Tag Archives: mindset

Why We Need Halloween

Is Halloween good or evil? On the surface, it seems that Halloween is about scary movies, costumes, parties, candies, and a reason to scare our friends and family. Not much is said about the origin of Halloween or how it came to be a part of North American culture. If you have a look at Halloween from an entrepreneur perspective, however, you can see that it brings out qualities in people that should remain after all the Halloween candy is gone.

Face your fears; leave that zone of comfort

October 31st is about more than horror. It’s about facing our fears: freaky ghosts, bizarre clowns, and creepy crawly spiders. People challenge themselves to brave haunted houses to get a fright from costumed actors jumping out suddenly at them. Some people enter cemeteries at night, or take cameras to supposedly cursed buildings to find proof of an afterlife. It seems we have it in us that night to brave our darkest terrors just for a little fun.

Jack-o-lanterns were originally made from turnips not pumpkins. (Credit: Irish Central)

As an entrepreneur, I’m always having to push myself and other entrepreneurs out of their comfort zone. When you face your fears, learning happens. For example, you build your confidence. You also start to rewire your brain into focusing on the best thing that could happen, and whether you can survive the experience. Halloween is just another reason to step out of your comfort zone.

When I was a girl, I was afraid of spiders, so I went to the library one day and borrowed ten books on spiders to learn what I could about them and to find out if a fear of them was necessary. When I was an adult, my friends asked me to go to a haunted house. They wanted a chance to scream and be frightened; I challenged myself to stay calm in a tense situation. My friend and I entered a room that was completely pitch black.  At the room entrance, I visualized walking through the dark at a normal pace, before actually walking into the darkness, while focusing on a mental image of me walking calmly from room entrance to exit.

Walking into a haunted house is one way to face your fears.

Mindset and reward

Halloween is a psychological experience. Not only can you face your fears, but you can also work on self discipline. Candy seems to be everywhere. And if you’re a Halloween enthusiast, the chances to part ways with your money are also plentiful.

Halloween brings much business to retailers. Some recent Halloween spending stats: two-thirds of Americans hand out candy, spending an average of $25 each. Costumes make up a large part of the Halloween expense, with men spending about $96 each, and $77 each for women. The costumes are for men, women, children, and even pets. On average, buyers spend $86 each on Halloween candy, decor, and/or costumes. That works out to 6.9 to 9 billion a year spent on Halloween since 2012.

People are willing to spend money on costumes and decorations.

At the end of October, candy is promoted in stores, found in bowls on office reception desks, and is abundant at parties. You can also get them on sale post Halloween. As an entrepreneur, I would like to say that I can control myself around sweets, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes I have a cheat day and eat more than a day’s share of leftover Halloween candy. On the flip side, treats can also be used as a reward for going to the gym or climbing sets of stairs. It’s a time to reflect on health and fitness goals. Self discipline is important, so those candies can be used as small rewards for hitting daily or weekly goals. It’s all about mindset.

Halloween is also a time to change identity and blend in with the crowd. For one night, either at a Halloween party or on Halloween night itself, we can be someone else and it’s considered normal.

Empowerment and sense of community

We can dress as superheroes and pretend we have superpowers at Halloween. At a costume party I went to with a superhero theme, people talked about what powers they had. Wonder Woman, Batman, and The Flash wannabes had chosen people with qualities that they admired or wanted for themselves. I wondered if they did have the power of super strength or flight, then would they use these powers after Halloween to help people? That is a scenario I would like to explore.

What I really like about Halloween is the sense of community that it brings. At two events, costumed characters came together to enjoy the occasion. At the Parade of Lost Souls, several people got together at the community centre to follow a parade route. On Halloween night, thick crowds of adults and children walked through the streets of Burkeville to go trick-or-treating at well-decorated houses. It’s the only time of year when it’s not at all creepy to gawk at the unusual collection of scarecrows and gravestones in a front yard, and then walk up to the lighted front door to say hello to a neighbour.

Children walk up to a house for candy.

Costumes, candy, and haunted houses are only a small part of Halloween. It’s a time to reach out of your comfort zone to challenge yourself, as well as become a part of a community of people who share the same interest. That to me is the heart of what Halloween is: the people who celebrate it.






How to Achieve Your Goals

It’s the Energizer Bunny of entrepreneurship: the relentless thirst to network with new people and explore new ideas. The other day my need to explore led me to an event with a group of Law of Attraction people. I’d heard of the concept, and was interested in seeing how it compared to the entrepreneur mentality of SMART goals and the 5 Second Rule.

