Why Your Internal Monologue Matters in Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur
Let’s talk about a huge barrier to success, one that trips us up at every stage, from startup to seven figures. It could be the biggest reason new businesses fail, and it is for sure one reason they never start.
The beliefs we hold about ourselves are like “scripts” in our minds. We follow them to the letter, whether we realize it or not.
Scripts lurk in the shadows, posing as basic, seemingly innocent phrases we say about ourselves. Maybe you’ve said them about yourself. Things like:
“I’m not a morning person.”
“I’m not a natural salesperson.”
“I’m not from a big health-and-fitness kind of family.”
“I just can’t get customers.”
They feel innocent, but by repeating them, we bind ourselves from achieving. Scripts win “by default”; unless you identify and challenge your thoughts, you’ll go right on thinking them. The unpleasant truth is that they always trend downward. You don’t “naturally” think positive thoughts, unless you’ve had the good fortune to grow up steeped in them.
For something positive and reinforcing to “steep” in, I recommend listening to the “What’s The Secret?” podcast, featuring me!
Why Scripts Matter For Your Business
This is not holier-than-thou wisdom from a “superior guru.” I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else. This is the voice of experience. I used to limit myself and my business with negative scripts.
I discovered I couldn’t overcome this with more “motivation” for its own sake, or “willing myself” to success. If I wanted to crush my goals, become the leader I was meant to be and build my dream business, the time has come to tear up the scripts I followed.
“Motivation” doesn’t last. Some days, you feel “fired up” and ready to take on the world. Other days, you feel like there’s no wind for your sails. You need a more reliable fuel source than feelings.
To use Aesop’s old example, motivation is like the hare, while disciplined habits are like the tortoise.
Deep within, following an honest look at yourself and what you believe, you can harness the power to make incremental changes in your habits.
I got a lot of mileage out of Atomic Habits, by James Clear. In it, he shows how small, consistent habits have more life and business-changing power than anything else. The first step toward better habits is to upgrade beliefs about yourself. That’s why scripts matter.
This approach worked out great when I launched the “What’s The Secret?” podcast. I wasn’t an “expert” at podcasts by any means, but it hasn’t stopped me from growing a following and improving the quality of the content and guests.
How To Flip The Script
- Identify one area of your life you want to change.
It could be a personal goal, like health, or a business goal like acquiring more prospects. Choose one. It’s easy to let yourself get overwhelmed by all the change you want to see, and then never start. Recently I chose physical fitness.
When Nick and I started Offline Sharks, he kept bugging me about my health. I used any excuse I could, especially the “We’re too busy” card, to ignore his advice. Then last year, I took a closer look at my health, and realized I needed to change.
What’s one change you know you need to make? You’ve put it off, made excuses, and avoided the hard work. It’s time to dig a little deeper.
- Identify the script you’ve been following.
Don’t ask yourself, “Who do I think I am?” The question is, “Who do my actions show that I am?” The best way to clarify your values is actions, not intentions. Someone who actively works to expand their clientele believes they’re a successful salesperson. Someone who merely intends to expand, but takes no action, also reveals what they truly believe.
Upon closer examination, I realized I had this script: “Our family is just not a fitness family.” This thought lay under the surface, silently influencing decisions about health. I saw how this script let me off the hook. It allowed me to dodge responsibility for my health, and the cost of ignoring it grew, whether I liked it or not.
Once you identify the negative script, be sure to write it down. Once you realize your script isn’t merely a “conclusion,” and treat it more like a self-fulfilling prophecy, you can outmaneuver it.
- Replace the script with something better.
“I’m a morning person. I enjoy the creativity and productivity that comes when everyone else is still in bed.”
“I’m a natural salesperson. My product really helps people, and I want them to have the chance to use it.”
“I’m on a journey toward my best health and fitness.”
“I can and will get the right customers, and make their lives better.”
- Make a plan to change through incremental habits.
“Armchair entrepreneurs” claim you can “shortcut” this process. They tell you there are special words, hacks, and gurus you can use (in exchange for money you don’t have) to skip the hard work. This simply isn’t true, and it won’t help you change. After you rewrite your script, it’s time to get to work.
The process includes discipline, consistency, and persistence. Like kryptonite to a “wantrepreneur,” big changes and worthwhile endeavors feel overpowering. Attempting a shortcut feels easier, but it won’t take you where you really want to go.
Break your plan down into manageable, microscopic bits. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Perfectionism over the big picture will throw you off course before you even start.
Do you want to get better at reflection? Journal for one sentence. Meditate for ten seconds. Then do them again the next day. As the habit begins to stick, build upon it.
Do you want more prospects for your B2B service? The thought of reaching out to hundreds of prospects a day is daunting. You’ll get scared, and fire up Netflix. Instead, Google the kind of business you’re looking to serve, and reach out to five of them. Do it again the next day. In a week you’ll have 25 businesses in your pipeline. In a month you’ll have at least 100.
Do you want to get more efficient at prospecting? You don’t need the most sophisticated marketing tool quite yet. Commit to just one revenue-generating activity (RGA) every day. When the habit sticks, add another. You’ll win in the long haul.
With fitness, it meant sleeping in my running shorts. This small tweak empowered me to buil a morning run habit. I could roll out of bed, put on shoes, and start jogging down the street. There are incremental, game-changing habits you can start today that move the ball down the field.
Take it from the “all-around good guy.” You can unleash tremendous power when you learn to manage the tiniest details of your life. It starts with tearing up your negative scripts, and rewiring how you think about yourself. Get started today, and reinforce what you do by listening to all the powerful content and amazing guests we invite onto the “What’s the Secret?” podcast.