Mental stamina is key to making good decisions as an entrepreneur, and in a society that makes you conform to all sorts of structures, standing out and being yourself is a rebellious act. There's never been a better time for you to have the mental stamina to grow as an entrepreneur.
If you are an entrepreneur, artist, athlete or creative, one who makes something that didn't exist before, then this is for you
In this volume of The Psychology of Entrepreneurship…
I interview Bri Seeley about mental stamina & decision fatigue because:
- Bri was awarded a Silver Stevie Award in 2020 for Coach of the Year – Business and a Bronze Stevie Award in 2020 for Woman of the Year – Business Services.
- She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council,
- The author of the best-selling Permission to Leap, and has been seen on The TODAY Show, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Yahoo!
- She's the top-ranking ‘Entrepreneur Coach' on Google.
- She is also the host of the success diaries a podcast that I’ve been on which is so cool.
- Bri Seeley … is an entrepreneur, a coach of entrepreneurs, and a believer that we can all get the goals we strive for.
In this episode we speak about:
- The psychology of being an entrepreneur
- The inner game that we can't see, we can't touch, and we can't put our fingers on
- The amount of mental discipline required in entrepreneurship
- Naveen Jain
- Mental Stamina … how to thing about it, how to pursue it and some ideas to increase your mental stamina
- Bri's journey into entrepreneurship
- Decision Fatigue … why we don't make certain decisions and how they make us tired
- How to reduce decision fatigue by keeping your bigger vision in mind to increase mental stamina
- The stories that we tell ourselves about like, “Oh, I can't possibly have that.”
- The struggles for entrepreneurs vary depending on the stage of entrepreneurship they are at
- Charging what you are worth
- Enneagram … and its theory
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Hi. Its Ronsley. If this is your first Volume, Welcome. This is a weekly series where I go inside the mind of an entrepreneur, artist, athlete, academic; to decipher what is the psychology of our decisions.
I’m Australian and I’d like to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. I pay my respects to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging of the land I am standing on today. I extend my respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who listen to this.
What did you think of volume 80? I’m so glad I’m publishing this podcast again. Because I love the reps of publishing work that I care about. And if you’ve listened to this show before you already know that. I’ve always believed that business owners … some people call them entrepreneurs … are the voices of change. And the voices of our future. That is why this show. That is why I focus on podcasts for business. So, for the entrepreneur inside you listening right now… we want to hear your voice & your truth. Anyway …
Today’s volume is about mental stamina, how to keep going even when the odds may not seem in your favour. My guest is Bri Seeley. She’s an award-winning entrepreneur coach, she’s written a book about taking career and life-changing leaps. Her podcast The Success Diaries is all about being a successful businessperson and a lifelong entrepreneur. So I wanted to start with what she thought about The Psychology of Entrepreneurship …
So I think what comes up for me when I'm really start thinking about psychology and entrepreneurship and the psychology of being an entrepreneur is kind of the unseen aspects of entrepreneurship that especially new entrepreneurs just don't understand when they're getting into it. We think that entrepreneurship is just about starting a business, and having revenue streams and cash flow and serving people, but really, truly what it takes to be an entrepreneur and what it takes to be an entrepreneur, especially at a certain level, is so much of an inner game that we can't see, we can't touch, and we can't put our fingers on. And so I think it's just overlooked more often than not.
It certainly is a game. And it can be a hard one to play.
And the amount of mental discipline required in entrepreneurship is something that I think that we're really only starting to scratch the surface of. One of my favorite quotes, in fact the way I connected with you is because you had Naveen on as a guest, and Naveen wrote the forward to my book a few years ago. And one of the things that he put in that forward was that when you believe that something is impossible, that thing, whatever that thing is, instantly becomes impossible for you, but only for you, not for anyone else. And I think about that so much in that we just really underestimate the amount of mental stamina and strength required to be successful in business.
The Naveen Bri is talking about is the wildly successful entrepreneur and self-made billionaire Naveen Jain, and my guest on Volume 65 of The Psychology of Entrepreneurship. Here’s a clip from his Tedx Talk in 2016:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX78jynWLD0 [00:05:55-00:06:06] “Take away the fear of failure. If you take away the fear of failure, and you give people the power to dream, amazing things can happen.”
