I was prepared to do well in the Beijing Games of 2008 in my javelin throw discipline. I trained daily for 15 years, and I was persistent and motivated. Even though I easily threw the javelin more than 197 feet during my warmups, my best throw arrived at only 180 feet during the real competition. My warmup mark would have easily made me a finalist in the Olympic Games.
My biggest challenge was not physical or technical. It was all in my mind. I just kept thinking that my competitors were much better prepared, and no matter how much I trained, they surely trained more. I then realized how mentally stuck I was. I lost the Games, but I won the biggest lesson of my life. Since then, I have become a brain training coach and a co-founder of Onbotraining, a mindset training online course.
Below is my take on why entrepreneurs sometimes falter, and advice on how to eventually build a winning business:
Related: How to Achieve the Impossible
- A business owner can make or break the business. No matter if you are trying to win a sporting event or run a company, everything depends on performance. An owner is the soul of the business, and it is his or her decisions that make the company flourish or fail. An owner needs to grow, constantly develop new skills and surround himself or herself with people who share a similar outlook. The key mindset for winning is that of constant growth and self-development.
- Challenges in creating a business teach us what’s important. Both the Olympics and life in general are cruel: very few win and many more get their dreams crushed. However, the more we are challenged, the more we learn, and the more we improve our quality of life. The more challenging our startup venture is, the more we understand our customer, our product and what is valuable and what is not. The key is to learn the right lessons from each failure, as every failure has a valuable lesson.
- Learn to trust yourself. You must learn to trust yourself and to trust the learning process. We are all operating very intricate bodies with amazing capabilities. Your thoughts are the biggest blocks preventing you from tapping into your full potential. With will alone, you can get stronger, faster, wiser, more creative and more skilled. Allow yourself to function to your full potential! You must take responsibility for your actions, and only then can you grow a successful business.
- Give your business time, and give yourself time. Do not place unrealistic expectations of perfection upon yourself. According to Josh Kaufman, it takes around 20 hours to learn a new skill, so give your body and brain time to adapt to those new skills. Give your business time to develop results. Persistence and patience build resilience and sustainability for your venture.
- Have purpose, but not expectations. You have to know what the purpose of your business is. There is a huge difference in having a purpose versus having expectations. Expectations limit our possibilities; they restrain us from seeing and accepting better options. Also, expectations are the reason why we start judging ourselves. Judging builds a wall in our minds, which prohibits learning and improving. However, having purpose means trusting in yourself and in life, whatever it brings. It is essential to focus on this in order to succeed.
- Even if you failed at something, you are not a failure. One action, behavior or result does not define you. According to Albert Ellis, we need to check our mindset against harming beliefs that lead us to self-deprecation. Failure means we did not put enough effort into learning and improving a certain skill. When we fail, it simply means we need to focus on that task more. Oftentimes, we take failure too personally; it is simply the process of improving. We have to retrain ourselves to see failure as a checkpoint, but not as a final destination.
- Success is not a given. You can reach success only if you keep learning from your failures. Strive to do better than you have ever done, so that you finally break new records and make new discoveries. Make a real mark on the world, both for yourself personally and for global progress.
In conclusion, whatever you do in your business ventures, judge the outcome based on how much you have learned, and not by the completed task. The purpose of learning is to keep building and bettering yourself to reach your ultimate business goals. My dream is for more people to start enjoying their amazing capabilities.