Success as a business owner depends as much (or more) on your mindset as it does on your strategy. If you want to grow your business, you’ll have a much better chance to do so if you have a growth mindset. Sounds obvious, but “fixed” or “lack” mindsets hold many business owners back from achieving the results they want in their business and in their personal lives.
There are lots of tips and tricks to help with your mindset (I have written about some here and here), but for me, having a growth mindset all starts with being grateful and practicing gratitude on a daily basis.
One really cool thing about gratitude is that it’s impossible to feel stress or anxiety – or any other negative emotion, like resentment – while expressing gratitude. In other words, when you are in a grateful frame of mind, you literally shut the door on stress. (For more on this concept, I recommend Bruce Lipton’s fabulous book The Biology of Belief.) So expressing gratitude daily is one of the best ways to manage stress in your business and in your life.
Some business owners mistakenly believe that gratitude equals complacency. Their line of thinking is, if I’m grateful for what is, then I won’t be motivated to grow. They think that gratitude and growth are at odds with each other.
The danger with that thinking is the assumption that gratitude and happiness lie around the next corner. It’s an example of the limiting Have-Do-Be mindset rather than the more empowering Be-Do-Have mindset.
One of the great lessons of my life that I learned from a mentor of mine over a decade ago is that happiness lies in the balance between being grateful for what is, and striving for more. That has become a guiding principle of my life. I can at once live in a state of gratitude AND push myself to achieve more; to grow personally and professionally. You can too.
So how do you express gratitude? There are lots of ways. The key is to be intentional about it. Make gratitude an action and turn it into a habit.
Here are some ideas you can try out:
I have combined my daily rating practice with my gratitude practice. Often when I rate the quality of my day and make notes about it, I find myself not only writing about what happened but also what I’m grateful for. This process has made me realize that I don’t often have zero or minus days (see here for more on this rating scale), because even when things don’t go as planned there is still so much to be grateful for that it just doesn’t feel right to say that I’ve had a bad day. It still happens, but not very often.
Another suggestion to keep in mind is to be grateful for your problems. Wait, what? Grateful for my problems? Grateful to get rid of my problems maybe – but grateful FOR them? That makes no sense!
Sure, on the surface that’s true. But when you think about it, problems are what make our lives interesting. They challenge us and force us to grow in ways we wouldn’t otherwise. Same is true in business. Look at how the problems that have surfaced during the pandemic have forced businesses to change the way they operate – in many cases for the better.
To take it one step further, your business exists to solve problems. People buy the services or products your business provides because they solve a problem that they have. People buy drills because they have a problem: they need holes.
So whenever you’re feeling down or stressed or anxious about a problem you’re facing in business or in your personal life, try throwing a little gratitude at it. Be grateful for the opportunity to tackle the problem, and remind yourself that your business exists to solve people’s problems. Ain’t no problems, ain’t no business – for you or anyone else.
That simple shift in mindset will help you spend less time in stress mode and more time in growth mode. And that will benefit you and your business.