The best way to grow your business is to grow yourself. Mike shares his experience and some valuable tips on how to take advantage of all the great work that’s out there so you can start doing some great work of your own.
For those of you who know me personally, you know that this is a journey that I’ve been on for about 3 years. I’m really starting to see the positive impact, but I’m also continuing to deal with some tough, painful issues. If there’s anything that I’ve carried into this with me, learned, have had reinforced as I’ve gone through this, it’s the belief that now more than ever, that self help for entrepreneurs and business owners is business development.
The best way to grow your business is to grow yourself. I am convinced now more than ever that emotional health is the number 1 key to success in business. This is the foundation of everything that we do. Yes, there are external factors; environmental, market, political, all these things that we don’t have any control of. But there are also internal factors; our beliefs, mindset, emotional adeptness and competence, vision and creativity, passion. These are the things that provide us with our true personal power.
The biggest mistake small business owners make is over valuing external circumstances and environmental factors, and underestimating the power and impact that we can have just by changing the thins that we do have control over; our mindset, beliefs, emotional health, all those things.
It really does come down to our underlying core beliefs and our thought habits. Out beliefs our just habits. They are thought habits. They are true because we accept that they are true. We think the world is a certain way, so we accept that as the truth of the situation. It shapes our perception and our ability to understand the situation we’re in. Everything we see is filtered through our beliefs first. Our subconscious mind does that for us so we’re not overwhelmed with information, but it embeds all those assumptions and our core beliefs into our initial perception of every situation.
Then our list of available options and actions that we could possibly take is filtered through those same core beliefs. Then we take action and the interpretation of the outcome is interpreted through those core beliefs. So our core beliefs have a huge, significant, real, tangible impact on how we perceive the situation we’re in, how we come up with the action we take, and how we perceive the impact of those actions.
Yes we live in a cause and effect world, but we cannot separate out intent from the effects that we get. Our intent is a reflection of our core beliefs and filters everything that we experience, can do, and do.
As I’ve gone, and am continuing to go through this, the awareness of the impact that those core beliefs have on how I interpret the world and the actions that I take, the awareness is incredibly valuable. That is the first step. The first thing we need to do is to become aware of how our core beliefs are impacting the results that we’re getting . How we choose to focus impacts what we think about the world around us.
Our mindset, are we generally positive or negative, do we believe that we have a lot of good options, do we believe that our options are limited, how do the ways that we think about the world affect the results that we’re getting? Seeing this relationship is critical first step. We have to first accept that the things that we think, believe, and “know to be true” about the world are affecting our experiences and are creating the experiences that we want, not just providing evidence of the thing that we already believe to be true. We have to have that awareness. We have to understand how what we focus on impacts the results that we’re going to get in our lives.
And a great thing to look at is what activates us. We’ll be activated emotionally by certain situations and certain people. How are we activated? Is depression activated? Resentment? Do we experience a rise in frustration? Defensiveness or attack? Do we respond with resignation or a sense of futility. How we are activated by other people and situations is going to give us a lot of insight. That will be one of the key things that we can look at in building this awareness of how the things that we believe affect the situation, results, and actions we can take. We have to have that awareness.
I had a situation this past week during which I realized I was being very strongly activated by a certain person in a certain situation. We got together and spoke and found that there were several different dynamics at play. First, that situation was activating something in me that was a core belief about how people interact. Second, she was bringing some of her own dynamics into the situation, that were exacerbating the situation. Some of these things were related and some were unrelated, but if we’re not aware that they exist, all we have is this sense that “I just don’t get along with this person” or “I feel like I’m always at odds with this person” or “I feel like I just can’t work with this person.” But if we can evaluate what we’re responding to, or being activated by, then we can deal with the situation more effectively, instead of just getting activated.
Our kids activate us all the time. There’s nobody I’m more aware of my frustration with than my own son. And the fact is, when I get most frustrated with him is when he’s acting the most like me. Because I’m seeing something in him that reminds me of something in myself that I’m frustrated by. I’m activated by that, and it creates a huge amount of frustration. But it’s not frustration at him, but it’s frustration at myself that I see in him.
Having that awareness, understanding this dynamic, is critically important in being able to respond to that. Because I’d be able to respond so much more effectively in every case if I was just responding to the situation in front of me, not to my past beliefs and memories and preconceptions that I’m carrying in. I have to be aware of what’s being activated, deal with that on it’s own, and come into this current situation with healthy core beliefs and good emotional habits and adeptness, along with a healthy understanding of my place in the world and how the world works, the impact my beliefs, focus, and mindset have on the world. Then I can shift my focus to the other person and understand how they’re looking at the situation and what their dynamics are and how I can deal with them effectively.
But I can’t do that if I’m dragging all my own emotional weight behind me and just trying to keep my own head above water. I can’t worry about saving other people, interacting with them effectively, if I’m consumed with trying to save myself. A rescuer can’t put himself at risk to save another person. Then you’ve just got two at risk. If I’m drowning I need to save myself first, then I can interact effectively and in a healthy way with other people.
The first step is this willingness. You have to be willing to see the impact of the reality of the situation, which is your observation and the way you look at things determines the truth of what they are. We know this scientifically from physics. We know this philosophically. How you observe something, even the act of observing it, determines the reality of what it is. We have to recognize the impact that our beliefs and our mindset and our emotional states and focus have on the reality of the world around us.
We only see a very small portion of the world and the filters (mindset, beliefs, and focus) determine what part of the world we see, therefore the part of the world we think is real. If we can change our beliefs, mindset, and focus we can change the reality of the world. We’ll see the part of the world that serves us, not the part that holds us back and hurts us.
We have to be open and willing to see the world a different way and we have to be willing and open to the alternatives. We have to be comfortable and willing to accept that our beliefs may not actually be the 100% inerrant truth. We have to be open to seeing the world a different way, to having a different understanding of the situation that we’re in, to accepting that there could different actions that would be more effective. If we start with the willingness to see things differently we become open to finding the answers we seek.