How to Cultivate and Sustain an Entrepreneurial Mindset After a Setback

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As an entrepreneur, you will face multiple setbacks along your journey. The key to success is maintaining a healthy mindset that will guide you to a better future. Here are four ways to ensure your mindset stays strong during times of disappointment.

By Manish Dudharejia

The life of an entrepreneur is certainly one full of risks. Some risks pay off, sadly, many don’t. Whether it’s a bad investment, poor partnership decision or a total business flop, a setback can be traumatizing to the entrepreneur who dreams of success.

Setbacks can have a devastating effect on many entrepreneurs, which can lead to health issues like depression and anxiety, conditions that 56 percent of entrepreneurs and business founders possess.

More likely than not, you will face failures and make mistakes during your time as an entrepreneur. However, whether or not these hold you back is purely up to you. Maintaining a healthy, positive entrepreneurial mindset is essential for building a business that succeeds.

If you’ve experienced a devastating setback, or just want to prepare for what lies ahead, here are four steps you can take today to ensure your mindset stays strong during times of disappointment.

1. Avoid isolation and pursue community.
Failing is not just disappointing; it can be embarrassing. It bruises your ego and forces you to see the mistakes you made. It can be easy to take a step back and hide after a major setback to avoid talking about your failure. However, rather than pulling away from people, instead, reach out for support and guidance from others.

If you haven’t already, connect with a mentor for advice. Of course, finding a mentor who is able and willing to help is easier said than done. However, some websites and resources are available to connect you with the expert advice you need, such as Business.com’s network of experts and sites like MentorNet that match you with a virtual mentor based on your personality and business experience.

Reach out to others within your community for more personal connections. Check whether your city hosts any meetups for business owners, startups or entrepreneurs like yourself. Check out conferences and expos. While it may be difficult at first, fighting the urge to withdraw is how you grow and expand your expertise.

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2. Stay constantly inspired.
Though he wasn’t an entrepreneur in the traditional sense, American author and social activist Jack London wisely said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Moving on from a past mistake or setback requires you to cultivate a new mindset. Recall why you started down the entrepreneurial path in the first place. While you may not have lost your passion for your product or industry, chances are that some of that inspiration has dwindled. It is up to you to rekindle it.

There are many ways to spark that fire again and help you get back on track. Listen to entrepreneurial podcasts that tell the stories of today’s biggest names in business and how they struggled and succeeded. Read books on business, watch documentaries, or study your passion professionally through online courses. Find creative ways to stay motivated and inspired. Who knows, it may help you discover your next great idea.

3. Find your passion apart from business.
While your company may be your baby, it is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout. After a setback, focusing on something that brings you joy can help you maintain a healthy mindset. In fact, having a hobby has been scientifically proven to help support mental health.

Additionally, you should not define yourself by your business. That is a surefire recipe for disaster, especially when a tragic setback occurs. Instead, connect with the things outside of your business that make you feel happy, inspired, strong, creative or whatever floats your boat.

4. Treat it like an emotional setback.
Losing someone or something that is important is a devastating experience. When people lose a loved one, go through a divorce, or even end a close friendship, they often turn to treatments, like therapy, to deal with their heartbreak. Losing a business can be just as difficult to deal with emotionally, so don’t be afraid to try these strategies either.
Even something as simple as writing out your story can be extremely helpful for working your way through your setback.

One study reported that people who journaled were able to release negative emotions. The act of writing out your thoughts reduces activity in the amygdala in the brain, which controls the intensity of emotions. By journaling, you can physically affect your outlook and maintain that entrepreneurial mindset.

There is no shame in reaching out to others to deal with disappointment, such as talking to a therapist or trying meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Again, it’s about finding what works for you. Sometimes staying busy helps you deal with setbacks, but other times, quieting your mind and relaxing can help, too.

Conclusion
As Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Remember, no matter how dire the setback may seem at the moment, it is not permanent. Anyone who has ever built an empire has survived failure in some form or another. Learn what you can from it, and make the most of the experience by reaching out, rekindling your passion and inspiration, and finding the things that work best for you to stay positive.

As an entrepreneur, you will face multiple setbacks along the journey. Know that the key to staying successful is maintaining a healthy mindset that will guide you to a better future.

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