The question I wanted answered was: which method is more likely to get me what I want?

How Law Of Attraction gets you to your goal

“Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on.”

The Law of Attraction (LOA) is about the power of our mind to take our thoughts and turn them into our reality. In other words, what you send out is what you get back. It is something you can use in your everyday life to achieve small to large goals. The important concept to remember with LOA is that you should send out positive thoughts, not negative ones. It also means that the only limit is you. If you feel that you don’t deserve to receive something, then you won’t. You set your own limitations.

At the LOA event I attended, a woman shared her story among a group of ten people who believed and studied LOA. From their conversations, I could tell they knew each other well and were very supportive of each other.

The woman had been looking for a condo in Vancouver, and she had some specifications in mind for room sizes, kitchen arrangement, and location. At a time when affordability is a huge issue for buying homes, she decided that money would be no object and she would pay cash for the place. At first, I assumed she was a millionaire, or someone well connected, when she said that she was willing to pay two million all in one shot, no mortgage, for her new home.

She said that LOA would get her this home she envisioned because you don’t limit yourself. You find the home first, and then somehow, the financing comes later by borrowing from other sources – whatever it takes. In the end, two million would appear, if necessary, so she could get her dream condo without being slave to a mortgage. Her listeners were riveted to their seats, so I assumed they were wondering like I was how she could come up with the funding in a short time.

She was reviewing the strata minutes in the final stages of the purchase when the story took an interesting turn. One line in the strata minutes was a deal breaker: she couldn’t have a bird feeder. That was her disappointment.

What I learned from the Law of Attraction meeting was that positive thinking can get you in the direction of what you want. In the end, it wasn’t necessary to make two million dollars materialize in a matter of days. But one woman was able to find a condo she liked, and until the end, she remained positive about being able to get her financing.

How S.M.A.R.T. gets you to your goal

Positive thinking holds much power over our ability to achieve what we want. We need to believe our goals are attainable, and that with some effort, we will get where we want if we have a clear vision of where we are going. Motivational speaker and life coach Tony Robbins says, “Goals are dreams with a deadline.”

If you know your WHY – your reason – for setting your goals, then you will have a clearer plan for achieving them because you have a sharper focus. You also need to set up ways to make sure you’re able to evaluate your progress. One way is with S.M.A.R.T. goals.

First, you will need to be specific. Know what you want to accomplish, who and what is involved in your plan, and what limitations you may have. Second, your goals need to be measurable so you can assess your progress in getting where you want to go. Third, check that your goal is achievable. You may not be able to decide if someone wants to buy your product, for example. But you can control how you market and price it. Next, ask yourself if your goal is relevant. For example, you might not want to go on your road trip of a lifetime if you’ve just purchased a set of new furniture. Lastly, your goal must be time-bound. Having a target date makes it easier to prioritize everyday tasks with tasks due three days from now, or three months from now.

Having this plan will keep you on track. You may need to re-evaluate your plan from time to time to ensure that it is still relevant. For example, you may change your deadline to finish renovations when some supplies are temporarily out of stock. Regardless, taking action is crucial to getting you closer to what you want.

The 5 Second Rule is useful for completing tasks and taking action. Its premise is simple: Don’t think. Just go and do it.

I was with some business partners in Las Vegas when we set up a challenge for ourselves using the five second 5-4-3-2-1 Go! rule. Sometimes it is too easy to spend too much time thinking while your doubts and fears start chewing away at you. You will second guess yourself and your ability to achieve goals. Instead, you give yourself five seconds, count them down, and then you Go Do It.

As we walked along the Vegas strip, one of us started to dare the others to do different tasks, like pose for a photo, walk into a store, or go jump in the water fountain. Unlike the other mundane challenges, jumping into water would attract some public attention, so I looked at the others in eager anticipation. After the five-second countdown, I waited  for a splash, but there was only the hum of city traffic. I suppose the brain still overrules some impulse decisions.

The common formula between both approaches

Both the Law of Attraction and entrepreneur mentality have something in common: being focused on a goal and not giving up until you achieve that goal. The more clearly you can visualize where you are going, the more likely you will get what you want.

Both approaches avoid statements such as, “I could never…” or “I won’t.” Setting up limitations in the mind already defines boundaries for what you are able to do. One must also not let doubt creep in and weigh your belief in yourself.

No matter which approach you use, it is important to remain steadfast in your determination that you can get what you want.

Keep a sharp focus on your goals