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Mood and Mind

6 things successful women are thinking

Is your mind ready for success? Former journalist Natasha Courtenay-Smith  launched, grew and sold her own media business in just a few incredible years. Now a business coach, she shares six ways of thinking that can help drive you towards success

Developing a media businesses that would one day grow into a huge success was probably the last thing on Natasha Courtenay-Smith’s mind when she was working as a feature writer on one of the UK’s largest daily newspapers. But she went on to do just that.

Six years ago Natasha founded Talk to the Press, a media company that helps everyday people sell their personal stories to publications. Within a couple of years, it had won a chain of awards and helped put Natasha on Management Today’s ‘35 under 35,’ a list of high achieving business women in their early 30s.

Last year, Natasha sold the business to the country’s biggest news agency, Southwest News. After the soaring success of Talk to the Press, Natasha’s now launched a coaching business for entrepreneurs wanting the tools to grow and sell their businesses.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith

‘I had always seen myself as a media type person and journalist,’ Natasha says, ‘but things really changed when I began to see myself as an entrepreneur. That moved me into a different world.’

As she grew Talk to the Press, Natasha had a number of business coaches. Their advice helped her to pick up on the importance of having someone on the outside assisting in the development of startups. One of her one-to-one coaches was a woman ten years her senior who had set up a business and sold it on her own.

‘I went to her house and she had this amazing home with three kids and a swimming pool,’ Natasha remembers. ‘That was great motivation for me because I thought “God, that’s what I can work towards. I can make my business work and I can sell it.”’

Natasha’s experience gave her a greater understanding of how to assist entrepreneurs and lead those trying to develop or sell their businesses. She’s now sharing her knowledge by providing coaching for startups and small businesses with a specific aim to grow or sell their company or seek investment.

‘I’ve had a number of coaches help me along the way,’ says Natasha. ‘It’s important for entrepreneurs to teach and mentor small companies. My coaching is specific in that it helps people to raise investment or exit their business.

So what does it take to work through the ups downs of business and be successful? Does it take something special or can we all achieve it? First you need to shift your mind and think like a successful person, even if you’re not quite there yet, she explains.

‘With startups, when you’re running a business you sometimes don’t know what to do next. You’re full of good ideas, but you’re trying loads of different things at once and you don’t know where to turn. Fear is a huge thing that keeps people contained in one space, and it is terrifying launching, growing and selling a business. But if you’re aiming for success thinking towards it will help you get there’.

We stole some of Natasha’s time and got the six things every successful woman is thinking – they’re intended to apply to business but we think they apply to life too.

successful woman illustration
So she’s doing something amazing? So can you


1. If she can do it, so can I…and I can probably do it better

This is about having self-belief and not allowing negative self-talk to get in the way of reaching your goals. Many of us have a natural tendency to look at people who are doing amazing things and think, ‘I could never do that.’ We think those people must be better, cleverer or luckier than we are, but the reality is that we are just as capable. Instead of giving up right away because you think you can’t do it, you’ve got to think to yourself ‘if she can do it, then so can I.’ Better yet, you have to tell yourself that you can do it better. If you get bogged down in negative self-talk of ‘I can’t’ or ‘I don’t know’ because you think you can’t do it, then you’re never going to do it. You have to be confident about yourself, and that self-belief will help you achieve success.

2. Look to the horizon instead of the immediate junction right in front of you

Know where you’re going and you’ll find the way

To be successful, you need to need to have a clear vision for what you want from your future and that includes a list of long term goals and short term goals, whether you write them down or not. With those goals in mind, looking to the horizon and the bigger picture, believing that you’ll get there and working out the steps along the way is a key part of achieving success.

It’s a bit like when you’re driving from London to Doncaster, for example.  You don’t know every left or right turn of the road, all you know is that you’re going to Doncaster and you plan to follow those larger, overarching signs that will take you there. Ultimately you do get there, but you haven’t known every step of the journey. This is the same for people who are looking towards success. You’re not going to know every step of the journey, you can’t possibly plan for everything, but you’ve still got to look to the destination.

So look to the horizon and the bigger picture with your long term goals, and then have the belief that you’ll get there.

