We’re going to start this episode off with a quote (because it’s SO perfect):
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
I am SUPER excited about today’s episode because I think it’s truly the most important thing we can master (as entrepreneurs but more importantly, as human beings).
I’m going to tell you what it is, but before I do, I want to ask you to do me a favor.
I want you to keep your mind as open and judgment-free as possible.
The most important thing an entrepreneur needs to master is their thoughts.
I’ve gone down a huge rabbit hole with this lately for a few reasons (and I’ll go into a little more detail with each):
You hear over and over again in the entrepreneurial space that your mindset is everything.
And it is… you just need to know how to get there.
My goal with this episode is two-fold:
One thing to keep in mind: this is a practice. One of the sayings that my mentor has shared with me (that has taken me a while to really grasp), is that it’s “a process, not an event.”
Which naturally annoyed me… because I want to learn something and just know it.
Even though I may get pissy, I trust it now.
And it has made ALL the difference in the world.
O.K., let’s get into it!
For the longest time, I really thought I was doing a great job of managing my thoughts.
I first got into self-help and listening to things when I was the ripe old age of 22.
I purchased Tony Robbins Personal Power and progressed through pretty much anything I could get my hands on at the time (keep in mind these were cassette tapes, all pre-podcast and digital downloads of anything).
I was working in a bookstore at the time and we sold audiobooks, so I’d splurge every now and then on a new book on tape. Because I purchased Personal Power I also would get the “Guthy Renker” and “Nightingale-Conant” catalogs (yes, a paper catalog in the mail).
At that time I’d say 99% of what I listened to were male authors (something I never really thought about at the time). Most of what I was listening to was about goal setting, motivation, sales, and productivity. All of that was fine, but it always felt like something was missing.
If you’re not familiar with him, he’s an NYT best-selling author of over 40 books. He’s been called “The Father of Motivation” and had an academic career and private counseling practice before he wrote his first book.
When I first started reading & listening to Wayne Dyer most of his work was in the self-help genre. As his career progressed he moved more and more into spirituality and it felt like “this is what I’ve been missing!”
It was like this magic combination of “anything is possible” and “be gentle” at the same time.
(On a subconscious level this is probably where #FtheHUSTLE was really born).
From here I consumed everything I could of his.
I was also fortunate enough to see him live in San Francisco a few times (he loved San Francisco and was a great supporter of public television). One of the times I saw him it was a smaller event and I stood in line to tell him how much his work got me through losing my husband (this was a year after he died). Dr. Dyer hugged me and told me that he was still with me.
On many levels, I would say he was my first mentor.
Looking back I don’t think I could have even begun to comprehend that I wasn’t managing my thoughts.
Nor do I think I would have been ready to grasp this concept.
It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision to not be a victim in my life and start taking complete responsibility (which is also a process) that I started getting that I could change my thoughts by changing my life (one of Wayne Dyer’s books is “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”).
How I realized it was time to manage my thoughts
Moving to Costa Rica sort of “forced” me to realize that it was time to start making the management of my thoughts a priority.
I mentioned earlier that there were a couple of personal situations that were sending me sideways.
One had to do with a couple of family members and one had to do with a friend.
The situation with the family members had nothing to do with me other than I was kind of stuck in the middle, no matter how many times I thought I had made it clear that I didn’t want to be involved, there was nothing I could do, and I didn’t want to discuss it (boundaries have been a big lesson for me this year as well).
The situation with the friend was definitely less of an issue as it was a newer friendship and wasn’t something that needed the time and energy I was giving it (neither did the familial issue, but it’s a lot easier to set boundaries with people you don’t know very well or don’t have much history with).
When my mentor got back to Costa Rica we had a session in person and it was extremely difficult (re the family situation). I was very resistant to doing it but my desire to move beyond it was greater than the discomfort and heartache of doing the work.
As exhausting as it was, I went home, handled the calls I had scheduled, and then climbed into bed later that afternoon.
Here’s where the magic happened…
I was messaging with a friend back & forth on Voxer. When she was talking I let myself have the tears and emotions that were coming up BUT… I didn’t allow myself to look for stories or reasons to support the sadness.
