If you're reading this, then there is a good chance that you are one of the small percentage of people who classify themselves as an entrepreneur.
You're the one who doesn't enjoy working for somebody else…
Who feels trapped in a 9-5 job…
Who loves the idea of the freedom an online income can come…
And who gets excited by the thought of new things and change.
If you nodded you head to at least one of those, keep reading because I am going to give you some more insight into how your brain works on a chemical level.
While our entrepreneurial drive is what will ultimately allow us to create that life of true freedom, it will only happen if we understand some things about our brains, because, the very thing that can give us the freedom, is also the very thing that can stop us from having it.
Our brain, is both our greatest asset, and also our greatest weakness.
Let's take a step back in time to our prehistoric ancestors so that I can explain this a little better to you.
Back in the caveman days, we would have been the ones that couldn't wait to get out of the cave. We would have been the ones in the hunting party. The ones looking for new ground.
We would have been stimulated by the adventure and the challenge that came from the danger involved. And we would have been bored by having to do all those tedious tasks that had to be done to ensure survival…
Like planting fields, or mending things, or any task that had a mundane routine attached to it.
We are the seekers, designed to break new ground and turn the impossible into the possible.
Which is awesome and exciting and SO MUCH FUN…
Until it isn't anymore.
And then we get bored and move on.
Which is a major entrepreneur downfall.
You see, as soon as something stops being exciting and stimulating, we come up with some logical reason for why we should stop doing it, EVEN WHEN that is the thing, we have been striving for years to achieve.
We move onto the next challenge, the next things, the next shiny object.
And often, we end up in a never-ending cycle of creating and striving without ever achieving that dream life of abundance and freedom.
So WHY IS THAT???
Well, I want to introduce you to your brain hormones.
Meet Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, the Endorphins. These are all part of the Happy Hormone gang. They make you feel good for doing certain things.
Cortisol is a protective hormone. Its job is to make you move away from things that might harm you by creating stress and anxiety.
I want to tell you a little more about what each of these do so that you can identify when it is a brain hormone urging you to give up, and when it was a just a really sucky idea and time to move on. 😉
Let's start with Dopamine.
Dopamine is released as a reward when we do something the brain considers good. It makes us feel happy and satisfied and good about ourselves.
When we eat sugar – Dopamine.
When we make money – Dopamine. (Unless you have some underlying belief system that money is evil. Then getting rid of the money might make you release Dopamine.)
The goal of dopamine is to make you seek reward and get what you need to survive.
The next hormone in the line-up is Serotonin.
Serotonin is linked to pride, confidence and respect. It motivates you to climb the ladder inside your tribe so that you can have more possibilities.
Serotonin is released when we do something that improves or shows our status.
For men, it tends to be through their ability to provide resources. For women, it is social status and their looks.
Built into our DNA is the need to procreate and pass our genetics on. So, men want to show how well they can provide, big houses, fast, fancy cars, designer suits, etc. so that they can attract the best female possible to procreate with.
In response, women want to show that they are a suitable and powerful mate through their social status and how attractive they are.
Now, before you throw rocks at me, you need to know that I'm not making this stuff up. It's hot wired into us, and yes, relax and breathe, we can overcome it…
If we know it is there subconsciously driving us, we can recognise where the impulses are coming from and override them consciously. Which is the point of this article!
Right, on to Oxytocin.
This hormone is related to a feeling of safety, trust, belonging and love. It encourages us to be a part of the tribe, to be loved and trusted, because then our chance of survival will go up.
Let's be honest here, as a species we are pretty vulnerable. No hard outer exoskeleton. No spikes or venom or incredible speed. No massive size or strength, or ability to leap tall buildings, or fly.
It's amazing we have survived as long as we have…
And that reason is our amazing brains and the hormones that encourage us to stay safe and procreate.
Being a loved and trusted part of the tribe was essential for survival. It meant others would go into battle for you, or share their meagre supply of food, or take care of you when you are sick.
Rock on, Oxytocin!!!
Right, the last of the happy hormones are the Endorphins.
To be honest, they are more a survival hormone than a happy one. They give us the ability to mask pain and creates, instead, a feeling of euphoria.
Every time I have had a near death experience, and sadly, I've had more than my fair share (read ACCIDENT PRONE :-))) ), I have ridden a wave of Euphoria for weeks.
Endorphins allow you to remove yourself from a threat so that you can live to face another day. They are, in fact, very similar in molecular structure to Morphine.
(For those of you who are wondering where Adrenaline fits into all of this – it is like an amplifier for the other hormones. It makes the effect of them stronger.)
SO, let's take a look at what happens to a caffeine addicts’ brain when they have a cup of coffee…
- Dopamine is released – as the body views this as a positive thing therefore you are rewarded.
- Serotonin is released – maybe it's because you can afford to buy your expensive cup of coffee every day without batting an eyelid, or maybe it's because you are using a super-duper expensive coffee machine. Whichever, you get rewarded for your status in being able to have that coffee.
- If you are having your coffee with friends or family, Oxytocin is released.
- Adrenaline is released by the caffeine – which amplifies all of the above hormones.
Is it any wonder people are so addicted to their coffee???
Now let's talk about Cortisol.
Cortisol is also about survival. It makes you stop and pay attention, and encourages you to move away from danger.
It does this by either increasing fear, or creating stress and anxiety. It makes you feel bad, so that you will stop what you are doing and remove yourself.
