7 Habits of Happy Entrepreneurs
One of the best business books I've ever read is “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. I've always been of the belief that we’re ultimately responsible for how we feel, but this book really brought forward that you're better off being in charge of your life and your business, and not blaming other people or situations for how things are in your life.
I’m generally a happy person. I’m very optimistic, so optimistic that my mother is often worried about me. She's afraid that I’ll get disappointed when things don't turn out the way that I hoped they would. But the thing is, when something doesn't turn out the way I hoped for, I make the best out of it. I’m somehow able to turn the situation around in my head and either learn from my failure or mistakes or think about it that way: This was the best way it could have happened anyway.
We’re somehow wired to think about everything that went wrong, instead of remembering what went right. And this led me to think about why some people are happier than others. I actually believe that you can train yourself to be happy. You can train yourself to be optimistic.
When I saw that there was another book, “Seven Habits for Happy Kids”, written by the son of Stephen Covey, I got it right away because I wanted to read it for my step-sons. They were about 3 and 4 when I got to know them, and I quickly realized that I wanted to give them an upbringing of positive influence and personal development right from the get-go.
Both books gave me wonderful insights for myself, and I believe every entrepreneur can learn and should embrace them, too.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
This is a habit about responsibility. You’re in charge. That means you shouldn’t blame other people or situations but take responsibility for your life and for your business. In the children's book, this is wonderfully explained with animals. There's an animal in the book that is bored. And the question then is “Well, if you’re bored, whose responsibility is it? Is it yours, or is it your parent's?” Or in your case of being an entrepreneur, can you blame someone for your situation? Of course you can't.
There are studies that show that someone who wins the lottery doesn’t feel happier a year later than a person that didn't win. Or if someone has an accident, and maybe even ends up in a wheelchair – which I hope never happens to any of us – that person is not sadder or happier a year later. This proves that the situation or the people around you should not be able to influence you and how you feel about it. Since I believe that you’re the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with, you can do things to improve your outlook by surrounding yourself with the right people and being in situations that help you foster this first habit of being in charge.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
I love referring to this habit when I think of launching and helping my clients with launching. Many people who launch for the first time launch from the hip, meaning they launch without a plan. And that's where things go wrong most of the time. You start a challenge and you haven't really thought it through. Or you haven't really considered how many people you want in a challenge. Or you haven't figured out what you're selling at the end of your challenge. Or you want to sell 20 spots, but you've got 20 people in your challenge and statistically speaking, 100 percent never buys. It’s more 1 to 3 percent. So if you think of a challenge or anything else in your business, have a plan before you start.
Habit 3: Putting First Things First
Brian Tracy's advice in “Eat That Frog”, another book that I recommend you read, is to focus on 3 things a day. Pick out the 3 things that bring your business forward. There's always different things we need to do in our business. For instance, we need to focus on sales. We need to do marketing. We need to do admin. And there are things we can postpone for a while. But then they will creep back up on us.
For instance, if you don't do your taxes. But if you have to put first things first, remember that you’re in business to make money because otherwise your business is a hobby and not a business. So when you’re planning your day, start with sales and then do marketing and then do admin to make sure that you do first things first.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
It’s interesting when I see some people joining free Facebook groups, and the first thing they do is to post a promotional post. Now that's not very win-win. This person is selfish. They think of themselves first, and they have no intention of giving anything. They just want to get. Win-win is always about giving and then asking. Actually, give, give, give, and then ask. Everyone can win, and if you approach things in a way that it's a win-win for everybody, you probably have a triple win because the world is a better place afterwards.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand and then to Be Understood
In other words, listen before you talk. There's a reason we have two ears and one mouth, because we should listen more than talk. Typically what we do when we're listening to somebody is we're just thinking about what we should respond with. But instead, what we should be practicing is to listen with all our senses. Look at the body language. Listen to the tone of voice. Be mindful when you're listening. And then we can craft our response afterwards.
Habit 6: Synergize
Together is better. It's all about the team. A team doesn’t necessarily have to be a team that you hire for your business, but can refer to the people who surround you. As mentioned above, I believe you're the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. Make sure your team – whether it's a team around you, your friends or family – consists of people who really support you and you support them back. We can get a lot more done with a team. Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely journey, but you don't have to make it alone.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
What Stephen Covey really meant with sharpening the saw is creating balance. In the Passion-A-Thon course that I offer to my clients I always start with the “wheel of life.” It’s an exercise in which you assess different areas in your life that mean the most to you. For example, these can be business, family, friends, romance, finance, health or fun. You look at all these areas in your life and you give them a grade. Then you connect the dots on the wheel, and if the wheel is not turning, then you've got to look at the balance in your life.
What often happens when you're building your business, especially in the first years, is that you focus so much on building your business that you forget your friends, or you forget taking care of your health. So it's important to create balance. Because if you only focus on one or two things on your wheel of life, for a while it can go well but at some point it will bite you in the ass and keep you from moving forward in life and business.
Remember, you’re in charge. You’re responsible for your life and business. Not the people around you, not your business coach, not the online course you're in, not the community. You’re in charge and it's up to you to make the most out of it.You can train yourself to be happy. You can train yourself to be optimistic. - Sigrun
- You are in charge. You are responsible for your life and business. It’s up to you to make the most out of it.
- Improve your outlook by surrounding yourself with the right people.
- Those who have a plan are more likely to succeed than those who don’t.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- The 7 Habits of Happy Kids
- Eat That Frog!
- The Wheel of Life Self-Assessment Tool
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