I put all of my energy into letting myself cry and just feel sad.
No stories, no commentary, no right/wrong, good or bad.
As small as this may seem, it was probably one of the most profound experiences I’ve had.
It was literally at that moment that I realized I could manage my thoughts.
Fast forward 24 hours and I felt like a different person.
The fact that I made a conscious decision not to feed the sadness or look for stories that would perpetuate how I was feeling felt like a massive victory.
How this shows up in your business
Over the last 5 months I’ve been working on the foundation for my upcoming #FtheHUSTLE Insiders community (a total mouthful, I know, but hey ho. It is what it is).
Since I started my business back in 2008 I’ve gone back and forth on having a community (mind you, I have a Facebook Group over 9k people so go figure with that one).
Circling back to the quote I started this podcast with, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”… it’s time.
I wasn’t ready or prepared to give a community what it takes to grow something for the long term. Not that I wasn’t interested in the long-term of my business, I simply wasn’t clear.
There was nothing I loved that much that resonated with me.
Creating a community is a commitment.
This is where thought management comes in.
As I’ve been working on the foundational content for this community, I started in a direction that may seem counterintuitive but is absolutely necessary.
I’ve created Success Stages – which, for lack of a better term, mirrors the ‘Hero’s Journey’.
The best part is that it ties in directly with what you’re doing in your business (think strategy, tactics, the work you can see) with where you’re at mentally and emotionally with what you’re experiencing.
Here are two examples (and two of my favorite newly coined terms for #FtheHUSTLE Insiders).
2. Entrepreneurial Adulting: Do the work. As much as I love my business, there are tasks that I’m not fond of doing (way less than there used to be, so that’s good), but I do them anyway.
Do I still procrastinate at times? Of course, but I also know that EVERY single time I take care of things that need to be done I feel 100% better.
Now instead of avoiding things I manage the thoughts I have about doing them (99.9% of the time I’ve simply made a mountain out of a molehill in my head) and just DO them.
Spend less time comparing, scrolling, planning, and plotting.
The same friend that messaged me then said “I’ve spent the week making to-do lists rather than doing the to-do’s.”
Where to start
The first and most important thing you can do to start managing your thoughts is to take complete and total responsibility for them ALL.
Taking responsibility isn’t about assigning blame – nor is about right and wrong, good or bad.
It simply is.
It’s also the path to freedom.
How easy is it to keep berating yourself, others, judging, or arguing when you say “yes, that was all me.”
The next logical step in that process is to ask yourself “now what?”
You sit with the feelings.
Not the thoughts and not the stories. Bring yourself back to wherever you are and focus on how you’re feeling. Sad, mad, offended, disappointed, whatever… just be with it.
I had that taped to my computer for years (some lessons take a while to sink in 😉).
As soon as you decide to choose awareness you start feeling like an observer of your own life, which is incredibly powerful. When you pay attention to what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling, you start to realize you can choose other thoughts (this is a process and not an event).
This is where you connect the dots that taking responsibility for how you think and feel is actually about complete and total freedom.
This is a bell you can’t “unring.”
Once you step into this way of thinking and being it simply doesn’t feel right in your body to do otherwise.
One last final thought…
Own who you are.
In my last session with my mentor we had been talking about dramatizing thoughts in our own minds (we truly create our own anxiety). She shared a story with me about how a mentor of hers told her to be as dramatic as she could about a specific situation – so she did. She gave what may have been an Oscar-worthy performance.
She was able to laugh it off and even though she has some anxiety still it was normal pre-performance jitters.
After sharing that with a friend we decided we’re going to hold “drama class” whenever start spinning about something that hasn’t even happened.
With access to information 24/7 and the ability to see what other people are doing and worse, how they’re doing, it’s way too easy to let our minds and egos take over.
We live in a world of “highlight reels” and it can be exhausting.
The ONLY thing you need to do is what is right for you. I promise you that the more you step into what feels right for you and choose to start managing your thoughts the freer you’re going to be.
And your business will soar because of it.