The Inner Game of Entrepreneurship
Having an edge in business is a good thing when it refers to the edge you have over the competition.
If you’re the one being described as having an edge, however, there’s probably a disconnect that needs addressing and it’s something I went through myself about a decade ago. I looked like a pulled together savvy business woman, but there was an edge and harshness about me. I thought the success of my business hinged on the business activities that brought me clients and cash flow. What I didn’t acknowledge for a long time is that there’s more to running a successful business than executing the strategy and game plan.
I figured if I worked hard enough and followed the systems I put into place, the results would take care of themselves. I didn’t want to believe mindset had anything to do with it.
In fact, I resisted working on the inner game of entrepreneurship because it felt “touchy feely” and maybe even a little “woo-woo.” As a result, I had an edge. I felt a disconnect between how I was showing up in the world and what I was doing in my business. I was in a funk.
Here’s what I learned:
Business success comes down to consistent action,
both in executing your business strategy and working on your mindset.
I discovered that it is the thought that counts and the importance of working from the inside out.
When I started looking back at not just my business activities, but the thought behind them, it became easier for me to figure out what was happening and identify the disconnect. At that point it became obvious that mindset builds the foundation for business success and that I needed to dig into the personal development piece of my business.
“If you want to be in a different place in your business you have to do the inner work that matches up with the outer work you’re already doing.”
I love to measure things, and here’s what I know to be true - if the outcomes are off and the activities are sufficient the disconnect is happening further upstream, and it’s happening with the inner game piece. I was in a funk because I was spending more time on my business than what I was contributing personally to the business, like my mindset and personal biases.
The more I studied the correlation between my mindset and my results the more I realized there are a few practical steps you can take to strengthen your inner game.
Here are FIVE ways to Strengthen your Inner Game:
Follow a schedule. Your inner game loves a schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night. Get up at the same time every day. Be cognizant of your bedtime routine. Research tells us that the last thing you put in your brain before you go to sleep is the thing your brain is cooking on throughout the night. With that in mind, consider a change to your routine that allows you to think positive, encouraging thoughts as you drift off to sleep.
Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Take inventory. Where is the funk coming from? Saying “I don’t know” isn’t the answer. If you’re struggling with the answer, try this question, “What if I did know the answer, what would it be?” Get to the root of the problem.
Journal. This isn’t a “Dear diary….” scenario from your middle school days. Your thoughts and feelings are impacting the outcomes in your business. Journaling helps identify potential roadblocks and keep your inner game aligned with your business activities. In addition, when you find yourself in a funk this becomes a great tool to get through a funk and move through to the other side.
Start moving. I’ve never met a person who was in a funk who got out of their funk by sitting at their desk. Science tells us that if we want to chance how we’re feeling or what we’re thinking we need to change our physical state. Stand up. Go for a walk. Let’s be real, when you’re in a funk not a lot is getting done so does it really matter if you go for a 10-minute walk?
Get a massage. I had a friend tell me once “the issues are in your tissues.” Your body carries emotions deep inside muscle tissue. Schedule a massage, acupuncture, pedicure or chiropractic care. These are not luxuries or indulgences, they are necessities for mastering the inner game.
Working on your inner game doesn’t mean you’ll never be in a funk. Funk happens. It does mean you’ll have more tools to utilize when you do get into the that place where you start to spin, get out of whack and feel the funk coming.
Here are THREE Ways to Get Out of the Funk:
Stop fighting. When you’re in a funk acknowledge it and then stop fighting it. Sometimes just being still and getting curious about what triggered the funk will be exactly what you need to do to see your way out.
Gain forward momentum. If you’re in a funk and feel like you’re sliding backward, you need to find one thing you can do that shifts your energy toward the positive and your momentum forward. There is no standing still or holding your ground. When you’re in a funk you’re either moving backward or moving forward. Accomplish one thing every day. Write it down. Start cataloging your successes and use those wins to gain forward momentum.
Find Your Groove. You have more control over your attitude your actions and your outcomes than you are giving yourself credit. Find one thing in your business that gives you great joy and do it. Your actions start shifting your thinking and your feelings.
Lastly, don’t let anyone tell you that taking the time to journal or get a massage is selfish, it’s not. It’s what you have to do, because your inner game is what’s driving everything you do. The inner game can’t be dismissed and when it’s been cared for and cultivated you will gain the edge you’re looking for in your business.
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