Ronsley cont: Makes sense why he’d make a good forward for a book about bringing your visions to life.
So Bri …
… tell me more
For me, the way to begin, and what I teach, is there has to be a level of awareness before you even get into that mental stamina. Before you develop up what your mental stamina practice is going to be, you have to have a level of awareness of where you're at right now in the moment. So you need to almost do a temperature check of what your current practices are, what your current mindset is, what is the first thought you think every single morning when you get up? Is it today's going to be a terrible day? Is it today I'm going to fail? Is it today my goals aren't going to happen? Or is it I'm going to get up and I'm going to be the best possible version of myself today. So you need to first take that temperature check of where you're at so that then you can know where you need to go from there.
And things like you mentioned, by 7:00 this morning, I had done money rituals. I had read a book that I'm working through. I had set my goals for the month of March because I was traveling for the first two days of the month. I had done my meditation, my visualization, written my daily pages. So those practices are what keep my mind sharp. They are what keeps me moving in the right direction every day, because then things like something happened, I can't even remember what it is right now, at the time it was like a big deal, and I was super upset about someone canceled a meeting or something with me today. So when things like that happen, they don't derail you. So I look back to say 15 years ago, when I first started a business, had something like that happened 15 years ago, the rest of my day would have been a wash. I would have just been crushed by this meeting getting canceled or whatever. Now, here I am, 15 years later and four hours after this meeting got canceled, I can't even remember what it was. So it's those mental practices that really help me be strong, be committed, be clear and remain focused throughout the day.
Naveen talks about on her website how starting a business shouldn’t be “so damn difficult.” And that’s a bold statement, because most business owners would say it is hard. Period. I know I went through hell a few times to get where I am. So I wonder, could I have made decisions along the way, from start to finish (as in now), that really would have made things easier? I keep hearing her say “mental stamina”. There must be aback story …
Yeah. So I think when I started, it was much more just really truly focused on only the business aspect of things. So I think it's less that it's changed and more that it's been added to. So, obviously of course the business aspect of my business is still super important. I need to know my demographics, my psychographics, who I'm serving with, what, how I'm serving them, all of that stuff. But I did not add in the mindset piece and the psychology piece and really this mental stamina that we're talking about until about, I'd say, six years ago. And the difference for me is that when I had my first business for eight years, I was a fashion designer. And I was so burnt out all the time because I was constantly focused on external metrics. And I was constantly placing my worth, my value, my success, on things that were outside of my control.
And so my entire day was spent trying to manipulate things that I had no power to manipulate. Versus now I approach business from a completely different place and I approach it from more of an inside out perspective. And so my primary focus every single day is me. It's my energy. It's my mindset. It's how I'm showing up, who I'm being. As a result of that, things in the outer world shift, they come, they arrive, all that stuff. But before I didn't have that inner perspective. I knew about it, but I wasn't practicing it. And so I was burnt out all the time. Now my primary focus every single morning is to fill up my cup to practice that mental stamina for myself, so that I can be the best version of myself, because I know that when I'm the best version of myself, that's when my business does well.
Bri … if there was ONE psychological phenomenon that we as entrepreneurs need to think about? What is that?
Decision fatigue. Someone pointed it out to me a while ago that they're like, “You are making way too many decisions in your life.” And you can see it. You can see it, and you can feel it as well. And so I do my best to remove as many decisions as I can in my life. I try to automate as much as I can. Out of recurring orders, I have one grocery list. I get the same groceries pretty much every week. And then I just have a list on my fridge of these are the meals that I eat. These are the meals that I make. I have five restaurants that I allow myself to go out to eat at. And so anytime the decision comes up about which restaurant is it, it's narrowed down to these five. And I just pick one of them. I have certain days of the week that I do certain workouts. And then if I'm doing the workout in the morning, I set everything up before I go to bed at night. And so then I wake up in the morning. I don't have to decide if I'm working out or not, because I literally can't access my dining room with it all sitting there. I work out and then I move on with my day.
