A Roadmap to an Entrepreneurial Growth Mindset: Interview With Emily Guerra

A roadmap to an entrepreneurial growth mindset

In this deep-dive interview, productivity coach Emily Guerra shares practical advice to help entrepreneurs develop and maintain a growth mindset. This interview is packed with tips and details that you can start implementing right away, although, as Emily mentions, mastering your mindset is a process that takes time. Emily provides so much insight and value that this is basically a mini course.

👇 Key Takeaways

  • Emily shares the warning signs that you’re struggling with your mindset
  • She believes visualization is the most underutilized superpower our brains possess
  • Failure is not a reflection of your worth as a person but an essential part of the entrepreneurial process.


Business Name: The Productivity Flow
Website URL: https://theproductivityflow.com/
Founder: Emily Guerra
Business Location: Online (US)
Year Started: 2021

Tell us about yourself and your business.

Growing up, I didn’t know I had ADHD. I wasn’t actually diagnosed until after I graduated from college, so I went through my whole adolescent journey without knowing that I needed ADHD medication. In elementary and middle school, I was a C student – even though I studied hours longer than everyone else. Besides always feeling disappointed in myself, being raised by a college professor and a historic tour guide amped up the pressure to do better, to be better.

Thankfully, I also started going to therapy in middle school. My therapist helped me realize that I was more than capable, that I just had to switch up the way I was doing things. I learned that it was actually pretty normal to feel mentally disorganized, to lack focus, and to yearn for control. My therapist taught me that it wasn’t about removing those hurdles but about learning how to jump those hurdles with more grace. 

So in order to stay organized, focused, and in control, I began creating productivity systems in every part of my life – although, at the time, I had no clue that’s what I was doing. All I knew was that I needed a way to flow through life with more ease – without feeling dumb, exerting extra energy, or having a breakdown. So, for instance, I created a color coding system for my class notes that I’ve now adjusted for my entrepreneurial life, and created a closet organizing system that I still use today.

My productivity systems became my ADHD medication when I didn’t have any. And I haven’t stopped using them to this day. In fact, I’ve just added more!

Now, let’s fast-forward. In 2020, I graduated from college right into the pandemic. Since I lost my post-grad jobs, I at first just waited for the lockdown to end. And waited, and waited, and waited. Three months later, I decided to freelance social media services to start making money and move into my own place. Through word of mouth, I pretty soon had several consistent clients, most of whom were entrepreneurs.

It was working with my freelance clients that I realized very few entrepreneurs have real work-life balance. There are, of course, endless reasons why this could be, but I noticed that a big reason is that none of my clients had enough productivity systems in place to streamline processes and organize themselves. They weren’t too worried about efficiency and effectiveness, but more about quantity and output. Their overwhelm, lack of prioritization, lack of vision, unproductive habits, and negative self-talk led to constantly rushing to get it all done in less time.

It reminded me of how I used to be before I started using my productivity systems. So, I started coaching my freelance clients on creating systems and overcoming different mindset hurdles so they could act productively day in and day out. I became incredibly passionate about linking productivity with mental health and helping others improve both. When one of my biggest clients suggested I create a productivity coaching business, it felt like a no-brainer.

So, in December 2022, The Productivity Flow (TPF) was born. Ever since I’ve been coaching self-employed women in overcoming mindset hurdles and optimizing systems so they can boost productivity and achieve the work-from-home lifestyle they dream of. I have two long-term coaching programs, plus a renewable monthly productivity package for those short-term goals. I also write blogs, offer free productivity tools, have an online course, and speak at events and remote/hybrid companies about having a productive mindset.

Implementing productivity systems and focusing on my mindset has completely changed my life. Now, I’m dedicated to helping self-employed women like me improve their lives, too.

The Productivity Flow website

Can you explain what a growth mindset is, and why it’s particularly important for entrepreneurs?

Back in the day, the world used to believe that the brain and the way you think couldn’t change. But then came along Carol Dweck. In 2006, she coined the term “growth mindset” in her revolutionary book Mindset which was based on research she began in the ’70s. The official definition, according to Dweck, is “the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others” (Dweck, 7, 2016).

But let’s dig a little deeper.

Having a growth mindset means that you believe your abilities, intelligence, and talents can, in fact, be developed and improved with some dedication, hard work, and learning. It means that you view challenges as opportunities for growth, and setbacks or failures as valuable lessons. In essence, it’s knowing that you can change and grow as long as you apply yourself.

Now Dweck also coined the term “fixed mindset,” which basically means the opposite. A fixed mindset leads you to believe that your abilities, intelligence, and talents are innate, unchangeable, and forever the same. People with a fixed mindset tend to avoid challenges, give up easily in the face of obstacles, and see failure as a reflection of their inherent limitations.

