How to develop a winning business mindset

Hey there, Catherine Langman here, and welcome to today’s episode of the Productpreneur Success podcast! 

Today’s episode will be a little different to my other recent episodes.

Today I want to talk about a topic that has become incredibly important to me, and that is how to maintain a positive, confident mindset as an entrepreneur. 

Personally, over the years I have experienced the wild roller coaster swings of emotion, stress levels and overwhelm. Whenever this used to happen, I would swing crazily between feelings of elation and like I was absolutely nailing it, to the complete opposite where my confidence was at rock bottom and I would feel like what the heck am I doing? Why would I ever think I’d be any good?

Thankfully, I learned a few skills to moderate these crazy emotions, and these days I have a daily practice that helps me to maintain a positive mindset. 

So that’s what I’d like to share with you today.

But before we get started, I want to let you know that I have something extra special for you to accompany this episode.

I’ll be hosting a FREE live tutorial on Thursday 5th March at 11am Sydney time, where I’ll be doing a deep dive training into the 3 essential pillars for eCommerce sales success.

Join me live and you’ll have the opportunity to not just learn exactly what you need to have in place to build a profitable online store, but also ask me questions as well!

I’ll link to the booking form in the show notes if you’d like to join me live for this tutorial.

Alright, let’s dive into today’s episode.

How to develop a winning business mindset

Tell me – have you ever heard someone successful tell you their overnight success took several years in the making?

This doesn’t quite play into our desires or expectations of instant gratification does it!

The line from here to success is never straight, no matter what your endeavour. And it rarely happens overnight!

I remember when I started my first business, I was so utterly determined to make it a huge success that I pretty much worked day and night, and on weekends. 

I literally thought Hard Work was what would make me productive. 

And sure, sometimes working really really hard can get some big things done. But it’s impossible to sustain that level of effort and hustle in the long term. 

Pretty soon you’ll burn out, and that’s what happened to me. 

Instead, with a healthier approach that includes things like sleep, exercise, good food and a bit of time off, PLUS maintaining a positive mindset, we can stay strong, stay motivated, keep the momentum up and keep going.

So let’s talk about developing and maintaining a positive, winning mindset shall we?

Lose the negative mindset…

It’s tough to stay the course and not become discouraged or disillusioned. Especially when achieving your goals takes longer than you expected, or when something goes wrong along the way!

Unfortunately, when you operate from a mindset of fear or anxiety or stress or negativity, then things really don’t work.

If you’re putting that kind of energy out into the world, what do you expect to get back?

Your best customers and your audience aren’t going to be inspired by or respond to this kind of energy.

When you’re stressed or anxious about sales, you can be tempted to put out some rash, un-thought-through promotions like deep discounts or use pushy sales tactics.

Whilst this may get you some short-term results, all you’re doing here is attracting the kind of customer who is desperate to buy at the cheapest price possible.

Not to mention you’ll probably burn out your email list or your social media audience very quickly if you repeat this strategy too often!

Bottom line – you’ll never grow a thriving community of customers or raving fans like this.

How on earth do you stop thinking negatively?

As someone who has always suffered from Imposter Syndrome, I have found it really hard to stop the negative thought patterns. 

The number one thing that has helped me beat this, and that’s having a daily practice of repeating some positive affirmations.

I have a handful of affirmations that I read out loud as part of my morning routine, which I’ll speak about later. 

Using positive affirmations is really just another term for positive self-talk. It’s like being the parent to yourself – you know when your kid is feeling nervous about trying something new and you say some positive words to them to build up their self confidence?

The second thing that I do on a daily and weekly basis, is to write down the biggest wins or accomplishments I’ve had that day or that week. 

Could be personal, like lifting heavier weights in the gym, or it could be business – helping a client to achieve a great result with a project.

OK, so once we’ve ditched the negative mindset, it’s time to move onto the next step and work on developing a winning business mindset!

What is a ‘winning business mindset’?

I define this as the ability to focus on growth towards achieving your vision AND have the resilience, energy and resourcefulness to manage the inevitable challenges you’ll face along the way.

So how on earth do you do this?

How do you develop and maintain a winning mindset in your business?

To try and articulate this lesson for you, I thought I’d share a little story. I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but I like to think it is.

A tale of two mountain climbers…

This tale of two mountain climbers is an excellent illustration of exactly what we need to do on a daily basis to develop and maintain a winning business mindset.

Two men trained for months in preparation for an attempt to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains. Physically, both men were equally fit and strong for the task.

The climb would be tough – several days of climbing, carrying their gear and sleeping in tents.

In the end, one climber made it to the top and the other climber quit three quarters of the way to the top. Despite being so close to the pinnacle, he turned around and didn’t finish the climb.

Why? Despite being equally physically up for the challenge, why did one make it and one quit?

