Mindset learnings to free your mindSep 27, 2021
When reflection becomes an education
Every now and again, I share three aha mindset moments I’ve had that week – those lightbulb moments when even though you know this mindset stuff, it’s always a work in progress. Perhaps these examples will resonate with a situation in your life and will help you to reframe the way you’re thinking. If nothing else, I hope they’re a reminder that we should all always be green and growing otherwise, as Ray Kroc said, we’re in danger of being ripe and we rot. Wow, quite the metaphor to get the ole grey matter thinking…
Figuring it all out
Recently, I attended a Winning Edge Live event. I have lost count of how many times I have attended one of our courses but as I have said previously, self-improvement is always a work in progress and the Winning Edge meets you where you’re at. No matter how many times you attend, how many Mindset Blogs or Masterclass Teachings in the Mindset Coaching Membership you work on, there will always be something which helps you reframe your mindset on a current issue or challenge, or to remind you of the importance of keeping a check on your values, and so forth.
There's a point on the course when attendees are asked to give thought between days one and two, of an exciting goal. The goal needs to be something they’re genuinely excited to achieve, that they don’t currently have the resources or the capability to achieve, but that they do believe is possible. We were asked to write it down because we can all think of goals we’d like to achieve but committing pen to paper makes it more concrete and it’s telling the brain ‘this is important’; you are in way programming your subconscious to start to get to work on thoughts around your goal– ideas and spotting opportunities to make it possible.
If course attendees don't want to share their goal the following day, we suggest they say climbing Mount Everest is what they’ve set their sights on. Sharing your goal does mean however that the group can add meat to the bones as it were, and help you to drill down on the specifics i.e. to date where possible- when you want to achieve the goal by.
It’s not common but some do prefer to say their goal is to climb Mount Everest but on the course I attended, I hugely admired the honesty of one of the attendees– she said her goal was to figure out her goal. Wow. I think it can be easier in a setting like that, to say something you’d like to achieve, when really, it’s not something you’ve perhaps given a huge amount of thought to but it’s a nice to have goal – something on the bucket list maybe. I also think that maybe we like to be seen to know what we’re aiming for in life, when truthfully, are there many people who as adults, are still figuring it all out?
It’s about figuring out what your values are– what is and who are important to you – to really think about what you’re passionate about– both in terms of what brings joy, fulfilment and happiness, but also when do you get angry, when do you feel passionately that something is wrong – that too is an indication of a value e.g. fairness, or that racism is wrong.
This really got me thinking as to what my stretching goal is (notice I did not say ‘realistic’. That’s because when we say realistic, we are looking for something real, something that has already been done before, or something that has been tried but not been possible. We look to the past. That does not mean it isn’t achievable. Therefore, on the Winning Edge, we say it’s important to have a stretching goal.) Is my goal a ‘nice to have’, or does it align with my values, and would I be pushing myself out of my comfort zone to achieve it? It’s about getting honest with ourselves and asking: Why am I doing what I am doing? And what do I really want to do that aligns with my consciously chosen values?
It reminds me of the Steve Jobs quote: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
Adjusting the sails
The above aha mindset moment neatly dovetails into the next one…
The Winning Edge course I attended was in a location I hadn’t driven to before, so I set the SatNav and off I went. Now, here’s a warning of an example of bad self-talk– I am not very good at following SatNav instructions. I manage to get myself in a dither and mistake where I am supposed to turn off and manage to do extra miles each time before getting back on track. This journey was no different (now there’s a surprise seeing as I programme my subconscious to believe I am no good at following a SatNav..!).
