Becoming an entrepreneur is the hardest task you can imagine. The hours are long and you can expect a physical and emotional roller-coaster ride. Mental toughness is mandatory.
A famous song offers sound advice for mental discipline. The lyrics are applicable for dealing with the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship.
That’s life (that’s life), that’s what all the people say
You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June
The lyrics are sung in the 1966 rendition of “That’s Life,” by Frank Sinatra.
The then-60-year-old entertainer was even relevant for 20-somethings like me who needed to learn the right perspective about life and careers.
He was one-of-a-kind as an entertainer – an award-winning singer and actor. Depending on a person’s perspective, he was dubbed “the voice,” “the sultan of swoon,” “ol’ blue eyes” or “chairman of the board.”
Once, a career highlight for me as a journalist was covering the chairman of the board’s wedding.
Having grown up in Palm Springs, a playground of the stars, I returned there as a news director for an all-news radio station. In nearby Rancho Mirage, a huge story in July 1976 was the Sinatra wedding to Barbara Marx who was divorced from comedian Zeppo Marx.
The event was both magical and miserable. Dozens of us reporters — many from foreign countries — persevered outside in near 118 degrees to report the noteworthy event, which had worldwide appeal for young and old.
Lessons from the lyrics in “That’s life,” inspired me to persevere that day and throughout my career, and to write about these six best practices:
1. Keep a positive point-of-view
Entrepreneurs become successful, in part, because they keep life in perspective. They aren’t distracted by mundane events – even if they’re problematic.
Always remember: “No matter what, there are no big deals, no matter what.” Problems occur every day. That’s life.
As the song goes:
Each time I find myself flat on my face,
I just pick myself up and get back in the race
2. Work hard
You must plan to work hard, especially in the early stages. That means long hours – start early and work late. You must be more intense than your competitors.
If you have employees, delegate. If an assignment is important, pick your best employee to do the work.
3. Set attainable goals
Don’t make it all about the money. Your happiest days are when you focus on getting the work done for the work’s sake.
You must manage your expectations. Dream about the footwork to achieve the desired results, not about how much money you’ll spend when you become wealthy.
4. Enjoy your work
If you don’t love your work, you’ll be miserable. You won’t enjoy any success if you hate your career.
Look for ways to make it fun. When you’re able, take time off to re-charge.
5. Accept pressures
You must have a mindset to succeed, not just merely to cope. Unhappiness sets in when you allow pressures to become stress.
Keep focused on the means to the end – the daily footwork needed to compete successfully.
6. Stay authentic
Be the one person your clients and customers can count on. In other words, always strive to be the go-to person.
Later, as business-performance consultant, I’ll never forget a lunch with a client and a prospect. My client was in the process of persuading the prospect to hire me to help turn around a financial institution.
My client said I was intense and “a pain in the ass” but “Terry will fall on the sword” to get the job done right. At first I was a bit stunned in how my client talked about me to his counterpart. But as a result, I was given a nine-month project.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:
Career Tips: 5 Morning Habits of Winning Entrepreneurs — The key is to manage the highs and lows synonymous with a dynamic roller-coaster ride. You must stay on an even keel, despite all the negative surprises. Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.
Successful Entrepreneurs Smile from 20 Practices — Successful business owners smile because they are different. They take positive approaches that help them emotionally, physically and financially.
10 Best Practices for Entrepreneurial Success — For top financial performance and the creation of jobs, there are 10 best practices for entrepreneurs. They range from innovation to monitoring your marketplace.
Best Practices for New Women Entrepreneurs to Stay Focused — The keys for business women are to plan well, create the right balance, persevere and have the right support system. It isn’t commonly known, but women entrepreneurs inherently have stronger skills than men in key areas. Women are more organized than men in financial and other administrative matters, says a longtime business associate in Washington state.
16 Desirable Mental Approaches for Entrepreneurial Success — Humor me, as I recall a great sports metaphor for business. The greatest switch-hitting slugger in base ball history – Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle – was at his best in clutch World Series action. He set several World Series records – 18 home runs, 40 RBIs, 42 walks, 26 extra-base hits and 123 total bases. Before the term “walk-0ff home run” was used, he had 13 game-winning homers.
“A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.”