Nurture your winning mindset with this one daily practice

After the climb, neuroscientists studied the climbers in an effort to understand why one was successful and the other wasn’t.

Ultimately, what they discovered was this:

At the end of every day, the climber who ended up quitting would stop and look up at how much further he had to go.

He was already feeling physically tired, sore and hungry from the day’s efforts. By looking at how much further he had to go, he felt even more tired, discouraged and like it was just such hard work that he would never make it.

At the end of every day, the climber who did reach the top would first stop and look at the view and down at his progress.

He was also physically tired, sore and hungry from the day’s efforts. But by looking out at the amazing view, and down at how far he’d come and what he’d achieved so far, he felt re-energised and positive about his achievements.

Even when he then turned to look at how much further he had to go, his positive feelings buoyed him up and encouraged his belief in himself!

Review your progress first, before looking ahead

The lesson from this story is this: at the end of each day or week, review your progress and focus on your wins FIRST.

To review your progress, look at the projects you’ve been working on and your performance metrics and compare that to where you were at historically. 

I find it’s most productive to compare this week or month to the same week or month last year. But if this is your first year in business you’ll need to compare month to month. Just bear in mind there is ALWAYS a sales cycle through the year, so in future compare one month to the same month the previous year and judge your growth on that. 

To review your wins – don’t just think in terms of massive wins. Little wins are also worthy of attention and a pat on the back. 

Like – getting a shout-out you weren’t expecting, either from a happy customer or from a blogger or influencer. 

Or dealing with a customer complaint in a way that converted them into a happy customer.

Or finding the perfect new products to add to your range that you just KNOW your customers will adore. 

Or writing and sending an email to your list that turns out to be a smash hit success.

Or getting to the end of your day feeling calm instead of stressed.

It could be anything! Just write it down and give it your attention for a minute.

Then, you can look forward to what you need to do next!

I actually told this story to my kids, and would love to share a quick anecdote about how they’ve taken it on board. 

My two boys are 13 and 14 and they recently started a rock band with a couple of their mates from their swimming club. 

Their goal is to perform live at the next State Swimming championships (which is a big deal – 10’s of thousands of people compete at this event, so not a small audience for a first gig!)

They’ve adopted a really proactive method of practicing that is going to help them move forwards and give them the best chance to achieve this goal.

When they rehearse, they record themselves on video and watch it back later. They first look at the bits they thought they played really well and that they want to keep.

Then they watch and listen again, this time being critical and working out what needs to be improved. Were they out of time or out of tune? Do they need to rewrite that line or rework the solo? 

In a matter of a few weeks, they have improved enormously already! 

A few more ideas based on my own daily mindset practice

I read a fantastic quote the other day, by Anne Lamott. 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

For me, I have found that adopting a daily meditation practice has been absolutely transformational.

Every morning, I get up just a little earlier and I spend 10 minutes meditating in my office. 

Since incorporating this into my morning, I have found that I can head into my day, from getting my 3 kids ready for school, to working a full day in my business, and then all the other extra-curricular activities with my kids, in a state of mental calm. 

I used to operate in a much more adrenaline-fuelled way. I always felt really busy and rushed, like I had no time to get everything done. 

I still have the same amount of work, and the same number of hours to do it in, but I no longer feel so frantic or stressed. It’s been absolutely transformational!

I also top-and-tail my day with things that fuel my positive mindset:

After meditating, I recite my affirmations, visualise my day ahead (I visualise it being successful and visualise myself being calm, confident and full of energy for the day ahead) and then I jot a few notes in my journal. 

Then, I go and do some exercise. Getting the blood moving in the morning makes such an enormous difference to your mental clarity, your productivity, your feelings of wellbeing, and your ability to sleep well at night! There is literally no bad reason to do some exercise. 

If the weather is awful outside, I’ll do some pilates moves or some pushups and lunges and stuff inside. Otherwise I will head to the gym or just head out for a quick power walk. 

In the evening, I stop work at 5pm. My evenings are family time. 

Often I have to run around with the kids, taking them to swimming training or whatever. But then I always cook something nutritious for dinner. 

And after dinner, I love to read to my daughter, who is 9 and loves to listen to stories that she’s not quite a good enough reader to manage on her own.

For me, I have found adopting these practices in the morning and evening, and incorporating ways to focus on how far I’ve come first before stressing about what’s still left to do, has transformed my mindset.

And I hope this helps you as well. I’d love to hear what you think, or if you have other ideas that work for you as well.

Well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope this has given you some ideas for developing your own daily mindset-protection practice! 

And don’t forget to register for my upcoming FREE live tutorial, where I’ll be doing a really deep dive training on the 3 most essential pillars that determine the success of every Ecommerce business. 

Check the show notes for the link to register today.