As an entrepreneur, I’ve often been asked how I can deal with the many rejections business owners have to face on a daily basis. Am I blind not to see the warning signs? Am I scared of the risk of not gaining business? How will I survive? I don’t think that I am any super hero in particular. I am, however, at the risk of sounding egotistical, either a glutton for punishment or someone who is calm and collected in the face of adversity. I think I’m somewhere in the middle.
I know that I am not perfect and I’m as human as the next person. But I do not let my fears control me. Over the years, I’ve learned optimism is the best motivator — and money can’t buy it.
Optimism can overcome fear, despair and negative ways of thinking. Think about what the alternative is. … Pessimism. Pessimism might get you out of tight or uncomfortable situations but It does not motivate you to do better. It does not give you hope. Pessimism denigrates hope. Optimism vs. pessimism, in my mind, is the psychological equivalent of fight vs. flight.
Recently I was painting my family room (I am a consummate do-it-yourselfer). Sure, I could have hired somebody to do this, but do-it-yourself projects are one of the few things in my life I can count on to relieve everyday stresses. I had to finish painting the top border of my family room walls, an unfinished part of a previous painting session. My family room has 23-foot ceilings. It is a real pain when changing light bulbs, flipping the direction of the ceiling fan or dusting window ledges.
I found myself standing on a ladder 20+ feet in the air, my head only inches from the ceiling. The fiberglass ladder, although strong, wobbled occasionally, causing my stomach to flutter. I am not a fan of heights, unless I’m secured to a rappelling rope or I’m free-falling with a parachute attached. I’m certainly about managed risk!
While it was occasionally wobbly, I found myself precariously perched like a pigeon on a leafless blowing tree. I was thoroughly optimistic I was not going to fall or hurt myself because I had put myself in an altered mental state. I envisioned I was simply in a 6′ square box, painting trim work from the floor. It was in this mental state, optimism sprouted. I was not going to get hurt because I had not necessarily controlled the external circumstances of my precarious situation, but I had controlled my reaction to it. I had controlled my thoughts and fears to the point where I felt as comfortable as that precariously perched pigeon.
Controlling your mind and your thought processes and being optimistic has a direct corollary in business. If you choose to be pessimistic, nothing positive will ever come out as a result. The only way to succeed, as was in my case recently, is to be blindly optimistic to the point where there is no uncertainty below you. The 18 feet of space below me did not exist in my mind.
As a business owner ask yourself this: Do you constantly fear your competitors’ actions or do you focus on the things you can control in your own business?
My advice: Fear is natural, it is what prevents us from being hurt, but it can also prevent us from gaining success. Control your thoughts, control your fears and worries and stay optimistic.