In a previous post I discussed a systematic process to overcome deeply negative thinking. Eventually, you’ll learn to flip those negative thoughts; and in this post I’d like to share with you the most productive money mindsets I have developed that help me in life and in business.
Mindset #1 – It’s OK to Run Money Experiments that Fail
I used to put tremendous pressure on myself to always get the “A” in life, whether that was in school, at work or when trying new things. I always made the stakes so high with visions of going bankrupt and dying penniless if I made a single mistake. And while I knew intellectually that many famous business owners did go bankrupt before becoming wildly successful, I couldn’t see how this would ever work out for me.
While I’ve never been bankrupt, I have had my share of money setbacks and failures including:
- Getting swept up in the tech stock frenzy of the late 1990’s and racking up huge losses in the ensuing crash.
- Trying my hand at a complex options trading strategy. It worked great in relatively stable markets but quickly blew apart when stocks rapidly moved up or down.
- Investing boatloads of money in a friend’s real estate development business and convincing many other family members to do the same. I should have known we were in for trouble given the name of his business – Shore Thing Estates. He went bankrupt during the 2007-2008 housing market crash and we thought all that money was gone for good. To my friend’s credit, he is a highly honorable guy and did pay us every penny back over the next ten years. But it sure made for some tense family discussions during that time!
- Getting into the “fix and flip” frenzy. Bought first property, fixed it up, spent more than I thought I’d need to, sold for less than I thought I’d get and tied up my money much longer than expected. Net result – lost money and haven’t been back to flipping since.
- Spending tens of thousands of dollars on various marketing programs which did little to actually grow my business. Ironically, I now realize that I had not done enough work on my own money mindsets to truly leverage the insights provided by these coaches.
- Blowing way past my budget on my current (yes, I’m “failing” right now!) low income housing project in Philadelphia. However, through this, I’ve gained extremely valuable experience on how to hire the right contractors and, as a result of being willing to take this project on, have joined two exceptional business partners and have started our first group rehab together in Allentown, PA, which is the town I grew up in.
And yet, despite all of these and many other blunders along the way, I’ve learned from these mistakes, kept trying new things and now have two successful businesses that I love. And my prospects are so much better to make money because I now see failures as a teaching tool and an opportunity to get creative and resourceful to improve my odds of success the next time around.
Mindset #2 – I Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out
Getting an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering taught me many extremely valuable problem solving skills. One particularly valuable skill is being able to take highly complex problems, break them down into pieces, and solve each piece individually to arrive at a solution for the whole.
As a result, I’d take this same approach to money and business and try to always have elaborate multi-year business plans and complex systems designed to try to predict and prevent any type of failure that would come my way. I got very good at controlling a small business world; however, I shied away from thinking big because the prospect of wading into spaces that were too huge to control scared the hell out of me.
“To have a five- or 10-year plan that you follow to a T means that you have to aim below your maximum capabilities because you will have to minimize the risk,” he says. “To be absolutely sure that you can follow it, you would have to sell yourself short. You would have to choose options that are safe and so far within your sphere of comfort that there is a low likelihood of anything going sideways.”
Instead, he plans life and business in short bursts –
“I generally treat my life as six-month projects and two-week experiments of various types. Then I take the most attractive door that pops up, and rinse and repeat.”
This new mindset is a game-changer for me, not only in terms of getting rid of wasted hours on long-term planning, but also taking the mental stakes way down knowing that my businesses are a series of short-term experiments to be enjoyed, learned from and used to go after the next even better, more exciting opportunity!
Mindset #3 – I Can Actually Enjoy Making Money
In the past, I had the traditional view of work – it was something you dreaded starting Sunday night and couldn’t wait to run screaming from on Friday. Then you try to cram your real life into a 48 hour frenzy before resuming the Sunday night blues once again.
However, I now feel my life more closely resembles that described by Lawrence Pearsall Jacks in his 1932 book, Education Without Recreation, where he states:
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
The key to unlocking this state of mind for me is to always start each work day with an intention and choose only business activities that align with that intention. Doing so has me jumping out of bed in the morning ready to take on my day!What are your primary thoughts about money and career? Do they uplift you or drag you down? Send me a PM with some sticky negative thoughts you’re working with right now – I’d love to chat about how to start the process of releasing them and spending more time with the thoughts that will serve you better.