Becoming an Entrepreneur is a war waged against the employee mindset.
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For most of us, that mindset is instilled during our formative years and enforced as we grow into adults.
At first, it’s necessary. As children we need to learn to live peacefully, respecting our fellow human beings.
But somewhere along the way, the lines are crossed and many of the habits we pick up during our formative years become thoughts and actions running on autopilot as adults.
For example, we may have learned to focus on projects instead of objectives from the hundreds of homework assignments that we were forced to complete in grade school. While the ability to focus on a project until it is complete is a good skill, an entrepreneur needs to be able to quickly abandon a project if they learn that the project does not support their business’s objectives. Becoming fixated on completing a project simply because it was started, and without regard to its effect, could be devastating to a business.
Having our learning and skills measured by grades and scores can enforce the pursuit of perfection and the fear of failure. Whereas, the entrepreneur needs to abandon the idea of perfection and embrace the act of failing in order to grow their businesses and themselves.
Unfortunately for my inner entrepreneur, I was a really good student and a really good employee, so it took a lot of mindset work to overcome the mental blocks and inevitable sabotage the war against my employee mindset would bring.
And I certainly didn’t do it alone.
Support your inner entrepreneur by ensuring your mindset about yourself and your capabilities remain positive.
This article is mostly focused on the books that helped awaken my inner entrepreneur, but here’s some general advice we all need to help keep our inner entrepreneurs alive and well:
We should surround ourselves with like-minded people who are working towards the goals or have achieved the goals we want to achieve.
We should consider limiting, possibly eliminating, time spent with people who confine us to stereotypes, expect us to meet their expectations, and think we should live our lives their way. Unfortunately, oftentimes those individuals are the ones closest to us. This means limiting or eliminating our time spent with those individuals is not an option. In those cases, we should think heavily about how we can maintain those relationships without sacrificing our emotional and entrepreneurial wellbeing. Sometimes that means refusing to discuss our goals and aspirations with them in order to protect our entrepreneurial success.
We need to recognize that to build and grow our businesses and ultimately the life that we want, controlling our thoughts and nurturing our inner entrepreneurs is our most important job. We need our brains on our side.
Overcoming the major mindset blocks and limiting beliefs that are standing between you and the life you want is vital to your success.
It has taken me almost 3 years to overcome the major mindset blocks and limiting beliefs that have made starting and growing a business extremely harder than it needed to be. And as I build and grow the life I want, new mindset challenges arise.
However, it’s the continual practice of fighting for myself, being my own best friend, and being my own hero that wins the day, every time.
And I want that for you, too.
So without further ado, here is a list of books that helped change my mindset, nurture my inner entrepreneur and empower me to live my life my way.
Awesome Reads for Overcoming Mindset Blocks and Limiting Beliefs
The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine encouraged me to go to a top school for Electrical and Computer Engineering. Best. Decision. Ever. Although my goal at the time was to become a highly paid employee, this book set the stage for my entrepreneurial journey.
This book is for you if you have many passions in life, not just one, and the thought of having to pick just one for the rest of your life is a depressing prospect. It’s also for you if you tend to measure your success differently than others around you or differently than society in general.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries taught me that anyone can have a business, something that I hadn’t believed until this book. I’d listened to this book on my way to class and loved it so much, I decided to deviate from my regularly scheduled engineering classes and take a few business classes at my university. I was elated to discover that there was a class offering based on Ries’ book. That power-packed combo really got me smitten with the world of entrepreneurship.
This book is for you if you plan on owning a business of any kind. Ries’ framework is a highly sustainable strategy and an excellent foundation for how you think about, go about building, and work to grow your own business.
She Means Business by Carrie Green introduced me to the idea of building an online business and gave me a glimpse of what I could potentially build for myself. Green also writes about the many mindset battles she had to fight to make her entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Her words throughout the book are very motivational and hers is the very first book I’d ever gifted to a friend (it had that much of an impact on me). She also has a great group, the Female Entrepreneurial Association, of which I was a part of for a couple of years.
This book is for you if you want to get a look at what it’s like to build a business from the ground up. Green did a lot of journaling during her entrepreneurial journey (she probably still does) and she shares many of the struggles, fears, and feelings she faced as a woman entrepreneur. She’s very real, relatable, and down-to-earth and she offers a lot of encouragement, something we entrepreneurs need in spades.
As a previous drifter, Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt was a serious eye-opener for me. It helped me to recognize that I could design my life and ended up being the perfect companion to Lobenstein’s The Renaissance Soul. Hyatt’s book empowered me to live a life unordinary, defy expectations, and live life on my own terms (a big deal for a blasian minority female). And don’t be mistaken, while Hyatt’s book is motivational, at its core, it’s very practical and actionable.
This book is for you if you want to make sure you have no regrets by the end of your life. I know that’s a little macabre, but the older we get and the more responsibility we take on, the higher the chance that our dreams, goals, and aspirations are slipping away, unnoticed. Going through the process Hyatt lays out in his book will help you to recapture and refocus on what matters most to you in life. It’s also a great book if you’re a young teen. Honestly, I’d wished I’d been introduced to this book in early high school; it would have given me much-needed clarity and direction. And if you are a renaissance soul with many passions and skills, this book will help you develop a strategy for achieving all of the things you want to do. I can’t recommend it enough.
As you challenge old mindsets and limiting beliefs, it’s common to begin to feel at odds with yourself. You Are Not Your Brain by Jeffrey Schwartz MD taught me that I’m not the sum of my thoughts. It helped me recognize that a war had been waged with my mindset and it was time to pick a side.
This book is for you if you struggle with an inner bully and negative self-talk. A house divided cannot stand. If you’re ever going to get what you want, you absolutely have to be on your side and all of you has to be all in.
Last, but not least, is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. The fact that this book is on this list is evidence that the war against negative mindsets is not easily won. Hendricks’ book taught me about upper-limiting and how subversive my lizard brain can be. I became aware of the many ways I’d been self-sabotaging. It helped me spot upper limiting activities in time to put a stop to them; working to nip bad habits, self-defeating thoughts, and negative self-talk in the bud while building healthy habits needed to grow a successful business.
This book is for you if you feel like you’re getting in your own way and sabotaging your own success. Or if you always find yourself on the cusp of getting what you want, only to have your hopes dashed (you may be surprised to learn that we are often the culprits responsible for that outcome).
As my inner entrepreneur blossoms, so will this list, but for now, it’s a really great start for ensuring that you won’t stand in the way of your own success.
If you can relate to any of the struggles presented here, then I’m happy for you because I know these books are going to help a lot.
And if someone you know and care about popped into your mind while reading this article, it would be awesome if you did the following two things:
share this article with the person you thought of and
let them know that you value who they are and what great and amazing thing they can bring into this world.
Because at the end of the day, all entrepreneurs want is to make a positive difference in this world.
Alana fell in love with entrepreneurship while getting her degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering; she has found that entrepreneurship and engineering complement each other quite well. When she's not helping entrepreneurs with the technical side of building and growing their businesses online, she's traveling the U.S.A with her partner and furkids in tow as a van lifer.