So it's eliminating as many of those decision moments as possible because the deeper you get into entrepreneurship, you're only going to be adding more and more and more decisions on every single day. And you're not just going to be deciding for yourself, you're going to be deciding for your team. And then they're going to also be coming to you asking you to make decisions about other things for them. And there's so many that the non-necessary decisions, I've just done everything in my power to remove them, because it does get to be so much.
Even things, I've been reflecting a lot on, as we were talking before we hit record, I moved from Manhattan to Tulsa, Oklahoma during COVID. And I didn't realize how much emotional labor it was taking me to even leave the house every day, because I was having to decide, I was having to look at the weather and decide, “Okay, do I need to wear boots, a jacket and bring a rain umbrella? Am I taking the bus to the subway? Am I walking to the subway? What time is the subway coming? How far am I taking it? What stop am I getting off at? Do I need to pack lunch today? Am I doing anything after the coworking space? Do I need to bring shoes?” The amount, the mental checklist that I had to go through to leave the house when I lived in Manhattan, or even LA when I lived in LA, I didn't realize how much emotional labor it was taking up in my life, and really, truly exhausting me and preventing me from showing up in my power.
But now that I live in a simpler, quieter, easier place to live, it just doesn't weigh me down like that. And it is that unseen, those unseen tracks running in our head constantly, whether it's decisions, whether it's areas in which we live, whatever that looks like, I'm just really focused right now on simplifying things so that I can show up in all of my potency, and not let all of that stuff just continue to weigh me down and wear me down.
Decision-fatigue. I remember feeling that when there are a lot of things happening at the same time. When I was starting out, I wore the same back shirts and jeans so that I didn’t have to decide what to wear in the morning. So much so, a company called Just Be Nice sponsored me for a year. They made me a bunch of the same black t-shirts and hoodys with the words Just Be Nice on the front. I delivered my TED talk in that hoody.
So this fatigue Bri speaks of makes sense, and it makes even more sense to work at lifting that weight off our shoulders and focus on entrepreneurship.
By connecting with my bigger vision. And when I'm presented with an opportunity, the filter through which I pass it through is does this align with that bigger picture vision? If I say yes to this, is it bringing me closer to that bigger picture vision? Or is it taking me further away from that bigger picture vision? For example, I got invited to do this training for this community and I totally just was, “Yes, of course I'll do it. Of course, yes, I would love to.” Had this great conversation with this woman. It was amazing. I forgot to filter it through my big picture vision. I forgot to ask the questions that I know I need to ask to know whether or not it's a good opportunity for me.
I get on this training and this woman had three people on the training and not to say that three people is bad, but I also know for myself that if I am doing an exchange with someone there needs to be an equal exchange of value. So I said yes to this thing, thinking it was an equal exchange of value, but I didn't ask the right questions to know. And I then got on it and was like, “This was a waste of my time.” And so checking things through that bigger picture visions, and really asking the right questions to know is this taking me closer to that vision or is it pulling me away from that vision? And then I just have a blanket, I just say no to everything that takes me away from that vision, or doesn't contribute massively to what I'm building. And I say yes to everything that does. And that's just kind of my, or I'll say like, “Oh, okay, I'm happy to do this training for three people. This is what the cost is.” So I've gotten very clear on what I need in order to make things an equal exchange of value.
When we come back the stories we tell our selves, how that impacts our psychology and why they ruin the opportunities the world gives us. After the break
Before the break we spoke a lot about mental stamina and decision fatigue … both very important psychological aspects that we as entrepreneurs need to understand. None more important than what holds us back. And the stories we tell ourselves … right? Bri ?
For me it was, and I believe for a lot of people, it's just a lot of the stories that we tell ourselves about like, “Oh, I can't possibly have that.” Well, why not? Again, going back to that quote from Naveen. Other people have that thing, why can't you have that thing? “Oh, I can't possibly create that or I can't possibly charge that much.” Why not?” Other people charge that much. Why can't you charge that much? And for me, it's just that constant reassessing of the stories and patterns that we tell ourselves and really looking at, okay, what is the story I'm telling myself? Why am I telling myself this story? Where did it come from? Is this a story I want to continue telling myself? If not, what story do I want to tell myself in replacement of that? And then how do I commit to reaffirming that story and repeating that story over and over and over and over and over again, until that becomes my reality?
