Nam Baldwin is a mindset expert who specialises in helping people achieve success under extreme pressure. This makes him a natural fit for elite athletes and, unsurprisingly, he’s worked with Olympic athletes and world champions including surfer Mick Fanning.
Now, you might not think the pressures of running a business are on par with those involved in paddling out at J-Bay a year after you’ve gotten intimate with a shark there, but … think about this. A lot of things ride on the success of our businesses:
And so on.
Which means Nam’s thoughts are just as relevant for the average business owner as they are for an elite athlete.
In this SuperFastBusiness podcast, Nam shares a heap of mindset shifts that can help any business owner approach their days in a more focused way. The one that resonated with me most, however, was an acronym he shared for facing down problems.
But first, some context.
In 11 years of running a business, the challenges we’ve faced are significant. Too much work, not enough work, clients that don’t get back to you, clients that don’t pay, services that are no longer lucrative, staff members moving on, cash flow issues, recalcitrant landlords, once-in-a-lifetime disasters … as fast as one challenge is overcome, another will present itself.
For a long time the only thing that kept me going was the thought that surely the problems would stop one day? After we’d paid our dues, so to speak?
According to Nam (and other folk in business!), the problems never stop, unfortunately, because such is life. Markets and economies change, values evolve, priorities shift, nothing stays the same forever.
Those of us who are waiting for that time in our business life where everything is smooth sailing and sweet, we’ll be waiting a long time.
So, we need to make peace with the problems and challenges instead. To do so, Nam offered up the acronym NEAT:
The first thing we need to do is accept challenges and problems as normal. This is a simple but really powerful shift to make. I know for a while there I felt a bit victimised and ‘woe is me’ when the problems just kept on coming. But, talk to any business owner, no matter how successful they are on the surface, and you’ll discover they’ve faced their fair share of problems too.
So, understanding we’re not special or singled out by the universe when it comes to the problems we face is a big step forward.
Problems are so normal, in fact, we should expect them. We won’t always be across the specifics of what’s coming, but we can get comfortable with the expectation that ‘something’ is coming.
This is perhaps the hardest part of the process. No matter how much we know they are normal, no matter how much we expect things will happen, it can still really piss us off when they happen! All being pissed off does, however, is make things worse and make us feel like victims. Accepting what’s happened allows us to do the final step with a clearer state of mind. And that step is …
Do what you need to do to fix/surmount the problem, then move on. Don’t dwell, because, according to Nam, dwelling on things leads to you laying down patterns of behaviour that become habit.
(From personal experience I can tell you that the habit of feeling like the Universe is out to get you and never wants you to be successful? That one takes a while to break! Easier to not make it in the first place.)