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UK Entrepreneur David Azzato on Keeping an Entrepreneur’s Mindset Through the Ups and Downs

david azzato in a green shirt in front of a large hedge outdoors

Being an entrepreneur sounds flashy, doesn’t it? To intrepidly chart your course, work for yourself and break through the mold to provide something unique to the market is the poster board image of an entrepreneur. However, the public rarely sees the winding road along the way, and the insight David Azzato can offer is more important now than ever before.

If you’re an entrepreneur, your path will likely be fraught with ups and downs, moments of delight and frustration, and periods of conviction and doubt. But one characteristic that is a constant for all entrepreneurs is their tenacity — entrepreneurs keep going.

Easier said than done, right? Let’s look at some of the ways to maintain an entrepreneurial mindset through any stage of business.

Revisit Your Roots

As your business grows, anything and everything pops up to get your attention. This new logo here, customer outreach there, product assessment, marketing, hiring — the list can go on and on.

However, for an entrepreneur to have the focus and fuel to realize the highest potential and go the long haul, they must answer: “Why?” Why are you providing this service? Why are you making this product? Why are you bringing this idea to the market? 

In other words, what is your motivation for doing what you’re doing?

As tasks, responsibilities and other facets of the business get your attention, it’s imperative to return to the “why” from time to time and assess whether you’re still in line with that motive. If you’re not, you have two choices. The first is to adjust your actions to realign with this motive, and the second is to tweak your motive.

Neither is wrong; finding your way back to the fire that got you started in the first place is great. However, redefining your motive as you’ve learned and grown in your business also makes a lot of sense. David Azzato says that whatever the case may be, articulating and focusing on why this entrepreneurial pursuit is important to you will help you maintain the clarity to trail blaze further.

Manage Your Time and Avoid the Busy Trap

The most crucial currency an entrepreneur has is time. With harnessed time, the entrepreneur can channel their creativity, ingenuity, and grit into bringing an idea to life. Without time, an idea stays an idea.

Therefore, take a look at how you’re spending your time. What takes up the most time? What area needs more time? Should you begin your workday earlier, or would it benefit you to start a little later?

Most importantly, where is your time being drained? Are you needlessly pouring time into non-essential tasks?

Entrepreneurs thrive on getting things done; however, sometimes, the things you’re getting done aren’t necessary. The jolt of accomplishment propels you to keep completing non-essential tasks, which leads to the busy trap — you’re caught in a cycle of “accomplishment” but ultimately not progressing.

Step back and see where your time is being allocated and how it can be optimized. A shift in time allotment may be the crucial adjustment that recalibrates your mindset and frees you to reach the next level.

Cultivate Optimism

There is a range of interpretations when it comes to the term “optimism.” Some people see optimism as naiveté, blinding an individual to the reality of a situation, particularly when challenges or difficult conditions are present.

This is not the optimism being referred to here. An entrepreneur should be realistic and honest with circumstances. However, an optimist is not defined by those adverse circumstances but instead will choose to look for a way through them.

In other words, a pessimist looks for the “cannots,” while an optimist looks for the “hows.”. David Azzato underlines how important it is to get out of this mindset.

Whatever the season, entrepreneurs benefit greatly from leaning into optimism. Rather than looking for why you can’t do something, harness the creativity and skill that got you this far. How can this obstacle benefit you and your business? How can you grow personally and professionally from it? What are some other options for going through or around this challenge?

Difficulties will arise and confront your resolve as an entrepreneur; an optimistic spirit will give you the energy to look for opportunity in any valley.

Finding the Adventure in the Job

When your new idea first struck, everything was a rush. Perhaps the business took off quicker than you could handle, and you felt excitement and energy as you had to catch up to it. The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well, and the flourishing of your idea felt like an adventure.

Then monotony may have set in. Best practices were established, processes were implemented, and routine became the norm. Where did the adventure go?

