E51: The Mindset of an Entrepreneur Pt. 1

You are the creator and the curator of your own life, you are the creator and the curator of your own business, and you have more power than what you think, but your power lies within taking ownership of your thoughts and taking responsibility and accountability for your actions.”

- Asha Wilkerson, Esq.

Episode Summary:

When it comes to running a successful business, the right mindset can be just as important as hitting sales objectives or producing sustainable business models. That’s why, in this two-part series, we delve into an entrepreneur’s mindset by looking at the various factors that drive success.

In part one, we focus on mindset work. I share my thoughts on adopting a growth mindset and how to face your fears and hold yourself accountable for how you choose to respond to setbacks. Learning how to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and cultivate key characteristics linked to success will help you build a thriving business, so make sure not to miss today’s insightful episode (and stay tuned for part two)!

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

  • [01:20] Understanding the importance of adopting a growth mindset
  • [03:45] The value of focusing on improvement instead of achievement
  • [05:25] Resilience and the crucial role it plays for entrepreneurs
  • [06:37] Learning to face your fears and regulate your emotions
  • [10:40] How you stand to benefit from taking ownership of your thoughts
  • [13:34] The power of holding yourself accountable for how you respond to setbacks

Resources Mentioned:

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[00:00:04] AW: You’re listening to the Transcend the Podcast. I’m your host, Asha Wilkerson, an attorney by training and an educator at heart. This podcast is all about empowering you to build a business and leave a legacy. Here’s the thing, the wealth gap in America is consistently increasing and while full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone, even a side hustle could change your financial landscape if you’re intentional about using your business to build wealth.

I’ve run my own law firm for over 10 years, and in that time, I’ve helped countless California businesses go from idea to six figures. On this podcast, we talk about what it truly takes to build a sustainable business and find financial freedom. Let’s dive in.


[00:00:47] AW: Hey, y’all. Welcome back. Here we go again for another episode of Transcend the Podcast. Like always, I am so, so happy to have you here. Now, let’s get right into today’s episode. I’m going to be talking about the mindset of an entrepreneur, and I’m going to do this in two parts to break it up. The first part, the first day, today, I’m going to be talking about more of the – not so much the tactical skills, but thought work, the mindset work that is needed to be successful as an entrepreneur. Let’s jump right in.

Alright, the first thing – I’ll give you all three categories that I’m going to talk about, and then I’ll break them down. The first one is that you need to have a growth mindset, the second is that you need to be resilient, and the third is that you have to take ownership. Let’s talk about the growth mindset first. Growth mindset, so there’s a difference between fixed mindset and growth mindset, right? Fixed mindset believes that it just is what it is, that you are already at the maximum skill that you will ever possibly develop, either you can do it or you can’t. If you can’t, that means it’ll never happen, right? A growth mindset believes that you can grow and develop new skills.

I have a pretty fixed mindset around math. I’m like, I suck at math, math doesn’t like me, I don’t like math and numbers are hard. It’s a pretty fixed mindset, right? I can change that, though to a growth mindset. There’s some improvement that I can make in math, and I can get comfortable with math and I believe that I can learn the skills and the tools necessary to be successful in math if I need to go back and do – I don’t know. Go to medical school or something like that.

A growth mindset is really, really important. You have to believe that you can learn whatever it is that you need to learn to do what you want to do, in life in general, but particularly in running your own business. You need to know that if you don’t know, you can know. That if you don’t have, you can have. That whatever you need to create, to do, to have, to learn, to know that you are capable, it is possible, and that you will learn have, do, and know all of the things that you need.

Another part of having a growth mindset as an entrepreneur is to learn from every possible lesson that you can learn from. Now, a couple of episodes ago where I talked about shame. Part of the shame for me is feeling like I need to get it right the first try or feeling like I have shame because I didn’t get it right the first try, or feeling like I’ve got this law degree, this business degree, I’ve got a successful mom, I should be able to do this more easily than what I am able to do it. That ‘should’ right there, not helpful. That ‘should’ right there doesn’t align with growth mindset. That ‘should’ right there produces some shame. Instead, what I have to do and remind myself to do is to say, “Okay. This may not have been the outcome that I was looking for, what can I learn from this experience? Where is the opportunity for growth?”

