Remember when you started your business? It was just an idea at first. Then, something came over you, a kind of confidence and belief that anything is possible.
As you went through the motions of putting your ideas on paper, though, it is very likely that you started dialing back the impact of your vision a little bit at a time. Maybe you started looking around for examples of similar business models and couldn’t find any or maybe there was just a little voice in the back of your mind that told you that your mission isn’t possible.
As a result, you followed conventional advice, developed a product, and promised yourself you would use your profits to make an impact later. Now, even though your business is pretty successful on the books, you are not satisfied. You can’t help but wonder if there is some way to make money and make a difference at the same time.
The answer is, yes, you can make an impact with your business; but first, you have to accept that “possible” is a limiting belief.
When You Build An Impact Business, Anything Is Possible
Our social experiences are produced by a series of systems. No matter what kind of business you run, your job as an entrepreneur is to create systems that produce a desired outcome predictably. People pay you for that product and the predictability.
Every advancement in the world is the product of an intelligently designed system. Every problem in the world – from hunger to education outcomes – is the product of a system as well.
When you run an impact business, your job is to develop systems that consistently produce an outcome that can change the world.
It’s just a little shift, but it goes a long way, and it brings up a lot of questions. Like, “will people really pay me to help them live more ethically?” or “can a business really systematize a competing outcome to a social problem?”
A simple Google search for any of these questions will give you pages and pages of statistical proof that yes, people love to support an impact business, but all the evidence in the world will not appease the limiting beliefs behind these questions.
Limiting Beliefs Keep You From Reaching Your Full Potential
Maybe you have heard of limiting beliefs, those thoughts that grip you any time you get a chance to step out beyond the edge of your comfort zone.
Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough,” or “I need another degree,” are born from your mind’s natural desire to protect you from harm or embarrassment. That’s why they feel so important, so real. Doing bold things makes you stand out, and standing out too much can be scary.
The ways in which your limiting beliefs hold you back are not purely intangible. They provide you with a sense of safety by validating your deeper fears without even requiring you to take the time to examine them. In this way, they keep you from summoning the courage to show up to your highest potential.
It is like getting a doctor’s note that tells your higher self that you don’t have to go to the gym anymore.
There is a lot of information out there about how your limiting beliefs sabotage your success from within, but not all limiting beliefs are the products of your own thoughts. Many are actually brought up by others and used to keep you obedient or small.
When You’re Told What’s Possible, What You’re Really Being Told Is to Stop
Limiting beliefs don’t only crop up when you are afraid of your ideas. They also come up when others are afraid of your ideas. Those who are intimidated by your potential don’t hold back when it comes to letting you know what’s on their mind.
How we are judged is important. Withholding approval or support is an easy way to get others to do what you want. Whether or not you use these obedience techniques yourself, they are prevalent in every aspect of your life from politics to parenting.
In this context, it makes sense that another person’s natural yet unchecked reaction to your most powerful ideas is to show disapproval. Judging your idea as unrealistic, optimistic, or just plain impossible could be enough to make you abandon the idea altogether and let everything stay “as it was.”
Whether from inside or outside of you in the form of thoughts or beliefs, arguments like “no one has ever done that before,” or “the world isn’t ready for that,” or “change happens slowly,” can all be confronted with the same demand: prove it.
The most intimidating part of being the first is proving you know what you’re doing. What I want you to know is that you do not have to bear that burden. You can lay that burden on the status quo you wish to change, or ignore it completely. Why? Because the reality is, anything is possible. That’s how we got to where we are today, it’s also how we’ll get to where we go tomorrow.
Remember when you started reading this article? I asked you to think back on that confidence and belief that your dream is possible. That instinctual wisdom pushed you to start your business with the desire to change your life and the world.
They were real. You were right.
Whatever the change is that you want to see in the world, you can create it. Your vision is just a system and overcoming a limiting belief away.
Learn more about Mina and her journey at the Speak Up Women Conference.
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