Well, it’s always there for you to uncover. The entrepreneur mindset is one of innovation, challenge, novelty, and discovery. Though the early, exciting days might be gone, it’s up to you if the most exciting days are yet to come.

Try new things and inspire team members to do the same. Cultivate an environment of sharing ideas. Encourage bending the rules — safely and ethically — and questioning the norms.

Being intentional about maintaining a workplace of adventure and possibility will help to fan the flames of entrepreneurship.

Radically Change One Thing

A company anchored by an entrepreneurial spirit is comfortable with discomfort and risk.

When you were first starting out, your path and terrain were relatively unknown. You had to take chances and become used to not knowing what would and wouldn’t work. You had to be nimble, learn and adapt — time and time again.

David Azzato also says that if you want to keep the fire of entrepreneurship burning, you have to keep discomfort and risk prevalent. So, today, radically change one thing. Banish meetings for a week. Add thirty minutes to everyone’s lunch break for the rest of the month. Commit to doing one good deed for one co-worker every day. Have an afternoon where everyone works together, but without computers or smartphones.

Shake things up, and make sure you feel a bit uncomfortable with the change. Maybe it will spark a feeling from “back in the day.”

Trust Someone Else’s Hands

One of the biggest risks you can take as an entrepreneur is to let go. You love to be in control and steer the ship, but an entrepreneur’s responsibility is to ensure the products and services are provided accurately and that customers are delighted. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is delegate an important task to someone else.

This can have a powerful effect on the business and your entrepreneur mindset. First off, your co-worker will hopefully be the best person for the job. You have your strengths, but so does everyone else. Ideally, you’ve surrounded yourself with people that compliment you and make the business better.

Secondly, this delegation fosters a collective entrepreneurial spirit. You’ve encouraged a team environment and challenged someone to rise to the occasion and try something new. This generates excitement and trust.

Lastly, you’ve encouraged an entrepreneurial mentality on a personal level. You’ve let go of the reins and thrown yourself into uncertainty.

Delegation is one of the most powerful entrepreneurial decisions you can make. In collaboration with the right people, your business can reach heights beyond the reach of just yourself, all while riding the exciting wave of the entrepreneur’s mindset.

Make Sure You’re in the Right Circles

You’ve heard it time and time again: you are the product of those with whom you spend your time. Whether you like it or not, the people who surround you have a very significant impact on who you are.

Spend your time with optimistic, dedicated, and encouraging people, and you’re more apt to be propelled towards positivity. Surround yourself with individuals who criticize, mope and find excuses and you’ll likely be limited in your growth.

Assessing and adjusting with whom you spend your time can have a massive effect on your entrepreneurial mindset. Maybe someone on your team is fixating on problems rather than opportunities. Have a conversation with that individual and see if they’d be willing to grow out of these energy-depleting habits. If they’re ultimately not a match for the positive environment you’re aiming to cultivate, it may be time to part ways.

This review of the people in your life goes beyond the workplace, according to Mr. Azzato. Maybe you need to set up healthy boundaries with certain family members. Perhaps a particular friendship is currently toxic and needs to be addressed.

Take a good, hard look at the circles in your life and emphasize those that lift you rather than those that bring you down.

Find a Mentor

Wherever you are in your enterprise, someone’s been there and done that. Sure, they didn’t have your exact set of circumstances, but they experienced something parallel and have accumulated knowledge and wisdom.

Search for mentors who can offer insight, guidance, and encouragement on your path. They may have the exact advice you need when facing a particular problem, or they might inspire you to proceed in a new direction.

An unbiased individual with a wealth of experience can help you grow and challenge you to maintain an entrepreneur’s spirit. When things come full circle, you may one day find that you’re the mentor to a burgeoning entrepreneur.

Take Inventory of Your Consumption

Everyday messages are competing for space in your mind, major entrepreneurs like David Azzato have to deal with an influx of messages every singe day. TV, movies, books, advertisements, social media, and music constantly tell us what to believe and how to be. Being wary of the messages you receive and cutting out those that don’t serve you can do wonders for your mindset.