But being an entrepreneur in and of itself is a challenge. We have to face so many obstacles that if we saw every obstacle as a reason to give up, we’d never keep going. And if we believe that we’re limited, then we’ll never even try.

So why is it so important for entrepreneurs to have a growth mindset? Well, there are really 5 main reasons:

1. Resilience

As I mentioned, entrepreneurship itself is inherently challenging, and setbacks and failures are simply a part of the game. However, believing that a challenge is just a lesson belittles the challenge a bit, making it less scary to tackle. So a growth mindset helps us entrepreneurs feel confident that we can bounce back from failures, learn from our mistakes, and persist in the face of obstacles.

2. Building resilient teams

Entrepreneurs often lead teams, whether a team of 100 or of 1 (like a virtual assistant). If the entrepreneur in charge can act with resilience, then they foster a culture of resilience. Our growth mindset can serve as an example, and lead our team to greater success, creativity, and collaboration. After all, team members who believe in their ability to grow and develop are more likely to take on new challenges and make positive contributions.

3. Innovation

Entrepreneurship can require a lot of experimentation, so it’s essential for entrepreneurs to embrace the ups and downs of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. We have to be open to trying new approaches and adapting to changing circumstances since that’s truly the only way we’ll be successful in such dynamic and competitive markets.

4. Continuous learning

Being a successful entrepreneur means constantly learning and adapting to stay ahead in rapidly evolving industries. A growth mindset empowers entrepreneurs to seek out new knowledge, skills, and perspectives since we’re confident in our ability to learn, grow, and move forward.

5. Embracing feedback

Feedback is truly crucial for personal and professional growth, but especially in entrepreneurship. Why? Well, working for yourself means that you have to put yourself out there to find out if you’re on the right track. Entrepreneurs with a growth mindset are more receptive to feedback, seeing it as an opportunity for improvement rather than a criticism of their abilities. We seek advice and run with it.

Emily Guerra head shot
Photo courtesy of Emily Guerra

What are some of the warning signs of mindset issues?

Struggling with your mindset can manifest itself in dozens of different ways, but most commonly, struggles stem from a fixed mindset. Remember, a fixed mindset is the belief that you cannot change, and that you’re always the same. Usually if you see signs of a fixed mindset in your personal life, you’ll also see that fixed mindset pop up in your professional life, too. 

So here are 10 common signs that you’re struggling with your mindset:

1. Lack of adaptability

If you have a fixed mindset, you may struggle to adapt to new situations or changes. Why? Because change means uncertainty. You’ll get overwhelmed by the unknown and find it challenging to cope with unexpected challenges or setbacks. So you may find yourself clinging to familiar routines or habits, even if they no longer serve you well. You may also feel anxious or threatened by new opportunities or challenges.

2. Fixed beliefs

Don’t forget that having a fixed mindset leads to rigid beliefs about your abilities, talents, and/or the world around you. So you might believe that nothing around you can change, that circumstances are fixed, and that effort or learning won’t do you any good. 

3. Negative self-talk

If you struggle with your mindset, then you probably engage in negative self-talk. Do you find yourself constantly doubting your abilities or criticizing yourself harshly? When you consistently focus on your shortcomings or failures, you’ll end up with a pessimistic outlook on life.

4. Fear of failure

If you avoid taking risks or pursuing your goals because you’re afraid of making mistakes or being judged by others, then you fear failure itself. Since this fear prevents you from moving forward, you hinder your personal growth and limit your opportunities for success.

5. Perfectionism

A perfectionist mindset can lead to feelings of inadequacy and constant dissatisfaction. Why? Well, setting unrealistically high standards for yourself and becoming overly critical when you fail to meet these standards creates a negative feedback loop that tells you you’re not good enough.

6. Limited view of success

Oftentimes, a fixed mindset can lead to a narrow definition of success, equating it solely with external achievements or material possessions. This means that you may overlook the importance of personal growth, fulfillment, and well-being in your pursuit of “success.”

7. Stagnation

Ever feel stuck in your current circumstances or routine? Then you’re feeling a sense of stagnation. You may resist opportunities for growth or development, preferring to remain in your comfort zone rather than embracing change and new experiences. This reluctance to venture beyond familiar territory can hinder personal and professional growth, especially over time.

8. Avoidance of feedback

If you have a fixed mindset, then you’re probably reluctant to seek or accept feedback from others. That’s because you might perceive feedback as criticism or a threat to your self-esteem, rather than as the valuable source of learning and growth that it really is.

9. Blaming others

Instead of taking accountability for your own actions, decisions, and results, a fixed mindset leads you to blame others or external circumstances for your problems or failures. This external locus of control can prevent you from taking proactive steps to improve your situation.