The thing is about a SatNav is that it rights itself – well, it rights you, if you veer off course; it will provide an alternative route for you to ensure you still reach your destination, which is great. Goals can be like that. On the Winning Edge course previously mentioned, when asked to name their goal and put a date on it, many attendees were at first reticent to do so. They thought long and hard as they sat there working out the logistics of achieving said goal by the target date. The thing is, if you set a date, the brain will get to work to make it happen. Whereas if you say 'next year’, which year is next year? 2022 can easily become 2023, which can become 2024. If we don’t pin our colours to the mast and set our intentions, things drift. It becomes SomeDay Isle i.e. ‘Someday I’ll learn Spanish and travel around Latin America’, ‘Someday I’ll do an Open University degree in Psychology and pursue my passion in that subject’ and so on. Someday is a dangerous word when talking about our aspirations, it’s basically code for ‘never’.
Some course attendees also hesitated when it came to adding names of people who might be involved in the achievement, or take part in their goal i.e. a partner or friend who might accompany them on their adventure trek, or world trip. How do you know if that friend is going to want to go when it comes to it, or how do you know you're going to still be with that partner, or maybe that partner decides this goal isn’t important to them. What then? Does that negate the goal, make it redundant because things have changed? In a word, no. Our goals can change over time due to circumstances or perhaps because our values change. The exciting goal we set ourselves for five years time might not be so important to us if our values change and we decide we want something different.
The point is, setting a goal means we have a sense of purpose – a direction if you will. Otherwise we do things by default, not because they are consciously chosen. Setting goals improves your mental wellbeing, your self-belief, and improves your determination, amongst so many other things.
So, if your circumstances change and it means your values change, just like a SatNav, your goal can be adjusted, a new course of action can be decided upon. It’s about ensuring you keep moving forward towards achieving. Goal-setting is not about rigidly sticking to a plan, it’s important to be flexible but always, always moving forward to be the best version of you.
Just keep scrolling
And what a great segue into my final aha mindset moment of the week…
One of my values is personal growth. I strive to be the best version of me, knowing that it is a continual work in progress. I am never done. There is always more to achieve, and I can always be a better me.
This past week though, I have been allowing the fear monster to fill my head with extremely unhelpful thoughts. I am stepping out on The Plank with a big work project in early 2022, and I am needing to work on mustering my self-belief.
I confessed this to one of my daughters this week and oh, out of the mouth of babes. My wise sage said to me: “Do you remember when you were so scared about delivering your first TEDx Talk with Grandpa and Mia, but you felt so strongly that people needed to hear what you all had to say, that you got out there on that stage anyway, and did it. And afterwards, remember how relieved and happy you were that you’d done it. And do you remember the fear you had before you did the TEDx Talk on your own – you wanted to get it right because you want everyone to know this mindset stuff, and you did it again, and you felt amazing. And the other week, you did that talk in London, and you wanted to make sure you got it right, and you did it again, and you were awesome! Well, this is like that, only each time you do it, the event gets bigger. You’re scared but you do it. After this one, there’ll be another one. But you’ll do it, because you know deep down that you can. So do it.”
Boom. Mic drop. It was a timely reminder that I needed to reframe the way I was thinking about it. I hadn’t pulled on my internal resources to think of previous times when I’ve been nervous, anxious or scared, and what I have done to get myself to a good place. And we can all be guilty of that– listening to the self-doubt when we have a challenge we face and we think it’s insurmountable; we question how we can possibly do it, rather than remind ourselves of the power of our awesomeness – that we’ve taken on challenges in the past and we’ve been resilient, resourceful, creative, determined, tenacious. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again. So it’s about scrolling past those thoughts of self-limitation and landing on one that will help to propel us forward. Tis all down to the way we think about it.
These three moments have been reminders of how goal setting starts with the why, and will align with your values – so get to work figuring them out; that your goals are not set in stone, but as long as you have a sense of direction, you can programme your internal SatNav to reconfigure if you take a different route; and finally, rather than give airtime to the self-doubt, instead, remind yourself of all your achievements– that they are the building blocks for more.
Do you ever make the to sit and reflect on the past week? Perhaps there are some learning moments for you too…
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Do you want to feel more consciously aware of the nature of your thoughts and whether they are hindering or helping you? Want to be able to manage your mindset to get the results you want and truly deserve?
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