And so that's just kind of, and you might not look at those stories and say like, “Oh, that's a worth issue.” Whatever you need to tell yourself, but looking at those stories. And one of the ones that when I first started doing this work, I have this really deeply embedded story of like, “Oh, I can't afford it. I can't afford this. I can't afford that. I can't afford it.” And I was driving in Los Angeles one day. My mom had come in to visit. I don't even know why. We were driving through Larchmont which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in LA. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, that house on the corner is for sale. And it's so cute. I love that house. I drive by it all the time. It just went on the market. Oh, I could totally see myself living there.” And bless my mom. We love my mom. I love my mom. She said, “You can't afford that place.”
And I just had this moment where I was like, “Oh.” The stories about my worth and my wealth and all those things aren't actually mine. And, in fact, even looking at my mom, they're not hers either. And looking at my grandma, they're not really hers either. So they're products of stories other people have told us, generationally, circumstantially, whatever that looks like. And my job now is just to continually deconstruct those stories so that I'm always coming back to my truth. What is my truth? I was put on this planet to be a wealthy as fuck woman so that I can help empower other women to own their place in the world as wealthy women. So I have to do the work inside to constantly come back to that truth so that I can empower other women to get to that place within themselves as well.
In our last volume with Tina Tower we spoke about Women’s Generational topics that I really urge you to go back and list to volume 80 to know the depths we go into … but I want to say this to you …
Everytime you get angry and want to defend something, some idea, some belief … ask yourself … why the emotion? What is the story that is making this emotion come up? Don’t ignore that, because if you do, it will come out in places you least expect it to.
Anyway, off the high horse, and onto entrepreneurship … Bri .. you coach some of the most successful entrepreneurs out there… what do entrepreneurs struggle with?
I would say there's varying things for the different stages of entrepreneurship. I think the biggest thing that wantrepreneurs struggle with is really truly committing. I have calls every single week with people that are like, “Oh, I've wanted to start a business for five years.” And it's really difficult for them to find the inner resolve and belief in themself that they can actually do it. And so they stay on the fence. And I say this as someone who is a reformed fence sitter, but I used to be there as well, but they sit on the fence and they waffle back and forth between, “Should I start the business? Should I stay where I am?” And it happens for a very long time.
I think the biggest thing for solopreneurs is that they fall into the trap, two traps. One, they trade time for money and they very quickly hit their ceiling because you only have limited time during the day, which means you only have a limited amount of money, and you cap yourself very quickly. And then they get really scared of outsourcing and hiring other people. The biggest story I hear is no one can do it like I can do it. And I'm like, “Actually, not only can people do it better than you're doing it, and yes, it's going to cost you money to hire someone, but it's actually costing you more to not hire someone.”
And then I think the biggest thing, and I am, again, totally guilty of this in where I'm at right now, is that once you get to like the entrepreneur stage, you're like, “Oh, I've seen it all. I've been through everything. I'm good. I don't need help. I don't need support.” And it's like, no, no, no. At every single level you move up, right now, I'm going to be 10 X'ing my business this year, I just had to hire a new coach because I cannot expand my container by myself. So I think that in the three stages, those are the biggest stumbling blocks that most people fall into.
Commitment is really hard to master. Getting off that fence is scary as hell, but you just have to do it. And then you have to keep working once you make that move.
You know how much I love covering voices, opinions and ideas that are not mainstream… well … charging what you are worth is one of those topics that we all face… also … for me as a man … there are a lot of things I didn’t know happen to women, until I stopped to pay attention dn listen to what they were trying to tell everyone ..
So, I do think similarly to what we've been talking about, that a lot of the stumbling blocks that women do face is in charging their worth and their value. I think that we consistently undervalue ourselves. But similarly to what we talked about with what you mentioned with Naveen, I truly believe that women stepping into for-profit entrepreneurship is truly what is going to be the only thing that ever breaks the glass ceiling. I do not think that the corporate glass ceiling is breakable. And so that's a huge sticking point for me.
