Mastering Your Mindset

Some people thrive in the face of difficult challenges, and others feel hopeless and shut down. The difference is in MINDSET.

A mindset is a way of being. It defines how you approach life – especially your challenges and problems.

Research now shows that possessing a strategic mindset predicts goal achievement and success. Those who embrace challenges and grapple with failure have better outcomes than those who use avoidance when they start to struggle.

Mindsets aren’t always easy to see, and sometimes we treat others differently than we treat ourselves. But, our true mindsets usually show up in these places:

  • Challenges: avoided or embraced?
  • Obstacles: giving up or persisting?
  • Effort: wanting it to be easy or putting in the work?
  • Criticism: ignores the negative as an attack or leverages it as a tool for growth?
  • Success of others: viewed as a threat or viewed as an inspiration?

Mindsets lead to emotions, which cause behavior. They are the source of the behavior, not the byproducts of it. Every mindset appears as a variety of behaviors. This is why trying to change behaviors without changing mindsets is like playing Whack-a-Mole. You won’t win the game unless you deal with the source of the behavior, which is the mind. Acting “as if” can unlock your awareness about old mindset that no longer serve. 

The flow state is also based on mindset. It’s the highest form of integration between your emotion, your body, and your mind. 

Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University who has spent 30 years studying motivation, and Ross Bentley, a racing car driver coach, found that racing car drivers with a positive mindset were able to sustain their states of flow and peak performance, therefore improving their results.

There are two mindsets that will be helpful 100% of the time:

  • Positivity
  • Mental strength

One well known mindset that people have found to be effective, particularly in stressful environments is called the “Happy Warrior”. This mindset has been shown to be adaptive in a wide range of situations. The Happy Warrior is positive and open, strong, able to see reality, and eager to face challenges. 

If you’re having trouble staying in a positive and strategic mindset, it may be that you’re being overwhelmed by the fear response. The fear response constricts our options and narrows our field of possibility. From this position, it’s very difficult to feel strong, capable, or positive. When this happens, the Inner Critic often surfaces with a laundry list of all the reasons why we will fail.  

Fundamentally, curiosity is the key to shifting your mindset. If you notice you’re constricted, ask yourself questions that start with “what if” to start broadening your field of vision. Bring your attention into your body and deepen your breath ~ this stimulates your vagus nerve and your parasympathetic nervous system. Notice your self-talk and inner narrative, and push back against your critical inner voice. 

Leadership requires us metaphorically to bring the sunshine and set the temperature in the room. If you start with empathy, gratitude, and unconditional positive regard for yourself, the rest will follow.   

To your success,