The Mental Game – Attitudes of Successful Entrepreneurs


Welcome to The Mental Game.  In this presentation, we’re going to be covering four intriguing attitudes of successful entrepreneurs. 


You may not even want to call these attitudes; you might want to call them characteristics or traits or behaviors, or even habits.


But I thought it would be cool to look at four things that are not necessarily covered in traditional business books or courses or seminars.  Things you may have seen before but maybe didn’t get all that much attention, that I personally believe can help you.


If you implement even some of these ideas, it can maybe help you get to that next level in your business, even if your life.


Let’s take a look at what we’re going to be covering here. 


4 Mental Attitudes of Success:


  • A sense of MISSION – Successful entrepreneurs carry themselves with a sense of mission.


  • They go beyond OUTCOME-based goals and they focus on something a little bit different.


  • Successful entrepreneurs are very proficient at separating emotion from intellect, especially when it comes to decision making.


  • When the pressure is on, the best entrepreneurs actually get stronger and they get better at what they do and how they carry themselves.


Let’s dive into this.



A Sense of Mission


You’ve probably noticed in your life, I’ve noticed this in mine, that you can usually bucket people or group them into one of two categories.


There are people who are of the achiever mentality, versus there are people who are just going through the motions type of people.  Hopefully you’re more of the achiever type.


But I’m sure you’ve met people that fall into both of these categories.


I would venture to say some people are born into more of these achiever mentality.  They’re highly driven people, just by the very nature o their being.


But there are other people who have become very successful who are not like that to begin with, but they were infused with a sense of mission, achievement, purpose and so on, and they developed that characteristic over time.


Successful entrepreneurs choose to operate from a sense of purpose.  They have a sense of mission behind everything they do.


It’s not even just from a business perspective here.  This bleeds into every other area of their life.  No matter what action or goal they’re pursuing, there’s a sense of mission behind it.  There’s a drive, there’s a purpose, there’s a link back to their worth as a person and reaching their own potential to do more with their life.


There’s this drive, this sense of mission that all successful entrepreneurs have, and the best way I can get you to think this way or move you into this state of being or operation is illustrating an example from a few years ago when I was at a shopping mall.


This is an experience I don’t like to begin with.  I think it was the holiday season so I was shopping for my wife and getting some stuff done.  I go back out to the car, thinking I was done with my activities for the day, to the horror that my wallet was missing.  It wasn’t in my pocket and I had no idea where I had left it.


Instant shift.  Suddenly, a sense of mission to find this thing because I don’t want to lose it and all the horrible things that go with it, at least they seem horrible at the surface.  I’m sure there are worse things in life.  But you know what I’m saying.


You lose your wallet or something crazy happens, maybe not a wallet-related situation, and you’re on a sense of mission to find this thing.


Without thinking, put the bags in the car and back into the mall I go, to retrace my steps and figure out can I find it or am I out of luck here.


Every single action has a purpose.  Every movement I take.  I’m walking, basically running, trying to solve this problem and I’m not going to stop until I’ve done everything in my power to find it.


Now, to give you the closure of the loop here, I did end up finding my wallet.  I was super lucky that some good Samaritan happened to see my wallet.  It had fallen out of my pocket, I guess, when I sat down on a bench for a drink, and they returned it to a help desk or lost and found, and thankfully my wallet was returned to me, which was awesome.


But I’ll never forget this instant shift.  I was suddenly on a mission to find the thing, and I did everything in my power, without stopping, until I reached a logical conclusion.


This is sort of the mode of operation for successful entrepreneurs all the time.


So ask yourself this question: Do you run your business, do you operate your business and the activities and projects inside of your business with that sense of purpose and mission because you are driven to achieve, or are you falling more and more into the type of people that are just going through the motions?


You don’t like it anymore.  You’ve lost your passion for what you do.  How do you get that back?


What I’d like to do is suggest to you a 15-minute momentum builder, if you ever find yourself slipping out of the achiever mentality.


Find anything in your life, it could be something as simple as tidying your office, cleaning your desk, it could be something more sophisticated like completing a project or starting a project.  Maybe you’re a writer and need to begin the next chapter of your book.


Whatever it may be for you, set an iPhone clock or clock on your computer, some kind of timer, and give yourself 15 minutes to do nothing but force yourself to operate from a sense of mission, purpose, on whatever the task is you choose to do.