I do know, get a little vulnerable with you. I'm on Clubhouse and I've done several rooms. In fact, I got to do a brilliant one with Naveen a few weeks ago, but I hop into a lot of these Clubhouse rooms and it's a lot of men. And it's, to be honest, a lot of white men as well. And I walk into those rooms and I'm just like, “Nope.” I don't feel like there's space for me to raise my hand or say anything. I was in one room. I was actually in it for 90 minutes and I kind of did it as an experiment. In that 90 minutes, there was one woman that was allowed to speak in those 90 minutes, and she didn't even really speak. She fawned all over the speaker and asked a question and then was put back in the audience.
And I've talked to a few of my male friends about this, and I'm like, “Listen, men need to lead the way with this. It's not up to us as women to come into these rooms and try to throw our weight around and demand that we get a seat at the table. Men need to own responsibility for the fact that women have been pushed out of the tables for ever, and start going out of their way to purposefully be putting women on these moderating panels for Clubhouse.” And to be honest, if I scroll through my room and I see a list of men, or like I said, more specifically, especially a list of white men, I don't even go in the room anymore. And there is a whole handful of actually some of the, no judgment, bromarketers, that I just blocked because I don't even want the rooms that they're in to show up in my feed anymore because I don't feel like I am going to be welcome there. I don't feel like I'm going to have a voice there. And frankly, I'd just rather save myself the trouble. So I've talked to a few other women and I know that that's something that several women on Clubhouse are kind of facing right now.
According to guidedoc.com “After working with a marriage or family therapist, 93 percent of patients said they had more effective tools for dealing with their problems. Respondents also reported improved physical health and the ability to function better at work after attending therapy.”
So we never really had a great relationship. I moved out of the house when she was seven. And of course she was seven. I was going to college. Just radically different. When she was 10, I moved to Italy for two years. We've just had very different life paths and never went back to the Midwest until 2018. And at that point we were kind of realizing, I was 35, she was 25, we were just realizing we didn't have a great relationship. And we didn't really understand each other. I didn't know really that much about her.
And so we were constantly getting into fights because we just misunderstood each other. We didn't know how to communicate. And so in 2018 I went to her and I was like, “Listen, we can either have a terrible relationship for the rest of our life and be like Mom and her siblings and just resent each other and get along at holidays and not talk or we can do something about this.” I said, “So I'm proposing that we go to couples counseling, but you need to be in and if you want to do this, you just need to let me know.”
And she came back and she said, “Okay, I'm in.” And so my sister and I did couples counseling and it was a fantastic experience. Our therapist used the Enneagram with us to really understand, because I'd done the Enneagram before, I'm like, “Oh, I know all about myself.”
Enneagram theory states that people are born with dominant personality types and then those types can be molded by the environment and experiences in someone's life. If you take the Enneagram test and receive your dominant type, but resonate with other types as well, it is natural.
But I didn't know how I engaged then with the other types on the Enneagram. Or how, she is a one, perceived or engaged with me as a four. So it was a really transformative experience. And so at the end of our therapy, she was like, “We should get a tattoo to commemorate our sister's therapy.” And so I have 1993 on my wrist and she has 1983 on her wrist. And so we have a great relationship now. She actually just got engaged. I just landed, I was on a flight yesterday at this time, coming home from going wedding dress shopping and bridesmaid's dress shopping with her. So we totally revolutionized our entire relationship. And now-
Coming up on The Psychology of Entrepreneurship…
I interviewed Bri Seeley because:
Bri was awarded a Silver Stevie Award in 2020 for Coach of the Year – Business and a Bronze Stevie Award in 2020 for Woman of the Year – Business Services.
She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, the author of the best-selling Permission to Leap, the top Entrepreneur Coach on Google and has been seen on The TODAY Show, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Yahoo!
she's the top-ranking ‘Entrepreneur Coach' on Google.
She is also the host of the success diaries a podcast that I’ve been on which is so cool.
Bri Seeley … is an entrepreneur, a coach of entrepreneurs, and a believer that we can all get the goals we strive for.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.