The third part of having a growth mindset for this first section is to be decisive. I am a Libra. The stereotype of a Libra is that we can never make decisions because we are constantly trying to stay in balance. We are – I’ll speak for myself. I am constantly thinking about how other people feel and are affected from the decisions that I make. I feel like I have this really strong emotional side of me, but I also have this really strong logical side of me, and so I can get caught up in going back and forth between – is this the right decision? Is this just an emotional decision? Is it an emotional right decision or should I just follow logic on this one? What should I do here? What is the best possible thing for me to do? But what I have learned is to make a decision and if it works, fantastic. If it doesn’t work, go back to what I said before. What can I learn from this experience so that it can work better next time?

Also, just thinking about not making it a goal to get it all the way right. Make it a goal to get better. Sometimes, that goal, like I said, of getting it right the first time or not, it breeds some judgment and shame within me because I didn’t get it right the first time. But when I change my mindset and say, “Let me just try. I’m going to make a decision, I’m going to send this email, I’m going to write it in this tone. Let me try and see what happens.” That takes a lot of the pressure off, it takes a lot of the judgment off and it creates that opportunity for growth. Because I know that the goal isn’t to have it perfect, the goal is to create an opportunity to learn and grow so that I can get better for the next time.

[00:05:21] The first part, one of the first mindsets that entrepreneurs have is this growth mindset. Now, the second category is resilience. You absolutely, 1,000 percent have to be resilient as an entrepreneur. Things don’t always go your way. It’s a reflection of life. Things in life don’t always go your way, but you have to develop your ability to bounce back. I have this, this image in my head just came up. As a kid or as an adult, have you ever jumped on one of those giant trampolines, the kind that you can like lay out flat and it will just bounce you back up to standing? That’s how you have to be as an entrepreneur. If something doesn’t go your way, you get laid out, which is fine. You could be laid out in the morning and back on your feet by lunchtime.

You have to have that resilience and that bounce back. That bounce back is something you can cultivate and it’s something you can practice. It is something that you can learn if it doesn’t come to you naturally. But you have to be resilient because, if you give it one shot and give up, you’re not going to be an entrepreneur. If you give it 10 shots and give up, you’re not going to be an entrepreneur. You have to learn how to bounce back, learn from the lesson that is there for you to learn from, and to put one step, one foot in front of the other to keep making progress.

In that same vein of resilience, you have to learn to face your fears. I talk a lot about mindset, again, certified neuro coach over here. I can talk to you about mindset until we are both blue in the face. Our brains are wired to keep us safe. It’s that lizard part of our brain that fight, flight, or freeze part of our brain that says, “Ah, this is dangerous. Let’s either fight back, let’s flee or let’s freeze because we’re not quite sure what to do.” Entrepreneurship can elicit those same feelings in you because you’re doing something that is new, you’re doing something that is unknown to you. Something that is unknown to our brains says danger, fear.

Our bodies want to automatically shut down or go into protection mode to keep us safe. But there’s probably not a whole lot that you can actually do in entrepreneurship that is actually unsafe for your wellbeing, actually physically unsafe for your wellbeing. But our brains haven’t evolved to know and this is a new thing that is safe, because I really have nothing to lose versus, I’m going to run out into the street without being able to see if the cars are coming. That’s actually unsafe for you and our brain can have a similar response to that.

You have to learn how to, one, recognize your fears. Sometimes this fear comes up to keep us safe and we don’t even know what it is. When you feel resistance about a thing, and that is your cue to dig in and to see whether it is a fear and whether or not it’s a fear that you are willing to put the work into to get over. For example, I am not a fan of going live on Instagram or Facebook. A couple coaches I’ve had have said, “No, you have to get up. Face your fear about it.” I don’t really think that I did a lot of work around it. I don’t really think it’s a fear. I don’t have a problem of showing up in person. I don’t have a problem of being asked questions on a live feed. I don’t have a problem of showing up on this podcast, but there’s something about social media that I don’t like showing up live to, at least by myself. I really don’t think it’s a fear thing.

What I’ve come to the conclusion is, is that I really love the energy exchange when I’m talking to another person. One of my giftings is to be able to see what people need and to just to know and to give it to them, whether that’s a word of encouragement, whether that’s like some deep breathing, whether it’s just a hand on the shoulder, but I definitely feed off of somebody else’s energy. I can show up better when I am meeting people live and in person, or doing a live event or have that interaction. But I had to actually dial into or tune into that resistance to see what it was that was holding me back. Was it fear or is it just something that’s not in alignment?

You have to be resilient in facing your fears and you must also learn to regulate your emotions. Now, humans, we are humans, we have emotions. Emotions aren’t a bad thing. They’re going to come up. I’m not telling you to tamp down your emotions and to not feel them, but I am telling you to feel through them and to not let them guide all of the decisions that you make. You have to learn when something makes you uncomfortable, when something makes you angry, when something disappoints you in business. You have to learn how to regulate that and find an appropriate space to let that out.

