The entrepreneurial mindset is viewed as a cure-all in many circles. For smart founders wanting to beat blocks and boost growth, it’s the “it” thing to master.To some degree, it makes sense:

Without a flexible attitude and focused relentlessness toward our goals, our companies will go the way of bulky 2-pound flip phones.

But what about entrepreneurs who do have their mindset right, and still fall short of their targets?

And why does it happen across every age, ethnicity, gender, industry, and business size?

Is it really due to “not thinking right”?

After two decades spent serving, coaching, and consulting for hundreds of clients across several industries, from large companies to “mom and pop shops” … I say no.

There’s a missing piece.

Because despite the right product, pricing, and positioning, many founders never find the right mix of strategy and moxy to crush their “Big Goal.”

Could it be mindset work isn’t enough to speed success under standard conditions?

Entrepreneurial mindset is tough to sustain when you’re stressed.

In some cases, it’s impossible.

Here’s why:

  1. Your thoughts, emotions, and behavior are built from childhood experiences.

First, data shows our personal mindset is shaped from many places: past experiences, ingrained teachings, current health state, et al. Even genetics factor in.

And much of how we operate today is based on childhood patterns.

That said, it makes sense that our natural entrepreneurial mindset is a product of our personal mindset. We’re dealing with ingrained beliefs, perspectives, and thought patterns.

So, creating lasting change by “thinking differently” ain’t easy. 😐

Because if those old, ingrained patterns are unhealthy, stifling, or unhelpful … business suffers.

We do business the same way we do everything else.

  1. Under stress, your body defaults to habitual patterns and primal instincts.

Under stress of a perceived threat, your body chooses the best response.

To do it, it draws on both your physical senses and your past experiences.

Of note, this happens mostly without your awareness and it’s pretty instantaneous. When the body perceives a threat, it automatically activates certain processes to help you fight or escape. Those primal behaviors take control, which suppress your thinking brain.

At that point, you’re in “survival mode.” (Literally.)

In survival mode, your brain’s fear center cuts your ability to stay cool, concentrate, make good decisions, and consider the future.

This is why you forget the words to that presentation at go-time, although you practiced for weeks.

It’s also why, when your staff sends error-filled work for the fifth time, you yell first and think later.

These behaviors are completely natural, predictable results of the thinking brain going largely offline because your body perceives “danger.”

So in these cases, typical mindset work—like learning to “be more easygoing” about day-to-day business stuff—often isn’t very helpful.

Remember, all that’s out the window if your fear center shuts it down.

So how can you keep your body from automatically judging launches, sales calls, speeches, taxes, and tricky management situations as “dangerous?”

The missing link to controlling your mindset under pressure? Your body.

More specifically, your nervous system.

To recap, we know the rational thinking brain is physically hijacked under stress.

We know “stress” is gauged subconsciously, using bodily senses and past experiences.

We also know all this happens without us ever realizing it.

Popular mindset-based solutions might have you hack your “habit cycles” to try to strengthen your mindset.


If you want to stop drinking coffee after lunch, drink hot cocoa instead. And say a few affirmations to convince yourself you love hot cocoa, and are already an energetic, positive person.

I’m oversimplifying a little to make a point.

No disrespect to mindset coaches, because these sorts of hacks do work.

We just need a little support for them to work more consistently and completely.

The “support” we need is a nervous system calm enough to access all that great mindset stuff when we’re stressed.

We also need to be able to do it long-term.

You already know sustaining the “right mindset” is so much simpler when entrepreneurial life is calmer.

But to sustain change even when the “bad news” hits the fan, we must learn how to disrupt our body’s habit of overriding our mindset changes.

And over-focusing on mindset keeps you in “feast or famine” mode.

Looking at “mindset work” as the magical cure is pretty dangerous.

It fuels the shame-based implication that if we were only “disciplined” enough to “think better” … then all business challenges would be solved.

But that’s not fair.

Thinking differently isn’t enough.

Because what happens when we try that, and still fall short of our own standards?

More self-doubt, more self-blame, and lower self-confidence.

And that, ironically, means we’re even less likely to reach the goals we want.

Beating ourselves up just keeps us on the hamster wheel, sparking even more self-doubt, perfectionism, fear of failure, and imposter syndrome.

The Bottom Line: Master your mindset through your body.

While mindset shifting works for thousands of entrepreneurs, millions more still seek answers. For the rest of us, mindset training by itself just isn’t enough.

This is even more true for business owners from marginalized populations.

Personally, I’m blown by this rabid “mindset” trend. I’d rather follow modern science a bit further to explore the inexorable link between body and mind.

We no longer have to depend strictly on thought-based hacks to change our behavior.

Let’s consider that there’s more data being sent from body to brain than the other way around. So doesn’t it make sense to work through the body to burn the cycle of self-sabotage and spark lasting change?