Build Your Mental Mojo and be a Better Entrepreneur

We've all been there...the deadline is looming and the pressure builds. Your creative ideas are drying up like a wadi or, worse, they're popping up like weeds in your Mother's garden. Your focus is now a dandelion seed blowing in the breeze. Self doubt is becoming a megaphone in your head.

What is Mental Mojo?

The ability to quiet the voices and push through a creative block is what I call "Mental Mojo". It is a key character trait of all entrepreneurs. It is not to be confused with personality, assertiveness or everyday joie de vivre. Mental mojo is what keeps you and your business moving forward. It enables you to separate what you think you know from what you actually know and it clears the fog when confusion sets in. Fortunately, it can be learned.

Building Mental Mojo

There are lots of ways to build mental mojo, or resilience, as the scientific community likes to refer to it. And while complex influences like family environment, level of privilege, religious beliefs and a host of other factors can deliver you to a starting place, the decision to become an entrepreneur will, most assuredly, require you to take responsibility for your own mojo development.

How Running Helped Me

As I approached my 40th birthday, I decided it was a great milestone to make some life changes. I had always been very active but the days of competition were well behind me. The goal instead for my 40th was to hire a personal trainer and make getting in shape an actual focus. When my trainer suggested I join her running club, my first reaction was flat out NO. At 5' 1" and with no legs to speak of, the thought of running in the variable climate of Ontario did not appeal. But, she was clever...and did I mention, persuasive! A month later I found myself standing amongst a mixed group of wannabe runners and my journey as a runner began.

If you're a runner, or have ever tried running, you'll know its hard work. In the early days I spent most of my time wanting to quit. But I didn't. I learned to push through the gasps for air, the muscles screaming and the pure monotony of running to find that place where my body was fit, my mind was disciplined and my thoughts were quieted. I didn't know that I was developing my mental mojo.

Fast forward a few years and I started my first entrepreneurial venture. After exhaustive research, hours of relationship building, the commitment of tens of thousands of dollars of sweat equity and alignment with one of Canada's most recognized retail marketers, my business partner and I marched into the Bay St. office of one of Ontario's high profile VCs...and got promptly turned down. Someone else had beaten us to the punch and they had just consummated a 20 million dollar deal with the "other" player. Devastating right?

I won't lie. It stung. However, the ability to separate what I thought I knew from what I really knew and push through the fog that comes with rejection, positioned me to keep a tight grip on my entrepreneurial dreams. My next endeavor was to be in a different space and was closer to my core expertise, technology. That company grew wings.

3 Ways to Build Your Own Mojo

I think the key to building mojo is simple...get out of your comfort zone. This is difficult to do by yourself. We need others around us to accomplish such feats of personal growth. Because left to our own devices, we will quit.

Surround yourself with people who push your buttons

I know this sounds counter-intuitive. When you're working on a vision, why would you surround yourself with people who challenge you? The simple answer, because they make you think. Hard.

Challenge yourself in other aspects of your life

I chose running. What will you choose? Right now in Muscat there is a competition that, frankly, made me simultaneously excited and nervous. The perfect recipe for building mojo. Its called Entrepreneur's Conclave. The premise is that ten entrepreneurs compete against each other during a day-long entrepreneurship program that includes a sailing regatta for a chance to be declared a winner and the opportunity to pitch their business plan to an influential group of investors. Brilliant! Look for ways to challenge yourself

Commit to continuous learning

Entrepreneurs, by design, must stay on the forefront of their markets. Constantly innovating and creating is what gives you an edge over your competition. The only way I know to do that is to devote time to continuous learning. Every day I allot time to Read & Research what's happening in the world. R&R takes on a new meaning when you're an entrepreneur.

The Next Move is Yours

Entrepreneurism represents such an exciting career choice and I believe everyone should be taught to think like an entrepreneur even if they, ultimately, invest their talents in a more corporate environment. Make no mistake, however, mental mojo is what separates those that stand out from those that fade.

Drop me a line below and let me know what you're doing to develop your mental mojo!

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