10. Lack of resilience

Finally, a fixed mindset can undermine resilience—aka the ability to bounce back from adversity or setbacks. If you feel overwhelmed by challenges, you could struggle to persevere in the face of adversity since you’re focusing on what’s lacking instead of what could be.

I always say that awareness is power. Recognizing these signs of a fixed mindset is the first step toward addressing self-sabotage and fostering a healthier, more adaptive mindset that promotes personal growth and well-being for both yourself and your business.

In your experience, what are some common mindset hurdles that entrepreneurs face, and how can they overcome them?

As I’ve built my own productivity coaching business for self-employed women, the overarching mindset hurdle that we all face is overcoming self-limiting beliefs. These beliefs can manifest themselves in an endless amount of ways, but I’ve noticed that they most commonly stem from:

1. Fear of failure

Many entrepreneurs (myself included) grapple with the idea of our businesses failing. As I mentioned earlier, this fear, even if not rooted in reality, can hold us back from taking the necessary risks and pursuing our big goals. 

So to overcome this hurdle, it’s important to reframe failure as a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey and an opportunity for growth and learning. This is also why embracing a growth mindset can help entrepreneurs view setbacks as valuable lessons rather than insurmountable obstacles. Because let’s be real: not everything is going to work out. But does that mean you quit?

2. Fear of success

A fear of failure is brought up a lot, but there’s also this notion of being fearful of what’s to come if we actually do succeed. This fear of success stems from concerns about the increased responsibilities, visibility, and expectations that come with achieving success.

To overcome this hurdle, it’s essential to identify and challenge any underlying beliefs or self-limiting thoughts that may be holding you back. Don’t forget that success just means there’ll be new things to handle, which you’re more than capable of handling. Cultivating a growth mindset can help you embrace the opportunities and challenges that come with success, viewing them as valuable learning experiences rather than overwhelming burdens. 

Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of mentors, peers, and advisors can also provide guidance and encouragement as you navigate the journey toward success. Additionally, setting realistic goals and breaking them down into manageable steps can help alleviate feelings of overwhelm and empower you to take proactive action toward your aspirations, boosting your sense of control.

3. Self-doubt

Entrepreneurship can be a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, leading to moments of (sometimes very intense) self-doubt. This is why building self-confidence and resilience is key to overcoming this hurdle. How do you do that, though? Through small, daily actions. For instance, write down daily affirmations (“I am” statements) that boost your self-worth, such as “I am capable” or “I am stronger than overwhelm.” Plus, whenever you feel doubt creeping in, replace it with curiosity instead. Our brains naturally begin answering questions, which helps shift your focus from the doubt to how to move forward.

Additionally, practicing self-care and mindfulness techniques can help manage stress and boost mental well-being. I personally start every workday with a meditation and journaling session to set myself up for success all day long. And lastly, during moments of self-doubt, look at the facts. What evidence proves that this is just your self-limiting beliefs talking? What experiences can help you believe that you have no reason to be doubtful? Focus on the proof, not the self-imposed limitations.

4. Perfectionism

Perfectionism has been a major roadblock for me and many other entrepreneurs. When we expect the unrealistic, we end up disappointed in both ourselves and the situation. As a result, we find ourselves procrastinating, burning out, and missing opportunities. 

So overcoming perfectionism involves setting realistic goals, prioritizing tasks, and taking imperfect action rather than waiting for everything to be perfect. After all, “perfect” doesn’t actually exist, so we’re chasing something we’ll never get. Embracing the concept of “done is better than perfect” can help us entrepreneurs move forward and improve our ideas over time, which is ten times more effective than getting lost in the details.

I personally set a timer before I begin the task and commit to getting as much done as I can before the timer is up. If it’s 80% done, then I do my best to consider it done. If I feel like editing even more, I ask myself if making more edits will change the outcome, and if it doesn’t, then I let it go and move on.

5. Lack of focus

With so many demands and distractions vying for our attention, we may struggle to maintain focus on our most important goals and priorities. Developing clarity around your vision and values can help you stay aligned with your long-term objectives.

Setting specific, measurable, and achievable quarterly goals can also provide a roadmap for staying focused and productive all year long. Additionally, practicing mindfulness techniques (such as meditation) and time blocking can help cultivate mental discipline and concentration so you can focus better in the moment, too.

Many entrepreneurs struggle with imposter syndrome. How does imposter syndrome relate to mindset, and what advice do you have for overcoming it?

Impostor syndrome is deeply rooted in our mindset and is probably the most common self-limiting belief that entrepreneurs face (I know I do!). It occurs when you doubt your skills, talents, or accomplishments and fear being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of your competence and success.

