When I first began Connection Crüe, I had no idea what I was doing…some would say I’m still trying to figure it out. That feeling of trying to figure it out I’m sure is a common theme with people starting their own business, those who have an idea and trying to do something with it, or those pursuing a passion without having the business plan laid out. What was I trying to do, what direction was I going to go, how the hell was I going to pay my monthly bills?
Realizing that I had less than a months burn rate in my account during the first month of business added a LOT of stress to the situation. Not knowing how I’d settle up the monthly Warren household tab of mortgage, child support, bills, gas, insurance, margs at Tony’s, and the new Halo that was coming out. For the first few weeks I was scatterbrained, not focused, and the doubt began to creep in. My mindset when I realized my bank statement was pretty thin, combined with the realization that I really didn’t have a “plan”. The plan was to “do something on my own”, taking what I was good at: people and content, and trying to get paid for this.
That was it, people and content. But still knowing my strengths or what I perceived I was good at didn’t help the situation. Those dollar signs began to dwindle each day. Each “necessary expense” went directly against the grocery budget. Each subscription to software to manage a home office went against that next round of margs from Tony’s. Each printer ink cartridge took away from the unplanned pizza for the house. One thing was clear: I needed to generate some money…and soon.
So my goal shifted from creating and building a company, to oh shit, you better focus on making money. Making money wasn’t a goal for me, rather it was a fear based shadow where I allowed myself to shift focus from creating something, brought on necessary but necessary anxiety, and began messing with my sleep. I became anxious, doubtful, distant, unmotivated, and created every excuse as to why me stepping out on my own would FAIL rather than succeed.
What was wrong? The more I focused on what entrepreneurs want: money, the further I was going away not just money, but also my true self. I had fun creating things, it was a fun process bringing people together, creating content, building relationships, etc. But this shift in a fear based motivation of lacking money, pushed me into a shell of myself often not connecting at the house.
One thing was more clear than the goal of paying my bills: In order for this to work, I needed to shift my mindset, and I needed to do this shift fast. The feeling of paying bills, and wanting to know if I would be able to was scary, and I wanted to CONTROL this ability. I wanted to control how fast I could build something. I even wanted to control other people in that I needed other people’s reaction or ability to meet control my success. So one problem was control. I needed to realize that I don’t control anything, either if I was at a super major or if I was venturing off on a new endeavor solo. I realized that when you want to control every aspect of the unknown it just adds stress and anxiety to the circumstance. I had to relinquish control on the future, and accept that sometimes (usually always) life shouldn’t be something you control. When you try to control things, the thought of the unknown can put holes in your ship.
So release control and accept the journey I decided to take, not just accept it, but have FUN in the unknown. I’ll speak more on this in later posts, but this process is still ongoing today. It takes practice and even if not perfect, a little bit of effort goes a LONG way.
The second thing I needed to shift was my target. My target could not stay in the fear based anxiety of “making money to pay my bills”. I can’t speak for everyone, but at the end of the day if the ship I set sail crashed and burned the only thing that would really hurt was my pride and ego. Worse came to worse I can try and land a job somewhere else, or I could dip into my IRA to take care of the mortgage, I even had some friends lean in and chime in they would be happy to help should I get into a bind. So at the end of the day: everything would be ok…regardless if it was how I pictured things would end up, it would be ok. I’d still have my family, my friends, and myself.
Money shouldn’t be the target. I didn’t begin Connection Crüe to simply make money. I began Connection Crüe because I wanted to BUILD something. I wanted to increase people’s networks in our industry. I wanted to create friendships between my circle of friends where I’d get jealous if they hung out without me. I wanted to create something that people would gain value in and actually brought something to the table. I wanted to bet on myself and see if it would work. I wanted to build something and have fun doing it! After all life’s too short to not have fun, or take things too seriously.
If this was all something I wanted to do: build, create, and have fun doing it. THAT should be my target! My target and goal shouldn’t be to “make money” or “pay this month's bills”, that’s a very short term, material way to view where I was at. I wanted to have fun! I wanted to have fun whether I succeeded or failed. I wanted to create and build relationships in our industry. I wanted to create new and cool ways to do this. That should be my focus, that should be my target.
Once I shifted to this mindset of my target and goal, it shifted my mindset. I began to trust the process, I began to take those chances more, I began to reach out to people I would normally think would never entertain meeting with me without fear…I was actually enjoying it! The early mornings of waking up stressed over “what am I going to do next”, shifted to waking up early excited and thinking “what can I do next?” I began realizing when I focused on WHY I was in business versus I why I NEEDED to be in business it thrusted me into believing more in myself, the process, and more importantly other people.
Shifting your mindset from survival to creation was a huge leap in my evolutionary mindset. It reduced the anxiety of the mornings to excitement. It helped me disconnect from the uncertainty noise and allow me to spend quality time with the family. It helped me zoom out and put things in perspective: in the end, it always works out, even if it’s not how you pictured it…and that’s OK. It helped me realize that in order to build anything you need to focus on creating and pursuing over doubt and fear (and material motivations). Shifting my mindset and lenses was the biggest and best thing I could do starting out…and I’m still actively working on it today.
Creative mindset > Fear mindset