John Chisholm, CEO, John Chisholm Ventures
Starting a new venture demands every resource and advantage you can bring to bear to increase its likelihood of success—from a new career endeavor to a new business opportunity. One of those key resources is your mind. Your mindset can easily make or break your new endeavor. This article explores seven ways to protect, develop, and leverage your key resource—your mind.
Never Say Anything Negative About Yourself
We are consciously aware of around 10 percent of the comments, observations, signals, sounds, smells, and touches that we experience. Our minds register the remaining 90 percent without our even being aware of them. Some of these messages and signals, especially any which are repeated again and again, our minds accept as truths, which affect our self-confidence, attitudes, and behaviors. Such messages can become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Don’t Complain or Criticize Others
When we criticize others, endorphins flow to our brains, which for five seconds give us a sense of well-being and superiority. But at the end of five seconds, the endorphins go away, we go back to the way we were before, and the criticized individual or individuals are discouraged and demoralized.
Many other approaches are better than complaining or criticizing. Ask questions that help others discover the implications of their behavior or actions. Factually articulate the consequences of the behavior or action you would like to change. Invite the other person to offer specific suggestions. Celebrate the good in what somebody else has done.
Look for and Find the Good in Others
We saw how reminding ourselves of our strengths makes us stronger. Similarly, reminding those around us of their strengths helps make them stronger. Even if we detect just a glimmer of courage, good judgment, or perseverance in someone, letting them know we see this (being as specific as possible) helps build those strengths in them. People are drawn to those who build them up. Practicing this attracts good people to you and elevates you to a position of leadership.
Short Term Becomes Long Term Very Rapidly
For most aspects of life—athletic, professional, scholarly, managerial, diplomatic, romantic—you can move from any starting point to any level that you wish simply by earnestly persisting.As you do so, gauge your performance, gather and act on feedback, and refine your approach. The same is true of entrepreneurship. Assuming you learn from each experience, every new venture that you start is more likely to succeed than the previous one. If you have passion and perseverance, the odds add up rapidly in your favor. Let’s say for example, that your first venture has only a 30 percent chance of success. Your second venture might have a 50 percent chance; your third venture, 70 percent; and your fourth venture, 85 percent. The probability that at least one of these four ventures is successful is over 98 percent.
Connecting People: The Easiest Way to Make the World a Better Place
If a week goes by that you or I haven’t introduced two people who share a common interest or passion, whether it’s a sport, hobby, industry, technology, book, skill, or academic interest, we’ve missed an opportunity to enrich people’s lives. Email makes it easy. If it is a professional introduction, my subject line will invariably be something like, “Mary, meet John Smith of XYZ; John, meet Mary Jones of ABC”; if it is personal, I omit the “of XYZ” and “of ABC.” Make certain to mention at least one common interest of the two people. Otherwise, they may not be motivated to meet.
The cost of making an introduction? Just your thoughtful support of their interests and passions. Priceless.
Now, an action item:
- Think of two or three negative thoughts you might have had about yourself.
- What are specific instances when you disproved and demolished the negativity that those thoughts represent?
- What have you learned?
[Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
About the Author
John Chisholm, CEO of San Francisco-based John Chisholm Ventures, has three decades of experience as Silicon Valley entrepreneur, CEO, and investor. He is president and chairman of the worldwide MIT Alumni Association, a trustee of MIT and of the Santa Fe Institute, and a contributor to Forbes. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School. His new book, Unleash Your Inner Company: Use Passion and Perseverance to Build Your Ideal Business, is available for purchase on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other booksellers.