So how does impostor syndrome relate to our mindset? Well, there are 3 main correlations:

1. A fixed mindset

Imposter syndrome often thrives in a fixed mindset. When you doubt your abilities, you think they’re innate and unchangeable. You may attribute your successes to luck or external factors rather than your own efforts, exacerbating your feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

2. Negative self-talk

As I know from personal experience, imposter syndrome develops the tendency to engage in negative self-talk, constantly doubting one’s abilities and downplaying one’s achievements. Instead of looking at all of one’s success, one may focus on one’s perceived shortcomings and dismiss any evidence of one’s competence, which just reinforces feelings of impostorism.

3. Fear of failure

Imposter syndrome can also be fueled by a fear of failure, which I talked about above. You might worry that you won’t live up to expectations or that your successes are merely flukes, leading to anxiety and avoidance of new challenges or opportunities.

Now that you see where it comes from, let’s talk about how to overcome impostor syndrome.

It’s essential to cultivate a growth mindset and challenge the underlying beliefs and thought patterns that contribute to feelings of inadequacy. Here are some strategies:

1. Acknowledge your accomplishments

Take time to recognize and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Keep a journal of your successes and positive feedback from others to remind yourself of your accomplishments when self-doubt creeps in.

I personally write down my daily wins at the end of each workday, keep a note on my phone with all of my successes, and have a photo album with screenshots of things that I’m proud of. We don’t celebrate ourselves enough, so I’m giving you permission to pat yourself on the back every single day.

2. Reframe failure as learning

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s honestly that important! Embrace failure as a natural part of the learning process and an opportunity for growth. Instead of seeing setbacks as evidence of your incompetence, view them as valuable learning experiences that can help you improve and evolve.

Do you really think Oprah was the Oprah we know at the beginning of her career? No, she wasn’t. But she never stopped learning, and look at her now.

3. Challenge negative self-talk

This may be the hardest shift to make, yet I have to admit that it’s the most effective one. 

Start paying extra attention to your inner dialogue and challenge any negative thoughts or self-limiting beliefs about your abilities. Catching these thoughts in the moment is the essence of practicing emotional awareness.

Once you’ve caught yourself, replace those self-critical statements with affirmations and positive, empowering self-talk, focusing on your strengths and past successes. I talk a lot more about this process when I answer the question about overwhelm below.

As I often say, we get what we think! Over time, you’ll notice that having empowering thoughts has boosted your self-worth and confidence, reducing impostor syndrome for good.

4. Seek support

The entrepreneurial journey is often done alone, but humans are social creatures, and we need community to thrive. This need is evolutionary, not weak.

So don’t be afraid to reach out to mentors, peers, a therapist, or a coach (like me!) for support and encouragement. Talking openly about your feelings of impostorism can help you gain perspective and realize that you’re not alone in experiencing these struggles. And when you realize you’re not alone, overcoming impostor syndrome feels that much easier.

5. Set realistic expectations

Just like you’d do to overcome perfectionism, avoid comparing yourself to others and setting unrealistic standards for yourself. Recognize that everyone has moments of self-doubt and that success is a journey filled with ups and downs – yours included.

When you’re actually capable of achieving what you set out to achieve, you’ll stop feeling like a fraud since you did the d*mn thing. Following through simply feels fantastic, so make it possible to do so.

Emily Guerra recording a podcast episode
Photo courtesy of Emily Guerra

What practical strategies or exercises can entrepreneurs use to develop a growth mindset?

I first have to say that developing a growth mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing, even lifelong, process that involves cultivating new habits and perspectives. It’s about making 1% changes, sticking to them, and building from there.

So here are 10 practical strategies and exercises that entrepreneurs can use to foster a growth mindset:

1. Embrace challenges

Instead of avoiding challenges like those with a fixed mindset do, actively seek out opportunities to step outside your comfort zone and learn something new. Set goals that push you to expand your skills and knowledge, and view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than threats to your abilities. In essence: get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

2. Learn from failure

Yup, I’m bringing up failure again! So if you only take 1 tip from this article, let it be this.

Rather than dwelling on failures or setbacks, find valuable lessons from them. Reflect on what went wrong, what you learned from the experience, and how you can apply those lessons to future endeavors. Remember that failure is not a reflection of your worth as a person, but an essential part of the entrepreneurial process. What really matters is your willingness to learn, grow, and persevere.

3. Focus on effort

Shift your focus from innate talent or intelligence to the effort and perseverance required for success. Celebrate your hard work and progress, regardless of the outcome, and recognize that dedication and persistence are more important than natural ability.

After all, if being an entrepreneur was easy, everyone would be one. So focus on making the most out of the journey itself.