Entrepreneurship, for me, has brought a lot of disappointment, but also a lot of joy and excitement as well. If I move only when I’m feeling excited, goodness, I wouldn’t have a business because excitement doesn’t last always. If I quit every time I felt disappointed, I also wouldn’t have a business because disappointment comes. It’s just a part of life, it’s a part of putting yourself out there and being vulnerable to advance your own business. Be resilient as an entrepreneur. You have to learn how to bounce back, you’ve got to learn how to face your fears and you also have to learn how to regulate your emotions.

[00:10:40] Now, the third category in the mindset of an entrepreneur is ownership. You are responsible for everything that you do, and everything that you think. You have to take ownership of your thoughts. This also follows up with regulating your emotions. If there is something that you are feeling, if you believe or don’t believe that you can, or you can’t, you’re absolutely right. If you were feeling something negative or thinking something negative, you need to take responsibility and learn how to change your thought about this thing that is sticky for you.

I’ve had to learn how to change my thought about taking up too much space. If you haven’t met me in person, I’m a 6’1″ Black woman who played basketball in high school. I always just felt big everywhere. I shouldn’t say big. Tall women hate it when you say big, because big doesn’t equate to tall. But actually, I just felt like I was so much bigger than my surroundings all of the time, both physically, and just kind of like mentally and emotionally. I was taller than people, so I would be in people’s way. I never felt very graceful, so I’d always try to watch out to make sure I didn’t knock somebody over, right? I have a big personality, and I would try and make sure and sometimes still do make sure that I am not overstepping somebody, or taking up too much space, or overshadowing somebody who wants to get another word in.

But I have had to change my thoughts around that, because I am also entitled to take up space. I’m entitled to take up this space that my body needs. I’m entitled to take up the space that my personality needs. So I’ve had to change my thought about not taking up too much space that if I’m invited into a space, I have been invited to be in that space and that’s okay.

Taking ownership of changing your thoughts is super important. If you feel like no one else looks like you’re doing this, “Oh, well. They haven’t seen somebody who looks like me, so would they really pay me?” That’s a thought that you can change. You can change that, that you are valuable enough, your work is valuable enough to be paid, that your unique history, your language, the way you speak, how you are, who you are is divinely placed in this position to have this job, to do this work, to do this thing.

You have to change your thoughts to support your dreams and your goals as an entrepreneur. You have to take accountability. I know a lot of people who blame everything on everybody else. “Well, they didn’t tell me yes. I didn’t get this loan. Nobody came in bought for me. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” You can only control what you actually can control, and it is your responsibility to take control of what you can, and to take responsibility and accountability for how you respond to things.

Life happens, but life can either happen to you or you can also participate and make things happen. You have to choose how you’re going to receive negativity. You have to choose how you’re going to interpret something that doesn’t go your way. Take responsibility and accountability for your actions. Don’t get stuck in a victim mentality. Life is not happening to you. You are the creator and the curator of your own life, you are the creator and the curator of your own business, and you have more power than what you think, but your power lies within taking ownership of your thoughts and taking responsibility and accountability for your actions.

Once you get those two things together, you will be absolutely unstoppable because your flow, your consistency, your ability to put yourself out there, your dreams are no longer contingent on what somebody else is willing to give you or do for you. They are 100 percent contingent on what you are willing to do for yourself.

No victim mentality, no self-loathing, no “Woe is me. Oh, my God. This is so hard.” Maybe have a moment. It is a challenge, but don’t prime that this is so hard. Because anytime you get ready to do something, your subconscious thought is, “Oh my God, this is so hard.” What do we do with hard things? We make them harder because we believe that they are hard. So, don’t stay in that spot of, “Oh! This isn’t working. This is harder than I thought.” Have a moment, but move on. Have a moment and then take accountability. Have a moment and take responsibility. Have a moment and change your thoughts. Have a moment and then get back to work.

This is part one of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, the mindset of being an entrepreneur. It’s having a growth mindset, being resilient and, honey, take ownership of your thoughts, and your actions and the things that you plan to do moving forward.

Alright. I hope this episode was helpful for you. Please, please, please rate and review this podcast wherever you listen. Take a screenshot and post it on social, tag me. I need your help and spreading the word or sharing good information here and you are a part of that. So, thank you so much for your time and your energy. Love you all and I will talk to you next week. Ciao ciao.


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