Trying to build a business without entrepreneurial thinking is like trying to build a house with a toothbrush. An employee mindset is not a useful tool.
Fortunately, learning to think like a successful self-bosser is something we can teach ourselves. Here are some proven ways for expanding entrepreneurial consciousness.
° Make persistence your personal trademark. We’ve all heard the stories of the multiple experiments conducted by Thomas Edison before he figured out how to make a light bulb. Edison’s not the only one, of course, to succeed by not giving up.
During the remarkable renaissance of Tina Turner a few years back, the entertainer remarked, “I’m just now reaping the rewards for 25 years of hard work.” That persistence landed her on many Most Admired Lists, too.
By the way, psychologists and others who have studied the lives of successful people rate persistence as more important than intelligence.
° Embrace repetition. Most people operate on a limited budget of ideas. When one or two things don’t work out, they quit. Like persistence, constant practice is also a trademark of the successful.
If you need to be reminded that excellence requires repeated effort, consider this: when GQ magazine celebrated a milestone, they put Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford, two of the most photogenic creatures on Earth, on the cover. The photographer who took the cover shot used 63 rolls of film to get the perfect picture.
° Reframe the way you think about a current job, if you have one. Stop thinking that your job is a permanent condition but merely your first profit center, the one that allows you to generate cash flow while you create your next one.
Thinking of yourself as a service provider, not an employee, will change your relationship. If you start thinking of your job as a profit center, chances are greater that you’ll be saying good-bye to it sooner.
° Have a phantom mentor. If you could pick anyone, living or dead, to advise you, who would it be? Pick someone you admire greatly and have imaginary conversations with them. It’s not as weird as it sounds.
Or start asking yourself, “What would an entrepreneur do?” and see what answers spring to mind.
° Find the hidden gift in goalsetting. A few years ago, I was considering buying both a desktop and a laptop computer, but unsure of which to get first.
On a flight to Amsterdam, my seatmate was a pleasant man who told me he worked for a company that made hinges for laptops. I had no idea that this was a thriving specialty industry and I bombarded him with questions.
When I told him I was planning to get an iBook, he said, “They’re coming out with something spectacular. If you can wait until August, do. I can’t tell you any more about it since what I know is confidential.”
Later, I realized that there’s a gift given to goalsetters and it’s this: when you are clear about your goals, life suddenly is filled with recognizable coincidences.
° Let love lead. A friend and I went to a sold out concert of Clannad, the Irish band, at London’s Royal Albert Hall. As we were leaving, I said, “Imagine saying, ‘Let’s start singing Celtic folk songs. I’m sure that will be a hit.’”
Of course, Clannad did nothing of the sort. They simply determined that they would spend their lives sharing the music that they loved, knowing that they wouldn’t be alone.
How many others shared that love was something they couldn’t know ahead of time. There’s not always a way to do market research when love is your motive.
Trusting your instincts, however, can lead you to your perfect place.