You give yourself the goal and you say, “For the next 15 minutes I’m going to do everything in my power to get as deep and far and high-quality into this task as I possibly can, to regain that sense of mission and purpose mentality I want to operate with.


What you’re going to find, this works very well for me and I’ve seen it work for others as well, is that at the end of the 15 minutes you’ll have gained so much momentum in what it is that you’re doing that if you’re not done you’re going to keep going until that particular task you chose is finished.


If you are done, you’ll feel so good about the achievement you’ve just made that you’ll want to move on to the next task.


This is where the power of momentum kicks in.  I’m sure you’ve been on a positive momentum swing at some point in your life and you realized how beneficial that can be for you.  This is how you create momentum.


This is how you generate a sense of mission in your life, and ultimately in your business, and you can become one of those successful entrepreneurs by developing this characteristic.



Beyond Outcome-Based Goals


Moving onto mindset number two, attitude number two, whatever you want to call it, thinking beyond outcome-based goals.


This is very, very important and it’s also quite subtle, if you’re not paying attention.


The main thing I want to illustrate here is that successful entrepreneurs, people that are just generally successful in life, are not only focused on external achievement.


External achievement isn’t everything.  It’s not just about making that next sale.  It’s not just about achieving the next salary level or receiving that promotion or completing the book or selling a certain number of units, or whatever it may be for your business.


Those things are important.  They’re measuring sticks.  When you reach those outcome-based goals you feel good about yourself.


But if you get stuck in the loop of only measuring your worth and only feeling happy when the outcome-based goals are being achieved, you can lose yourself.


The question you want to ask is, “What kind of person do I want to be?  Or what kind of person do I want to become?”


Outcomes are great, but becoming goals are just as important.


Successful entrepreneurs take time to not only set up the measuring sticks, like their outcome-based goals, financially, maybe it’s in their health and fitness world, but they also ask themselves, “How do I want to be?  What kind of person do I want to be with my family, with my employees, with my partners?  Do I want to be an inspiring leader, or do I want to be somebody that everyone lives in fear of?”


Of course, the people that want to be most successful want other people to be magnetized to them.  You’ll notice that.  Most successful entrepreneurs, whatever their personality type is, they could be completely introverted people or extremely extroverted or somewhere in between, they have this quality, this magnetic style about them.


They’re inspiring, and generally the rest of us want to be around them because they’re not just focused on the next goal, the next measuring stick.  They’re also focused on those, “Who do I want to become?” type of questions.


Another important thing to realize is those successful entrepreneurs we’re talking about realize both things are possible.  It’s not an either or scenario.


You don’t have to just focus all your life on “I’m going to be,” and just experience life as a being.  You can also have a lot of worthy outcome-based goals that drive you, while at the same time focusing on the kind of person you want to become.


It’s very, very important.  I encourage you to do this in your own success planning.  In addition to whatever revenue targets you’re setting, whatever health and fitness targets you’re setting, maybe there are relationship goals you’re setting, that you set the becoming goals as well.


How do you want to operate in certain situations?  How do you want to treat other people?  How do you want other people to treat you?  What would you want other people to say about you if they were giving a speech about you?


These are very, very important questions to ask, and this will move you from working on just outcomes, to working on who you want to be and going beyond those outcome-based goals that control far too many of us and often makes us lose ourselves in the process.


This is a very powerful characteristic.



Separate Emotion From Intellect


Now let’s talk about number three, which is the idea of being able to separate emotion from intellect.  Huge, huge concept, especially in the business world.


I’m sure you’ve seen far too many business owners who will just fly off the deep end in a rage, for things that really aren’t all that worth it.  They lose days or sometimes weeks of productivity because they’re so wrapped up in the emotions of what’s going on in their business, instead of taking a step back and handling the situation logically and from a more success-oriented perspective.


There’s a concept of feelings vs. principles.  This comes from a popular speaker named Eric Thomas, and he talks about how he never listens to his feelings because his feelings will alter and change on a day-by-day or hour-by-hour or even minute-by-minute basis, and sometimes he’ll forget what his true principles are if he just responds and reacts to the world around him, based on how he’s feeling in the situation.


What this means is whenever he’s involved in something going on, especially if it’s an emotional situation, he takes a pause, he steps back and evaluates what his true principles are and makes his decisions, how to react to situations, based on what his principles dictate he does, versus how he’s feeling in the moment.


How well do you handle this in your business? 


