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Handmade 101
Starting 2017 With A Positive Attitude
Author: Stephanie Taylor Christensen
Friday, January 6, 2017

A new year marks an opportunity to take note of which aspects of your business worked in your favor and which you may need to adjust—including your own perspective and attitude. Here are a few tips to help you make the lens through which you view the world a little more positive—both for the good of your business, and your enjoyment as an entrepreneur.

How are you doing? How many times a day do you ask your staff, your family and peers how they’re doing? How does that compare to how often you check in with how you are doing?

Make a New Year’s Resolution to tune into your mindset at different points of the day, for at least one month. Set a timer on your phone to sound every few hours.  When it does, take a few minutes to simply stop what you’re doing, and check in. Ask yourself: How are you feeling? If your emotional state isn’t one you want to hold onto give yourself permission to let it go, and move forward. This simple mindfulness tactic can help you find calm in times of stress, and begin to identify “triggers” that tend to draw up negative emotions like anger and frustrations, so you can begin to control your own response to them for the better. 

Take your self-story out of your business. You probably have a few ideas about who you think you are (or aren’t). These may come from your past, bullet points on your resume or feedback from others. While a sense of self-awareness about skills can be useful in identifying the types of professional support you need to grow your business, Bob Stahl, Ph.D, explains that it also has a tendency to create a hyper-focus on the negative: How you look, sound and perform compared to others, and your expectations. Stahl says that this kind of self-critique can create a negative mindset, and limits your perception of what you can accomplish—based on a self-story that simply isn’t true! 

Owning a business is a perfect opportunity to step away from self-limiting beliefs.  Despite what you may have experienced in your past profession, for example, your business is an opportunity to create, invent, break the rules and take some risks.  When you find yourself in a negative mindset, ask: What is the story I want to write for my business? Often, that one question can reveal if you’re listening to that false story you have in your mind about your potential—or from the place of positivity that initially gave you the courage to start your business. 

Remember that nothing is as bad as it seems. Harvard psychologist and happiness researcher Daniel Gilbert’s work on “impact bias” indicates that more often than not, negative outcomes do not have the lasting impacts and consequences people expect. Recognizing this fact can give you the courage you need to lead your business, and stay positive—even in challenging times. When you view every business decision as an opportunity, versus a problem, times of uncertainty become far less daunting. 

Make helping a business goal. The pursuit of revenue, sales and profitability are meaningful to your bottom line, but superficial goals may not be enough to keep you inspired in your role as a business owner. This year, challenge yourself to set at least three annual goals that have the sole purpose of helping someone—whether it’s to mentor a peer in the industry, or support a local nonprofit group in your community that could benefit from your donated items. When you attach a deeper meaning to “why” your business exists, you’ll feel more fulfilled about your work and its mission— and could find that you end up just as financially successful as you would if your goals were financial in nature.  

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