Very often, the biggest rock we find on the way to running our business is not to set it up but to detect the mistakes or bad praxis that are stopping our brand from becoming the best version of ourselves.
This is one thing I have learned the hard way. When you don’t have a solid background, good mentors, or simply journey companions that can give you their input and recommendations, it’s very easy that, even working hard and doing the best you can, you make mistakes that you pay very expensively: with your time.
You accomplish in two years what you could be in three months. So imagine where would you be in those actual two years if from the beginning you would have made the correct steps and, oh mon ami, have the right mindset.
The right mindset is not important, it’s CRUCIAL. But no one explains this to you, that’s why you need to work on educating yourself and follow people who know vastly more than you. You need to study them, get inspired, and observe how they do things. Because… there’s always a reason why. Remember, they are where you want to be, and no one gets to the top other than through really, really hard work. Learn from them.
So today, I want to talk to you about precisely this:
3 massive mistakes and wrong perspectives that are stopping you from reaching success
#1 Consider the big picture: get out of that box.
What do I mean by this? Well, when we start or things are slow, we start to stress and overthink. When your brain is stressed, your adrenal glands release catecholamines, which are epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine and dopamine and, on the other side, cortisol.
These three hormones interact to increase our heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Catecholamines are released in vast amounts to serve as a reaction before a potential danger. It makes your brain sharp as a bolt of lightning, your legs faster and your muscles stronger.
They almost automatically increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. They have the function of a neurotransmitter (between neurons) to provoke the response to stress.
They are designed to act for only a few minutes, because that level of tension is very detrimental to your brain and organism, in general.
Cortisol, on the other side, is designed to deal with long-term stress, so it’s slowly released in your blood flow, and it suppresses the efficacy of functions like immunity, digestion or good sleep. The side effects of a constant high cortisol rate, are not as immediate as with adrenaline, but they are as severe. Deep, continuous anxiety, depression, weight gain and sleep disorder are a few examples of it.
Alright, thank you, Mar for the chemistry lesson, but why would I care?
Well, because this level of deep, constant stress creates cognitive decline. Which means, brain fog and memory problems. Why? Because cortisol actually KILLS brian cells (neurons), which are the ONLY cell in our organism that is not replaced.
Neuron you lose, neuron you will never have back. It also represses the capacity of creating new memories, stay focused or be resourceful and innovative.
Do you see where I’m going?
When things don’t go our way, financial weights start being too big and unstable, bills pile up and people start looking at you like a loser, your stress levels reach the sky.
If you are not able to cool your mind and SEE THE BIG PICTURE, instead of getting stuck in the situation and looking for quick solutions that would get you out of there, you place your brain and psyche in a physical and psychological position where it’s not working properly. It’s confused and drugged by its own hormones.
You start feeling chronic fatigue, lack of sleep, intestinal malfunctions and immune failure. Long story short, you feel awful and your brain is not working.
So the #1 advice I’m giving you is, get out of the box. When you face not one, but ten difficult situations that pop up at once (because they never line up not to stress you out), you need to have a system to break them down and control your mind and, stress levels.
This is not a self-help guru advice, it’s real, it’s pure biology. Maintain your brain in the best state you can by not releasing a river of hormones that are going to fight against you, because they think a lion is chasing you and won’t allow you to sum 2+2 correctly until they stop “feeling” the lion.
Don’t take quick decisions under stress, depression or excitement. Keep in mind your long-term goals, and when you find yourself agitated, looking for a solution to get you out of the hole, ask yourself: “Does this serve my long-term goal? Is this beneficial for my clients/customers or the people I work with? Is this ethical? What are the benefits and the drawbacks of taking this decision or associating with this person?
Think things through and don’t rush, even if you feel the world ends where your problem(s) begin. The best way to do this is having a system. Before this happens, establish a protocol you’re going to follow when things go wrong. A non-context dependant pattern that will drag you up the right way even if you don’t want to, and commit to it.
#2 Observe, dissect, learn, enforce.
As I fugaciously mentioned at the beginning of this article, you need to learn from those you have already made it there. But there are literary thousands of people out there who are wise, charismatic, interesting and intelligent. Who to follow? How do you know you are learning from the right people?
