I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve got a lot more to make.
There are some mistakes that we make that are obvious as soon as we make them. Then there are mistakes that are only mistakes in hindsight.
Mistakes aren’t always avoidable, especially if you don’t know what you don’t know.
The mental aspect of business is tough to master. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve mastered it. I’m no guru or expert. But I am an entrepreneur who has to face the ups and downs, battle the market, and battle myself.
Here are three mental mistakes I’ve made during the very early days of entrepreneurship.
1. Believing I’m something I’m not.
The very simple truth about me is that I’m nowhere near where I want to be in business. It’s taken me awhile to be ok with that.
Entrepreneurship can be so vain.
This is especially true when we think about this huge movement behind building personal brands. Social media has brought so many of our insecurities to public view. When we mix those platforms with the idea of a personal brand, it’s easy to think about the “likes” we don’t get.
Let’s take a half step back before moving onto the next mental mistake: I’ve really benefitted from believing I can be more than I am now.
But that insane amount of confidence needs to be coupled with an equally insane amount of honesty, self-awareness, and transparency.
2. Thinking my customers, clients, interns, and employees can read my mind.
Whether we’re talking about updates on projects, answering customer service inquiries, painting a vision, or detailing a project, I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking people can read my mind.
I’ve lost all of those types of people due to that trap.
There are a couple adjustments I’ve made since starting this journey that have helped me out. Heads up, I’m not perfect at what I’m about to share and I’m always trying to improve the approach. But here’s what I’m trying.
I’m trying to devote more time at the end of the week planning out the next steps with certain people involved. That takes calls, texts, meetings, and communication through Slack.
The other thing I’m trying to do is share my progress with clients and teams. Sometimes that’s through formal reports, and other times it’s by letting them view my work platforms. If they are ever curious about what I’m up to, they can just take a peek at my dashboards.
Those levels of planning and access have paid off.
3. Trusting motivation more than discipline.
Before I sat down to write this piece, I watched a couple episodes of Shark Tank with my roommate.
He works a more traditional job, while my lifestyle is much more fluid. We try to connect when we can, and it’s usually when he gets back from work and a workout. After a little TV, I usually get back to work.
During tonight’s episode, I asked him if he’s ever had so much to do that he lost motivation to do it.
Everybody’s been there.
In the past, I would have thrown my hands up at this point and called it a night. But here’s the thing: I would’ve woken up the next morning with just as much to do and just as little motivation to do it.
Put another way, nothing would have changed!
What I’ve learned is that motivation is almost worthless when it comes to building incredible things. Unbelievable stuff is created with discipline, not motivation.
Motivation is a feeling. Discipline is a lifestyle.
After the episode tonight I made a to-do list, brewed a cup of coffee, and prepared for another long, productive night.
Even though we know the mistakes we could make, we might still make them.
I work my hardest to avoid these mental mistakes, but that doesn’t mean I’m always successful.
Have high standards for yourself, especially when it comes to forgiving yourself.
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Photo: Flickr/Michael Pollak