It’s incredibly uncomfortable.
And I totally get it.
It’s hard to talk about, but it’s even worse to go through.
You see, there are so many things ‘online gurus’ will perpetually talk about:
- How to open the traffic floodgates to your website
- 7 simple ways to optimize your content for a conversion landslide
- That one ‘secret way’ to turn buyers into multi-buyers
- Some pay-gated method with a funny name that you can use to turn your business into a cash machine
But there’s one area you very rarely see them cover…
And the sad irony is it’s probably the make-or-break factor that separates the businesses that actually make it from the ones that don’t.
I’m talking about your state of mind and the psychology you use to run & grow your business.
You constantly see headlines about all the wonderful things select marketers and entrepreneurs are achieving around the world, but you suspiciously never see the mental pitfalls that kill most businesses and dreams before they ever get going.
Over the past two decades I’ve come across four specific mental business-killers that decimate great entrepreneurs.
That’s why I wanted to show you what they are, and what you can do to make sure you don’t become another statistic.
Simply read on for more…
The Four Business-Killing Mental Pitfalls You Need To Avoid
I know what you’re thinking…
Psychology… mental stuff… it’s not that sexy.
And you’re probably right.
Heck, I know I ignored this stuff for years, dismissing it as something other people struggle with.
Starting a business is tough, but what they don’t tell you is just how tough it really is.
No matter what people say, you are on your own.
No one cares how your next campaign does.
No one is interested in your margins.
No one is coming to save you.
Whether you make it or not is on you – It’s a horrible startup truth.
It’s downright brutal.
I’ve seen a ton of entrepreneurs (and even some marketers) succumb to it quite badly.
Depression is rife amongst the startup and small business communities.
The pressure to not only perform, but literally figure out where your next pay-cheque is coming from will have that effect.
And I know what that feels like.
I’ve spent some time in a deep mental hole, and for the first time in my life I completely understood why JK Rowling modeled the evil Dementors (in her Harry Potter books) after her experience with depression.
You feel like you’re stuck in mental quicksand, and everything is just… numb…
It’s horrible, the days just kind of melted into each other, and it took a significant amount of time, energy and ultimately effort to get out.
It affected one of my businesses considerably, and I nearly lost it.
For something that’s so prevalent in startups and small businesses, it’s a little disheartening to see so few successful people candidly talk about it.
That’s why I wanted to talk through four of the biggest mental pitfalls I’ve seen and experienced, so you can recognize them, make sure you avoid them, or if you’re currently experiencing any of them how you can get past it:
Mental Pitfall #1: Depression
This is probably the biggest of the pitfalls.
It’s absolutely the most destructive.
I’ve seen depression turn some of the most productive founders into unrecognizable husks of what they once were.
It’s friggen’ scary.
Depression is incredibly serious, and if its something you’re prone to or you think you can see on the horizon, the first thing you need to do is reach out.
Seek help, I can’t stress this enough. It doesn’t make you weak, and it’s not an admission of anything sinister or worth being embarrassed about.
A support structure can literally make ALL the difference.
Friends, family, you name it – They’re invested in your happiness. Whilst they might not be invested in your actual business, they can help solidify your mental foundations, which indirectly goes a long way to your success.
Something else I found works well is making plans, keeping busy, and getting out there.
Depression tends to keep you rooted in poor routine, like staying in bed, on the couch, in front of the TV etc. Its like the monkey on your back that knows if it can keep you in those places, chances are you’ll never get out.
Making plans interrupts this, and the more you venture outside the further away you can psychologically go from the things that make you feel that way.
Having something to look forward to, whether its dinner with friends, a family get-together, or even something as arbitrary as grabbing a morning coffee can make all the difference.
Taking action seems to be a good ‘cure’. Everything I’ve mentioned above is anchored in action.
Whether it’s reaching out, making plans, having something to look forward to, or even as simple as just discussing it with someone in your life – it all begins with action.
These are just a few therapist approved techniques I’ve tried and I know work.
Bottom line: If depression is something you recognize, can see on the horizon, or have experienced before – Do something now, before it’s too late.
Regret feels a lot worse than effort.
Mental Pitfall #2: Bad Habits
I strongly believe that routine and discipline are the cornerstones of success.
If you can find a positive routine, and you’re disciplined about it, you’ll get where you want to go.
Motivation is fleeting, but routine & discipline by their implemented nature are not.