Well, my opinion is that this decision should be taken considering two factors: parallelism and chemistry.
Did I surprise you? Let me explain, on one side, you need to make sure that person is following a pattern you want to follow as well. They don’t need to be specified in your same field, but they need to be masters at skills you want to acquire to upgrade the quality of your business or brand.
For this, you can ask yourself, what are the three main skills that, if you mastered, would skyrocket your business? Once you have your three dream skills, look for mentors, specialists or professionals who express online (via videos, newsletters, books…) that match these skills.
And what about the chemistry? You need to have a good feeling about them because in the end, you’re going to observe their ways and protocols. Aren’t you? Sometimes someone might be very wise, but there’s something about them… ah, that you can’t explain. You don’t trust them, you feel they are fake, you see something you don’t like when they refer to other people or the perspectives they take in regard to ethics or morals.
Trust your gut. To me, this is utterly important. I don’t invest my time, work or associate with anyone my whole being tells me “No” about. Personally, the end doesn’t justify the means. Be honorable. Don’t sell your ethics. Stick to your beliefs and moral code.
Once you have chosen at least, three of them, follow them everywhere (in a non-psychopathic way, you understand me, right?). Read the books, subscribe to their newsletters, follow them on social and listen carefully. Then, I want you to have one document or notebook for each of them, and everything you learn, see or notice about them that you know it’s going to be useful for you, write it down. Make kind of a diary about them.
Once you have done this and have all the information together, enforce. Get out of that little room for a while, and see your brand in perspective. Then consider everything you have learned, and overlap them. How can you apply to your brand all this new, fresh and exciting knowledge? Trace a plan, and execute.
#3 Learn to discern, in the situation where a decision or project doesn’t have the result you expected if it’s because: 1. It was a mistake; 2. It needs time, 3. It needs to be executed in a different way.
When something doesn’t go as you thought it would, depending on your character, whether you will retreat, wait a bit longer (and a bit more… and a bit more…) or try and change it.
The challenge when you own a brand, is that you’re public. Every mistake is done in plain light, and sometimes that factor makes us take wrong decisions because we don’t want to be embarrassed or look bad in front of our audience. That’s why this discerning is very often not easy to do.
Should I remove everything and start a new idea?
Should I wait a bit longer?
Should I change a chore part of it?
Should I stay or should I go… Sorry, just kidding, this made me think of the song.
Anyways, hovering over the first idea we talked about, you need a cool mind. The main element you need to detect is “why this is not working”. But not in a “crying to the skies” kind of way. In a throughout, serious and scientific kind of way.
Sometimes it’s just a plain error. You thought they were going to like it, and they’re giving you the “meh” treatment. In this event, the best you can do is go back and think of another thing. Don’t waste your time.
Other times, however, some projects just need time to sink in. Maybe you can create a parallel information system that allows your audience to understand better what is going on or how it can serve them.
Have you realized already that everything comes down to systems? You can’t be wandering off figuring things out as you go. That’s one of the things that kept me away from being focused. It was a matter of ignorance more than negligence. When you feel insecure about what you’re doing, you’re easily dragged by the wind and try to fix the holes and bumps in the road as you drive past them.
If I was to see my past self again, this is the first thing I would tell her: take your time to create your web of systems and protocols, together with documents and texts to go with it, before you make one step. Be ready, polish your tools, anticipate every problem and just, enforce.
Have crystal clear in your mind how are you going to operate in every situation. Have things under control ahead of time. This is going to give you stability and confidence to stomp instead of walking on egg shells.
Oh, this would have saved me lots of time and disappointments… it has taken me YEARS to put together all our systems and documents, just because I felt I had no time.
You do. It’s important. Maybe it’s not making you bring money in right away, but you’re founding the basis of a solid brand or business, and this is going to show you as a professional, strong, sold-based authority in the field, just as you are, and you are going to reach higher levels of quality attention from the proper people and network.
I consider this a good moment to wrap up. This is a very interesting subject to go on discussing. I would love to know your input and ideas. What is a mistake you would avoid, looking back on the past?
How do you solve issues as they appear on the map?
How do you use the new information you learn? How do you apply it to your own benefit and growth?
I would love to know your answers.