Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year- A Time for Rekindling the Flame

Entrepsychologist is a blog made for entertainment purposes only. This is not intended to dispense psychological advice. If you need help, please seek the services of a licensed professional.

After reading Chris Brogan's very helpful blog about writing a great blog, I decided to - yep you guessed it- write a great blog. Well, I tried my best, and I'll let you be the judge of its value.

So, per Mr. Brogan's advice, I added a catchy photograph (see above) and I began taking inventory of what I might have to offer fellow twitterattis (just made that up, not really sure what it means). I was trained for six years in grad school as a clinical psychologist, so I decided to put that education to good use (might as well, I'm paying for it now).

The theme of my entire blog persona is that of the hybrid entrepreneur/psychologist. Its meant to be a blog discussing the psychological aspects of entrepreneurship. While, I think other entrepreneurs can commiserate with my ups and downs along the path that I have chosen, I think giving some helpful advice on being an entrepreneur from a psychological standpoint might prove more beneficial, so here goes:

1) Going the Extra Mile- A friend of mine who is a former Olympic athlete once told me that his coach would motivate his teammates by saying, "of course everyone wants to go to the Olympics, but not that many have the dedication and drive necessary to get there." The same is true for entrepreneurs- ask yourself if you just like the idea of working for yourself, or if you truly possess the drive, dedication, and discipline it takes to be one.

2) Fueling the Fire- Do you sometimes feel like you have lost your entrepreneurial spark? All of us do at some point. Janet Hanson, Founder of 85 Broads was quoted in O magazine as saying that she had to sit and write out a list of all of her accomplishments during a very traumatic setback in her entrepreneurial path. We can all take a page from Hanson's book by sitting down and writing out all the things that inspired us to set out on this path in the first place.

3) Gaining Inspiration- It has been said that the best part of being an entrepreneur is working on your own terms, and the worst part of being an entrepreneur is working on your own terms. Don't let yourself be your own worst enemy. Expose yourself to inspirational stimuli daily. This may be in the form of reading another's blog, or reading a book about an entirely new subject. Inspiration can be found everywhere.

4) "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing the activity, but in doing it," Greg Anderson (1964) This quote can be applied to the experience of being an entrepreneur. Watch out for unrealistic thoughts like, "once I reach > 4.5 million in revenue, I will finally be happy." Focus on your life today, and experiencing joy wherever you are along the entrepreneurial path.

5) Mind your thinking. A cardinal rule in therapy is that we feel how we think. If you notice that you are feeling skeptical and critical of your future success, begin monitoring your automatic thoughts. How many times during the day are you comparing yourself to fellow entrepreneurs and telling yourself that you don't quite measure up? These thoughts are normal, and it is natural and human to compare ourselves to others. However, make sure that these thoughts aren't outweighing the positive thoughts. If they are, a simple trick can be implemented- start implementing thought stopping: Choose it, Check it, Change it
Choose the negative thought pattern, check it to see if it is a realistic thought and what other rational arguments could be used to dispute it, and then change it to a more positive thought, using the rational arguments you have gathered.

This will seem like a tedious process at first, because you are creating a new cognitive thought pattern. Eventually, this will become your modus operandi and may notice a dramatic shift in your daily mood.

Ok, that's all I've got for now. Does any of this make sense or does it seem a little too "Dr. Phil-esque" ? I would be interested in hearing others' tips for maintaining stamina along the way.


Unknown said...

Love the way you nudge psychology out of its stoggier molds and onto stages where we live, think and plan, Colleen. Great site and thanks. I'm always interested in the concept of change - especially how we can inspire change that offers improvements over broken systems.

Will add your site to my blogroll because it will be fun to see you tackle many of the same topic I blog - from different angles. Now that is a find worth gold! Thanks!

Project Motivation said...

Great post on maintaining stamina, which at times can be so hard to keep! I love the one about "mind your thinking," it is so easy to tell yourself a story about a given situation and then find yourself off track. Being mindful of your thoughts helps one to move forward! Thanks, I love this list!