Psychologist Denis Waitley’s approach to winning with self-awareness and self-esteem puts an exclamation point on the idea that most often success comes from within. One measure of entrepreneurial success is your effectiveness as a leader, which really comes down to producing desired results. The most successful entrepreneurs have mastered being effective because it makes them work smarter, eliminating unnecessary effort and wasted time. Success cannot happen with any consistency when approached in a lazy, haphazard, hit-or-miss fashion.
Effectiveness is rooted in discipline and routine, not talent or genius. Successful entrepreneurs make sure to be detailed, organized and fully prepared before executing any goal or plan. Self-awareness and self-esteem are the programs running in the background of your mind that help make it all happen.
So what does that look like in practice? Here are eight characteristics of effective entrepreneurs that are connected to Dr. Waitley’s winning mindset:
Successful entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of time thinking, creating and visioning. Being innovative comes naturally to all of us if we can discipline ourselves to enjoy the process of being in constant discovery. A successful entrepreneur’s most powerful asset is their imagination. The most effective entrepreneurs dare to dream, act and turn their dreams into a reality. This visionary quality sets them apart from those who don’t dare to dream as big. Standout entrepreneurs don’t see a limit to their creativity, success or ability to make money. They also have a positive and lasting impact on others and involve themselves in new ventures.
Embrace the day early
The most effective entrepreneurs are early risers — they support the belief that the early bird gets the worm. They start their day visualizing what they want to achieve and speak affirmations of success over their mindset. Many also start their day with some form of physical activity: It’s the method they use to wake themselves up, and get their blood pumping and their mind alert and active. Getting up early and getting a jump on their day allows them to get into the office before others arrive. This gives them some time to settle themselves, collect their thoughts and generate lists of priorities to most efficiently organize and tackle their day.
One of the easiest ways successful entrepreneurs increase effectiveness is by being scheduled. They live a schedule based on putting their responsibilities first and leisure activities second. Socializing is important and life-giving. Successful entrepreneurs recognize the value in getting out to be around people, not just for the human interaction and feelings of interconnectedness, but because being around others reduces stress and increases innovation. The most effective entrepreneurs schedule social time at the end of their day when work pressures are off. When responsibilities are put first, this type of discipline helps successful entrepreneurs enjoy their free time unencumbered by nagging responsibilities that weren’t met during the day.
Honor the power of sleep
To be effective, successful entrepreneurs appreciate the importance of sleep. The more sleep they get, the sharper, more emotionally available, and mentally on point they tend to be. A lack of sleep creates an increase in emotional reactivity and a decrease in frustration tolerance, which contributes to another night of poor sleep. It’s a horrible cycle. If poor sleeping patterns are left unmanaged, effectiveness and success become impossible.
Simplicity is the secret weapon successful entrepreneurs swear by to increase their effectiveness. They live nearly obsessively by simple yet practical routines. Creating simple routines helps them avoid taking on workloads that are beyond what they can reasonably handle. They’re most productive when they aren’t too overwhelmed with stress. So, they set protective and firm limits around themselves and their time, understanding even superheroes need a day off.
One of the easiest ways to increase effectiveness is to develop the habit of journaling. The most effective entrepreneurs put pen to paper and write down what’s important to them, the things that were good and bad during their day, and ideas on how they can improve. They write lists and goals, express their gratitude, and sometimes write simply to vent their frustrations. Journaling calms the emotions caused by stress or conflict, and provides a much-needed disconnect from the daily grind of consistent talking, emailing and other distractions resulting from electronic devices that never allow us to fully unplug. Successful entrepreneurs value participating in an active dialogue with their inner critic as it helps them transmute this negative voice into a positive coaching voice that’s all about overcoming odds. Entrepreneurs are most effective when they’re strategizing ways to beat a challenge.
As important as routine is, successful entrepreneurs also understand how imperative it is that they’re flexible enough to pivot on demand in response to unforeseen or changing circumstances. Being flexible enough to change direction greatly increases their chances at success, and it also enhances their own learning, growth and education.
The most effective entrepreneurs view boredom as the great success killer, which is why they make sure never to be bored. They happily spend endless hours working and doing what they love. They’ve made it a habit to be open and curious about everything in life and in their field of work. This curiosity keeps them asking questions and generating ideas for what their next steps are going to be. Because they choose to remain open and curious, it’s impossible to drain their creative reservoirs. Curiosity is just another aspect that contributes to their effectiveness.
Do you have any of these characteristics? How does your self-awareness help you identify what you have inside you as an entrepreneur and what you can work on to level up your winning game?