How well do you handle a surge of negative emotion?  Do you allow that to throw you off course and become less productive and maybe lash out at people, causing even further damage in your business?

Or are you able to weather the storm and make educated, intellectual, productive decisions, despite the fact you may be angry or upset or insulted or whatever else is going on with you?


Here’s an excerpt from a previous program I made, where I dive into this topic a little bit.  I’d like you to think on this from the perspective of how well you’re able to separate emotion from intellect, and hopefully some of this sticks with you and gives you something you can work with in your life.


“Family, friends, you name it, there are many times where we bump up against other people, and our ability to examine and understand what’s happening in the world and what other people are doing and what their intentions are, looking at that intelligently and separating what our emotions are telling us about that situation.


Sometimes by the nature of how our world works and how we work as humans, our emotional reactions to situations may cloud our ability to actually effectively deal with what’s going on and effectively examine what’s really happening, so we can make an appropriate response.


I think this is best summed up in a book by Robert Green, called The 50th Law, which is all about the rapper, 50 Cent, and how he obtained his power.  Phenomenal book, you should read it.


But there’s a quote in that book that I often have been looking at recently, and it says, “When you look at people through the lens of your emotions, this will cloud what you see and make you misunderstand everything.”


I really want you to think about that for a second.  How true is that?  How often have you been in a situation where somebody may have been forceful or aggressive or accusing when they shouldn’t be, and you immediately want to be defensive and explain yourself?  They’re trying to pull you into a situation, that you really don’t even want to get into.


If you immediately go with the emotional reaction, you will lose that situation.


Whereas if you intelligently learn how to step back and almost interrupt that natural reaction where emotion takes over and you take a moment to examine where they’re coming from and what is causing that person to behave in this way, usually it’s some kind of fear, some kind of personal issue that’s going on in their life and it’s manifesting in their interaction with you.


If you’re able to take a pause, I’m talking a half of a second pause, to just interrupt your emotional reaction and give it a second and then examine what exactly is happening here, you might change the way you react and respond to a situations.


In some cases it’s going to be totally natural, but you can refuse to emotional respond but instead respond intellectually, get to the heart of the matter and address the real issue of what’s going on here.


As an example, a couple of years ago in one of the products I was involved in, we were selling a done-for-you type of service and it was fairly cheap.  Let’s say it was around $50.  It wasn’t like we were breaking the bank for people when they bought this thing from us.


For whatever reason, this guy that purchased had an issue.  He was trying to access his purchase and there were problems with the system.


First of all, he couldn’t download his information.  Then he tried to open up a support ticket and something happened where our support team didn’t get his message.


A series of things went wrong, and considering we had thousands of customers, this is going to happen from time to time and some people are going to get angry.


But this guy insisted that even though we were a legit company and there were real people and we were trying to solve his problem, once we got a hold of us and we realized what was wrong we were trying to fix the problem, but because it took so long he was convinced we were scammers and out to steal his money.


No matter what we said, we were just horrible people and out to steal everyone’s money.


At that point, I realized if I tried to explain myself and get defensive and say, “Well, look at us.  I have my picture here and we have our website up.  How can we possibly be scamming people?” that’s a losing battle.


When it came to this guy, I just eventually decided to not even go down that path.  We just simply issued a refund.


He had no legs to stand on anymore, because if we were trying to scam him then why would we issue a refund?  We just walked away from the business altogether.


We didn’t try to right the situation.  We didn’t try to explain what went wrong or why it happened.  We realized there was no changing his mind and all we could do was wash our hands clean of that situation and move on.


I handled it very transactionally.  I was lucky in the situation because we had been dealing with thousands of customers and many, many support tickets and I was sort of heading up how we were handling all this stuff, so I had seen my fair share.


Now, if that had been my first interaction with a negative customer or a customer, period, I probably would not have had the wherewithal to do that.  I probably would have been sucked right down into that rat hole of defensiveness or arguing or getting into a heated battle, or who knows what it would have been.


But it would have ended poorly for me.


Again, luckily I had been exposed to enough of these types of situations to know emotion is absolutely the losing game here, and so I separated through it.


I did not examine this person through a clouded emotional lens; I separated the two.


Here’s the thing.  This is the important part of all this.  I’m not saying you will not feel the emotion, and in fact that’s a big hiccup for a lot of people.  You’re still going to feel the emotions of defensiveness or of upset or anger or hurt, when people are attacking you and coming at you in a way you don’t think is justified.


