You’ve done it!
You got through school. Diligently studied. Passed the tests. Got the win. And now — you have your own business.
Those are all achievements worth celebrating. But there’s one thing that you have to watch out for because the truth is, there’s a formula to school and winning at that game. But the game of business and entrepreneurship can’t be won using the same tactics and strategies used to be a good student.
If you have built your identity around being a good student, that can actually make you a terrible entrepreneur because as a good student, you have to obey the rules and you fight to get the gold star. But in entrepreneurship, there are no rules to get to your gold star. In fact, you have to create your own rules.
Here are some key things that will keep you stuck in a good student mentality and how to shift them so you can grow as an entrepreneur.
Perfectionism is the Enemy of Progress
When you’re a student, you’re praised for making things as flawless as possible. You’re rewarded for putting in extra time and effort, not to mention the reward is significant within that container. Good grades often coincide with positive recommendations from teachers, winning certain awards, and being presented with potential career opportunities.
Business is different. In business, you can win.
Business is not about getting it perfect. It’s about experimenting. And the more you experiment, the more data points you get. The more data points you get, the more momentum you gain, and the more you learn about yourself and your audience. The data comes back clear every time.
Success in school is about perfectionism, where you learn to get things right to pass your test. This sabotages your progress in business because it can make you overthink your next move, making you run headlong into fear of failure. This puts you in the cycle of planning, revising, and editing so you can subconsciously feel like you’re controlling the way your audience sees you.
This is such a dangerous pattern because controlling the way that people see you becomes more important than getting things done — making your business success take a backseat to the perfectionism conditioning you received in school.
Instead, what wins in business is authenticity, quality content, creating massive value consistently for your audience, along with offers that speak to them.
If you do those things, your audience will not care if you have a photo of yourself bathing by a waterfall in Bali, eating crepes in Paris, or driving a Ferrari. Your audience will be all in on you when they can feel that you’re all in on them when you consistently show up with solid content as yourself.
So let go of the stress that you used to excel in your academic career. That will only repel business opportunities and sales. The best entrepreneurs are not the smartest. They’re the most courageous. They don’t wait to get approval or to get the gold star. They get it done. They validate themselves first and then they enroll everybody into their idea.
Striving to Get It Right is the Wrong Turn
It may be counterintuitive, but working harder, being in constant learner mode, and trying to get it “right” will hold you back, keeping you from reaching your goals. Even more importantly, what you’re learning about in business is different than what you learn about in school.
In school, you’re learning about things that exist outside of you. You’re studying the past and how things have been done while being in groups of other people. In business, the most successful entrepreneurs know that the most important subject to study is themselves.
This means you’re learning about yourself, by yourself, and getting curious about your future. This is a completely different paradigm than the processes you’re taught in school, such as working harder, focusing outside of yourself, and being in past-learner mode.
When you condition yourself to consistently work harder to reach your goals, you train your body and mind to believe that you must work hard for success. While a great work ethic is a good thing, this can take you headlong into burnout if you build the belief that you have to work hard at all levels of business to earn at the level you desire.
Dropping the idea that you have to work hard and adopting the idea that you work efficiently, delegating to a team as often as you can, will help you far more than pushing yourself to work harder and harder.
Likewise, when you’re consistently in the process of learning new things, you take yourself out of implementation. The implementation phase is where things get done and you can see progress in your business.
However, if learning skills and staying on top of your craft is important to you, build time to learn into your calendar, so that way, you still feed that side of you that wants to keep growing, while prioritizing most of your time for action and implementation.
If you find yourself not getting things finished or you’re completing them slowly, remember that you don’t have to get it “right” on the first try. What’s more important is keeping the momentum going and getting feedback from your audience.
This will help you to tweak things in real-time so you have offers that convert and messaging that speaks directly to your people. Your content doesn’t have to be perfect or just so for it to be ready.
Making the Shift
The secret to being a successful entrepreneur is in how you treat yourself and how quickly you get up to try again. The way you collapse the timeline to get back up is determined by how well you respect yourself and let go of self-punishing patterns.
If you were to punish a kid every time they fail a test, reminding them how bad they are, the chances of that kid rising to the occasion to pass the next test is slim. It’s going to take a long time to get back up and feel like they have the ability to try again.
There’s an immense amount of shame and disempowerment in punishment. Yet, this is what people do to themselves as entrepreneurs. They self-punish when things don’t go their way, and it takes them months or weeks until they gain their strength again.
If you eradicate self-punishment and watch out for cycles of perpetual self-punishment, you’ll be able to get back up after a letdown much faster. By nipping those habits in the bud, you set yourself up to thrive in business.
About the Author
Juliana Garcia is a marketing strategist who works with purpose-driven entrepreneurs, experts, and coaches.