What are you taking in regularly? How does what you consume make you feel? Are you being inspired, or is your spirit being dampened?

Take inventory of your consumption and isolate that which doesn’t build you up. Then, replace those negative sources with an encouraging book on entrepreneurship, an inspiring film, or an uplifting song.

Becoming cognizant and more selective about what enters your mind is one of the best things you can do to maintain an energetic entrepreneur mentality.

Take a Break

Sometimes the best thing you can do to refocus yourself is nothing. That is, choosing to do nothing. A deliberate break from the business or your routine can do wonders for your mindset. Rest is critical for your health and, therefore, your enterprise’s health.

Now, rest can take many forms. Sufficient sleep should always be a top priority for you, so if you’re sleep-deprived, re-energize by sleeping first. Rest can also be going for a walk, taking a vacation, watching a favorite television show, having tea with a friend, or anything else that gives you a genuine boost.

Make sure to take breaks to re-charge so you can give it your all when in business mode.

Double Down on Focusing

We live in a world replete with distractions. There are e-mails, texts, calls, social media, and broadcast media, but there’s also the wandering mind wondering what the rest of the world is doing. Specifically, what someone else in your field is doing.

Competition within reason is a good thing, but envy and boasting only hold you back. When your mindset shifts to the activity of others in a way that hinders your success, double down on focus. Turn off notifications, delete certain apps, and set other boundaries to dedicate yourself without distractions to a task. This can be for a few hours or for a much longer duration of time.

Rarely do people dive into a project and remain there, attention undivided, for a lengthy period. If you’ve been struggling with keeping an entrepreneurial mindset lately, try radically turning off all the noise and focus intently on your goals.

Care for Your Body

This may perhaps be the simplest point in this article, yet for many, one of the most difficult ones to implement.

The mind and the body are inextricably linked. If you’re eating well, exercising regularly, and getting sufficient sleep, your mind is given its best opportunity to think clearly and calmly. With a poised mind, you’re able to be creative, nimble, and focused on your entrepreneurial pursuits.

Conversely, if you’re eating junk food, rarely being physically active, and are consistently sleep-deprived, you are significantly keeping your brain from operating at an optimal level. You may be sluggish, sleepy, and unfocused, leading to a lack of motivation and inspiration.

Changing how you treat your body may be the one adjustment in your life that will make all the difference. Cut back on alcohol. Walk thirty minutes a day. Double your consumption of vegetables. Commit to eight hours of sleep a night.

Take caring for your body seriously. You may be surprised how much easier it is to nurture an entrepreneur’s mindset when you’re supporting the brilliant machine that is your body.

Know When to Chart a New Course

You are not your business. You are not one idea, one venture, or one pursuit. An entrepreneur is an innovator and a seeker, characterized by trying new things and charging forward into unknown terrain. David Azzato says this is one of the most important things for emerging entrepreneurs to learn.

If you decide that you’ve arrived at the end of the road for a particular project, leave it behind. Learn from the experience, chart a new course, and progress. The entrepreneur’s mindset is not found within any success or failure. It’s found within every step forward you take.

So pick a direction and keep on keepin’ on.

Share Your Experiences

Ideas and businesses come and go, but you as an entrepreneur remain. Whether you’re just starting or have been retired for years, sharing your experiences with others keeps the entrepreneur mentality at the forefront.

As you articulate your experiences to others, you’ll reflect on how you navigated your course and gain new insights. Others will have questions for you and want to share their experiences as well. These conversations encourage you to dive into the ups and downs of each other’s unique entrepreneurial paths. You may even be inspired to embark on a new adventure.

The entrepreneur’s mindset is alive, well, and vibrant in today’s world. If you ever doubt that, just find another entrepreneur to talk to.