You may have heard the term “mindset is everything” but what does that really mean—and more importantly, why does it matter to you? While, as a female entrepreneur, many external and internal factors contribute to your entrepreneurial success, does how you think really determine how successful you can be?
As over-simplistic as this might seem, research has found that when you cultivate your mindset you become more powerful in your business. Why?
Focusing on mindset allows you to tap into what’s brewing below the surface—the limiting beliefs, the old ways of beings, and the behaviors that are holding you back in ways you may not recognize in your day-to-day.
For example, if you can’t seem to raise your prices, there may be some money stories holding you back from seeing your worth and value as a business owner. That mindset that you’re not worthy or valuable then seeps into every other area of your business, making business growth more challenging, if not impossible.
This is why Tony Robbins has built a billion-dollar business around helping successful people including presidents, celebrities, authors, and leaders harness their mindset so they can become even more powerful. Our mindset dictates everything else we do, from raising our prices to taking big risks.
If you’ve heard the phrase “mindset is everything” but don’t know what it means or where to start, this is the guide for you.
Keep Reading: The Power of Self-Discovery for Female Entrepreneurs
It All Starts With Growth Mindset
Mindset work starts with one particular area of thought around mindset: growth mindset. Growth mindset suggests that your intelligence and capabilities are not fixed, but rather can be sharpened through the continuous learning process.
In other words, you know that you can change the way you think, act and work to become more empowered and successful in your business. If you don’t have a growth mindset, you have a fixed mindset, which says the intelligence and skills you have now cannot be changed.
We love this breakdown from Train Ugly about how growth vs. fixed mindset is showing up in your life.
If you think you can’t change, developing a growth mindset is where you start; recognizing that you can in fact change and evolve as a person and entrepreneur.
Developing your growth mindset is powerful The shift activates a neural response in the reward center of your brain that associates learning with pleasure and intrinsic motivation, according to the journal Brain Sciences.
As a result, Brain Sciences reports that those who actively work to create a growth mindset are often more resilient, adaptable, self-determined, persistent, and motivated long-term. People with a growth mindset also experience less risk aversion in the face of a challenge and know how to effectively course-correct after a mistake.
Svetlana Whitener, Emotional Intelligence (EI) Executive Coach explains:
“Dr. Carol S. Dweck, pioneer in the study of fixed versus growth mindsets, demonstrated that in predicting success, it doesn't matter whether someone is gifted or not. What matters is a person’s belief that they can succeed and prevail. The person who doesn’t succeed is often blocked by a fixed mindset.”
While mindset is everything doesn’t mean that changing your thinking alone will materialize success—you need to pair that with powerful action—a growth mindset shift can influence you to take meaningful actions which drive successful outcomes.
Keep Reading: How to Work Smarter Not Harder to Grow Your Biz
Successful Female Entrepreneurs on the Power of Mindset
Wildly successful entrepreneurs, business owners, like Sara Blakely, credit their success to mindset. Here’s what a few of these powerful women have to say about what focusing on your mindset can do for you.
Shonda Rhimes: “Everyone has greatness in them.”
How you think about your talents, goals, intellect, experiences, obstacles, and circumstances will determine how you leverage them. TV showrunner and executive Shonda Rhimes points out in her book Year of Yes:
“Everyone has some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.” This requires a mindset that’s clear on the direction you want to move in and the mission you want to pursue.
Payal Kadakia: “I will solve this.”
Payal Kadakia, founder of the subscription health and fitness service ClassPass, is quick to agree that where your focus and intention are aimed, your actions and pursuits will then follow. She urges entrepreneurs to be “mission obsessed” in their mentality and vision toward the business they’re creating. What’s more, it’s critical to be solutions-oriented. She explains:
“You need to have that optimistic outlook of, ‘I [will] solve this,’ and know that your heart and soul are in it.” That fusion of mental clarity and resilience, combined with soulful passion, leads to an agile, solution-oriented point of view, which helps Kadakia to “keep reinventing and moving forward” in her entrepreneurial journey.
Sara Blakley: ”Where is the hidden blessing?”
Self-made billionaire and clothing entrepreneur Sara Blakely firmly believes in the power of a constructive, intentional growth mindset: "With every obstacle that has happened to me in life, my brain immediately says, 'Where is the hidden blessing?'” she explains.
With each inevitable setback that comes, she chooses to probe the situation for a teachable moment. With her mindset tuned to this frequency of personal growth, lessons, and opportunities, Blakely redefines how she thinks of failure:
“Growing up, my father used to ask my brother and me what we had failed at...then he would celebrate it, and he would actually be disappointed if I didn’t have something that I failed at that week...What it did was just reframe my definition of failure.”
This simple but transformational way of thinking enables her to manage risks, overcome fears, persist through hurdles, and continue trying until she succeeds.
The best part is, you can choose to see that mindset is everything too and cultivate these ways of thinking. It just takes intentional action and a willingness to change.
Keep Reading: 10 Empowering Mantras to Live By
How to Cultivate a More Powerful Mindset
There are many methods you can use to cultivate your mindset and step into your power. The following strategies can be used by anyone, anywhere, and serve as a valuable starting point to learning why mindset is everything and how this work can support you as a female entrepreneur.
Journaling: Uncover and Dismantle Limiting Beliefs
One of the first things you’ll learn in doing the mindset work is that everything we do comes back to the stories we tell ourselves and the limiting beliefs we hold.
You know that critical voice in your head that won’t shut up? They’re the one telling you these things are true, even though they’re not.
