10 tips for being mentally tough in business

Former England basketball player turned business advisor John Dabrowski, owner of JD Mindcoach, provides ten top tips for entrepreneurs to develop world-class mental resilience.


mentality_298364021All business owners can achieve their dreams if they set clear goals and remain focused on success. The former England star says business owners can learn much by adopting the mindset of an athlete and concentrating on key tasks.

John says, “Building your own business is hard work but if you stay focused and want to succeed then it can turn into something great.”

Here are John’s top tips:

1) Believe that your business will succeed

At nearly 60 years old I had a new business with no clients but had to pay the bills. I started a painting and decorating company on the side so I could keep up with the mortgage while also marketing JD Mindcoach across the East Midlands. I would decorate in the day and speak in the evenings, always believing that one day the business would grow and that I wouldn’t need to decorate any more.

2) Be passionate about your business

If you want your company to thrive you have to enjoy what you do. If the thought of working on it makes you dread getting up in the morning you’re going to struggle to get it off the ground. If it’s not your passion then rethink your business plan to revolve around what you’re interested in.

3) Get your name out there

You can’t expect people to be interested straight away, which means putting in a lot of hard work. I started attending networking events and doing motivational speaking opportunities free of charge as a way of getting my name out there. I also contacted companies, sending out packs and emails, and slowly my name became a little more known.

4) Embrace bad experiences and learn from them

I had many disheartening experiences when I was first starting out. I would often be driving home late at night having spoken at a Rotary Club meeting where only eight members would turn up and it felt like a total waste of time. It felt as though I was a comedian at the workingmen’s clubs and it can be hard to motivate yourself to continue. However, this is the very experience that helps the performer grow and get better.

5) Have an end goal

It doesn’t matter how far away or impossible it seems, it’s important to have something specific to aim for. I’ve always planned on being able build my own charitable foundation and having this image in my mind keeps my motivation high and reminds me of why I’m doing the work. If you don’t have a goal your business may go off course.

6) Be professional

Work hard in all areas and make sure your business, no matter how small it is, maintains a professional front. I remember taking one of my first paid for jobs when I was decorating and covered in paint. I took a call from an MD of a company for a training day and he had no idea that I was in my painting overalls. Plus there were many times that I hired a car to go to meetings because I had an old Mondeo. I had to fake it to make it.

7) Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself

Three simple questions I always ask myself are: Can I think outside the box to generate the money I need? Am I prepared to do what it takes for a season to make it happen? Who do I know that I can bounce ideas off? Being able to answer these questions is vital to having the motivation necessary to make the business work.

8) Nothing’s impossible so never give up

I played basketball for England and I learned to spin a ball on my finger but it took me two years to learn to do it. I thought it was impossible but I persevered and finally I learned to spin the ball and still can. I now think back to that ball spinning impossibility when I am faced with something seemingly impossible in my business.

9) Don’t forget the ‘Pipeline’ of your business

In the early days I didn’t appreciate the importance of marketing continually to ensure that there was a steady stream of potential clients lining up. Now I am continually marketing myself even when I’m busy to ensure work is created for the future.

10) Do everything in your power to stay positive – especially during the tough times

There are techniques I use like re-framing from negative to positive and being grateful for the good things in my life. If you focus on the negative things in your day then your whole day will be negative and dark and this then drains you of all energy and momentum.

John has just published his first book ‘Off the Wall – How to Develop World Class Mental Resilience’ to help businessmen and women on the road to success. Check it out here.

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