War on Mediocrity: 4 Mindset Shifts Essential For Success
You know that moment in life when you finally realize that most people are wallowing in mediocrity?
I do. I was working in my first ever post-college job and I saw “grown adults” in their 40’s and 50’s earning slightly more than I was.
They had been working there ten, fifteen, some even thirty years, with everyday being the same 9 to 6 schedule. The same suits. The same cubicles. The same paycheck. The same break room small chat.
Shortly before I quit, I sat down with a trusted coworker and asked her “You’ve been working here 10 years. How do you deal with the boringness of it all?”
Her response surprised me. She said that I was that I was ungrateful, that this was a “good, stable job” and this is just “how life is”. You commute to work, you commute home, you pay your taxes, you spend time with your family, you eventually move out to the suburbs, and then you die.
That was the genius “game plan” that I’d spend my life in school preparing for.
And there it was staring me straight in the face for the first time ever: the product of a mainstream mediocrity.
I then vowed to not only reject a mediocre lifestyle, but also a “good” one. I needed exceptional. Exciting. Transformative. Legacy-worthy.
And here I am, many years later, with a truly remarkable business that improves the lives of thousands around the world. This is the product of denying mediocrity.
Here are the four core mindset shifts that every exceptional entrepreneur has had to make in order to reach massive success and abundance in their businesses and lives:
1. The victim mentality must be left at the door
We were raised to be grade-A complainers. I remember blaming everything from my grades to my athletic ability to my job on someone or something else, whether it was genetics, teachers or a bad sleep schedule.
I couldn’t “own” anything, and no one made me. This is where “victim mentality” begins for most adults, disabling any opportunity to evolve, improve, and succeed.
True leadership requires you to unwire that mentality and think from a place of “I get to do this” instead of “I got to do this”. It demands that you be a person of solutions, not roadblocks, and approach situations from a place of gratitude instead of resentment.
And, most importantly, it truly challenges you to take responsibility for not only your actions and choices but others’. As a leader, employer, partner and role model, you have to accept that the moves you make have a ripple effect onto those who admire you. So when they make mistakes, it is unproductive to address the surface level problem, but instead, you should look at the root - you - and see what you could have done better to have a better influence.
All successful entrepreneurs have decided that they are responsible to create their reality. Not their bosses, not their parents, not their partners. Them. And when you can truly begin to approach your life and business from a place of ownership and action instead of passivity and blame, you will realize that you’re capable of achieving just about anything.
2. Self-punishment is unproductive
When people slack off, don’t follow their diets or procrastinate on big projects, they tend to subconsciously punish themselves. Think about it - we’ve all been in moments where we don’t allow ourselves to go out for dinner with friends, we don’t dress as nicely to work, we run mundane tasks just to feel more “productive”, and we don’t even care when someone calls us out on it.
It’s because we’re punishing ourselves and telling ourselves that we don’t “deserve” to enjoy life when we’re underperforming in other categories.
But young entrepreneurs realize that self-care - versus self-neglect - is an essential ingredient to their success. And it’s their responsibility as leaders to not only think about their own journeys, but how their actions will influence the journeys of others as well.
Growing a business requires any entrepreneur to show up as their best selves every day. The money they make, the audience they grow, and the legacy they build depends on it. But it’s impossible to do that without putting self-care at the top of the priority list. Subconscious self-punishment is natural but is also an unproductive habit that any person bound for success needs to expel from their lifestyle immediately.
So, take the time to do your hair in the morning. Exercise. Get a massage. Travel. These “indulgent” activities will skyrocket your growth. Trust.
3. Money is your friend
As a millennial entrepreneur, there is nothing that I encounter more in this community than money drama. It’s infectious. Everyone seems to have some personal vendetta against their bank accounts, their price points, their expenses, and their paychecks. Something about it nicks people at their core, spilling out all kinds of insecurities, frustrations, stresses, and pain.
And I get it. If you were raised in a family or community where sayings like “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, “More money, more problems” or simply “We can’t afford that!” it naturally instills a scarcity mindset that associates wealth with “bad”.
But successful entrepreneurs challenge themselves to develop a positive relationship with money by using it to enable personal empowerment, growth, and transformation. They do not use it (or hoard it) out of fear. Remember that cash is energy - it's intended to be used for good, not for stress or "rainy days".
And when you manage to get out of the scarcity mindset and realize that there is unlimited money in the world that is on its way to you right now, your life will transform.
This week, spend money on something you normally wouldn't but will help you grow - maybe that's buying a new planner, signing up for an online course, buying a conference ticket, hiring a personal trainer, or buying a new coffee machine. But whatever it is, stop hoarding. When you spend money in positive ways, more money comes back to you.
4. Don’t take it personally
There are statistics that say that 90 percent of new businesses fail in their first year. If this is the case, I would accredit most of it to personal insecurity and pain.
The key to getting through the first year of business and every other milestone along the way is to realize that the criticism, doubt, and unsolicited advice that others share with you is not personal. But so many entrepreneurs are trapped in the “this business is my baby” mentality instead of “this is a money-making machine” mentality, therefore, the business crumbles.
The most resilient, unshakable entrepreneurs I know have consciously separated their personal feelings from their businesses. Yes, negativity in the form of client feedback, industry criticism, or a simple lack of sales can be devastating for a business owner. But it's a mistake to be afraid of those occurrences. Face it. Challenge it. Solve it. Move on from it. It really is that simple.
A rule of thumb that has transformed my business is to only take advice from those who have already been where I’m trying to go. Not my friends, not my parents, not my community. It would be easy to succumb to that criticism. But I choose to only listen and act on the feedback of those who have surpassed my success, and even that I do not take personally. It’s business. It isn’t your character, your values or your personality. It’s simply a money-making machine. Remember that.
Growing up, we were conditioned to believe a number of fallacies that prevent most from producing remarkable work in their lives. It’s a shame, but luckily, these ideas can be reprogrammed. If you are serious about skyrocketing your influence, your income, and your impact, you have to evaluate your belief system and be open to adopting new ideas that feel uncomfortable. But you cannot build an empire without building the foundation first. Master your mind, and master your business.