Are You Focused on the Future or on Survival?

Imagine you’re going for a drive with your brain. The neocortex is in the driver’s seat. It has a plan and a destination: creating a profitable and scalable business that you love owning. ⁠

However, your limbic system, the oldest part of the brain, is in the passenger seat whispering in your ear: “You don’t know what you’re doing,” “This is taking too long,” and “It’ll never work.”⁠

You do your best to ignore it, you’re an entrepreneur, after all.

But each time you hit a red light (aka a “problem”) it shouts, “This is a sign you should turn around!” ⁠

Like when the bank balance is low and the pipeline is empty.

Or when your best employee quits and starts a competing company.

Or when you realize you have to re-engineer your solution from scratch.

Daniel Goleman, of “Emotional Intelligence” fame, describes what happens as an “amygdala hijack.”

It’s when the part of your brain responsible for your survival overtakes your cognitive functions and you literally can’t think clearly.

You’ll want to retreat into safety.⁠

So you won’t want to invest in the technology to scale. You’ll hesitate to turn your services into products. You’ll decide not to hire that talented COO. You’ll keep doing custom projects billed by the hour. ⁠

Your old brain thinks it’s keeping you safe. ⁠

But its rules are outdated because the real danger today is staying the same. ⁠

When you start your business, you’re focused on the future. You set goals, take risks, and make plans. ⁠

You’re playing offense.⁠

But as your business grows and you set bigger goals, you run into obstacles. ⁠

This is normal.⁠ ⁠

But you think these obstacles shouldn’t be happening. You label them as “problems.”

You start playing defense.⁠

Do this instead:

✅ Thank your old brain for trying to protect you, and put your neocortex to work to overcome the obstacles. That’s one of its superpowers.

✅ Separate the facts of the situation from the stories. I recommend writing them down.

For example:

Fact = Employee started a business.

Story = They’re going to steal my clients, we’ll lose money, maybe they’ll steal my employees next.

It’s the stories that will trigger you. Feed your neocortex the facts instead and let it work.

Throughout your day, notice whether you’re feeling anxious, stressed and overwhelmed, or clear, calm and focused.

It all depends on which part of your brain has control of the wheel. ⁠

Remember when you used to LOVE your business? Find out how to leverage your brain and manage your mind in my bestselling book, Loving Your Business. Separate your identity from your business and turn it into a scalable asset that can run without you. That’s a business you’ll love – and other people will too. Get the first chapter here!

 

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