Life always provides us an opportunity to learn. My daughter participated in a horse back riding clinic recently. The instructor shared this wisdom with the kids “Riding is mostly a mental game. There is skill and technique involved, but mostly it’s mental. Focus on what can go right, not what can go wrong.” As I thought about this advice, I realized it is true of business as well.
Business is mostly a mental game. There is skill and technique involved, but mostly it’s mental. Growing a business requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking risks that scare the bejeebies out of you. If you get caught up in the fear and self doubt that come with trying new things and focus your attention on what could go wrong, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Why? Because the laws of the Universe say that what you focus on expands. If you are caught in the grips of fear and using your creative energy to develop doomsday scenarios of failure, loss and humiliation that is what you’ll experience. Where your thoughts go is where your mental and emotional energy flows; and that affects the reality you experience. It’s that simple.
3 Steps to mastering the mental game of business:
1. Focus on what can go right. Research has shown that successful people as a group are more positive than the general population. You can train yourself to be more positive. For every doomsday scenario that pops into your mind, acknowledge it by saying “Yes, that is possible and there are many other possible outcomes as well”. List as many as you can think of and then use your creative energy to imagine a positive outcome that brings you happiness and peace. Spend a few minutes focusing on that outcome. The less time you spend indulging the fear and negative imagination and the more time you spend focusing on the possible positive outcomes, the more you are mastering the mental game of business.
Focusing on the positive possibilities gets you in the habit of seeing the positive in your current situation. The more you focus on the positive in the present circumstances, the more the positive will continue to grow and expand. That doesn’t mean that negative situations will never happen, but once you learn how to look for the positive, they will happen less frequently and when they do, finding the positive within them makes them easier to handle.
2. Keep looking where you want to go. When riding a horse, you have to look toward where you are going to get the horse to go there. They go where your eyes are focused. Same is true with business. Keep looking at where you are going and don’t get distracted with what is going on around you. It is so easy to loose sight of the big vision for your business and get caught up in the “details” of everyday life – tight cash flow, unexpected expenses, sudden down turn in referrals, losing a big client, personal problems. When you take your eyes off where you are going and begin focusing your mental and emotional energy fully on the “problems”, negativity and fear begin to take over and your business follows where you are looking and focusing (see explanation above).
Distractions come up, life happens. Deal with the issues while keeping focused on where you are going. Don’t get emotionally involved in the “problems”. You can address them and make plans to correct issues and remain emotionally detached. Reserve your emotional attachment for your vision and where you are headed. When you become emotionally invested in the distractions, fear and negativity, you change the outcomes you will receive.
3. Acknowledge and celebrate all of your accomplishments. I’m amazed at how easily people over look or minimize the progress and accomplishments they have completed and choose to place their focus on what didn’t get done or the goals they haven’t accomplished yet. Make sure to celebrate the little steps as well as the big ones. You can easily do this by keeping a “Yeah Me!” list, write about them on your blog, post them in an online forum, share them with colleagues, post them on twitter or your face book wall, tell your coach or mentor. Celebrate the big and little stuff and you will have more and more to celebrate.
The more you celebrate, the happier and more accomplished you’ll feel and the easier it is to focus on what can go right and where you want to go. The more you focus on what can go right and where you are going, the more you will have to celebrate.
And that’s how you master the mental game of business.
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