One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is the emotional roller coaster they ride every day when launching, growing and running a business.
You know exactly what I mean. You wake up in the morning, an investment comes through, and then you lose it. Suddenly, they change their mind again, and the money is back. The product is working as planned -- then it goes down, now it’s back up. The key employee you want to hire is a go but unexpectedly drops out. Later, he or she agrees to sign.
Taking a seat on this roller coaster can wreak havoc on your business. The highs and lows can quickly drive you in and out of emotional states that won’t help you run your business, will strain your relationships, and can have a negative impact on your health.
The single most important job of any entrepreneur is learning how to smooth out the ride and manage your emotions in a way that balances your energy, drives your business forward, and puts you in the best position to succeed, no matter what life throws at you.
You can do this by controlling your focus. Most people are conditioned to respond to circumstances in a very specific way, and they don’t even know it. If that conditioning leads them to ask good, empowering questions, the business will go down one path. If it leads them to an endless loop of negative questions, their lives will go in a whole other direction.
Let’s say that when you hit a bump in the road, your automatic response is to start asking questions like, "Why do bad things always happen to my business?" and "Why can’t I do anything right?" Then your Google-like brain will do a search and pull up 10,000 reasons why your business stinks. Your focus goes right to these answers, which will make you feel terrible. It’s impossible to act in an effective way from that place.
Instead, you must teach yourself to ask a better set of questions, ones that empower you and your business, because having the right mindset immediately shifts your focus from a challenge to the opportunity it presents. These good questions prompt better answers, so rather than bemoaning your fate, you can hopefully set yourself on a more productive path that leads to a breakthrough.
Therefore, when things aren’t going your way, what would happen if you started asking questions like "What can I learn from this experience?" or "How can I use this experience to help my business succeed?" Again, your brain will run a search. But this time, you’ll get 10,000 reasons why you’ll succeed. That will put you in a much better position to drive your business forward.
Ask a better question -- and watch how your life changes forever. That’s what I want you to focus on as you move through the stages of developing your business, for it’s the backbone of how you harness the power of those little “aha” moments into bigger ideas and better breakthroughs. Always ask better questions.
If you want to develop a razor-like mindset, one that cuts through problems like a knife, here’s how:
Recognize you’re in complete control
Nothing in life has any meaning other than the one you give it. You can choose how you evaluate any situation and where you place your focus.
Break your pattern
The odds are that you’ve been running on autopilot most of your life, allowing your emotional state to dictate your inner dialogue. Next time you run into a problem or something threatens to knock you off-course: Stop! Pay attention to the questions you’re asking to evaluate the situation, and if they’re negative, interrupt your pattern with a new set of empowering questions. This will help you look at the situation in a whole new light. With enough practice, this powerful way of thinking will become automatic.
Develop new habits
Developing the skill of focusing on what empowers you is like building a muscle. Your job is to exercise your mind every day. The best time to start is in the morning. Take control of your focus as soon as you wake up. Begin the day by asking questions that set you up to get the most out of the day, like, "What am I grateful for? Why will I succeed? How can I move this business forward today -- and have an awesome time in the process?"
Never make a big decision at your lowest point
Many times, it seems like we make our biggest decisions when we’re in the worst possible position to think clearly. Next time, hold off until you can ask a better question. Wait until you’ve stepped away from whatever the situation is, physically moved to get the blood flowing, and released some tension. You’ll make a much better decision from a more balanced emotional state.
Pass this skill on to your team
Imagine if everyone on your team operated from this place of razor-sharp focus. If they looked at everything that came their way as empowering tools that they could use to drive the business forward. Imagine if they were conditioned to find the opportunity to improve in every situation. Wouldn’t they also make smarter decisions?
The decision is up to you. Are you ready to take control of your life? Are you ready to get off the roller coaster? If the answer is yes, then just do one thing -- ask a better question -- and focus squarely on the opportunity in everything life presents. Remember, you control your results more than you think you do. From the company you keep to your reactions to a crisis, you decide, either consciously or unconsciously, what your actions will be.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors