Choosing to be Successful

5 min


“I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.”
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Building a startup is hard. And more often than not, it’s your mental game that matters more - your grit, your perseverance, and your choices that lead to long term success.

Steve Jobs famously said:

“… everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people who were no smarter than you…”

I’d add they probably started where you did: juggling a day job, starting a young family, cash strapped, short of time.

The only difference?

They made good choices.

They made a conscious choice about what they wanted out of life. And how bring their Personal Mission to fruition.

Photo by Caleb Frith on Unsplash

This in turn dictated what they read, what they saw, people they connected with, and what they did with their time.

Here are some choices I’ve made to enable the side hustling life style...

Books you read

I try to read as much and as widely as I can. It’s important to read both seminal works on non fiction topics you’re interested (e.g. The Lean Startup, > 2720 reviews on Amazon), but also obscure books that may resonate with you (a personal favourite is Not Fade Away, which has < 70 reviews on Amazon)

Some tips to help you pick great reads:

  • Read books that’s been out for a couple of years, they’ve been around for longer, so reviews a plenty. Use Amazon for this. The classics are even better. I recently started reading Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. It’s over 100 years old, beautifully written, and definitely has timeless lessons
  • Don’t discount fiction. Some of the greatest lessons in life are stories in disguise (I personally rate The Alchemist). Food for thought: Is the Bible fiction?
  • Plan your reading + keep a list. That way, you balance the right mix of reads in different interests. At the beginning of the year, I create a book list for the year across a broad range of topics. Throughout the year, I’ll pick up books from different categories to mix it up. This gives us conscious control of what I want to learn each year.
  • Once in a while, read something that isn’t in your usual reading niche - a friend recently recommended me The five languages of love which I thought was interesting and different to my everyday reading habits. So Leave room in your book list for serendipitous discoveries

Be deliberate in choosing what you put into your head

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

People you know

“You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with”
   - Jim Rohn

Building a business is hard. After building our first startup for a year in isolation, I noticed a real difference after connecting with the Melbourne startup community.

I joined a coworking space, made friends with other founders, and became happier knowing there are others out there like me - struggling, fighting, but still hustling everyday.

Over time, the lines of my friendship and business associations blurred. Founders became friends. Friends started businesses.

As a result your potential partner for business and collaborations increases and people will naturally think of you as the person to go to for entrepreneurial advice - law of attraction at work.

If I were starting out tomorrow, here are a few places I’d go to find my Tribe:

  • Meetups - great way to meet like minded people in your city. Lots of founders use this to find a co founder
  • Facebook Groups - personally found this to be the best place to connect with like-minded people online. And have built great relationships
  • Ask your friends for referrals - This is my preferred method as there’s already social proofing, especially for people who’ve already built a work reputation. I’ve been lucky to meet previous business partners this way.
  • Co-working space - where other successful startups hang out: try, or Google “Coworking space [your city]”

Be deliberate in choosing who you connect with

Photo by Phil Coffman on Unsplash

Words you use

Since Words has strong connotations for us mentally and emotionally, how you perceive yourself, and your Personal Mission is pivotal.

I find it useful to be firm in my self talk and what I say to others.

Think in terms of potential, not limitations.  

Be firm in your belief. Be open in your mindset. Be strong in your convictions.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” - Paulo Coelho

So instead of:

   • I’ll get back to you tomorrow ➡️ I will get back to you tomorrow

   • I think so ➡️ yes

  • I don’t know ➡️ I will get back to you

When it comes to positive affirmations. The mind can’t tell the difference between what you’ve done and what you want to do.

So imagine what your life will be with the end goal in mind, and your’ll naturally fit into this new life. Some examples of daily mantra:

  • I run a business that impacts the lives of millions
  • I was put on Earth to serve others
  • What I do make a positive difference in the world

Be deliberate in choosing words you use, and be firm in your follow through.

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