What is Limiting Your Mindset?

limiting your entrepreneurial mindset
Most people who start their own business do so after working for someone else. Usually, they are doing the technical work of the company. For example, you may be an accountant, a carpenter, an electrician, or a hairdresser. So, you start an accounting practice, a carpentry business, an electrical business, or a hairdressing business.

In his book “The EMyth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It“, author Michael Gerber describes this as having an “entrepreneurial seizure.”

By the way, if you own your own business or are considering starting a business, please buy this book!

The fact is that working for someone else is profoundly different from working for yourself. An employee’s mindset and an entrepreneur’s perspective are like chalk and cheese.

Differences in Mindset Between an Employee and an Entrepreneur

Let’s look at some of the main differences.

Area Employee Entreprenuer
Responsibility Easy to blame others or pass the buck in the organization. You are the person responsible for everything.
Vision Responsible for short-term tasks rather than long-term business goals You must focus on vision and plans for the short-term and the long term.
Comfort Paycheck comes in every week, rain, hail, or shine. You follow the system. Uncertainty is the new reality. You get paid last and make decisions that affect everyone else.
Ongoing Learning Specific job training only You must understand all aspects of the business along with how to do the work.
Rules You follow a chain of command. You make the rules and are always looking for improvement.


Mindset Differences Between a Small Business Owner and an Entrepreneur

There are also differences between a small business owner and an entrepreneur.

Having consulted with small business owners for over 40 years, I can categorically say that most small business owners are not entrepreneurs. The way I would describe it is that most do not own a business; they own a job. And this is a result of their mindset.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences.

Area Small Business Owner Entreprenuer
Risk More comfortable with predictable things. Consequently, they tend to make more conservative decisions. Comfortable with higher levels of risk and venturing into the unknown.
Ideas Focused on local issues and keeping their customers satisfied. Pursues ideas and opportunities that are new.
Goals The focus is more on short-term goals and a level of stability. The focus is more on the future and achieving fast growth.
Ongoing Learning Like employees, they tend to focus training around the work of the business. Continually look to learn new ideas and acquire knowledge that can help them grow.
Business Philosophy Once again, it is stability in meeting customers’ needs and earning enough to provide for the family’s needs. They are focused on fast growth and profits without the business needing to revolve around them.


What are Limiting Mindsets, and From Where Do They Come?

Our mindsets are developed in our journey through life. Right from birth, we are conditioned by all our experiences: family, education, work experience, etc.

The fact is that society, in general, does not educate people to become entrepreneurs. Instead, to fit into society as adults, we are acclimatized to think with a more fixed mindset, particularly regarding authority, money, and intelligence.

Limiting attitudes developed in school.

  • Obedience to Authority. Schools have a hierarchy. From the principle down, it is a chain of command. So we learn to obey and not to challenge the status quo or authority as that will land us in hot water.
  • Rules Must be Followed. Follow the rules or suffer discipline. There must be rules to maintain order, but it can be very limiting if you allow your life to have an overabundance of regulations after graduating from school.
  • Learn First, Then Do. At school, we are taught by learning concepts and examples before we get to implement what we have learned. Doing something comes after you have been taught. With an entrepreneurial mindset, having an idea and giving it a try comes first, and the learning follows.
  • Comparisons to Others. Schools give you grades that compare to others. Unfortunately, these grades can result in a belief about your level of intelligence that results in a negative perception of yourself and limits your thinking. Whatever we’ve been taught in our early education, whether it’s “I’m gifted and the teacher likes me” to “I’m stupid, and I’ll never be a smart kid,” we can turn this into negative self-talk, which we switch on when faced with challenges. This is very difficult to unlearn.

Limiting attitudes developed around money.

Here are a few taught misconceptions about money that hurt entrepreneurs.

“Money is the root of all evil”

“People with money cheated to get it.”

“There is never enough money.”

“You must sacrifice if you want to buy (enter any item here).”

“We’ll never be able to retire.”

These thoughts bring about feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or scarcity of money. Therefore, they can be significantly limiting for an entrepreneur.

Limiting attitudes developed around work.

Our beliefs about work are also shaped by our education as well as by our family environment. Education systems focus on the learning required to pass an exam. It doesn’t educate children in many aspects they will encounter in the future. For example, there is generally very little education about money or any vocation beyond being employed.

Training for self-employed small business owners is like training to become a parent: it just doesn’t exist.

The focus is on working for a boss, doing allotted tasks for a set amount of time per week for an agreed-upon pay. If you obey your boss, work hard, and add value to the business, you might get promoted to a better position or a higher wage. You are rewarded for your obedience and your ability to minimize risk.

This fundamentally clashes with the entrepreneurial mindset. Accepting risks and taking on challenges is key to success as an entrepreneur.

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