on “getting it done” rather than “doing it the best you can” so you can get the most out of it.
Think about why this action makes you feel bad.
Is it unpleasant to do in itself? Some jobs are.
Are you uncertain of what to do or how to do it?
Are you unclear why you should do it and how it relates to your goals, even though you know you should do it?
Are you concerned about the possible consequences? Is it moving you to a goal you’re not sure you really want? Could it have a negative impact elsewhere?
The answers lie within you.
In your mindset, your self-image and system of beliefs.
Your Success Mindset – Your Financial Mindset
When I originally wrote my coaching system, I focused on getting the right financial mindset.
This will now be expanded to a much broader success based way of thinking but if you want to make more money, your money mindset remains a key element.
“If your subconscious “financial blueprint” is not “set” for success, nothing you learn, nothing you know and nothing you do will make much difference.” writes T Harv Eker on page 2 of his best selling book “Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind”
Lottery Winners Become Losers
Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice (1985, 1986) to the tune of $5.4 million but the money is gone and she lives in a trailer.
William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on Social Security.
You can read more of these stories of people who had the good fortune to win huge amounts of money and then lost it at http://lottoreport.com/AOLSadbuttrue.htm
These people had the wrong money blueprint.
When Donald Trump lost his billions he made it all back & more!
For these lottery winners who lost it all, their financial mindset was “I shouldn’t have money” so they spent like crazy and gave the rest away.
For Trump, his financial mindset is “I should have a huge amount of money” and he took the actions necessary to get back to what he sees as his normal state.
Sales People Limit Incomes
- Research on commission based sales people
- Target goals well above current income levels
- Keep missing goals and earn close to historic levels of income – “income thermostat”
- Ease off, not hungry, carry over into next month
- Basic problem is the unconscious mind is programmed to expect the historic income and more is outside the comfort zone
This phenomenon of being struck with certain self image and beliefs comes through clearly in research on commission based sales people.
Even they though they may target goals well above their current income levels and have a surface level commitment to reach them (who wouldn’t say it would be nice to make more money), the research showed that their commission levels were remarkably consistent at a level close to their historic income levels.
It’s as if they had an income thermostat which regulated how much they earned and it is set based on historic income levels. While there may be talk about moving up to another income level, no one has done what’s necessary to turn the dial on the thermostat up.
It’s like saying.
“I’m a bit cold. The central heating is off because the thermostat is set at 20 degrees C and I’d like it to be 25.”
Then expecting it to be 25 C without doing anything about it.
Imagine you’re a commission based insurance salesman. You think of yourself as the “$100k sales guy” because for the last three years you’ve sold about $100,000 of insurance.
That’s on average $8,333 per month.
What happens is that in good months, you ease off when you get to $8,500. You start gently pushing opportunities for extra commission into the next month. You’ve got a good prospect who you think is eager to buy but instead of using the free time on the 25th, you suggest meeting on the 2nd of the next month.
That makes you feel comfortable moving the commission into the next period. You’ve got you starter commission in the bag but you feel the pressure to live up to your image as the $100k sales guy until you get over $8k for the month. Then you ease off again.
In bad months the pressure is intense and you push yourself to get more deals closed, working longer and longer hours until you hit the magic $8,333.
And as this thermostat mechanism works, you re-confirm that you are the $100k sales guy.
When you’re outside the zone, you feel uncomfortable. If you’re under, then there is the pressure to meet your own expectations.
If you’re over – because you couldn’t stop it happening – it doesn’t feel right and you can’t believe your luck will hold. It’s as if you think you’re going to pay for this extra commission with a terrible month next time.
The solution is to re-program your brain to believe you are worthy of more money and to create the beliefs that you will get more money.
Somehow you’ve got to get off your butt and re-set the thermostat to become the $150k sales guy… or whatever you do.
In many ways this is the same logic as the Death Spiral of Profits.
It’s easier to see it in action in the simple relationship of commission sales rather than the complex world of profit as revenues and costs change. But it happens and often on the sales total – a dangerously deceptive measure to rely on (in Pillar 1 I emphasise the importance of looking beyond sales to contribution margin on the sales.)
You also see this mechanism working on wealth as well as income.
You may know some people who have an incredible ability to live that bit beyond their income. When they get a new job or promotion with more money, they want to reflect it in their consumption – a new house, a new car, better, longer or more holidays.
It doesn’t matter what they earn… they will always spend that little bit more.
The Secret & The Law Of Attraction
The movie “The Secret” was a huge success in the United States and it’s gone international although it’s not been anything like as popular in the UK outside of the self help enthusiasts.
