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In my last few blogs, I’ve written about three important issues that all business owners will face at some point – their belief system, personal development and their energy.  

These topics fall under the banner of mindset. As I explained in the blogs, without the correct mindset you’re doomed in business and life.

Trust me on that. My journey has seen me experience great highs (i.e. selling my first business) and suffering crippling lows like nearly losing the same business I later sold.

Here’s how these issues have played out for three of my clients.

I put my journalism hat on and asked them some hard-hitting questions about their situation before and after the correct mindset. They responded with this:

Belief System

Tim Palmer is Co-founder of Fullstack Digital, specialist design and technology studio built to help craft digital products, platforms and experiences.

Question: What negative beliefs did you have in business that held you back?

Tim Palmer: I had a grey cloud hanging over me and it was causing me to feel like a failure. It was due to the stress of unpaid debts I had occurred in business.

Everyday I’d wake up and soon after my negative beliefs would set in. It’s almost impossible to be productive with the wrong attitude. I knew that but the hole was getting bigger and I couldn’t fight my way out of it.

With every business day, my debts kept piling up and my mindset would worsen.

Q: Once the belief was identified, how was corrected?

TP: Working with Evolve to Grow was a reality check. Tristan introduced the notion that I was entirely responsible for my actions. I was blaming a tough business market, my colleagues but never myself.

My success or failure was down to me and nobody owed me anything in order to get there. I guess I knew this anyway, but having somebody else call you out on it was equal parts challenging and refreshing.

Understanding this and implementing it not just in business but life has completely reframed my situation. I had debts that amounted to a decent sum of money, but not what faces a university student upon getting their degree.

Often they spend several years paying back their HECS – that’s a debt and all they did was commit to learning. Yet here’s me complaining about smaller debts while running my own business. When framed like that, I could see that I was actually years ahead of others my age.

The realisation that I’m not the most hard done by person was massive for me and it’s impacted how I’ve operated since.

Here’s four ways I helped Tim overcome his limiting beliefs:

  1. By making him aware of the different parts that make up a belief;
  2. By enabling him to release the emotions held in those beliefs;
  3. By shift his perspective so he can see the identity as false; and
  4. By breaking the bonds of his beliefs that make an idea or thought powerful.

Personal development

Rob Iacono is founder of PassivEnergy, a one-stop shop for all your sustainability needs.

Question: What event led you to developing personally?

Rob Iacono: I was a one man band, and I’d have to play every instrument. I’d get into work super early everyday, including weekends, and do all the admin for a few hours. Then start following up leads and then by lunch time my eight hour work day began. After lunch (not that I got one) I actually did the jobs and tasks customers were paying me for.

I never entered business to work like a slave and my venture wasn’t making the waves I wanted it to. It was a hard slog and sometimes just not worth the effort. To be honest I never thought my personal development needed my attention. I was too busy working for everybody else.

Q: How have you developed personally?

RI: I don’t read motivational books and if any business coach approached me with that angle, I would have run away quick smart. I met Tristan at our co-working space and we chatted. He simply encouraged me and offered some casual advice on a few things I could try to free up my time.

The relationship built out over time and so did my reliance on seeking him out with questions. At one point he asked me what I wanted out of business. For me, it’s about lifestyle and being able to take time off when I want to.

And that was it. I needed to develop personally in business to be able to execute my vision for life.

But that meant challenging work needed to be done. With Tristan’s help, we put a strategy in place to generate more leads, while building out my team. I went from a sole practitioner to managing a team of two before I knew it.

New business was coming in. I was scaling and training a growing team to operate without me needing to look over their shoulder.

It gave me great confidence that I could achieve something bigger and truly feel content.

Now with a focus on developing myself, when a difficult situation arises I have the confidence to deal with it and manage my team through it – I’m the leader I wanted to be.

As an added bonus, I even went overseas with my wife for three weeks and didn’t work.

Here’s three ways in which I helped Rob develop personally:

  1. To allow him to learn to remain committed to learning and being open
  2. To enable him to upskill on what he didn’t know
  3. To educate him on how being positive has an impact on those around him and most importantly himself


Shaan Nicol founder and CEO of Chillybin, a web design and development company.

Question: Where was your lack of energy coming from?

Shaan Nicol: I knew there was a problem. I’d be sitting at my desk unmotivated and just staring out of the window as the days passed by. You would never have guessed that I was a business owner.

I love my kids dearly, but when they were born was the moment my energy started to wane. Because my focus wasn’t right, work progress stunted and I was in the office more than I should have been.

It took its toll on my family situation. My wife wanted me around and so did my kids. Even when I was there, my mind was thinking about what needed to be done at the office.

I was sinking both professionally and personally.

Q: Once your low energy levels were understood, how did you correct them?

SN: I dipped my toe in the water and tried out a few courses like masterminds because I knew something wasn’t right with what was happening in my life. The quality and content of these courses was good, but they lacked accountability.

I engaged Evolve to Grow because it’s not an online course. Even being in Singapore, technology has allowed me close access to Tristan and his team and that has been beneficial for me.

Each week, despite the distance and different time frame, we’ve been able to put in place goals that need to be met by me (and my team) and dissecting my previous problems and strategising to improve every week, month and beyond.  

I’ve been able to put structures in place to make sure I’m getting enough rest and have work/life balance. When I get to my desk in the morning, I’m brimming with energy and ready to fire. Now I can effectively identify what needs to be done and start achieving my mission.  

A day without the right energy is a day wasted. I don’t want to experience that again.

Here’s four ways in which I helped Shaan to identify he had low energy:

  1. He was disengaged at work and distractions like social media were favoured over getting the job done
  2. He’d lost sight of what’s important and couldn’t remember why he was in business
  3. He was working long hours and never scheduled time out for himself (and what’s important – like family)
  4. He was living on somebody else’s goal-plan and constantly working to other people’s desires

These three examples indicate clearly that half the battle in creating a business and life that fulfills you and enables you to achieve what you wanted from it starts with the correct mindset.

Over the last few blogs, I explained that mindset can take many forms – belief system, personal development and energy.

As a business owner you will experience all three (and sometimes all together). At times it will be positive but often they’re not.

According to the National Science Foundation, we have up to 60,000 thoughts per day and 80% are negative.

Sometimes not having the correct mindset is what stops you realising there is a problem in the first place.

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