Change is inevitable. Accepting it–and learning to anticipate it–is not, and understanding that is a major mental hurdle for entrepreneurs as their businesses, customers and market shift over time.
But you can actually train your brain to get better at handling change through some simple mental exercises, from imagining your company’s demise to learning how to meditate. It’s not always pleasant, but it is possible. Here, 12 entrepreneurs from YEC share their favorite ways to force a mindset shift.
1. Learn to meditate.
Your mindset is a muscle that can be strengthened and improved upon. One way to improve your mindset and embrace change in your life is to learn the exercise of meditation. Materials to help you ‘work out’ this muscle include books like Dan Harris’ 10% Happier, or apps like Headspace, which walks you through a great beginner meditation commitment of just 10 minutes a day for 10 days.–Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
2. Make personal development a priority for yourself.
Taking the time to work on your own development can be incredibly challenging as an entrepreneur. But, it is the only way to embrace change and manage the inevitable stress and ups and downs that come with growing a company. Whether it is mediating, yoga, a spiritual practice or just self-inquiry, intention about your own growth and path will let you learn to embrace change.–Jennifer Benz, Benz Communications
3. Retrain your brain by noticing 3 positive changes per day.
Create a practice of noticing three changes a day that had a positive effect on people’s ability to do business: email vs. mailing correspondence, rotary phones vs. Skype calls with your remote employee in another country, etc. By making the effort to recognize the positive effects of change for business, you’ll retrain your brain to see change as an opportunity for growth.–Jared Brown, Hubstaff
4. Write your post-mortem.
There’s nothing more effective to generating change than thinking about your company’s eventual demise. Take a look at your business and think about what would happen in six months or one year if you were stagnant. Put on your competitors’ hat and think about what they would do to beat you. Once your realize your own company’s mortality, you’ll quickly embrace change!–Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
5. Focus on your long-term vision.
Change is often uncomfortable, but it’s necessary if you want your business to grow. You must embrace this fact and look beyond the present conditions to your long-term goals and vision.–Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
6. Imagine the inevitable.
Keep in mind that almost every product in history is eventually obsolete, at least in its original form. As a thought experiment, try to imagine how and why your own business will become outdated. Who or what is likely to make it obsolete? By coming up with answers to this question, you can position yourself to make these innovations rather than having your competitors do it at your expense.–Shawn Porat, Fortune Cookie Advertising
7. Do the dirty work yourself.
Work other positions at your business. Specifically, take on the job everyone in the company hates doing. That’s going to get your mind ready to approach the business from a different point of view. Then you will be set to start changing your company for the better.–Kumar Arora, Aroridex, Ltd.
8. Listen to trusted outside perspectives.
Build your high-level team. Hire a CEO so you can step back into a presidential role. This forces you to be more open about changes because the CEO has their own ideas to grow the company. And they’ll have ultimate decision-making power to make changes and lead you out of the “mental quicksand.” If you’re unwilling to do this, then form an advisory board you will allow to override you by vote.–Joshua Lee, StandOut Authority
9. Accept that change will happen with or without you.
Accept three things: life is short, time is precious, and your ego is always in need of a shot of humility. Every idea has a life and an evolution. Change is a natural and a necessary part of that evolutionary cycle. The change will happen with or without you, so don’t get in your own way. –Souny West, CHiC Capital
10. Hire more women.
Hire more women. A recent study found that groups with more women than men outperformed groups with more men. In fact, the mere presence of a woman increased the output of a group even if that woman was not in a leadership position. Women think about problems more holistically and are more collaborative problem solvers. These are the kind of qualities you need on your team when embracing change.–Jeff Denby, PACT Apparel
11. Make yourself vulnerable to others.
As our business evolve, it is the path of least resistance, but not always the best path, to form anything new based only on our current understandings and skill sets. Being in a position of power, others get dragged into our processes. But if we make ourselves vulnerable to accepting the thoughts of others, we may not only positively shift our mindset but also become better leaders.–Ken Cauley, Advanced Media
12. Eliminate your ‘sunk costs’ mindset.
The more time and effort you’ve invested in something, the more likely you are to stay attached to it–even if pivoting or walking away is the sounder choice. Don’t let the fear of losing what you’ve invested guide your decision making. Think rationally about the rewards of continuing down a path or forging a new one.–Heather Schwarz-Lopes, EarlyShares