The key question is
“Is it new age mumbo jumbo or is there something in it?”
I think it’s a bit of both.
Read: The Law Of Attraction
Self Limiting Beliefs About Money (Danger this section can damage your wealth)
From childhood onwards, we learn some damaging beliefs about money summed up by popular phrases.
You’ve probably heard your parents say some or all of these and you may have said them to your children.
You need to stop it and stop it quickly.
I can’t emphasise enough that if you want to be wealthy, you must throw away all negative beliefs.
New Beliefs About Money
- Recognise & throw away the old beliefs and create new positive beliefs with affirmations
- The reward for creating value through innovation
- See money as a tool – used how you decide
- See the good money can do for you, family, friends, employees and society
- Pressure to “give back” but entrepreneurs already give – customers, employees, suppliers
- Beware – negative people who suck you down
- Average income based on the average of the five people you spend most time with?
Read: New Beliefs About Money
Wealth Attraction – Dan Kennedy
- Your Enough is Enough Number
- No guilt – no fair shares only choices
- No fear – risk failure and be resilient
- No excuses – take responsibility – not a victim
- Be somebody, somewhere and do something
- Be consistent with your goals
- Debt enslaves, wealth brings independence
- Act wealthy – save & give
I like the thinking of top marketer and author Dan Kennedy and I give him credit for making me much more aware of the impact of having the right mindset for success. He is famous for his No B.S. approach.
That little voice in your head can stop your success so easily.
A book I recommend as some extra reading if you’re struggling in this area is his “No BS Wealth Attraction For Entrepreneurs” and here are a few ideas that I’ve picked up from it.
The first idea is your Enough is Enough Number.
This is the amount of wealth (assets like money, property and investments) you need to live in the way you want to live for the rest of your life.
This is your complete financial freedom number and helps you to focus on building wealth.
To get there, you have to do it bit by bit.
It starts by building up that 3, 6 or 12 month cash buffer that stops you living hand to mouth… earn it, spend it… earn it, spend it.
Mind you, in the debt ridden culture of the 21st century developed world, earn it, spend it is a much healthier position than the common spend it (by borrowing) and then earn it.
Wealth gives you power and control. Debt leaves you powerless and out of control.
When you have wealth, you work for yourself.
When you are in debt, you work to pay off those who you owe money.
Wealth gives you independence but debt enslaves.
Wealth has little to do with fairness.
As Dan Kennedy says, you shouldn’t feel guilty if you are successful and you don’t have someone else’s fair share and somebody else doesn’t have yours. Wealth comes from the choices you make and how well you take action.
I think it’s like looks.
What man wouldn’t want to fit the “tall, dark and handsome” description? Some are, many of us aren’t.
It’s not fair but get over it.
The fourth idea I want to share from the Wealth Attraction book is to have “no fear over money.” You have to be prepared to risk failure and be resilient if the worst happens.
People who have got no money, worry about how they will get some.
People who have money, worry about losing it
I’m not encouraging you to be reckless but to be prepared to take calculated risks which make sense and where you’ve done what you can to stack the odds in your favour.
This neatly fits into the next idea.
Take responsibility and not let yourself or anyone else cast you into the role of a victim.
A winner makes things happen.
A victim has things happen to him.
A winner takes action to create the results he or she wants.
A victim looks around for someone else to blame.
But what should you do?
Be somebody, somewhere and do something.
Wealth isn’t attracted to the ordinary but to the extraordinary.
You need to stand out as special in some way to some group of people. We’ll be looking at this in more detail in pillar 3 on your strategic market positioning
The final advice I want to share with you from Dan Kennedy is to act wealthy.
He doesn’t mean you should spend lavishly as wealthy people do.
Far from it.
You should save & give.
Aim to live within your income and save a little something for yourself and give a little to those who are less fortunate than yourself.
Easy to say but it’s a discipline.
Going on a spending splurge and maxing out the credit card is ill-discipline which causes trouble in the future.
Some experts recommend you save 10% of your income – whatever your income!
I think that’s tough but you can save a few pounds or dollars a month, first by paying off debt and that building your emergency cash fund. It’s missing out on that drink after work, or cutting back on the cigarettes. Or taking sandwiches to work for lunch instead of buying them.
Robert Kiyosaki, the Rich Dad Poor Dad author calls this “paying yourself first”.
- Look at any situation and ask yourself “Where is the opportunity?”
