Without doubt your biggest business asset is you as a business owner. People buy and invest in people, so getting you “right” is very important. How you are thinking and feeling will affect what you do; i.e. the decisions you make and the actions you take as a consequence of those thoughts. This in turn will net you your results. Your thoughts create your feelings, which create your actions is a powerful equation. Consequently having the right mindset is a prerequisite to being successful in business.
So how do you create the mindset that will spearhead you to success? Or put it another way what is the mindset behind the highly successful?
Possibly one of the most successful and iconic business owners of the 21st-century is Richard Branson. His company, The Virgin Group, is a diverse grouping of more than 200 privately held companies, ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays and health and wellness; the biggest of which is Virgin Atlantic Airways the 2nd biggest airline in the UK. Richard Branson started his company back in 1970 with a small mail order company selling records. The virgin group now employs around 50,000 people in 34 countries and had global earnings in 2011 of £13 billion (US$21 billion).
We can get a glimpse into the mindset of Richard Branson and his approach to business via he’s very compelling autobiography “Losing My Virginity”. Reading through Richard Branson’s biography it is clear that he has unstoppable self belief in his ability to achieve anything that he sets his mind to. Richard Branson’s has made he’s businesses profitable by seeing gaps in already saturated/dominated markets. However, rather than thinking how difficult things were, the question he posed to himself was “just how hard can it be?” This was the approach he used to start an alternative student magazine whilst still a student himself; take on the music industry and then the airlines to create successful businesses each time.
Another facet of the success mindset evident in Branson’s approach is that of believing that he can do more in collaboration then he can do by himself. When the young Richard wanted to start his magazine he made a list of potential contributors and advertisers and networked with local bookstores in a bid to get them to take his magazine. His collaborative approach also enabled him to successfully break into the recording industry. Unable to raise finance for his venture from the less than enthusiastic British financial establishment, Branson was able to get friends and relatives to contribute start-up capital for the project.
As well as believing in himself Richard Branson also believes in others. The first recording artist he signed under his new label was the then unknown Mike Oldfield who recorded his first album Tubular Bells. The record sold five million copies and became one of the biggest selling albums of the decade.
Another key component of the success mindset is not being daunted by the possibility of failure. Richard Branson hasn’t always got things right first time and there has been no shortage of individuals queuing up to pour scorn on his attempts to enter new business tertiary. To be successful you need to view all information and all outcomes as feedback rather than failure. Whatever your result there will be vital information contained within that are pointers to improvements you can make so you get a better result next time. Branson doesn’t only apply this philosophy to himself he also applies it to the people who work with and for him. [pullquote]You fail if you don’t try things…If you run a company based on fear, then you’re not going to get the best out of people. They won’t make bold decisions. They won’t make any decisions.[/pullquote]
Above all the most important thing for a success mindset is passion and remaining true to your authentic self. That is you without the baggage of negative self talk and playing small. Many of us are conditioned to accept this as true as a result of our early experiences. Passion is smothered by our conditioning – it difficult if not impossible to hear the inner voice of your passion if you are constantly thinking you are wrong; that you have to toe the line; that what others want for you is best. In terms of Richard’s Branson’s success mindset, this means pursuing business for the adventure and fun of it and because he enjoys pushing the boundaries. It also means remaining true to your values even when your competitions are using underhanded methods to gain the advantage.
Cultivating as success mindset requires practices and unlearning all the things that you have learnt that you now do on automatic pilot which keep you stuck. Here are my top 3 tips for creating your success mindset.
- Notice how you are feeling. This is particularly important when operating outside of your comfort zone. Feelings are there to be felt and signal that our attention is required. Noticing how you are feeling can be very enlightening, especially if you start to notice patterns
- Work with towards thoughts and emotions. Rather than worrying about what you don’t have, focus on what having it will give you. How will it make you feel to have it? For example a lot of people in business worry about money, it’s a constant nagging fear. But it isn’t that they want the money it’s that they want to feel secure/safe. By doing this you will be able to expand your creative thinking and generate more options to create the feeling of security rather than focusing on just the numbers.
- Just as the Branson Empire wasn’t built in a day don’t beat yourself up because you’ve not got there yet. Accept where you are and resist the temptation to compare yourself with what you see around you.
Finally we are usually our own hardest critics, so be as kind to yourself as you would to someone you love and remember to celebrate every single milestone on your way to success no matter how small.
What have you learnt for watching successful business owners? Please share your thoughts so others can benefit.
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