Are You Playing to Win or Playing Not to Lose?

Are you playing offense or defense in your business?

Are you moving forward with confidence and clarity or hesitating because you’re feeling inadequate and overwhelmed? 

When we start our business, we’re focused on the future. We’re feeling good because we’re thinking about possibilities. We use our prefrontal cortex – the more evolved part of our brain – to set goals, weigh pros and cons, and make plans. We look for answers and focus on solutions.

Bigger Goals

But as we set bigger goals and our business grows, we run into obstacles. Even though this is a normal part of growth, we see these obstacles as setbacks or problems that shouldn’t be happening. This activates our brain’s primitive part, whose main function is to protect us from danger and risk.  

The primitive brain scans the environment for threats, activating our survival instinct, and overriding our prefrontal cortex. If we’re not aware that this is what’s happening, we go into react mode and become problem-focused and risk-averse.

Picture it like this: your prefrontal cortex is in the driver’s seat of the car; it’s created a plan and is taking you exactly where you want to go (creating a profitable business that doesn’t take all your time). 

Along the way, there are stoplights (like doubt or confusion) and even detours (results you don’t want), but your prefrontal cortex keeps going because it’s focused on the destination. But the primitive brain is in the passenger seat whispering in your ear the whole time: “You’re going the wrong way,” “You don’t know what you’re doing,” “This is taking too long.” 

You do your best to ignore it and keep moving forward, but when you reach a roadblock, it grabs the wheel and shouts, “This detour is a sign you should turn around!” It hijacks you. 

Your primitive brain thinks it’s keeping you safe.

But the rules it uses are outdated because the real danger in today’s world is staying the same. Don’t let go of the wheel. Thank your primitive brain for trying to protect you and recognize its warnings as remnants from an earlier time in our evolution. 

Which part of your brain has control of the wheel? Are you playing to win or playing not to lose?

Millions of dollars may be riding on your answer. 

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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