- Most people:
- Don’t see opportunities
- Don’t do anything about those they see
- Don’t commit to taking sustained action
- Too many opportunities?
- That’s why a) your vision and b) your system of prioritisation are so important
A huge benefit to the Law of Attraction style of thinking is that it opens your mind up to possibilities and opportunities.
Instead of thinking things aren’t possible, you mind is working on how to make the challenging goal possible.
And your mind is incredibly inventive when it is correctly programmed.
You need to learn to look at situations and look for the opportunity to make things better through trade and commerce.
Most of us don’t see most opportunities.
One of the things I love about my work is that I see many different ways people choose to make money. People sell solutions when I didn’t even see the problem.
Speaker and author Brian Tracy says that everyone has a million dollar idea each year.
But few do anything about it.
How often have you seen a problem and tossed out a solution. “This is crazy. Why don’t they…” and then not done anything.
That might have been your million dollar idea.
Sadly even those few people who see the problem and create a solution, often don’t truly commit to taking whatever actions are necessary to make it happen.
Think of Bob Geldof and the famine in Ethiopa in 1984/5.
Who was Bob Geldof then? The lead singer of a has-been punk rock band called the Boomtown Rats.
He could have idly said “Why don’t some pop stars get together to make a charity record to raise some money?”
He wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas” with Midge Ure, inspired the “We are the World” single in America and created the Live Aid concerts in 1985 and Live Aid 2 in 2005. In interviews he was very direct… he passionately wanted to raise money to save lives.
It’s estimated that 400 million people around the world watched Live Aid and the event created technological breakthroughs for international satellite broadcasts. It’s said to have raised £150 million for famine relief.
Making something happen that’s extraordinary. Remember Dan Kennedy’s advice of “be somebody somewhere and do something.” Bob Geldof is a great example.
So what if you see too many opportunities?
It’s a curse of being an entrepreneur. Once you start seeing problems and solutions, you’ll keep seeing them.
This is where your vision comes in.
It helps to screen out the good from the bad and ugly.
It’s also where you system of prioritisation comes to earn its keep.
Decide on what you’re going to do and stay consistent until you’ve done it or you’ve found that you can’t do it.
The worst thing is to waste time and money on one idea. Leave it part completed and jump to the next.
Can Do, Will Do And Not Can’t Do Won’t Do
I talk about a Can Do, Will Do attitude in preference to a Can’t Do, Won’t Do approach to my clients and it makes a huge difference.
Can Do is about taking a positive approach to finding solutions to problems.
It’s about looking within yourself at what you can do to create positive plus looking at your team of employees, your outsource team, your suppliers and experts you can bring in.
It’s the ability to recognise that even if you don’t have the skills, the time or the resources, then someone else does.
In contrast a Can’t Do attitude is one that sees why something can’t be done. The problems are bigger than the solution.
It’s too difficult
It’s too expensive.
It might not work.
Unfortunately business and personal help experts see this Can’t Do approach too often.
People say they are open to new ideas, but you share success stories, you hear “That sounds very interesting but it won’t work in my business” together with a stack of excuses including they may have tried it once. In contrast a Can Do approach will see the value in the idea and ask “How can I adapt that it to work in my business?”
A Will Do approach isn’t always the natural follow up to a Can Do attitude.
A Will Do person is an implementer while Can Do refers to ideas.
A Will Do person knows that a project needs to have a start, a middle and an end that delivers the promised results.
If starting is tough, seeing a project through to the end and getting a measurable result is even tougher but it’s the way great achievers work. They start and finish. Dreamers think about starting.
A Won’t Do person is someone who logically agrees that something should be done but won’t do it.
The emotional commitment to the action or the end result may be missing.
Or the person is being asked to go so far out of their restricted comfort zone, it won’t happen.
Do you have a Can Do, Will Do approach?
Other Self Limiting Beliefs
I’ve already talked about the damage caused by negative views about money and wealth and how it can subconsciously hold you back from taking the actions you need to take to be successful.
I’ve also hinted at the problem of negative self talk in the move from a Can’t Do, Womn’t Do attitude to a Can Do, Will Do approach. Unfortunately there are many more negative, self-limiting beliefs that can keep you stuck and trapped.
Often it’s hard to consciously recognise them unless you take note of what that voice in your head is saying and you analyse how it is holding you back from making the progress you want. It really can be worth “taking note” by writing down your negative thoughts when you encounter them so that you can think about them at a later stage.
You might encounter thoughts like:
- I’m not good enough.
- I don’t know how to do it.
- I don’t know where to start.
