The Psychology Of Success For Consultants & Entrepreneurs

BY Michael Zipursky

Do you feel like you can achieve a lot more in your life and business…but you’re not sure what that next step is?

Or that you have some sort of mental roadblock preventing you from becoming the person you want to become?

As a consultant or entrepreneur, it’s straightforward to focus on improving your marketing, sales, or offers…

…but your success in these areas stems from the way you think: your mindset.

And just like your offers, marketing, and sales — you can improve your mindset.

By the end of this post, you’ll understand the psychology of success so you will master your mindset — and achieve the results you want in your business.

How Microsoft Adopted The Psychology of Success

Microsoft understands the importance of changing their mindset as a company.

Satya Nadella outlines this shift in his book, Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone.

In the Steve Balmer era, they believed “We know what’s best for our customers.”

This is the fixed mindset action.

But Satya didn’t believe this was a healthy, profitable mindset. He wanted to shift to a growth mindset.

Instead of “know-it-alls”, they became “learn-it-alls.”

This changed their actions. They went out and met with their customers more. They asked them what they wanted and needed.

All of these practices that enhanced creativity and value creation throughout the company.

By shifting from a fixed/inward mindset to a growth/outward mindset, the value of Microsoft has trended upward since Satya Nadella took over.


If you make the same mindset changes in your consulting business, you’ll see positive results.

Why You Must Master Your Mindset

At a recent mastermind event hosted for our Clarity Coaching Clients, we invited Dr. Ryan Gottfredson — leadership researcher and consultant — to speak about the psychology of success and mindset.

ryan gottfredson mindset expert

Ryan says:

“Our mindsets are the mental lenses we use to view the world. They shape and drive our ability to think, learn, and behave in the most effective ways.

As such, they are foundational to our life success, work success, and leadership success. Thus, if we can improve our mindsets, we can improve our life, work, and leadership.”

Your mindset is the most foundational element of your being. It shapes how you think, learn, and behave.

And because of that, it has massive implications for your business and your level of success.

Ryan spoke about a fascinating study that illustrates the idea.

2 groups of employees were shown 2 different videos.

The first group was shown a video on how stress was debilitating. The second group was shown a video on how stress was enabling.

The researchers tracked the 2 groups over the next few weeks.

The first group — those who learned that stress was debilitating — had a lower level of engagement, lower performance, and higher blood pressure.

The second group — those who learned stress was enabling — had a higher level of engagement, higher performance, and lower blood pressure. (SOURCE)

By simply thinking of stress as a positive, you will act as though it is true. Or, vice-versa.

This study demonstrates the true power of your mind. By thinking differently and changing your mindset, you can be more successful.

And if you master your mindset and take conscious steps to improve it, you gain the power to choose your level of success.

The Four Mindsets: How To Improve Your Mind

There are 4 mindsets for success. The mindset on the left is the negative mindset, and the mindset on the right is the positive mindset.

4 mindsets

Fixed vs Growth Mindsets

A fixed mindset is when you do not think you or others can change. If you don’t think you can change things about yourself, you’re practicing a fixed mindset.

A growth mindset is when you think you can change your abilities, talents, and intelligence. If you believe you can learn, grow, and adapt, you’re practicing a growth mindset.

Closed vs Open Mindsets

A closed mindset is when you aren’t open to other ideas. If you think you’re 100% right about something, you’re practicing a closed mindset.

An open mindset is when you are open to other ideas — and take them seriously. If you have room to consider other people’s ideas, even if you’re an expert, you’re practicing an open mindset.

Prevention vs Promotion Mindsets

A prevention mindset is when you are focused on merely not losing. If you are focused on playing “not to lose” instead of trying to win, you’re practicing a prevention mindset.

A promotion mindset is when you are focused on winning and reaching your and the group’s goals. If you’re not afraid of stepping outside of your comfort zone if it means helping you and your group achieve success, you’re practicing a promotion mindset.

Inward vs Outward Mindsets

An inward mindset is seeing others as objects, with less empathy. If you’re more focused on your needs and challenges, you’re practicing an inward mindset.

An outward mindset is seeing others like people — and valuing them as an individual. If you’re more focused on the needs and challenges of others, you’re practicing an outward mindset.

Collective Mindset Study — How Elite Consultants Stack Up

We sent Ryan’s mindset assessment to a select group of clients to get an idea of how consultants think.

On the Fixed vs Growth mindset, 33% of this group was strong “grow”, but 26% was strong “fixed.”

The rest were in the middle. This group tends to care more about learning and growing than just looking good to peers.

On the Closed vs Open mindsets, 44% of this group was slightly more open — were quite evenly distributed.

Ryan suggested that you improve this mindset by understanding you can be wrong, and to seek the truth over being “right.”

On the Prevention vs Promotion mindsets, the vast majority of the group (67%) had a strong promotion mindset.

This was one of the best groups Ryan has seen in terms of seeking progress over avoiding problems.

On the Inward vs Outward mindsets…

  • 30% had a strong inward mindset
  • 26% had a slightly more inward mindset
  • 19% had a slightly more outward mindset
  • 26% had a strong outward mindset

This group tends to view partners, employees, and customers more like objects than people.

This is common among solopreneurs and small business owners because our lives do revolve around ourselves.

If you’re really high in promotion but have an inward mindset, you’re more focused on outcomes than people.

But you’ll be more successful if you focus on adding value to people. That will create the outcomes you want.

Action Step: Improve Your Mindset

Curious about your score on the four mindsets for success?

Start by taking Ryan’s Mindset Assessment — and see how you stack up to our group.

Once you see your scores, here are 5 actionable tips to improve your mindset:

Read The Elite Consulting Mind. In this book, I explore the mindset of elite consultants in particular. Practice these mindsets and you’ll think like a 7-figure consultant.

the elite consulting mind book cover

Start a journaling habit: Ryan credit’s the Five Minute Journal as one of the best tools that helped him shift his mindset. It’s a worthy investment and habit that will help you focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Engage in positive self-talk: How you talk to yourself plays a big role in your overall mindset. If you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, note it. Tell yourself something positive instead.

Ask good questions: Questions like…

  • “Am I seeing this person as a person or an object?”
  • “Is this person doing the best that they can?”
  • “Who am I being that this person’s light isn’t shining?”
  • “Who do I want to bring to this next interaction?”

…will help you act in a more empathetic way — and people will notice.

Create healthy boundaries: It doesn’t’ help to be overly agreeable. Having a positive mindset means respecting yourself and your time. Strike a balance between focusing on the success of your clients and valuing your own time.

Tame your ego: As a consultant, you want to be successful and seen as the expert. But ego puts you into self-protection mode. Leave enough room in your mind for different ideas and opinions.

Above all else, remember this: the more you focus on helping others, the easier it will be for you to get ahead.

Help someone get what they want, and you’ll get what you want.

What did you score on the mindset assessment?

What areas of your mindset do you feel could use some work?

Leave a comment below.

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