1. What is the most important factor in whether or not an entrepreneur will be successful?

I have been very fortunate to have closely observed many of the best basketball players in the world… guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant. And I’ve learned that there are two things that make the best the best…

One is the mindset, rituals, habits and discipline they have during the Unseen Hours. It’s what they do when no one is watching.

And two, they make the most of every opportunity to grow, to develop and to improve. They take advantage of every chance to get better.

I’ve also learned that the principles of high performance on the court directly transfer to the business world.

With that said, the most important factor that determines ones success is their habits. And it’s important that entrepreneurs understand that their habits are in fact a choice. You see, we choose our habits and our habits dictate our success. Therefore, success is our choice. Success is not a result of what we do occasionally. Success is a result of what we do all of the time.

And world-class performers have embraced this fact, have taken full ownership and have chosen to create and implement positive habits. They understand that you can’t be selective when it comes to excellence. How you do anything is how you do everything. 

So the question every entrepreneur needs to ask themselves is, ‘Are the habits I have today on par for the goals I have for tomorrow?

Remember, the things successful people find easy to do, unsuccessful people found easy not to do.

Successful people find it easy to read, to work out, to set goals, to find a mentor, to attend seminars and to network. Unsuccessful people find it easy not to do these things.

  1. What type of mindset do entrepreneurs need to have to grow their company?

The most successful entrepreneurs on the planet are able to Live Present. Which means they do 3 things. They focus on the next play, they focus on what they can control and they focus on the process.

Focus on the next play: I spent 6 years as the performance coach at DeMatha Catholic High School. In those 6 years we had several players drafted in the NBA, including All-Star Victor Oladipo. And if you’ve ever heard Coach Jones during a game, you would hear him say ‘next play’ at least 100 times. Ref missed a call? Next play. You turned the ball over? Next play. You missed a wide-open shot? Next play. Coach Jones wants his players to focus on the next play because it is the only one they can still affect. They can’t do anything about the past. And in the fast paced games of basketball and business, the past can mean 5 seconds ago. If you are worried about something that happened 5 seconds ago then you aren’t in the present moment. And the only way you can be at your best is to be fully present. So entrepreneurs need to focus on what’s next… not what’s happened.

Focus on what you can control: At the most fundamental level, each of us only has control over 2 things – our attitude and our effort. Those are the only two things we have 100% control over, 100% of the time. And any time spent focused or worried about something outside of our control… is a waste. So focus on your team, your effort, your attitude, your culture, your systems, your preparation, your execution and your customer service than on your competitors. As the legendary John Wooden would advise, ‘don’t worry about them. Let them worry about you.’

Focus on the process: I am not very handy. Yet I have full confidence that I can build a sound, sturdy brick wall. Why? I trust the process. I will take the care and precision to lay every brick perfectly.  And when you have the discipline to lay each brick perfectly, the end result will be a sound, sturdy wall. Nothing else is even possible. When you focus on the process… the outcome will take care of itself. Granted, you can’t guarantee any outcome, but you can greatly increase the chance of it occurring when you stay focused on the process. Entrepreneurs need to build their business brick by brick.

  1. Why are so many entrepreneurs afraid of failure?

Unfortunately society unconsciously teaches us that failure is a bad thing. That it is to be avoided. Why? Failure makes people uncomfortable. And as human beings, it is wired in our DNA to crave comfort. To subconsciously make things as easy as possible. But that’s not how you grow. You grow through discomfort. You grow through challenge. You grow through adversity. If you want to maximize your potential as a leader, you must condition yourself to be comfortable being uncomfortable. How many times have you heard that you need to work hard to be successful? Probably more than you can count. But no one really defines what hark work is or what it means to work hard. Here is my personal definition: Hard work is intentionally leaving your comfort zone with purpose. If I asked you to start doing push-ups… what would you probably do when they started to get difficult? You’d stop, right? I mean once your chest and shoulders and arms were on fire… and burning… and shaking… you’d stop… to get rid of the discomfort. But what if I told you that the reps you do after they become uncomfortable are the ones that make the difference. They are the ones that allow you to get stronger. The same is true in business. It’s only after a few no’s… after initial resistance… that the best ideas surface.

Failure is the catalyst to growth. If you are closed to failure, you are closed to improvement, development and ultimately success. And it’s OK to have a slight fear of failure. That will keep you on your toes. Having fear keeps you sharp. Being scared paralyzes you.