When you needed food as a baby, your body released Cortisol. This made you cry, until you got the attention and the food that you needed.
Okay, so let’s bring all this into context for you to show you how these hormones play a part in blocking the very success that you want.
First, let's look at what it is that most entrepreneurs want. I talk to a lot of you guys both within my own business, but also working as a sales coach, and this is what I know:
- Entrepreneurs want to create a life of freedom – live where they want, do what they want when they want it, remove the glass ceiling from what they can earn.
- Entrepreneurs want to live a life of purpose, which ultimately leads to them helping others.
That's pretty much it. If you dig down through everything that people talk about when they are creating their goals and dreams, that's what you get…
Freedom and Purpose.
Okay, so now let's look at the two main ways entrepreneurs fail to ultimately deliver those goals.
- They never actually create the success that they want.
- They create what they set out to do, but then, for whatever reason, decide that's not what they actually want, and they start doing something else instead.
All of the stories that didn't finish with the Freedom and Purpose fall into these two situations.
They either never managed to do it, or they did it, but then sabotaged it in some way so that they didn't have it any more.
You can call it what you want, but that's how it boils down.
So why do these two things happen???
Well, while our foundational belief systems play a massive part in this (normally by preventing us from being able to consistently take the actions that we need to, to do what we want to), our brain hormones are also responsible.
The problem is that our brains build up a tolerance to these hormones, which leads to us constantly having to find new ways to stimulate their release.
Take for instance the decreasing pleasure sensation from eating something yummy.
The first bite is always the best, right???
That's because that first bite stimulated the biggest Dopamine release. Each bite after that, leads to less and less Dopamine, until our brain decided it doesn't need any more calories and stops releasing it all together.
Now let's say, that instead of pizza, it was our business we were talking about.
That initial rush of success, the first time a large amount of money hits your bank account, is going to create the biggest Dopamine hit.
You have to keep making more and more money to get that same feeling.
The first time you have that five-figure month you've been day dreaming about is amazing. The rush of chemicals in your body makes you feel euphoric.
Your brain rewards you with Dopamine, cause having that money means you can get whatever you need. Then there is the Serotonin that is released when you buy your first status symbol – maybe it's a nice watch, or a designer bag. You know that thing you long for that will mean that YOU MADE IT???
The of course there is the Oxytocin that comes from being able to provide for your loved ones, for your tribe. Buying gifts, taking them out for meals, or on a nice vacation, all of that stuff feels pretty darn good, doesn't it?
So why is it, a year down the track, that it just doesn't feel as good anymore?
Why do we become discontent with what we have, and start wanting more?
BRAIN HORMONES BABY!!!
The body is not releasing them anymore. It's not rewarding you, unless you make more, spend more, have more.
It leads to an ever increasing need to be building bigger, having more, and this keeps on going to your body’s limits.
And here is the real kicker, when the rush of hormones wears off, and we are in a depreciating level of appreciation, your brain will release Cortisol, even if you have achieved what it was that you were aiming for.
Which means you start to feel anxious, and stressed, as your brain tries to get you to do something else so that it can start releasing the happy hormones again.
This is why so many entrepreneurs spend every cent they make, and more.
This is why that business that you dreamed of no longer brings you joy.
This is why entrepreneurs logically decided that something isn't working, even though it is, and walk away from it to start something new.
Their brain hormones are tricking them into thinking that something is wrong, and when you combine these hormones with a shaky underlying belief system, well, it's a pretty potent cocktail.
You can convince yourself of whatever you need to, to get out of discomfort and into a place where the brain hormones are making you feel better again.
That is why we get caught up in shiny-object syndrome…
That is why we are always searching for the next thing…
That is why we give up before we make it…
And that is why we self-sabotage ourselves so effectively.
The combination of our belief systems and our brain hormones.
When you look at it from a prehistoric point of view, where we did need to be continuously hunting and gathering and protecting our tribe, it makes total sense, but, in this modern world we live in, it's all a little screwed up.
So, what can you do about it?
Well, you need to BE AWARE.
Be aware of why something is making you feel all happy and successful. And, correspondingly, be aware of why it isn't.
Why are you pushing your limits to build bigger? Is it just to satisfy your body's needs for hormones, or is it really something you want to do? Is it in you, and your family's best interests, or is it really just self-serving?
Have a good think about what you really want in life.
What do you really need? Are you stressing yourself out, striving to get something you actually don't want or need? Are you stopping to smell the roses and enjoy the journey?
Sure, life is an adventure, and you can create whatever you want, but make sure you want it for the right reasons. For the reasons that nurture your soul, and not for the ones that satisfy your body's needs for happy hormones.
Now, all of this is so much easier when you have a sound belief system in place. When you have uncovered all of those limiting beliefs, that are what are creating your actions, inactions and reactions.
When you are at peace with yourself, and able to know what your true purpose is, it is much easier to be in control of your brain's hormones. You will no longer need your ‘Happy Hormone Cocktail' to make you feel good about yourself.
You will no longer be like a drug addict, acting irrationally to get what their body needs.
Then it is much easier to control those urges, and not to let 'emotional reasons cloaked as logical ones' to cloud your vision.
Now this is how I help my clients. By uncovering those limiting beliefs that are keeping them stuck and struggling so that they can to onto create a life they love.
So, if you would like to take a deeper dive into that, into the belief systems you have in place so that you can be in a better place to control your brain hormone urges, then jump on my calendar for a Success Strategy call.