Creative CEO Secrets: 7 Keys to Building a Success Mindset

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Being a creative entrepreneur can feel like you’re walking a tightrope. There’s a lot of pressure to be successful. For some of us, our business is our family’s livelihood. For others, it’s a future promise of time and financial freedom. 

But what if I told you the real key to running a successful business isn’t just about having a great strategy or skill – it’s about your mindset. Since starting the Accidental CEO podcast, I’ve had a LOT of conversations with successful entrepreneurs. Each of them had different stories, different paths to success (and definitions of it) but I’ve noticed some common traits and practices they all have.

I wrote these down and use it as a checklist for myself now. Coincidently, this year has gone way better than I even planned! I hope sharing what I’ve learned helps you too.

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7 Keys to Building a Success Mindset as a Creative Entrepreneur

Recognize the Power of Self-Belief

Self-belief is crucial for anyone’s success. You don’t have to have all the answers or make the right choices 100% of the time. We’re all human, after all. But you do need to believe you’re worthy. And this goes beyond the people I’ve had on my podcast. Sarah Blakely, the founder of Spanx, famously talks about how believing in herself, even when no one else did, was key to her success. Henry Ford has famously said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Self-belief influences everything from how you step into sales calls, show up on social media, and how you handle setbacks. Start building your self-belief by incorporating daily affirmations. Simple statements like “I am capable” or “I make sound decisions” can start to shift your mindset. If you suffer from imposter syndrome, like me and so many others, check out episode 9 of my podcast where David Molner gives practical advice on how he works on his daily, or read my article here.

Cultivate Resilience

Resilience is your ability to bounce back from setbacks. It’s about seeing challenges as opportunities for growth. My resilience muscle really got worked out last year when my photography company faced a significant financial slump after taking a big risk to outsource the sales. It felt like the end of the world. I only told a few people about it at the time, but it was scary. If there’s one thing about me though, I’m resilient – I just keep looking forward. I stuck it out, trusted myself to make the right decisions, and bounced back within a quarter.

Resilience is something you need to be successful as a creative entrepreneur. You’re going to face a million setbacks, so getting used to bouncing back is important. Practice stress management techniques to build this muscle, even before you have any stressors. Try things like meditation or exercise. I like bike riding and hitting the gym. Look for lessons in your failures. Remember, everyone – absolutely everyone – experiences setbacks.

Embrace Lifelong Learning

The best CEOs never stop learning. Whether it’s with books, podcasts, or courses – continuous learning keeps your mind sharp and your skills up-to-date. Personally, I’m a serial learner. I love it! I take every opportunity to attend conferences, take courses, and learn new skills. It helped me DIY my business in the beginning and still comes in handy to this day. I find that a lot of the famous CEOs do that too.

Find something you’re passionate about, whether it’s related to furthering your business or completely unrelated to business at all. Set aside time each week to learn something. Lifelong learning keeps you ahead of the curve.

Set Clear and Achievable Goals

Let me preface this tip by saying I am NOT a list maker. But, I do believe in setting big goals and chipping away at them. I even attend a yearly goal-setting and planning retreat to make sure I’m set up for success. Goals give you direction and focus. Without them, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind. Then one day you wake up and it’s almost New Year again with no progress. Start with goals that are achievable and then dream big. Set wildly ambitious goals that are as high as the moon! This way you’ll get in the little wins and stay motivated to go towards the big, big, goals.

Build a Support Network

We were not meant to go at business alone. Having a strong support system of mentors, peers, advisors, and non-business friends is important. Even if all you do is vent to them on the phone, it helps to let people in. I know it can feel awkward or completely bewildering to make business-minded friends. To build a support network, start by reaching out to people you want to connect with and attending more local networking events. I made a lot of friends through my local Rising Tide Society, but look around your area and see what it has. Surround yourself with people who understand your challenges and can offer guidance and support.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude can transform your mindset. By acknowledging the positive aspects of your journey, you shift your focus from what’s lacking to what’s abundant. Sometimes gratitude can feel like bragging, but don’t let that stop you. There are private ways you can practice gratitude, like keeping a gratitude journal, or public ones like making an Instagram story. Whatever you choose, incorporate ways to pause and experience how amazing things are going daily. It will boost your mindset and you’ll start seeing success come easier and easier.

Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

This is one I am constantly working on! There’s a myth that successful CEOs work 24/7. In reality, balance is key to sustainable success and happiness. Prioritizing time for yourself and spending time with loved ones prevents burnout and keeps you energized.

Strategies like time management and setting clear boundaries between work and personal life are essential. Last year, I decided to take more family vacations and start bike riding again. (Turns out, you can get rusty at biking!) I saw the positive impact it had on my work productivity and mental health. I am sure you will too!

Building Your Success Mindset

Building a success mindset as a CEO is about consistent and deliberate effort. Recognize the power of self-belief, cultivate resilience, embrace continuous learning, set clear goals, build a support network, practice gratitude, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. These practices will not only boost your confidence but also pave the way for sustainable success.

Remember, every CEO experiences self-doubt and setbacks at some point. The key is to take steps to ensure it doesn’t hold you back. If you’re ready to work on your mindset, check out my Mindset Mastery for Creatives course available on the Accidental CEO app. Unlock this course and many more for a one-time payment of $4.99. Let’s get your mindset on the right track together!

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