The Mind Control Entrepreneur

I am sure that it is no surprise to know that the most powerful machine on earth is the human mind. A quick check on the Internet reveals many fascinating facts about the brain. How accurate they are is up for debate, but interesting, nonetheless. For example, the brain can store an estimated 2,500,000 gigabytes and operates with 86 billion neurons that travel 150 miles per hour. The average attention span is 20 minutes (12 minutes shorter than ten years ago), and we are finding that easy access to information is making it harder to remember.

Entrepreneurship is a mind game – maybe close to 100%. How we manage our thoughts has a direct impact on our probability of success. I know people who are brilliant at a genius-level but cannot function in society. Emotional and psychological issues are too much for them to overcome. For most of us however, mind control is a learned behavior. We have the capability to fine tune the way we think in such a way that our mind-power is amplified.

Our thoughts and emotions are inextricably linked. I have found when my emotions overwhelm my thinking nature, that’s when trouble begins. We entrepreneurs are especially vulnerable to a wide range of emotions that can run rampant and wreak havoc. Think about it. We learn that a major customer is taking its business elsewhere, and immediately our mind may go to the darkest possible depths. We see our business collapsing; the bills cannot be paid; our key team members see the writing on the wall and bail on us; the bank calls our loan, and on and on and on. What is worse, we may begin making decisions based upon the fear that is manifesting from the loss of this customer. Panic ensues and our thinking is so clouded that our decision-making process becomes impaired.

Back in the late 1970s, I started flying every week. In 1981, we had our first child, and I allowed my mind to play tricks on me. I became obsessed with the notion that the odds were going to catch up with me and I was going to die in a plane crash leaving behind my wife and young daughter. It literally got to the point that I would become physically ill each week, forcing myself to get on the plane. Eventually I was able to understand and resolve the root of this fear and as a bonus, became a pilot and flew my own aircraft. One of the reasons I was inclined to do this was to put myself in a situation where I had to practice mind control, or the consequences would be dire. Panicking in an airplane at 10,000 feet can certainly accelerate the expiration date on a human being!

Here is what I learned from this experience. Most of the time, things are not nearly as bad as we imagine them to be. It is easy to blow negative (and positive) experiences out of proportion. I learned that before making decisions, I need to pause for a moment, step back, and assess the situation. This may sound obvious, but we often overlook the obvious. Now, decades later, I refrain from making important decisions if I am fearful . . . and if I am euphoric. I wait for the emotions to pass and then proceed accordingly. Finally, I learned to try and get to the bottom of why I feel the way I do. Why am I angry? Why am I thinking thoughts of lack and limitation? What is the source of my fear? Why am I so “over the moon” with joy about something that has happened? In some cases, I want to control my mind to eliminate the negative thoughts, and in other instances I want to allow my mind to replicate the positive thoughts that resulted in my good fortune. Deep breathing, saying positive affirmations, and meditation are very helpful in making this happen.

As entrepreneurs we will always experience a wide range of emotions. The test of our fortitude comes when we can control our minds in such a way that we do not allow our emotions to overwhelm our ability to maintain our equilibrium and make sound decisions.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

The Joyful Entrepreneur

When you think about entrepreneurs what comes to mind? I’m betting that it’s something different for just about everyone. Some will visualize rugged individuals with a pioneering spirit while others will see highly driven and extremely creative people. To how many of us did the word “joy” come to mind?

Entrepreneurship isn’t all about 100-hour weeks and one sacrifice after another. It doesn’t have to only be about struggling to find the right value proposition or meeting the next payroll. Entrepreneurship can also be a truly joyful experience. After all of the “grind it out” moments we endure, it’s good to remind ourselves of the fact that there is much to be positive, optimistic and grateful about in our entrepreneurial existence.

Our joy is derived not necessarily from the financial rewards we eventually realize. After all, the dollars are simply a measure for keeping score. No, the joy comes from our leadership and coaching that enables younger or newer colleagues to blossom into confident and productive contributors – both professionally and personally. The joy comes from our ability to stop for a moment in the midst of chaos; assess a situation; identify a problem and then solve it. Great joy comes from creating a product or service for which the marketplace responds enthusiastically and perhaps a difference is made in the lives of many.

Joy is always there but sometimes (maybe often) we forget to look for it. We become so wrapped up in strategy and tactics that we miss that bright shiny apple that is there for the picking. Why does this happen? Why can we be so obsessively serious at times? Perhaps we’ve bought into the meme that entrepreneurship is going to be a difficult marathon. We’ve heard that we need thick skin and a ton of resilience to have any hope of succeeding. And thus we become conditioned to slugging it out and expecting the journey to be tough. Of course there’s some element of truth to this, but if we intentionally also look for the joy in what we do, guess what? We’ll find it!!

We can re-program ourselves to seek and find true joy every single day. It doesn’t take much effort to allow moments of jubilation and glee to permeate our being. That spark of imagination can also transform into an explosion of joy when we allow for it. Winning the competition for a new client can be reason for feelings of exuberance – if we give permission for such feelings to come forth. Those smashingly positive reviews on social media can be realized as a triumphant moment when we become immersed in their afterglow. There’s a common thread to all of this. We must be active participants in pulling the lever that opens the gate whereby joy is invited into our lives. It is after all, our choice.

I know many entrepreneurs who lead joyless lives. I look at their businesses and see all sorts of potential for joyful moments. Yet, these entrepreneurs are so focused on their KPIs or squeezing out one more nickel of efficiency that they are oblivious to how much a celebration of joy could mean to themselves and to their entire organizations. Joy is a mindset and it is critical to the culture we want to create.

Here’s a simple exercise. Get up early some morning and find a quiet place where you can watch the sun rise. Feel the warmth on your face. Watch the changing color of the sky in all its exquisite glory. Do you get a tingle up your spine as a wave of splendor washes over you? If not, were you a real participant in this moment? Or were other thoughts creeping into your consciousness? Perhaps you remembered something you absolutely must do today. Or a nagging worry that caused some tossing and turning during the night emerges once again from its hiding place. I love watching the sun peek over the horizon and I never fail to enjoy an endorphin rush while experiencing this spectacle. Finding joy throughout each day in everything we do is an identical process.

Happy and well-adjusted entrepreneurs realize that there are massive gold nuggets of joy just below the surface of their daily lives. They also understand that they can walk over these gold nuggets without even knowing they are there. Or they can choose to find them with very little effort. I hope that you decide to begin finding your gold nuggets of unlimited joy.

You can also listen to a weekly audio podcast of my blog. What you hear will be different than what you read in this blog. Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also click on this link – Click here to listen to Audio Episode 117 – Little Steps to Sweet Success.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.