4. Cultivate curiosity

Stay curious and open-minded about new ideas, perspectives, and opportunities. Ask questions, seek out diverse sources of information, and approach challenges with a sense of curiosity and wonder. Adopting a lifelong learner mindset and reinvigorating that child-like curiosity again can fuel your creativity and innovation as an entrepreneur.

My 3 favorite questions to ask, especially when I’m feeling some self-doubt, are:

  • How can I?
  • What can I learn?
  • What if? (in a positive/best-case scenario way – not in the negative/worst-case scenario way!)

5. Practice self-compassion

Remember how I said negative self-talk is a big part of having a fixed mindset and struggling with impostor syndrome? Well, just like you’d do for overcoming impostor syndrome, challenging that negative self-talk and replacing it with more positive, empowering self-talk is part of shifting into a growth mindset, too. 

So be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a little kid or your grandparent. Acknowledge your strengths and accomplishments, and forgive yourself for mistakes or shortcomings. You’re human, after all – not a superhuman! Now I know this is easier said than done, but self-compassion is so key since it fosters resilience and helps you bounce back from setbacks with greater ease.

6. Develop a growth mindset mantra

Create a mantra or affirmation that reinforces your commitment to growth and resilience. Repeat this mantra to yourself daily, especially during challenging times, to reinforce positive beliefs and attitudes. Some examples:

  • There is no failing, only trying
  • No one can stop me but me
  • I am proud of the future me
  • I embrace the unknown

7. Seek feedback

Just like I mentioned earlier, accepting feedback is crucial for shifting into a growth mindset since you’re admitting that you have areas you can grow in. So actively seek feedback from mentors, friends, coaches, or clients to gain insight into your strengths and areas for improvement. Approach feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn, rather than viewing it as a personal critique. Aka don’t look at feedback as criticism. Look at it as a way to improve yourself and your business.

8. Set incremental goals

Nothing is more overwhelming than having a goal you don’t know how to hit. So break down your yearly goals into quarterly goals, then into monthly goals. Break down your monthly goals into smaller, manageable weekly tasks and milestones. Don’t forget to celebrate each win along the way, and to be okay with adjusting your approach as you keep moving forward.

9. Visualize success

In my humble opinion, visualization is the most underutilized superpower our brain has…

Once you’ve set your goals, imagine yourself overcoming challenges and achieving your goals. Visualizing success can help boost your confidence and motivation, making it easier to stay focused and resilient in the face of obstacles. Our brains also treat visions like a dress rehearsal, which makes moving forward feel less like the unknown and more like you’re on your path.

10. Create a growth mindset environment

Surround yourself with people who embody a growth mindset and support your personal and professional growth. Engage in communities, networking events, or mastermind groups where you can learn from others, share experiences, and exchange ideas. And if someone is pushing their fixed mindset and self-limitations onto you, don’t give away your power. 

In times of uncertainty or setbacks, how can entrepreneurs maintain a positive mindset and keep moving forward with their goals?

Being an entrepreneur means being in a constant state of uncertainty. We often have to handle setbacks on a weekly basis, especially at the beginning of our entrepreneurial journey. Since uncertainty and setbacks are the name of the game, being intentional with your perspective and maintaining a positive mindset is the key to always staying moving forward. 

But how do you actually do that when it feels like nothing is going according to plan? Here’s some tips that I practice myself:

1. Focus on what you can control

In uncertain times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by factors beyond your control. But let’s be real: very few things are actually in your control. But what is? You are. You’re the only thing that you can truly control. So instead of fixating on external circumstances, focus on yourself – your actions, attitudes, and responses. Channel your energy into productive activities that move you closer to your goals, rather than worrying about things you cannot change.

2. Practice gratitude

If we’re feeling challenged, gratitude seems to be the first thing out the door. After all, you’re uncertain or facing a setback because you have absolutely nothing to be grateful for, right? Wrong! Being challenged in and of itself means that you’re growing, and that alone is something to be grateful for.

So cultivate some gratitude by reflecting on the things you’re thankful for, especially during uncertain times. Start or end each day by listing 3 things you’re grateful for, no matter how small. Why? Because we’re self-fulfilling prophecies – we get what we think. So shifting your focus to the positive aspects of your life can help you maintain perspective and resilience in the face of setbacks.

3. Practice self-care

Let me be clear: self-care is NOT selfish. It’s essential for long-term success and happiness. So always take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being to maintain a positive mindset, especially during times of uncertainty. 

Prioritize sleep, fitness, and proper nutrition so you have more energy, stamina, and resilience to face challenges and pursue your goals with enthusiasm. Practice mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation techniques so you reduce stress, anxiety, and negative thinking patterns and can approach setbacks with resilience.

Prioritizing activities that nourish your body and mind is like setting boundaries for yourself. This prevents burnout and makes self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine, which makes a positive mindset that much easier to cultivate.

