Are you mentally tough or is business too tough to handle?
Come on. Be honest with yourself. On a scale from 1-10, what would be your score in the ‘mental toughness’ realm?
I reckon that it takes a score of around 8-10 to be an entrepreneur, a freelancer or to even run a very lean start-up through the three-years-in-business hurdle.
Yes, there’s a lot of bright people out there. Yes, there are a lot of fantastic business ideas and start-ups being created every day. There are also a lot of people who quit their full-time job as an employee to become freelancers. But guess what? Two thirds of these people are out of business after twelve months.
Thinking of raising funds for your project through crowdfunding? Very smart. Drafting a business plan already? Very wise. Using business angels, networking in the right places, and you’re shaking hands with venture capitalists? Even better. But all of these won’t keep your company afloat for more than three years.
Why? Because all of the above will help you, but to keep your company in shape you need something more. Something you can’t buy and is very difficult to learn. You need to be mentally tough.
Think of sportspeople. Your favourite. If they are winning competitions or breaking records, that’s because they have years of hard training behind them, they have hours and hours of practice and fine-tuning in their discipline.
They have talent, but also self-discipline, rigour, self-confidence, drive and determination. They have a whole cohort of people behind them: a nutritionist, a physiotherapist, a technical sports coach, sponsors (to pay the salaries of all these people of course), and they’ll also have … a mental coach.
Because to be the best, to be able to make it through the rollercoaster of competing, that is winning and losing with grace regardless of the place, climate or stuff that is going on (in their personal lives), to be stronger than their opponents, they need to be mentally tough.
Now think of top-notch CEOs and business leaders. How did they make it there?
The corporate business world can be extremely rough. You have decisions to make, capital to raise, sales goals to achieve, people to recruit and to sack, trustworthy staff to motivate, external and internal communications to manage, and office politics to handle. And that can, and often will, be very nasty.
So they have their own team to help them become, and stay, in leadership positions. And guess what? They most likely also have an executive coach. It takes broad shoulders to stay at the top.
Let’s go back to the entrepreneurs, start-ups and freelancers. To stay in business you need to be like professional sportspeople, like the Fortune 500 CEOs, regardless of the industry that you’re operating in. Think of it. It’s not easy being your own CEO, CFO, CIO, Marketing Director and HR manager all at once year in and year out.
So, if you’re running low on batteries, if you’re demotivated or lacking inspiration to run your business, if you want to make it through 2017 with flying colours… Start working on your mental toughness. Get yourself a coach.
Laura is an accredited coach and trainer specialising on strategy development and team performance. She works with large companies, NGO’s and entrepreneurs. Check out her website or meet her at SmartWork.