I want you to remember that feeling the emotions is not wrong, and in fact you should come to expect it.


But what you should also come to expect is your ability to interrupt the need to react emotionally and just react out of intelligence, even if you feel the emotional hurt or offensiveness.  You can still act in spite of that and act in a way that’s more appropriate to winning in the situation.


So that’s the key thing here, is to not react to the emotions, but also don’t judge yourself if you have the emotions.


Even if you’ve dealt with this situation 100 times, you still may not be able to turn those emotions off of feeling upset or angry or defensive, because it’s human nature.  We want to make sure people understand us and we can explain ourselves.


But it doesn’t mean you have to physically do it.  You can make a more intellectual decision, while feeling those emotions.”



Better/Stronger Under Pressure


Let’s move onto the fourth and final point here, and that is successful entrepreneurs are actually better and stronger when they’re under pressure.


This is a tough concept for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.


Most really successful entrepreneurs, especially as they’re climbing the ladder, the pressure increases.  There’s a higher demand.  Their business is building.  There’s a bigger customer base.  There are more customers, partner, staff, you name it.


The level of pressure, in general at all levels, increases.  There’s more demand on their time.  There are more cash flow considerations.


You can imagine all of the stuff that starts to happen.


Here’s one thing I’ve noticed.  Successful entrepreneurs, the ones that really take off to the next level, have literally trained themselves to respond positively to this type of pressure, versus negatively.


A person that handles this negatively would see an increase in demand like this and immediately fold into a shell and say, “Oh my goodness, I can’t handle this.  There’s too much coming at me.  What am I going to do?”


Versus the successful entrepreneur has trained themselves to realize that an increased demand means an increased level of success in my business.  It means increased opportunity for me to be able to handle more.  It’s a higher capacity.


Really what it is, it’s a rite of passage for more success.


You cannot obtain a higher level of success if you can’t handle the current amount of stuff coming at you.  The current amount of pressures coming at you.


What I’ve noticed is the most successful entrepreneurs can withstand incredible amounts of pressure because they’ve trained themselves to actually decompress and become calm, even when the situation appears to be chaotic and hectic around them.


There are a number of different strategies that come into play here, but this involves a lot of self-control, self-introspection and physical manipulation.


First of all, one of the tips I like to recommend to people is as soon as you begin to feel pressure in your business, whether it’s demands from staff, clients, partners, whatever, take that moment to automatically interrupt whatever your natural reaction is, and study it. 


What do you do by default?  Do your shoulders get tense?  Does your breathing increase?  Do you start sweating?  Do you feel a general sense of anxiety? 


List all of it out and understand how you default, when these situations occur, so that you know what to expect in the future.


Second, you want to decide what to do instead.


If your default is to suddenly feel a sense of anxiety and to get tense in your shoulders and your back and whatever, in your posture, you can create your own exercise.  You can go to YouTube, for all I care.  Create exercises to immediately counteract that physical reaction that’s happening in your body.


One of the tips I learned in Navy Seals books is box breathing technique, where you breathe in a certain pattern, deep breaths over and over again, until you naturally force your body to calm down, physically.


When you calm down physically, the rest of your being goes along with it and you suddenly begin to feel better. 


Nothing else has changed around you.  All of the pressure still exist.  The demands are still on you, both mentally and sometimes even physically if people are there in person, but you yourself have changed.


You’ve changed your body chemistry to become more resilient to those demands.  Now it’s a matter of habituating that, so you can handle it over and over again in the future.


This is just one tiny example, but the point I’m making is the most successful entrepreneurs realize and accept with open arms, the fact that pressure is going to increase as success increases.


The only thing that’s left to do is be able to handle yourself and keep yourself calm, relaxed and prepared to take on the next challenge, so that whatever is going on around you will not impact your productivity and you can stay strong on the road to success.


Take a few minutes right now to uncover and identify the situations where you feel the pressure and what you’re going to do instead, so that you can make your rite of passage for more success and you can handle more pressure so you can grow further.


This will be an unbelievably powerful experience for you, when you learn to implement it.





I hope these four ideas have maybe shed some light on stuff you haven’t thought about before.  Maybe you can go examine some successful entrepreneurs you really respect and admire and see some of these characteristics.  See the parallels I’ve uncovered today.


Even if you just take one idea and run with it, I would hope you consider this a successful investment of your time.


Thanks very much, I appreciate it, and I look forward to hearing from you. 

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