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In part 1 of this series on mindset we explored how a business can thrive with a positive winning mindset. It can make or break your agency. Having said that, a positive mindset is not something that we all naturally have. It’s something that we have to consciously cultivate over time.
In part 2 of this blog series, I want to share with you my 9 best strategies to ensure you develop and retain that winning mindset and then my best resources to help you implement the ideas outlined.
9 strategies to grow your agency with a positive mindset
1. Keep learning
We exist in a rapidly changing market - with new channels of communications, new technologies and new techniques emerging every day. So it’s vital we keep learning. Agencies around the globe are experiencing sweeping, rapid changes in what they do, why they do it and most importantly how they do it. New technologies demand a new set of skills, talent and diverse modes of working. Business leaders must keep learning new skills. If you maintain a learning mindset and dedicate a little time to continuous learning (both for yourself and your team) then in all likelihood you will outperform your competition.
Learning from our mistakes
A growth mindset has a different relationship with how we receive and process criticism and the ability to learn from our mistakes. As opposed to a fixed mindset which will lead you to believe that your learning potential is predetermined by other factors like genes, socioeconomic background, and opportunities at your disposal. You will invite thoughts like “I am not good at it, so I should avoid it.” Today, relevant skills and knowledge have become currency in the workplace.
2. Get someone to coach you who has "been there, done that"
Surrounding yourself with a supportive and honest network is crucial to maintaining a positive mindset. Add to this a business coach or mentor who can help you by sharing their wisdom on an ongoing basis and in a manner that will have a positive, direct impact on the growth of your agency.
This is the one piece of advice I would give myself if I could back in time 20 years. Finding a coach or mentor who has ‘been there and done it’ - who can honestly share with you the mistakes they made (and ensure you don’t make them) and provide advice and guidance to ensure you maintain a positive mindset and ultimately deliver your vision.
3. See failure as an opportunity to learn
We often experience failure early in life. Not winning tends to have a stigma attached to it and it invites us to consider that we “failed’. Often these external views tend to define your self-worth and through societal policing, you are taught to not be a risk-taker. But failure is not a personality characteristic, it is an external event that happens. Successful entrepreneurs know how to build on failure and use it as a strategic tool to accomplish their goals and ultimately to lead. Fear of failure will limit your possibilities and keeps you in your comfort zone. Instead, see it as an opportunity to learn and gain the experience you need to thrive in an ever-changing business environment.
Mistakes are only stepping stones to your mission, they push you to aspire to greater things. They offer you life lessons on things that work and things that do not. It is imperative to carefully study your mistakes and failures to learn from them.
"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. Failure can be painful, hence it is likely to receive a lot more personal introspection than success. Objectively review the situation, self-evaluate, and go for a different approach next time.”
4. Hire the best talent you can afford
The importance of an effective employee (or freelance) recruitment process cannot be understated. If you don’t hire the best talent, your agency simply won’t be able to deliver the quality products or services your customers expect. Before recruiting take into consideration modern workforce expectations. It is important to have a well structured comprehensive recruiting and selection process (read last month’s blog on recruitment & retention to learn more). Employee performance is critical to the overall success of the agency hence business owners need staff who can get the job done. Don’t be scared of hiring that superstar who will be nipping at your heels. And keep them motivated. Good employees are positive, productive and this can be contagious (as can the opposite!). It will also create a positive working environment.
5. Get a good work-life balance
You need to strike the right balance when it comes to work and other aspects of life. Meaningful time spent in other areas of your life (like family, friends and with yourself) is imperative if you want to be successful. Being a workaholic is detrimental to your mental and physical well being. If you find this difficult, make an effort to incorporate some efficient time management techniques into your life. It will make a considerable improvement in your work-life balance.
Work-life balance may translate into different things for different people. But you should have enough time to pursue both personal interests and other social activities you enjoy. If work is using up too much of your time and energy, you will become exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed. Your productivity will drop and your personal relationships will suffer. Above all, find time for yourself. The people around you and the work you love deserve your best. And you can only give that when you are looking after yourself and staying healthy. Join a gym, meditate, walk the dog (or whatever works for you) - build it into your schedule.
