In order to live an extraordinary life, you have to be willing to think in extra-ordinary ways.
The mindset of a successful entrepreneur is not taught in grade school or college where classes are generally designed to produce workers. Instead, you have to adopt an uncommon way of thinking and be willing to act upon on those thoughts.
Only people who are willing to employ extraordinary habits are able to become the designers of their own life.
Have a clear vision
“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor” – Brian Tracy
Be clear about what you want your life to look like in 5, 10, and 20 years. Once you have a concrete vision, write down these milestones in clear and concrete terms.
For example: “In 5 years, I want to be able to take a $150,000 salary from my tech startup; In 10 years, I want to exit my startup and travel the world for six months; in 20 years, I want to have $500,000 to put towards a vacation rental property.” And so on.
Execute on your goal everyday
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” – Anne Frank
Once you have your long-term goals down on paper, think of the major events and tasks you have to accomplish to achieve these goals. Write them down and assign specific timeframes. Then break down these mid-term goals into short-term tasks that you can start executing on today.
There will never be a perfect time to launch your new business – so start chipping away at your dream now.
You don’t have to go it alone
Being an entrepreneur is a thankless road with many bumps along the way. So give yourself built in support up front.
Support can come in the form of a mentor with industry experience or a strategic partner that has complementary skills. Join a group of like-minded individuals that may have overcome similar hurdles. You never know who may have a life changing connection or access to resources that you will be able to avail yourself of.
Elevate the potential of your business by surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you and watch your business reach heights that are beyond anything you could accomplish alone.
Re-invest your initial earnings – only pay down high cost debt
Contrary to what you may have been taught by friends or neighbors – not all debt is bad or created equal. Some of the most successful people today got to where they are by acquiring some kind of debt.
Mortgage and student loans are two types of debt that generally carry low interest rates and don’t need to be paid off rapidly. Credit card debt on the other hand, is generally high cost debt and should be prioritized.
When you are just starting a business, or starting to invest in yourself – sometimes acquiring debt is the only option. But once you start taking in earnings – don’t rush to pay down all your debt as soon as possible.
Prioritize paying down the high cost debt and make all your minimum debt payments on time. Before rushing to pay off those student loans, however, make sure you have enough cash on hand to properly operate and grow your business.
Once your business reaches new heights, you will hopefully be able to eliminate your debt in a short period of time, without negatively impacting your operating capital.
Invest in your biggest asset – yourself
As an entrepreneur, you are also the face of your business. When you ask people to invest in your business, you are also asking them to invest in you.
Make “taking care of yourself” a priority. You can help others better when you are in your optimal physical and mental health. Eat healthy, exercise often, and engage in experiences that nurture your inner dreamer and inspire you to keep growing.
Most importantly, never stop learning. Read books, go to conferences, read blogs about subjects that interest you. New knowledge can change your perspective in unexpected ways, spark new ideas, and help prevent burnout.
Practice awareness of the urges that motivate you
We can’t really think of a better way to explain this element of entrepreneurship, than with a quote from Martha Graham, so here you go:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine, dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” –Martha Graham