4. Stay flexible and adaptive

Uncertainty means that you have no idea what’s coming next, and setbacks mean that your plan did not happen the way you wanted. So be willing to adapt and pivot your plans as needed, and be aware of how you respond to shifting circumstances. Stay flexible in your approach and open to new opportunities or directions that may emerge. I’m going to say it again: embrace change as a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey!

5. Visualize success

I know I’ve already mentioned visualization, but since it helps counteracts negative thinking and inspires proactive momentum, I’d like to offer an example showing how to actually do it:

During a setback, envision yourself overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals. Imagine what success looks and feels like in vivid detail, and then write it down in a story format. Be sure to make your vision/story present tense, as if it’s already happening. Read your vision over and over again every day, and close your eyes to picture it. Use these mental images to boost motivation and stay focused on moving forward—not on the setbacks or uncertainty.

Emily Guerra speaking on stage
Photo courtesy of Emily Guerra

What role do accountability and support systems play in developing a growth mindset, and how can entrepreneurs leverage them effectively?

As an entrepreneur, you work for yourself, by yourself, most of the time. This means that it can be really easy to let tasks and goals slide to the wayside, to try to go at everything alone, and to feel like you’re the only one who is struggling. But that’s why putting accountability and support systems in place is absolutely essential for each and every entrepreneur. 

​​Personal accountability can be tough to practice for endless reasons, which is probably why it’s my most popular coaching program. Having accountability means having structure and motivation for growth since you’re held responsible for your actions and goals.

When we commit to specific goals and share them with others, we feel a greater sense of duty to follow through and achieve them. And it feels so good when we tell our accountability buddies that we did it! In essence, accountability helps us entrepreneurs stay focused, motivated, and in control of our progress. Plus, by emphasizing the importance of responsibility, continuous improvement, and learning, you’re also fostering a growth mindset.

Very similarly, support systems provide encouragement, guidance, perspective, and even accountability to entrepreneurs as we navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship. Now this support can come from pretty much anywhere, such as mentors, coaches, advisors, friends, and/or family members.

Support systems offer valuable insights, feedback, and encouragement, helping entrepreneurs overcome self-doubt, stay resilient in the face of setbacks, and maintain a positive mindset. Most importantly, your support network provides reassurance that you’re not alone in your journey and that there are others who understand your struggles and believe in your potential.

So how do you actually leverage accountability and support systems effectively to develop a growth mindset? Great question! Here are some ways I do it:

1. Share goals with accountability buddies

First, clearly define your goal. Make it a SMART goal: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Then share your goal with at least 1 other person who you’re comfortable with, trust, and can rely on. Sharing your goal out loud creates a shared sense of commitment and desire for the outcome. Don’t have someone? Reach out to me!

2. Establish regular check-ins

Once you’ve shared your goal with your accountability buddy, schedule regular check-ins with them to review progress, discuss challenges, and celebrate successes. These check-ins provide opportunities for feedback, reflection, and adjustment, helping you stay on track and motivated. They also help you stay accountable since you don’t want to show up to a check-in admitting you haven’t made progress.

3. Seek feedback and guidance

Actively seek feedback and guidance from not just your accountability buddy, but also from anyone in your support system who can offer some advice or lend a hand. Here’s the key: be open to constructive criticism and different perspectives so you can use the feedback as a catalyst for growth and improvement.

4. Celebrate progress

We don’t celebrate ourselves enough. But imagine how much happier and motivated we’d be if we consistently felt proud of ourselves…

So don’t forget to celebrate daily wins, milestones, achievements, lessons learned, and progress along the way. Keep a list of wins that you can bring to your check-ins and share with your accountability buddy, too. It’s crucial to recognize the importance of small wins and stepping stones in building momentum and reinforcing positive behaviors and attitudes. Why? because they create a positive feedback loop, become addictive, and inspire greater internal motivation to keep it up.

5. Offer support to others

Don’t be that person that just asks and asks and asks without giving something in return. Instead, pay it forward.

Pay it forward by offering support and encouragement to your accountability buddy, anyone who supports you, and even others in your network. By helping others succeed and grow, you’ll not only reinforce your own growth mindset but also cultivate a culture of mutual support and collaboration.

And our world needs some more of that right now, don’t you think?

How can entrepreneurs balance the drive for productivity and growth with maintaining mental well-being?

Firstly, it’s key to realize that the drive to be productive is deeply ingrained in the entrepreneurial mindset. It stems from a combination of passion, autonomy, ambition, responsibility, fear, competition, and the desire to maximize opportunities—all of which motivate entrepreneurs to work hard, stay focused, and pursue their dreams.