6. Start/end your day in a consistent manner
The most successful people have daily routines. The idea is simple - to reduce friction in your life so that you can concentrate on what you do best. When you're focused on growing your agency, you will realise time is the most valued commodity. Rituals, routines, and habits ultimately save you time and simplify your life. They may be vastly different for different people. But one thing is universal - the need to reduce interference, distraction and friction as much as you can.
You want to begin and end your day in a consistent manner so that you can easily slip into a rhythm and focus on your work. Your daily rituals also are quite the opposite of boring or a waste of valuable time - they are focusing and calming because they give you control. Make sure you check out the resources section of this post to learn more about this.
7. Learn to listen to your instincts. Don’t block them out.
There is no denying the fact that our world is data-driven and there is a very recognisable cultural bias toward quantifiable data. In the business world, it seems like number-crunching algorithms are making all the major decisions. But at some point, you must go with the decisions made on the basis of your own instincts. Intuition is perhaps the best business tool at your disposal today. So listen to your instincts even if you have access to troves of empirical data.
Our instincts are our body’s way of signalling a dicey situation or the lack thereof. Recognise the value of your body’s feedback loop and don’t let quantifiable metrics always rule. The consequences of blocking these out can be too great. If you are feeling uneasy about a transaction do not go ahead with it. Use instincts as part of the decision-making process and give yourself time and space to think clearly and make an informed choice.
8. Keep reinventing/evolving yourself to avoid boredom and stagnation
We are naturally inquisitive and we demand constant mental stimulation (ever heard of shiny new object syndrome?). Lack of learning often brings with it boredom and stagnation. To avoid career stagnation, you need to reinvent yourself constantly. Maintaining a healthy curiosity about new technologies and taking the time out to constantly experiment with things can be a start. A mundane work routine can easily trap you into obsolescence (but dont confuse daily routines with mundane!). Continually expanding your knowledge is one way of staying relevant. It is important to stretch out beyond your comfort zone to do things that are challenging and stimulating.
A process of reinventing yourself will allow you to adapt to setbacks and adversity in more optimal ways. You are not only avoiding boredom but effectively building a better version of yourself and your agency. It’s no secret that effort and practice create expertise and not intelligence. If you want to be successful, you must devote enough time to deliberate practice, combat tasks beyond your current level of comfort and competence, observe results and make adjustments. Be agile enough to incorporate changes. Don’t let your curiosity reach stagnation.
9. Frequently revisit your vision that keeps you motivated
It is very important to stay motivated and focused. You will achieve this by having a clearly documented vision that outlines where you want your business to be at some point in the future based on your goals and aspirations. Visions often fail for 2 reasons:
- They are written once a year and cast in stone rather than being agile, dynamic documents
- The business leaders don’t frequently review & amend them, and use them as the basis for quarterly, monthly and weekly plans
So ensure you don't fall into these two traps and use your vision, strategy and action plan as a dynamic agile document that you revisit every month.
Recommended resources to help you achieve the winning mindset
Free To Focus
by Michael Hyatt
Learn how to boost your productivity and create your daily routines
by Cal Newport
Rules for success in a distrated world - learn how to become more focused and thus enhance your productivity
Everything is figureoutable
by Mario Forleo
How to train your brain for growth. Help you become the creative force of your own life.
Off The Clock
by Laura Vanderkam
Your ultimate guide to effective time management. In this book, Vanderkam reveals the seven counterintuitive principles the most time-free people have adopted. She teaches mindset shifts to help you feel calm on the busiest days and tools to help you get more done without feeling overwhelmed.
by Carol Dweck
In decades of research on achievement and success, Carol Dweck has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea-the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it's not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.
TedTalk: Linking positive brains to performance
Shawn Anchor’s Ted talk that describes how to find happiness and meaning to increase profitability and create positive transformations. He talks about how changing our mindset will change our reality.
TedTalk: The Power of belief - mindset & success
The way we understand our intelligence and abilities deeply impacts our success. Eduardo Briceño articulates how mindset, or the understanding of intelligence and abilities, is key.
Successful leaders and entrepreneurs understand that the journey is the destination. You almost never arrive (and just focusing on the destination is a great way to have an unhappy life and business!). To ensure you focus and enjoy the journey starts with your mindset. A winning mindset, like profits and success in business, is not a given or natural. It is in fact, developed. You have to constantly and consistently work at it over time. You cannot sit in complacent inaction and expect to succeed. At some point, you will have to make a move. Why not start by incorporating these 9 steps in your life?