Journaling is a powerful tool for beginning to separate what that critical voice is saying from what’s actually true. Data from Advances in Psychiatric Treatment suggest that writing in a journal three to five times a week for about 15 to 20 minutes can increase emotional regulation and decrease cognitive inhibitions or ruminations.
In other words, journaling helps you break down the walls that you’ve been stuck behind all this time.
While the data primarily focused on journaling as a trauma intervention, it can just as valuable here because those limiting beliefs and stories we often stem from childhood trauma that shifted the way we think.
Finally, when you’re able to write down the thoughts or emotions at the core of those limiting beliefs, it’s easier to uncover and process them fully. Only when you gain clarity on those challenges can you find the right solutions to dismantle them. Below are some questions to examine while journaling:
Journaling can be as simple as writing your thoughts on a page each day. If you’re not sure where to start, write the words that come to mind. Perhaps you feel annoyed, frustrated or irritated about journaling.
If you allow yourself to push through those feelings, you’ll find the words turn into sentences and sentences turn into realizations. If you prefer journal prompts to get you started, here are some that I’ve shared on my personal Instagram page:
- 10 Journal Prompts from Fear to Trust
- 10 Journal Questions to Fight Doubt
- 5 Journal Prompts to Do What You Actually Want
Meditation: Get Quiet and Reflect
When you think of meditation, the image of someone with their eyes closed, legs crossed, hands clasped and entire body still might come to mind. But in reality, a meditative state can be accessed through numerous outlets.
You can meditate on a nature walk or a yoga mat. You can listen to and chant inspirational mantras to yourself. You can practice slow, deep, even breathing. All of these exercises allow you to drop into a contemplative state.
This allows you to tap into self-awareness in the present and activate your senses, thoughts, and emotions to connect with your inner self, suggests the International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda.
It’s in this space of quiet that you see how mindset is everything isn’t just a passing trend. All those limiting beliefs that have been hiding beneath the surface can come floating up and you can see how they’ve been driving you all alone.
If you think of your brain like an Internet browser, everyday entrepreneurs have a dozen tabs open at once. All this noise makes it hard to focus, and instead, you’re just managing all the tabs and what needs to get done.
When we get quiet with meditation, even if it’s just a walk in nature, we can close those tabs and tap into what’s really happening inside of us.
No matter how you choose to meditate, the root of the practice is reflective, focused, intentional awareness. To get intentional with this time, focus on these powerful questions from Harvard Business Review can help:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- What am I doing that works?
- What am I doing that slows me down?
- What can I do to change?
You can also use guided meditation to stay focused or work on a particular area. We highly recommend Insight Timer, which can be used for free on Apple and Android.
Keep Reading: Abundance Meditation: Our Insight Timer Favorites
Therapy or Coaching: Ask for Professional Support
If you’re new to mindset work, getting support from a professional can be key to your growth. Not only do they know the right questions to ask to help you dig deeper, but 72 percent of business owners suffer from self-reported mental health conditions as a result of pressure to achieve, fear of unknowns and failures, the stress of decision making, or intense work hours that lead to burnout, according to research from Stanford, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco.
Doing this work now is key to reaching a point where you can no longer run your business or you make a mistake too big to come back from. As Anand Kulkarni, CEO of the startup Crowdbotics says:
"Too many [business] founders wait for a 'crisis' before they start the process of therapy, and I think that's the wrong approach. It's like waiting for a heart attack before you check your blood pressure.”
Therapy and coaching are both excellent tools to strengthen your mindset and overcome the inner anxieties, fears, stressors, and insecurities holding you back. If in-person sessions are not an option right now due to social distancing, consider a telehealth service such as Talkspace or BetterHelp. All the counselors on these platforms are licensed professionals, and in many cases, insurance is accepted.
Most coaches also do virtual sessions via Zoom or telephone, making all these resources highly available no matter where you are.
Self-Compassion: Give Yourself Grace
This isn’t easy work to do. Overturning decades of stories that make up the fabric of who you think you are can be hard. It’s extremely rewarding and isn’t always difficult, but it can be. Along the way, it’s important that you have compassion for yourself.
If you’re struggling to nurture this self-compassion, consider the mindset shifts we shared in our Don’t Ask How Instagram community:
Finally, remember to stay curious—not critical. This is a learning process and you’re going to learn a lot about yourself, who you are, and what it all means as you go. When you shift from being critical to being curious, you open yourself up to more powerful growth.
Dig into Mindset With Mindset Reset Radio
I host the podcast Mindset Reset Radio, and I encourage you to check out some of the following episodes that can be most supportive in your mindset work:
- Doing the Inner Work to Create a Life and Biz You Love
- Overcoming Self-Doubt with Meditation and Mindfulness
- Getting Intentional with Your Limiting Beliefs
- The Benefit of an Intentional Affirmation Practice
- Conquering Fear as an Entrepreneur
- Nerd Out on Getting Intentional and Shifting Our Mindset
Mindset IS Everything for Female Entrepreneurs
The way you run your business is an inside job. Your mindset dictates the decisions you make, the prices you charge, the risks you take and so much more. The phrase “mindset is everything” may seem like a passing trend, but it’s actually the key to unlocking your success. If you want to grow your business and become the most powerful version of yourself, you can’t ignore the mindset work.
Jessica Thiefels is a published author, host of Mindset Reset Radio, CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, and co-founder of Don’t Ask How. She's been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur. Jessica is on a mission to empower women to make their own rules and live with intention so they wake up every day excited about the life they get to live. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.