As a travel business coach, something that keeps me up at night is trying to understand why people’s results vary so much. This is not a conundrum isolated to the travel business either. This is a phenomenon that is widespread. Just think about the entrepreneurial world as a whole. According to www.smallbiztrends.com, 95% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years. Among those businesses that haven’t failed…yet, 30% are continually losing money and the same percentage are just breaking even. Less than half of all small businesses are actually profitable. For businesses with less than 20 employees, the chance of surviving the first 4 years is 37%. I am not a betting person, but I know enough that those are not great odds. And yet more and more people are starting small businesses each year.
Yes, this is true. But there ARE startup businesses that not only survive, they thrive. There are new small businesses that are “killing it.” While the grand majority of new small businesses fall on the failing side of the spectrum, there are small businesses at the very far other end.
Why is there such a huge disparity? There are countless answers to this question. Experts will tell you it’s a lack of funding, poor management, too much competition, ineffective marketing and many other things. Yes, they are all contributors, but I believe it comes down to 1 simple behavior: your state of being
There are 4 states of being and we always fall into one of them.
At every given moment in time, you are in one of these states. You can stay stuck in 1 state the majority of time, or you can move from state to state to state. The people that find success (which is the minority) find a way to shift to and maintain the “Having” state. They may not always be there, but I can guarantee they find a way of getting to that state multiple times a day and maintain that state for more than 50% of their day. Thus, the secret to success is finding a path to the “having” state and exercising your mental muscle to stay there. Sounds too simple to be true, but it is.
How do you know what state you are in? I have three tips:
1. Look at your results.
If your business is thriving, then congratulations! You’ve found a way to get into and maintain the Having state. If your business is breaking even or worse, losing cash, then you’ve created a pattern of being in a waiting, wanting or striving state the majority of your time.
2. Notice your feelings.
Are you feeling happy, joyful, proud, secure most of the time? If so, then you have managed to shift into the Having state most of the time. But if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, annoyed, pessimistic, burnt out, etc, then you are falling into the waiting, wanting or striving state. It’s time to find your path to the Having state.
3. Notice what you are saying.
Are you saying things like “I’ll hire someone part time to help me with preparing documents and filing when I can afford it.” Or “I live in the wrong geographic area to attract my ideal client.” If you are saying things of this nature, you are not in a Having state.
So how does one shift into a Having state?
Again, 3 tips for you:
1. Become Aware.
Notice how you are feeling, what you are thinking and saying. Awareness is the key. Many of us live our lives by default, allowing circumstances, people and events to dicate our thoughts and feelings. We can take control and stop living life by default when we become aware of our response to external factors. We have the choice and ability to direct our thoughts and thus our feelings. So becoming aware is a hugely important step.
2. Make Peace with Where You Are.
You may not like the fact that you are bleeding cash in your business, or you don’t have enough clients or you are so busy and still not making enough to pay all your bills. These aren’t pleasant experiences. But the moment you make peace with where you are, you drop all resistance to the external factors. And that enables you to shift into a Having state. It’s like it opens the door.
3. Focus on What Feels Good.
At any given point in time, we are likely to have some things going really well and in our favor and other things going terribly. That’s life. But why does the person who has 9 things going super and 1 thing going awfully spend 90% of her waking day focused on the 1 thing going wrong? It’s our human nature to try to fix things – that’s why. But that’s a trap. Don’t fall into the trap. Make a conscious effort every single day to put your focus on things that are going well or feel good when you think about them. Maybe it’s a memory, maybe it’s a relationship with your child, maybe it’s a pet, maybe it’s a new car. Whatever it is, make the effort to focus on it and spend some time there, so much that you feel a sense of relief come over you and you can feel good in the moment.
Grant yourself the commitment to shifting into a “Having” state as much as possible. It may sound funny, but I have discovered that it’s easiest to do this at the very beginning of the day, right after you wake up. So set your alarm 15-30 minutes earlier and use that extra time lying in bed and mentally getting yourself into a feel good state. Or use that time to meditate for 15-30 minutes before you do anything else. If you don’t meditate, use whatever memories or thoughts you can to get yourself there. Try this for 30 days and see what happens! Success might be right around the corner and you never even knew it.