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Why the mindset I adopt creates the vibe I need to face the tough times

Sep 23, 2019

How to keep your head whilst all around are losing theirs.

I met my friend Laurie for coffee the other day. It was a long overdue catch-up and there was some guilt on my part because I know things have been tough for her recently. I just didn’t realise how tough.

This is a list of the stream of consciousness Laurie shared with me:

  • I know that Laurie’s husband Simon has been undergoing treatment for a serious medical condition for the past 18 months and is slowly getting better but she confided in me and said there are long-term complications which mentally, he perhaps isn’t dealing with so well.
  • Laurie is the breadwinner of the family but no longer enjoys her job and her heart isn’t in it. However, it pays well and to change careers and follow her dream, will not bring the same level of salary.
  • Laurie and Simon want to move house – if truth be told, they’ve never really liked that house since they moved in but it was convenient for both work school. Due to Simon still dealing with the fallout of his illness, he doesn’t want any change right now.
  • Her two children still live at home – her 19-year old daughter who supports her with huge hugs and cups of tea but her 26-year old son is a fun sucker and his moods seem to dictate the mood of the household.

Laurie feels trapped – in her job, in her house, her husband’s reluctance to venture further than the village border and trapped by her son’s moods.

Ultimately though, Laurie is trapped by her mindset.

Knowing what you can and can’t change is key

Laurie feels overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to start. Please don’t get me wrong, each of those issues, piled on top of the other can feel incredibly overwhelming because there are so many pulls on her mental resources, the resulting repercussions around Laurie’s husband’s condition is a lighthouse in itself – i.e. something they cannot change and therefore, they need to navigate themselves around to find ways to create a new normal and ways to cope. For everything else though, there is a solution and it starts with the way Laurie thinks about it.

Creating the headspace to create the positive energy

Laurie asked me where I get my energy from – with so much going on with the girls, my work plus out of work stuff I’m involved in. I said how I’m very lucky I am to have the positive energy at home which Laurie - apart from her daughter’s support – doesn’t have, yet this is so important for our mental well-being. Plus, knowing and understanding the Winning Edge ethos and concepts, really helps to keep your mindset on the straight and narrow when life does throw the curve balls. I’ve had a fairly turbulent start to the year – nothing compared to Laurie – but if I didn’t know what I know about the Winning Edge ethos and concepts, I can honestly say, I wouldn’t be where I am and feeling the way I do today.

You really can start to sound almost evangelical when you talk about the power of adopting the right mindset to get you through life’s tough times. Often, by the time participants of the Winning Edge return for part two of the programme, those around them in their day-to-day lives are wanting to book on a programme - they can see the transformational shifts taking place by the change in mindset.

Laurie asked me what she could do to get out of this black hole because it as becoming all consuming and she recognised something needed to change.

This much I know to be true

What Laurie needed were some quick wins – something to build up her confidence that change is possible and that it will make a positive difference to her overall well-being. Then she could build on that.

My advice for challenging times such as these are:

  • Take your foot off the gas, now

Before it becomes overwhelming and you break under the weight of what you think is solely your responsibility, stop. Take on no more tasks. Stop the chattering in your head in its tracks because we are not our thoughts - we can run our brain, rather than let our brain run us – we can think consciously about the nature of our thoughts.

  • Time to ditch the inertia, procrastination and sticking your head in the sand

It’s time to deal with the sense of overwhelm. Write down the challenges you face. The action of committing pen to paper is deepening the groove in your neural pathways because you’re using more of your senses – you’re using sight and touch to reinforce the thought - a psychological fact. Your brain will then slowly but surely start to get to work on the solutions.

  • Help your brain to help you

To enable your brain to be in an open and resourceful state, take yourself off for a walk, swim, cup of coffee with a friend. Whilst doing this, your brain is relaxing and doing what it needs to do and you won’t even realise it. Half the solution is being calm so that you’re coming at the challenge with a different attitude and state of mind.

  • Get yourself some quick wins

Is there a phone call you can make or an email you can send which addresses one of the issues? Maybe there’s a sticky situation with a client which can be sorted with an open and transparent email. A phone call to your child’s school which can clear up a misunderstanding? These challenges which take one action, can then be ticked off the list, enable you to feel a sense of achievement and relief.

  • Seek support

An honest conversation with your partner will clear the air if you’ve both been secretly battling with the same problems. A trusted friend can offer a different perspective to yours and help you see the wood for the trees. Maybe counselling or coaching is what is needed. Whichever option, talking about the issues out loud is sometimes what is needed for you to find the solution yourself. Input from others will bring that additional support and bolster your confidence.

A solution-orientated mindset will get you to the other side

Often, during turbulent times, we don’t know which way to turn and when the challenges seem to mount up, we’re not sure which to tackle first. Next time it feels like there’s one more thing than you can deal with, stop, wait a minute, rather than grab a cup and put some liquor in it (any chance for a song!), think about the nature of your thinking because what you think about isn’t nearly as important as the way you think about what you think about. Get yourself into a place where it’s no longer about the problems but more about the solutions.

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