Yet, in the rush to get as much done as possible in as little time as possible, we so easily push self-care and emotions to the side. We can keep our focus on the business, which means we avoid almost anything that seemingly distracts. But here’s what I want you to understand: maintaining your well-being is being productive. 

Mental health is honestly the foundation for long-term, sustainable success and happiness. So, to be blunt, investing in your well-being is essential for achieving your fullest potential as an entrepreneur. It’s all about creating a balance between striving for professional growth and allowing yourself to check in and take a beat. So here’s some ways to do exactly that:

1. Commit to self-care

Start thinking of self-care as a non-negotiable and productive part of your routine. Commit to it by prioritizing activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. For example:

  • Add time to exercise to your calendar
  • Decide on your meals the night before
  • Get to bed early enough for adequate sleep
  • Do hobbies on certain days of the week
  • Schedule breaks and downtime to recharge and rejuvenate

2. Prioritize mindfulness

The best way to stay centered and present amidst the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship is to cultivate a daily meditation, deep breathing, or mindfulness practice. Why? Because meditation helps train your brain to be present and in control of your thoughts and emotions, which you can apply in your daily life outside of the actual practice. To put it simply, being mindful reduces stress, enhances focus and clarity, and improves overall well-being by fostering a greater sense of calm and balance.

3. Delegate and outsource

It’s really important to recognize that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Because when you do, you drain your mental energy and more easily lose focus on the high-impact activities that could actually be moving your business forward. So be willing to delegate tasks or outsource responsibilities before you burn out. Start by delegating tasks that are outside your zone of genius or that can be done more efficiently by others who might actually enjoy it. 

By the way, you don’t have to let go of your sense of control, either. It’s about being a good delegator. Be super clear in how you perform your tasks, and about your expectations. Record videos literally showing others how you’d like things done, and ask for them to explain it back. Then be intentional with how you spend those hours that you regained by outsourcing (which is the best part of delegating!)

4. Establish boundaries

I know so many entrepreneurs who work late into the night, in the wee hours of the morning, and on weekends. But here’s the thing: everyone eventually got sick, burnt out, or emotionally crashed and burned. Why? Because life without boundaries is unsustainable. So set clear boundaries between work and personal life to prevent burnout and create real work-life balance. This means designating specific hours to work and avoiding the temptation to constantly check emails or work outside of those designated times. 

When I first committed to no longer working weekends, I feared I couldn’t do it since I just had so much on my plate. But what’s funny is I felt this sense of urgency to work even more effectively and without distractions during the week, so I didn’t feel the desire to work weekends. I learned that constraints and boundaries breed creativity and productivity, so try it out, and you’ll probably surprise yourself.

5. Monitor stress levels

Pay attention to your stress levels and be aware of fatigue, irritability, and/or decreased motivation. Even if you don’t feel stressed out or overwhelmed, take proactive steps to manage your stress to avoid getting there. Practice relaxation techniques, set boundaries, and seek emotional support or guidance when needed. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the warning signs of burnout. Prioritize your mental well-being and take steps to address any underlying issues before they escalate.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who feel overwhelmed by constant pressure to get and stay ahead?

Just like the drive to be productive, the pressure to get and stay ahead is also deeply ingrained into the entrepreneurial mindset. This means that feeling overwhelmed by this constant, self-imposed pressure is such a common challenge for entrepreneurs. It really is normal, even if we feel like we’re alone or nobody around us understands. 

So, the first piece of advice I have is to remember that feeling overwhelmed is a normal part of the entrepreneurial journey. In order to build that dream business and life, you’re going to have to work for it. At the same time, though, it’s also key to recognize when overwhelm is becoming detrimental to your well-being and productivity.

So if you’re feeling so overwhelmed you don’t know how to get through the day or week without a breakdown, it’s time to better manage these feelings and regain a sense of balance and control.

In addition to the tips and tricks I gave in the last question, here are some more ways you can take your power back:

1. Prioritize and delegate

Let me say this again, because it really is that life-changing: you’re not meant to do everything alone. In fact, if you try, overwhelm is inevitable, and pretty soon, you’re more likely to give up. So do yourself a favor and start delegating.

Identify the tasks and responsibilities that are most important and urgent, that’ll truly move your business forward, and prioritize them accordingly. Then focus your time and energy on high-impact activities that move the needle toward your goals. Use my tips above to begin delegating or outsourcing tasks that are outside your zone of genius or can be done more efficiently by others.

Your energy is precious, so start acting like it.

2. Practice time management

You know what else is precious? Your time. So use time management techniques on a daily basis to maintain daily control. My favorite techniques are the Pomodoro Technique (25 minutes on, 15-30 minutes off), time blocking your schedule while using cube timers, and the Eisenhower Matrix (4 quadrants: urgent, not urgent, important, not important) – but use whatever you click with the most.

