Empowering Habits for Entrepreneurs
By Devon Ryan, a founder of Lion Mobile.
The life of an entrepreneur includes a significantly greater amount of chaos and noise than the average person. For that reason alone, it’s vital for entrepreneurs to foster habits to enable them to get through the disorder and madness that arises with entrepreneurship.
According to Celestine Chua, life coach and founder of Personal Excellence, the purpose of habits is to have a set of activities you repeat every day to give your life a sense of structure and stability. That way, you do not wake up every day wondering what you should do next. The objective of a habit is progress – to help you get the best out of your daily life. With all the distractions in the world today, stability and structure are becoming rare. It’s easier than ever to become unfocused because we are surrounded by distractions and noise. Breaking news, social media notifications and text messages are buzzing in our pockets every day. Therefore, habits are more critical than ever to move forward our lives.
The aim of an empowering habit is one where you make huge strides towards your goals. This means you can focus on doing what you planned in your weekly schedule, and you will be significantly closer to realizing your aspirations. The entrepreneur must foster empowering habits and avoid stagnant habits.
Stagnant habits on the other hand are those that waste time and energy. Most people have stagnant habits. For example, random channel surfing, impulsively checking social media notifications, and poor eating choices are all stagnant habits that waste time and energy and do not get you any closer to achieving your goals.
Here are some signs that should let you know it’s time for a change in your habits:
- You feel uninspired
- You are wondering what you should do with your time
- You feel busy, but you don’t know what you accomplished
The entrepreneur does not have the luxury of time on his side. To feel uninspired means death to his young business. Imagine you are a parent of a newborn infant. Being uninspired to take care of the infant is not an option. This also applies to entrepreneurship except the infant is a business venture not a human. Consequently, entrepreneurs must have powerful habits in practice before they even begin a new venture. Here are three powerful habits that will help guide you in life whether you are an entrepreneur or not.
Powerful Habit #1 – Bring in New Voices
New voices bring in new ideas and perspectives. When we work with the same group of people for a long period of time, we eventually hear the same approaches to new problems, but new problems call for new approaches. Therefore, the entrepreneur must have a habit for bringing new voices into his or her organization
Attending new events and conferences will expose you to new voices. Travel frequently? Instead of waiting in silence at the gate, talk to somebody. You never know what new perspective they might expose you to. They could even introduce you to key new voices that could open up many new doors for you and your business.
Powerful Habit #2 – Ask New Questions
New questions bring to light new answers. What new questions do you ask yourself every day, week, or month? Asking and answering questions stimulates critical thinking and draws out ideas and underlying presumptions. The entrepreneur must be a great problem solver; therefore, critical thinking skills are mandatory.
As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” so learning new material will bring to surface new questions. Read new books or attend new events that have informational sessions to rev up your critical thinking abilities.
Powerful Habit #3 – New Environments
Sometimes we ask the same questions or think the same way because the environment we are in when we ask them is the same. For instance, I have a habit of writing in the mornings, but sometimes my writing becomes dull. As a result, I start checking my social media (stagnant habit) which indicates that I need a change. How can I break this before my stagnant habit of checking social media intensifies? I change my environment by either going to a different location altogether, like a coffee shop.
Ancient Greek scholar, Archimedes, was tasked to uncover whether or not a goldsmith tricked the King of Sicily. The King was suspicious that the goldsmith didn’t provide him with a pure gold crown. Archimedes racked his brain to no avail. He was under a great deal of pressure by the King. The King would have his head if he didn’t successfully uncover if the crown was pure gold or not.
Then, one day while taking a bath Archimedes noticed that water spilled out of the bath as he placed his body in it. This is when he realized that by measuring the amount of water his body displaced, he could measure his body’s volume. With this insight he devised an experiment. He would place gold bars in a bath and measure the displacement. Then, he would take the gold bars out of the bath and place the crown in it. If the crown caused spillage when placed in bath of water he would conclude the crown was not pure gold and that there was another less dense substance, silver, mixed with it. This is when he famously yelled “Eureka!” He conducted the experiment and found out that the King’s intuition was accurate. The crown was found not to be pure gold.
The solution did not come to him in his study or laboratory, but while in his bath. He changed his environment and was able to keep his head.
Entrepreneurs are tasked with solving problems just like Archimedes was. Similarly, the end result could mean death for the entrepreneur if the solution isn’t met in time. Therefore, the entrepreneur must instinctively plunge himself in new environments all the time. Attending new conferences and meetups are some examples.
Remove activities that deplete you, and add activities that empower you. Being conscientious in order to distinguish between activities that deplete you and activities that empower you requires energy. Successful entrepreneurs know this, and habitually filter out futile activities with little or no effort.
Equip yourself with these powerful habits. When you feel stuck, lost, or down right discouraged, just leverage the 3 empowering habits outlined above, and you’ll be on your way.
Devon Ryan, a founder of Lion Mobile, a mobile app development company in Austin, Texas, represents the IEEE Young Professionals group on the IEEE-USA board of directors. Follow him on Twitter: @DevonRyanI.