Mindset is a powerful tool. Madefor CEO Patrick Dossett learned this lesson during his nine years as a U.S. Navy SEAL. Of the 220 people who began the famously rigorous Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training with him, those who he was sure would graduate–the biggest, fastest, and strongest–were gone by week six. By the end, only 17 remained, including Dossett. To his surprise, the group looked “rather unremarkable.”

“You wouldn’t have been able to pick them out from a lineup,” Dossett told Bea Dixon, the founder of the feminine-care brand The Honey Pot. They spoke in a recent interview in an exclusiveInc. streaming event. “It just impressed upon me the role that the mindset plays in performance.”

As an entrepreneur, Dossett has kept this mantra. His company, Madefor, instills the same focus in its members, who stretch across 46 countries. Dossett co-founded the 10-month wellness program in 2018 alongside Toms shoes founder Blake Mycoskie. Its app-free kit, which comes in the mail, works to build lasting habits from small, mindful changes like hydration and movement.

Madefor’s incremental approach to mental health offers a first step for founders looking for balance. Entrepreneurship can take a toll. Burnout is among the biggest challenges that small-business owners face. Nearly half reported experiencing burnout in the past month, according to a recent survey by Capital One. Dossett is no stranger to the feeling himself. “You never feel like you’ve arrived,” he said.

“Some days you’re on top of the world,” he said. “The next hour something else changes and you’re like, ‘The sky is falling. This is never going to work.’ “

When moments of doubt arrive, remember that success doesn’t come in big swings, he said, but rather small steps. While business owners need to be cognizant of how much time they have, Dossett said, part of having the right mindset is embracing uncertainty. Dossett was forced to understand this in the military.

“Never do you have perfect information,” he said. “The best ‘maybe’ you’re going to get is greater than a 50 percent certainty.”


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