How The “Pollyanna Principle” Helps You Be A More Successful Entrepreneur… Especially Now

mindset Apr 29, 2020

I’ve been laid off from 4 companies in my 30+ years as a working professional.  And all 4 of the layoffs happened when I had heaps of financial responsibilities.  I was the primary household earner and had to cover the mortgage, property taxes, and school tuition.  

The first 3 layoffs really derailed me.  But the 4th one didn’t, in spite of the fact that the timing was FAR WORSE than the first three.  In fact, it was catastrophic.

Less than 24 hours before I got laid off from that job, I had signed the papers for a massive cash-out mortgage, wrote my soon-to-be former husband a whopping check, and took full ownership of the house and all of the additional expenses.  And the entire deal was based on the income from my “safe” job.

Oh, and one more small detail ...  

Since I was the primary earner, our arrangement was also based on me waiving any alimony or child support. Yup, you read that right.  I was getting nada … and I was making nada. 

By all accounts, I really should have had a seismic meltdown.  And I was quite surprised that I didn’t.  

And even more surprising is that since that crazy period of time only 4 years ago, I’ve started a successful freelance business in an area that I didn’t have any direct experience in before.

It’s really quite mind-blowing to me.  Because during the 29 years I worked in the corporate world, I couldn’t fathom not having a salary.  I used to feel physically anxious for my freelancer friends.  I’d tell them I could never stomach what they did.  I needed the security (make that “security”) of a regular paycheck.

So how did I go from being a “regular paycheck type of gal” to becoming a die-hard entrepreneur?  By getting in touch with my inner Pollyanna.

Chicken Little May Be Cute, But If You’re An Entrepreneur, You Want Pollyanna In Your Corner

As you may know, Pollyanna is the heroine in the 1913 novel written by Eleanor H. Porter.  It’s the story of a young orphan girl who greets each day loaded with optimism and cheer.  Her philosophy was to find something positive, no matter what the situation.

I think we’d all be better off with a little Pollyanna in us.  But if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s essential.  

Now I’m not suggesting you recklessly throw all caution to the wind.  But in my own experience, a certain degree of “blind optimism” has been enormously helpful in building my business. 

Besides, no matter what’s going on around you, the Chicken Little approach never does anyone any good.  It’s no help at all getting stuck in “the sky is falling” thinking. You simply can’t worry away problems … yours or anyone else's.  If you could, we’d have ended the world’s problems ages ago.

Of course it’s not always easy, especially during a global epidemic.  There is heartbreaking pain and loss all around us.  Maybe you’ve experienced some of it directly.  If that’s the case, I’m deeply sorry.  And you likely have other things that need your attention now.

The other thing we’re all dealing with is uncertainty. No one knows what the next 3 weeks, 3 months, or 12 months will look like.  That’s why you can’t let yourself be paralyzed thinking about it.  

The Pollyanna in me says, “While some things may be coming to an end, this is not The End … it’s a new beginning.”  

And if you’re an entrepreneur, your vision must be on where you want to be 6 or 12 months from now, and what actions you need to take to make that vision a reality.  

In other words, what opportunities are available to you today that will payoff later?

Let me give you an example of this from my own life. 

It’s now 4 months into this year, and I’ve already made 85% of what I made during the 12 months of last year.  In fact, this month is my highest earning month to date since I started out on my own.  And the reason why is because of the decisions I made and the opportunities I pursued 12 months ago, and the 12 months before that, and so on.  

Going after opportunities is a decision you have to make.  And believe me, I know how important “now money” can feel sometimes compared to “future money.”  That's why one of the hardest, and best, decisions for me was one that I made 3 years ago.  

At the time, I had spent about a year training in direct response copywriting.  My severance had already been spent covering bills.  And I was draining my savings to cover my (drastically reduced) ongoing expenses.  

I had to figure out if I could really get clients and make money doing this.  Otherwise, I’d have to start hitting the pavement hard for another corporate J.O.B.  So I went to a conference where I could meet with companies looking to hire copywriters.  

One night at the bar, I met one of the industry legends.  He’s one of the most successful direct response copywriters and marketers in alternative health.  I got his email address and corresponded with him occasionally over the next couple of months.  And when he decided to take on a small group of apprentices, he called me to see if I was interested.

Interested?!  Are you kidding?  Of course I’m interested!  

And I was even more interested when he told me this.  He said his former apprentices were making at least 3 times what most other “successful” copywriters made who didn’t have the type of training he would give me.  But there was a catch…

He told me it would be very demanding on my time.  It would mean sacrificing other client work.  He warned me that his apprentices usually see their income cut in half during the first couple of years with him because of the demands.  He was basically doing everything he could to talk me out of it. 

Then he said, “You have to decide.  Do you want to pay the price now, or do you want to pay the price later?”

It was a “now money” vs. “future money” decision.  It would mean at least a few more years relying on my savings.  I’d be sacrificing making more money now for the prospect of making even more money later.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt where I wanted my business to get to.  And that meant believing enough in myself to forgo “now” money for “future” money. 

So I told him, “I’m in.”  And I’ve never looked back.

So as hard as things are right now … and as uncertain as the next 6-12 months may seem … I encourage you to set your sights on where you want to be in 2021.  And figure out what you need to do today to position your business to get there.  

If you find you have Chicken Little “the sky is falling” tendencies, you might enjoy another article I wrote.  It’s about how I overcame sabotaging self-doubt and found success as an entrepreneur. 

And one last thing … 

If you’re a health & wellness coach and want to get more clients, I’ve got a program coming out that will help you turn your website into a powerful online “marketing department” that works for you 24/7.  If you think you might be interested, you can join the wait list here. You’ll be the first to know when it’s ready.



50% Complete