- I don’t have the time (at the moment).
- I find it hard to start new things.
- I’m not very good at finishing things.
- I’m indecisive.
- I’m likely to change my mind in a few days.
- I procrastinate until things become urgent.
- I’ve got so many things to do.
- I don’t want to waste time on something that isn’t important.
- This is important so I want to do it when I’m feeling good and clear headed.
- I’m shy/introverted.
- I’m nervous talking in front of people.
- I hate rejection so it’s better not to ask.
- Failure makes me feel really bad. It’s best not to aim high.
- Missing goals makes me frustrated.
- I’d do it but ( significant other person) wouldn’t agree.
- I don’t have the money at the moment.
Each of these can hold you back emotionally and the emotional mind is often the decision maker.
To beat these self limiting beliefs, you need to expose them and counter them.
First the beliefs may not be true and you’re conscious mind knows that but you’re subconscious is busy trying to protect your fragile ego. Test the belief consciously. Can you see occasions where it hasn’t been true.
Yes you might not like public speaking but can you think of times when you’ve done it. You survived the nerves. Then focus on times when it went well, when people said your talk was interesting and they’d like to know more.
Others you can develop a tactical approach to help you through. We talk about goal setting, priorities and time management in later modules and they will help.
The other approach is to use affirmations. Turn the negative into a positive. Instead of “I hate public speaking” practice saying a positive affirmation like “I enjoy public speaking and I’m good at it.”
Napoleon Hill Think And Grow Rich
“Think And Grow Rich” is one of the earliest self help books and is probably the most common must-read book recommended by the gurus.
The story of its creation is fascinating in itself. What Napoleon Hill did was create a theory of success based on the remarkable careers of many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the early twentieth century.
Read: Think And Grow Rich (well watch the videos actually)
The language and style will seem old fashioned. The concepts are gold.
Your Core Values In Business
I could have written about values in the section about mission and vision but I wanted to get through this module first.
A value is an important belief. One you want to maintain consistently. For example “being honest with customers”.
If you’re a one man band, It’s fairly easy to work within your core values because you are the only person. Yes there might be temptations to break them but you’ll feel guilty afterwards.
Core values are values that are so important you don’t want to break them, even it fit means short term loss.
“Being honest with customers” becomes a core value if you’ll keep it, even if it costs you the sale. You may know what the customer wants to hear but it’s not true so you don’t say it.
It’s a useful exercise to identify your personal core values but it becomes vital if you’re employing people who could operate in ways that contradict your core values.
Your company can’t be “honest with customers” if you have a sleazy salesman who will say whatever it takes to get the order.
Your business can’t “put the customer first” if your customer service staff don’t have the authority to do what’s necessary and their manager often says No.
Get clear on your values. Write them down and publicise them.
More than that, build them into your processes and employee training.
Commend people when you see your core values in action and tell stories of employees who did the right thing, even if it was difficult.
Above all, make sure that you live by your core values. You can’t expect behaviours from others if your actions aren’t consistent.
If you’re finding it hard to identify your core values, because until you’ve thought about them, you will find it hard, start thinking about situations with your customers, employees and suppliers. Think about what you believe is the right thing to do and what the wrong thing to do is, even if it’s well meaning.
Then look through and see the commonalities but also look for any contradictions. These indicate a “nice to do” rather than a “must do”. Nice-to-do’s aren’t core values.
What To Do To Help You Create A Positive Success And Money Mindset
A quick recap to get you to take action on your mindset.
- Listen to your self talk
- Each time you catch yourself with a self limiting belief, turn it around to a positive statement and program your brain through repetition.
- Listen out for what others are saying – look for who is negative and dragging you down and spend less time with them.
- Live within your means and “pay yourself first” by saving.
- If your financial mindset is a problem, read “mind-opening” books
The more I work with business owners, the more I realise mindset is crucial to moving from potential to performance.
It’s easy to make fun of the self help industry and some of it does have some pretty odd ideas and some of it has too much hype and appears like snake-oil with big gains for little effort.
But at the centre is a great deal of common sense.
We humans can be our own worst enemies if we keep giving in to negative self talk and self limiting beliefs.
If you are struggling in this area read one or more of these books
- Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker
- Rich Dad Poor Dad & Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
- No BS Wealth Attraction For Entrepreneurs– Dan Kennedy
- New Psycho-Cybernetics – Dr Maxwell Maltz
Each will challenge your beliefs and I found them uncomfortable reading at times when I realised how my thoughts, words and actions were holding back my success.
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