Mel Robbins to Entrepreneurs: Your Habits Need Disruption More Than Your Industry

September 8, 2016

11:45 am

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The most-booked female speaker in the world is coming to Denver next week. Best-selling author, CEO and serial entrepreneur Mel Robbins will be addressing Denver Startup Week in a speech on Friday, August 16, titled “Disrupt Yourself to Accelerate Your Startup Growth.” I chatted with her in order to preview the lecture and learn why your own genuine attention to your company’s potential flaws can be the X factor that gets your earliest investors on board.

Disrupt Your Habits First and Your Industry Second

‘Disruption’ is an old buzzword, but Robbins is making sure to give it a fresh spin. According to Robbins:

“In particular—since I would imagine everyone sitting in the audience considers themselves disruptors in whatever category their technology’s in—this is a more specific interpretation of ‘disruption’, in terms of how you can disrupt your own habits and your own thinking that is getting in the way of you growing and scaling your business.”

Many young tech startups replace an interest in digging deeper and learning the exact direction to pivot with generic assumptions. Trying to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or calling your company “the Uber of blah blah blah,” Robbins says, will just earn you an eye roll from any seasoned investor you sit down with. But how exactly can you focus on disrupting your empty assumptions while retaining your good instincts?

What Habit Disruption Looks Like

Robbins expanded on the importance of knowing your own predispositions. When running a business, you can’t count on anything that you can’t back up with data:

“We can also make assumptions that, when you really get into the nuts and bolts of building it, aren’t going to be true. You’ve got to be the kind of individual that has the maturity, the self-awareness, and the self-control to be able to absorb those facts and to pivot really quickly. Unless you’ve got a mastery over the way you think and the habits you have that can take over when you’ve not paying attention, you’re not going to have that ability.”

And any investor worth their salt knows this, which impacts what they’re looking for during the early stages of a startup:

“At the end of the day, people put their money behind people who have interesting ideas. They don’t necessarily put their money behind ideas if there aren’t confident and interesting people behind them.”

You Can Listen to Mel Robbins Now

Robbins’ TEDx talk, which is among the top 20 most viewed of all time, centers on a related topic: How to stop screwing yourself over. The trick is to stop telling yourself that you’re “fine” and start taking the hard steps needed to change the things you don’t like about yourself. For a taste of what to expect next week, check out Robbins’ talk below.

As a CNN International commentator in business ethics and the law, Robbins is well-equipped to address businesses at the executive level, speaking in numerous engagements including Microsoft and Cisco Systems. For Denver Startup Week, Robbins will be tailoring her discussion towards entrepreneurs, particularly those early in their efforts to get their company off the ground. In her words, Robbins says her talk will address the “various challenges that come with trying to get off the ground, trying to gain traction, trying to attract investors, and reach a critical mass while building a platform so that you can get the next round of funding or [your next goal].”

There’s a single essential takeaway, Mel Robbins explains:

“That’s your only guarantee as an entrepreneur: That everything will change. And it happens all the time.”

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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