3. Everything is figure-out-able

Absolutely everything can be understood and learned. It’s all about attitude and having the mentality that whatever happens along the way you can figure it out and you’ll work it out. A successful person would believe that no matter what happens, the correct solution can always be worked out.

For example, as part of my new business I’m doing Youtube videos, and before I started it out I felt it was such an obstacle because I hadn’t done it before. I was worried that I’m going to have to hire someone to film me, they’re going to be really expensive, they’re going to come with loads of crew, I’m going to have to perform, I’m going to get really stressed out, and then they’re going to edit it and it’s all going to cost me loads of money. That would be enough to stop most people dead in their tracks and think ‘forget it, I’m not actually doing video.’ But instead, I did some research, discovered lots of people filming videos with their iPhones and iPads, I realised I could get free one-to-one classes with the Apple store so I booked some lessons on iMovie and now I’m confident I can do it myself. That barrier of me worrying about videos is completely gone because I believed it was all figure-out-able.

You’ve got to change your attitude and remember that it’s all figure-out-able and that nothing is actually that difficult. Most business-related things can be figured out, and you’ve got to commit yourself. When you encounter a block try to work through it; Google it, look up Youtube videos on how to sort it out, research things, get used to trying to figure out everything, because everything is figure-out-able.

4. Always looking on the bright side

This is something that you’ll find in common between nearly all successful people, and it’s about taking control of your life. Obviously, no one can completely control everything, but if you are determined to look at the bright side and the positives then you can reduce worry and gain a better sense of control of your life. Things do go wrong, but by limiting the space in your mind for doom and gloom and catastrophic-set thinking, you can instead focus on trying to learn whatever lesson there is and to simply move on by remaining optimistic.

Now, you could probably spend days arguing whether successful people are naturally optimistic or not, but you can increase your own optimism by looking to the future rather than the past. When things happen, tell yourself that it’s done and dusted and since you can’t change the past, you have to look to the future and get on with it.

5. I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to take action

Business notes
‘Done is better than perfect’ is a key rule for success

‘Analysis paralysis’ is a state where you get so caught up in the nitty-gritty that you end up not getting anywhere at all. Say you’re launching a website. You’ll spend ages and ages agonizing over every detail, when really you just need to get the site launched. It’s about recognizing that it’s more important to start and take action for whatever it is you want to do than it is to over analyze every single detail and wait till everything is perfect.

It’s the same thing with selling a business. You might want to wait until all the stars have aligned: you’ve had the best financial year ever, you’ve just won a number of awards, you’ve got your biggest team ever and all those big circumstances are in place. You can wait, but equally, things don’t have to be perfect. It’s more important to take action now, because otherwise, you’ll just be waiting around.

6. I will sacrifice my friends for myself

This isn’t as brutal as it sounds (and I know it sounds pretty brutal), it’s about understanding the impact of being surrounded by people who are doing bigger and better things so they can lift you up. When it comes to friends who are stuck in the past, are negative, small minded or stuck in a rut, successful entrepreneurs will slowly let them go. This isn’t in an ‘I’m dumping you’ way, but more like a natural shedding of friends over time in order to make space to surround yourself with people who are on your wavelength.

Don’t try to cling on to every friendship you have ever had. Instead, accept that as you go on a different journey you’ll meet different people. If you’re having trouble figuring out which friends are helping you, after seeing a friend, ask yourself: ‘Was that a positive experience or did I feel frustrated and irritated?’ Then it’s about letting the natural process happen.  If you want to be really successful, then you want to surround yourself with really successful, inspiring people so you can bounce off and grow with each other.

Successful people have an abundance mentality
Successful people have an abundance mentality

Most successful entrepeneurs I know have done this, and while it sounds really brutal, they all let go of people who brought them down. They want to be around people who have an abundance mentality and believe anything is possible because it helps them themselves.

Letting go of friends is important. Things change, and it’s about not feeling bad about it. You’re not dumping them, you’re simply growing and moving on.’

IMG_4613NKWhether you’re thinking of selling, growing or finding investment for your business or you simply want targeted guidance towards success visit Natasha’s site for a free training guide and a way to get in touch.

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