by John Swanson, CEO of Wendell and founder of the Online Coach Revolution program

Today’s schools don’t teach mindsets. And yet, more and more people today want to be entrepreneurs, a field in which the right mindset can make all the difference. In fact, without the right mindset, many a venture will be doomed to fail.

Developing a healthy mindset is key, but it’s definitely easier said than done. So how can entrepreneurs and business owners cultivate a healthy mindset that will ensure their success in business and in life?

Defining Mindset

A mindset is the frame through which you look at the world. In a healthy entrepreneur’s mindset, a temporary setback that isn’t fatal to your business is not the end of the world. You can still see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Unfortunately, cultivating that kind of mindset isn’t always easy. There are hurdles. When those hurdles arise – and there’s no doubt they will – confront them with the three Rs:

  • Reflection: What have you done in your past that led to success? What led to failure? What was the difference in mindset or circumstances that served as the key differentiator?
  • Revolution: Is there anything you can mine from your worst failures and turn them around to build success instead? There is likely at least one small success in your biggest failure, and if you can find that, you can focus on replicating and building that success, rather than drowning in your failures.
  • Revelation: Your own mindset is your biggest competition. How can you revolutionize the way you think? What assumptions have you held in the past that held you back, and how can you reverse them? What does that look like in your own life?

Creating a Positive Feedback Loop

Even the world’s most elite golfers still employ coaches to help them with their swing: they can’t see themselves, and video just doesn’t cut it. This level of self-awareness is crucial when it comes to cultivating a mindset that leads to success.

There are several key steps in constructing a positive feedback loop that feeds on itself:

  • Set the goal or system for the desired outcome
  • Determine the activity that will create the desired outcome
  • Measure that activity, as well as its outcomes
  • If you failed, what new data can you bring to the next goal?

Think of it this way: if someone were to ask you to look at a picture and find all the examples of the color blue, you could probably identify plenty. But when they ask you to point out how much brown was in the picture instead, you’re stumped. Why?

Because a self-reinforcing feedback loop begins with a goal in mind. Because when you start setting goals and asking the right questions — how to get your desired outcome — you’ll train yourself to look for the solutions.

Create a “Success Mindset” Culture

The role of entrepreneurs does not occur in a vacuum. You have teams. You have contractors. You have colleagues. You have clients. In short, the culture you surround yourself with will define your success. So it helps to know how to create a powerful one. Here are some of the most powerful ways I’ve observed to create a healthy mindset culture:

  • Own it. Own your outcomes. Admit when a campaign fails. When you take responsibility, that gives you clarity. What are the next steps? What can you do better next time? Ownership mentality replaces victim mentality and keeps you in a vital, proactive role.
  • Don’t look for external acceptance. External acceptance is great and all. But what if “keeping up with the Joneses” is completely antithetical to your goals? A good organization builds from a foundation of inner values.
  • Anything is possible. Why do you wake up in the morning? Because today is the day that could change everything. Take on an attitude of looking for success, and your organization will be much more likely to find it.

Your biggest competition is only you, and as long as you remember that, your mindset is already halfway to where it needs to be. Mindset and productivity have nothing to do with the outside world. They are completely encapsulated in the distance between your ears.

An entrepreneur understands that the only battlefield in business is the one that happens there. Make sure you win.


John Swanson is the CEO of Wendell, a coaching company that focuses in the area of mindset and health for entrepreneurs. Previously, John was a professional athlete and the former CEO of Granite Games, Fast Factory Fitness and Factory Forged.