You’ll hear that successful people think differently — that they are somehow hard-wired for high performance. There’s the notion that some entrepreneurs perfectly combine analytical and reasoning skills with optimism, creativity, problem solving and people skills.
But successful people entertain the same kind of negative and self-limiting thoughts that everyone else has. What differs is their identification and reaction to them.
Here’s a roundup of thoughts that absolutely limit, kill, crush and smash success. Catch these thoughts as they arise and flip them on their head.
Related: 4 Ways You Are Your Own Worst Enemy
1. “I’m not an expert.”
Do you tell yourself over and over again, “I’m not an expert”? No one starts off doing anything as an expert. Expertise is built up over time. You have to make yourself an expert. When considering a project or business, don’t ask if you’re an expert. Rather, ask if you love the subject matter.
If you’re passionate about the subject, you’ll do everything you can to soak in as much information as possible.
For most fields of business, two years of intense learning can make you a top expert. The process starts with your accepting that learning experience as a journey. Make sure it’s one that you enjoy and that you want to spend a lot of time on every day. Change this thought into a question, “Where do I find what I need to know?”
Related: Act Like the Leader You Want to Be
2. “It’s already been done.”
Have you ever told yourself the self-defeating thought “It’s already been done.” Yes, it’s true that some ideas are actually new. The futuristic proton beam that destroys cancer cells without touching other cells comes to mind. But if you’re coming up with an idea for an app, probably similar products already exist.
If you’re already entrenched and working inside a particular industry, you may see your ideas unfold elsewhere in the marketplace and be developed by other people. But that doesn’t matter one bit.
If you know that a lot of people need your product or service, the fact that competitors exist validates your plans. In business, it’s good to be first, but as PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has said, it’s better to be last.
Bringing an idea to life and then executing your plan better than others matters a whole lot more than the uniqueness of your concept. Challenge this thinking by asking, “How can I do this better?”
3. “I don’t know the right people.”
You’ve probably had “it’s all whom you know” beaten into your head since birth. It’s true to a certain extent that knowing key people matters. But the problem is that many people accept their current circle of contacts (their colleagues, clients, friends and social media networks) as the limited resource they have to work with.
Using a lack of contacts or connections as an excuse for failure is a self-limiting thought. Tap the contacts you have. But if you don’t know the right people, make it a point to get to the right people. Contrary to what you may have heard, reaching out to the right people can work if you try hard, even if you don’t have a special connection. Turn this thought into “Whom do I have to get to know — and how?”
4. “You need money to make money.”
It’s easy to think that there’s some reason that other people are successful — that it’s because they went to better schools or have superior personal skills. Indeed many people point to others’ success by noting that they had the money and resources.
It’s easy to use lack of money as an excuse for lack of progress but in many business areas, limited resources can be a blessing.
Lack of resources might prompt you to keep your operations lean and mind fresh and sharpen your focus. You can be extremely successful by being smart about expenses and business planning.
You don’t need money to make money. You just need to come up with the exact cost of your first product, which might be completely free. Think instead, “How can I do things better because my operation is small?”
5. “I always …”
When you run your own business, the lines between your personal and professional life blur. Your personal attributes often dictate the success of your business. When you think about yourself, you often think of what you are now.
But when you think of your business, think of what it could be. The trick is to think of yourself much the way you consider your business — as a growth vehicle.
When you catch yourself saying, “I always . . .” (such as “I always mess up when I talk in front of people”), know that you’re chiseling that negativity into stone.
It’s your job to expand your definition of yourself. To grow a business, grow yourself first. Bet on your becoming capable of positive change. Remember to consider this: “I’m not who I once was.”
Mastering the way you think is the first step toward success in any business. It’s a target that’s always moving and a goal that you may never fully reach. But trying to catch and turn these thoughts around is what drives entrepreneurs forward in their journey.