Starting a company is a stressful endeavor. In your first year as a new entrepreneur, you will face more challenges and obstacles than ever before. One of the biggest pitfalls for startup business owners is learning to manage stress effectively. This is a must, since statements like, “It’s too hard,” are what stop most people from achieving their goals.
In his book, Change Your Bloodline: A Renegade’s Guide to Building Empires, business and life coach Reza Mokhtarian of Kaizen Global shows that health and wealth work in lockstep to create a life worth living. When it comes to managing and even avoiding stress—all part of becoming a successful entrepreneur—he offers a three-step solution. “Once you have the right mindset,” he says, “everything will click into place.”
Read on to learn more.
Train Yourself to Think Positively by “Language-ing”
If you’ve been depressed, you know what it’s like to feel “off.” Getting up in the morning requires more effort than you can comfortably muster, and even when you do get up, you are forgetful and struggle with simple decisions.
Reza Mokhtarian—a Gulf War refugee-turned-millionaire and founder of Sky Venture Group—can relate. “I’ve been there many times,” he admits, “but I don’t stay there. I’ve learned that mindset is like a muscle, and just like a muscle, you can train it to get stronger.”
The first step is recognizing that stress, anxiety, and depression are emotional habits. “They are habits of your way of looking at life, of how you use your body, of the language you use to describe yourself and your situation.” The more you use a word, especially a negative one, the more likely you are to become that word. Thankfully, like all habits, these can be broken: “If you can train yourself to use language that reinforces positive mental states—success-driven mental states—you will become a vehicle for that success.”
This technique, called “language-ing,” is driven by the idea that subtle variations in the language we use make a tremendous difference in our attitude—how we feel about ourselves—and our attraction—how others feel about us. “By practicing this technique, you are consciously deciding to quit saying what you don’t want, and to start saying what you do want,” says Reza Mokhtarian.
Let’s take an example:
Perhaps you want to partner your startup company with an established one. Instead of asking, “What if they don’t respond?” say, “What if they do respond?” Rather than worrying “What if they say no?” ask instead, “What if they say yes?”
While the example is ham-fisted, his lesson is clear: “When you begin thinking and saying what you really want, then your mindset automatically shifts and pulls you in that direction.” And sometimes it can be that simple—just a little twist in vocabulary that adjusts your attitude and prevents you from slipping into negative thoughts.
“The truth,” Reza Mokhtarian says, “is that you have trained yourself to be frustrated. You’ve trained yourself to feel stressed and sad by doing it so often. The more you enact these habits, the more your brain becomes hardwired to respond to them.”
Elevate Your Expectations
Tony Robbins once said, “Life is a direct reflection of the standards you hold, both for yourself and for others.” Your profession, your appearance, your relationships, your finances—each is governed by the standards you hold them to.
One of the steepest curves in learning to break negative emotional habits, and to replace them with good ones, has to do with identifying and elevating your expectations. “In this life,” says Reza Mokhtarian, “we receive what we expect from ourselves and others. If we are willing to expect less than we deserve, we will receive less than we deserve. It’s that simple.”
“The difficulty,” he continues, “is in determining where your standards actually are—not where you would like them to be.”
Psychologists have long understood that self-assessments are unreliable. More often than not, people confuse “how they feel” with “how they would like to feel” and so cannot be trusted to provide accurate reports of their true beliefs.
“The only way around this dilemma is to analyze a person’s action—to know what they believe, we have to look at what they do.”
He gives the example of someone who consistently looks at her bank statement and says, “I really should save more,” even though she never does. “The reason she doesn’t,” he contends, “is because this person sees herself as a person who has never been able to save.”
Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way to change your standards. Becoming a person who saves is an internal shift that cannot be faked. “She might fake it for a while, but this won’t cause lasting change. Sooner or later, she’ll revert back to what her core beliefs truly are.”
Like all habit-breaking changes, the key is to identify the limiting belief that stands in the way of your goal, and then to rewrite it so that it reflects what you want it to be. Obviously, breaking the habit means consistently applying the alternative belief in everyday contexts.
Improve Your Mental Fitness
Ever heard the expression, “You are what you eat?”
You may not remember all the meals you’ve eaten, but believe it or not, they have each contributed to the person you are today. The same thing goes for the thoughts and experiences you have consumed over the course of your life. If you are what you eat, then you are also what you see, hear, and think about.
“Your whole life—the emotional space you inhabit—is a product of your thinking,” says Reza Mokhtarian. “So, if you want to effect real change, that change has to start with your thinking.”
His advice? Just as weight lifters must track what they put into their bodies, so maintaining an optimal level of “mental fitness” is a matter of tracking what you put into your mind. “You will need to become aware of your mental diet—the information and ideas you are feeding into your brain.” He recommends keeping a “Mental Fitness Journal” to track your patterns of consumption: “The idea is that once you become aware of these patterns, you can begin changing the ones that don’t work and reinforcing the ones that do.”
Reza Mokhtarian’s message is simple and uplifting: “Success is a decision. So, decide life is too short to feel like crap. Decide to live in a positive state for the rest of your life. That’s not to say that you won’t have bad days. Of course you will. I still have bad days. It just means, ‘I won’t stay there. I’m in control of my life. I can change.’ And you can too.”