Bad habits tend to interrupt the compounding effect and power that discipline & routine give you.
Binging that Netflix show…
Eating that grimy takeout food when no one is looking…
And giving into laziness when you know you should be running, working out, hiking etc.
When they start to add up, I think of these kinds of things as “success killers” – Kind of like ‘evil vitamins’, and for every one you take your chances of success decrease rapidly.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for everything!
But there are no shortcuts to success, and bad habits only get in the way of it.
Bad habits are also the seeds to Pitfall #1 and #4, so they’re a lot more harmful than you realize.
Bad habits take a few weeks to break, but great habits (routine & discipline) can offer you the life you literally dream of!
Isn’t it worth a little short-term pain for that dream-worthy, long-term gain?
Mental Pitfall #3: Impostor Syndrome
Have you ever had that feeling of fear and inadequacy, even though you know what you’re doing?
That’s impostor syndrome!
I’ve seen it stop great people from achieving great things.
It literally stops people from actually doing things.
It’s that chronic feeling of self-doubt, almost like someone is going to discover your inadequacy, despite the fact that you’re actually pretty competent and you know what you’re doing.
Some people even irrationally chalk their past achievements down to luck in order to convince themselves to not get on with it.
It’s weird, right?
I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to tackle it head on. Don’t ignore it.
Think it through rationally.
Engaging with a thought, not succumbing to it, and ultimately how you respond to it is where your power lies. This almost becomes a skill.
The more you practice a skill, the better you’ll be at it.
Mental Pitfall #4: Mental Health
If I had to ask someone to run a marathon they hadn’t trained for, how do you think they’d do?
It’s the same with your mental state of mind.
If you’re not mentally prepared for the brutality of what entrepreneurship will inevitably throw at you – and trust me, it will – it’ll chew you up and spit you out.
Think of your mental strength like a muscle, the more you train it, the stronger it gets.
Anxiety, mental fatigue, physical fatigue and so on – these are all things you can do something about.
And it starts with the little things…
Spend less time on social media, unfollow the accounts that only live to spread negativity, engage in more mindful activities like yoga, a better diet, great books (for entertainment AND education), or even a simple exercise routine.
I took up meditation not so long ago, and it’s had a profound impact on my life, my business, and my output.
Things like this might seem insignificant or unnecessary, but when you go to startup war, the last thing you want is an empty arsenal.
(Especially when your competitors are pitching up with copywriting tanks, bank account bazooka’s, and all the unfair advantages they can mentally give themselves).
Everything you do to strengthen your mental resolve is like adding nuclear weapons to your arsenal.
Your mental strength is the foundation for the journey you’re on. If your mental strength is unbreakable, your chances of success will be too.
Cheesy I know, but it’s true.
Mental Pitfall #5: Ego
I could write a book on ego.
In fact, I can confidently say it closely rivals depression as a productivity, success and business killer.
Unchecked ego can lead to arrogance, which results in decisions being made on whims and emotions, rather than data.
The second you bring an opinion to a data fight, you’re in trouble.
Ego can also lead you to thinking you don’t need a plan, that you know better, that what you think in that moment in time trumps strategy and proven success.
Don’t be that guy.
Perpetually knowing best versus building on what actually works filters out the millionaires from the dreamers.
Ego is a lifelong leech, you’ll encounter it for the rest of your days. Putting aside your ego takes character, but most of all it requires a sense of self-awareness reserved for the elite.
The second you can start to make more ego-less decisions, and less ego-driven ones, will be a benchmark moment in your life. [/sociallocker]
How To Dodge The Four Horsemen of The Startup Apocalypse
It’s simple, but its not easy.
Startups, entrepreneurship and small business life can eat you up if you let it.
But that’s up to you.
It all begins with overcoming the four mental pitfalls I’ve seen decimate the unprepared:
- Depression: Don’t hide from it. Get help, reach out, make plans, find something to look forward to. I’ve been there, it’s not pretty – take action!
- Bad Habits: It’s all about discipline and routine. Do your habits improve them, or take away from them? The answer to that will tell you everything you need to know.
- Impostor Syndrome: Face your irrational fears. They’re exactly that – Irrational. Your success is not an accident or down to luck.
- Mental Health: Good mental health is the foundation of your success. Work on it, improve it, build it.
Keep these four horsemen of the startup apocalypse in check, and you’ll go onto great things!
I’m rooting for you.
Until then, here’s to an unbreakable you.