Changing your mindset

By Dirk Coetsee

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‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’ Steve Jobs

There is no sense in denying that especially the economic climate poses huge challenges to business owners in South-Africa in general. This puts a magnifying glass on the fact that over 90% of all businesses fail within 3 years. Focussing on facts such as the above can cause despair and giving up hope.

How then do I as an entrepreneur turn things around amidst general negative sentiments and factual and visual stimulus providing proof that all is not going so well?

As a business coach and a business writer I have been witness to how powerful the mindset of any individual can be in both negative and positive transformations, several times. The good news – yet news that entails hard and consistent work – is that you can change your mindset and subsequently your business results dramatically should you be truly committed to the positive transformation of your life and business.

It starts with you

Put of your phone take a social media break, isolate yourself, or if you have a coach/mentor do it under their guidance –

  • Put yourself in a better state of mind by doing something that you love whatever it might be.
  • Meditate or pray (success is highly dependent upon letting go of your past. Limiting negative thoughts and actions are an excellent practice.
  • Do some exercise, as moving your body is a form of taking positive action.
  • Take extreme ownership of your challenges. It is after all yours.
  • Remind yourself of the positive reason/s why you got into business in the first place and write it down as your defining purpose statement.
  • Say goodbye to your crutches whatever they may be – Comfort eating, caffeine,over socialising to avoid reality, drinking too much, etc.
  • Replace your crutches with supporting habits such as exercise, conversations with those that you can learn from such as a coach or mentor, making time for learning more about your craft on a daily basis.
  • Commit to taking immediate action on your challenges, even doing a very small and highly achievable thing. Being successful at a small task will give you confidence for the next slightly bigger task.
  • Self-confidence is about self-trust. Breaking promises to yourself breaks that trust and therefore lowers your self-confidence. Make promises to yourself that you know you can keep, and as a matter of honour keep them. This will build your self-confidence.
  • Stay hungry for learning: From podcasts, books, Youtube, websites etc, the sources are endless. More importantly commit to act on the learning.
  • Write down the things that you truly are grateful for. You can only truly harbour one emotion at a time. When you are in a state of gratitude it is impossible to experience anger and frustration at the same time.
  • Turn the above into a manageable morning ritual. How you start your day has dramatic influence over the experience of your day. If you start your day by reflecting with worry about problems arising in the past you will simply press the repeat button on your past. Meditating on a new and improved you will press the button that can unleash a brighter future.

You have control over all of the above and therefore can immediately take action. By taking action on the above you have already taken the first steps on transforming your mindset to one that will be resilient, creative and more successful during challenging times.

Love your people

Now that you have taken responsibility for your own mindset, be an example to the people in your business team. Lead them by showing that you really care for them. As Gary Vaynerchuk says: ‘Caring for people is the only true leverage in any conversation’.

Empower your team by putting more trust in them and giving them the tools to develop themselves and your company. You need to galvanise your team as a family unit that stands together during challenging times. You can achieve that by:

  • Framing the company Vision, Purpose and values in a very inspirational way.
  • Act with confidence, compassion and inspiration as an example to your team.
  • Care for your team.
  • Coach team members through challenges.
  • Make sure you verbally encourage and praise.
  • Ensure that your reward system is inspiring and equitable.

Starting with yourself you can change your own mind-set as an entrepreneur and influence your team to be more productive, resilient and inspired during difficult times!

Dirk Coetsee is a business leadership coach for start-ups and established entrepreneurs. He is also a qualified Master Life coach and assists individuals to get “unstuck” in their lives and careers. You can contact him at:

Read Dirk’s article in the Dec/Jan free issue of Your Business Magazine: “Sales in tough times.”


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