Time management is about prioritizing tasks, managing your time effectively, and maintaining focus and productivity. But it also works on a larger scale than the daily grind. So break longer/larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks, and set realistic deadlines to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the scope of your work.

3. Take breaks and rest

So many entrepreneurs feel guilty about taking breaks and resting, and for good reason. The idea that rest is not productive may have been ingrained in you. Or you could feel a pressure to succeed, maybe fear judgment or falling behind, or could have this sense of responsibility. No matter the cause, though, it’s absolutely essential to grasp the importance of breaks and relaxation in maintaining mental and physical well-being (and productivity!).

Let me tell you something: our brains can only function at their highest for about an hour, and then they need a break to be able to function effectively again. So work with your brain, not against it! 

Take regular breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge, and make time for activities that help you relax and unwind, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature (like going for a walk). And don’t forget that taking breaks actually improves productivity since your brain has time to recoup.

4. Practice empowering self-talk

More often than not, the storylines we have going on in our head can be a huge – if not the main – reason we feel overwhelmed. We judge ourselves way more harshly than we judge others, and sometimes that voice in our head can be relentless. So what do we do when we’re causing our own overwhelm?

We have to catch our negative thoughts in action, and then reframe them so they empower us to keep going. Here’s how to do exactly that:

  • Identify and challenge negative self-talk patterns in the moment/when they occur. Noticing disempowering thoughts as they happen is the toughest part of this process, but also the most transformative. Mindfulness practices like meditation or journaling can really help you catch them in action.
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations and empowering statements. Example: Let’s say I’m feeling overwhelmed about a deadline, and I tell myself that I have no time. I’ll stop, catch myself before spiraling, and replace that thought with something empowering, like, “I have the power to make time for my priorities.”
  • Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself succeeding and overcoming challenges. AKA: once you say your empowering replacement thought, visualize yourself doing it. This helps turn that replacement statement into a new belief, plus motivates you to take intentional action.
  • Keep a journal of positive affirmations, accomplishments, and moments of resilience to reference when feeling overwhelmed. Keep a record of your replacement statements and other evidence that proves you’re capable of moving forward to help you remember the empowering truth. Don’t forget to actually reference your journal during moments of stress!

What strategies can entrepreneurs use to assess their mindset and track their progress over time?

In reality, assessing your mindset really means boosting your self-awareness. It’s about being aware of your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth, plus checking in with yourself to examine how your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors have been affecting your progress. It’s also really important to understand that progress is not linear. You’re not supposed to be only going uphill. You’re going to fall sometimes, but it’s not about the fall – it’s about how you get back up.

So here are some strategies to assess your mindset and track progress over time:

1. Use tools to track goals

Setting SMART goals easily allows you to track progress over time since you decided on a timeline when you set your goal (remember: the “t” stands for time-bound!). But it’s about actually tracking how it’s going as you’re working towards your desired end result. So use tools like goal-tracking apps, planners, journals, or a spreadsheet to monitor your progress over time. Be sure to talk about hurdles, wins, and anything else that helps paint a picture of all of your ups and downs. Then use your tracker to adjust your approach as you go.

3. Engage in personal development activities

Entrepreneurship requires life-long learning, but don’t limit yourself to only learning about the professional. Actively engage in personal development activities like reading a self-help book, attending workshops, taking online courses, or working with coaches.

Doing so will help you gain new insights, skills, and perspectives that can shape your mindset over time. You can also track your participation in these activities and assess how they impact your mindset and behavior, just as you would track a goal.

4. Journal

Studies have proven that writing our thoughts down is the most effective way to process them and even let them go. But it’s also one of the most effective ways to track your growth. Why? Keeping a journal allows you to document your thoughts, emotions, experiences, and progress over time.

You can either freely write or use journal prompts to reflect on specific aspects of your mindset, such as gratitude, self-limiting beliefs, and resilience. The key, though, is taking the time to go back and read past journal entries so you can track any shifts in your mindset over time.

5. Embrace the “messy middle”

As I said, progress is not linear. You’re going to hit a point where you wonder if you’re even making any progress, where you fall back into old, unproductive habits or routines that keep you stuck – even though you know they keep you stuck. This is what I call the “messy middle.”

During this time, you have to remind yourself that progress ebbs and flows. You really have to pay attention to your self-talk and ensure that you’re empowering yourself to take proactive steps forward rather than soaking in the negativity. It means accepting 1% improvements at a time and being intentional with your daily decisions.

When you make it through the “messy middle,” you’ll come out stronger, more confident, super proud, and with your goal achieved. It’s well worth it, so don’t ever give up on yourself!

What books, podcasts, or YouTube channels do you recommend?



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