It’s all in your mind…

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"What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind"

~ Buddha

According to Wikipedia, Mindset is “a set of assumptions, methods, or notions held by one or more people or groups of people. A mindset can also be seen as arising out of a person’s world view or philosophy of life.”

So that’s a pretty broad definition, covering everything from your values, beliefs, and biases, to your assumptions and expectations.  All the stuff you’ve internalized about the world and your place in it. Your mindset will have been shaped by your own experience, and by the culture and community you grew up in. 

Powerful stuff, clearly. And…almost completely invisible to you. 

You can think of mindset as being your autopilot. It’s what drives your default behaviors, habits and routines. And, for the most part, it works pretty well, helping you to make decisions without too much conscious thought. It would actually be exhausting without it, trying to figure out what you think or feel about everything as if you were experiencing it for the first time.

The problem, however, is when that default response isn’t very empowering. For example, what if you held any of the following beliefs about yourself:

  • If you speak in front of a room full of people, your life will end
  • You should only apply for a role when you’re at least 100% qualified for it
  • Saying “No” is bad
  • Failure, or Success, is bad
  • If you can’t do it the first time, you probably never will
  • People like you don’t / can’t / shouldn’t do things like that
  • You don’t have a choice
  • Etc.

You can start to see how your mindset might have some influence over your behavior, can’t you? For example, if you think you’ll spontaneously combust when speaking to a group of people, you probably won’t do it very often. That can limit your ability to share your ideas, to influence people, to lead. You’ll avoid opportunities to do it, even when they align to things you want to do. 

So, mindset won’t just affect your behavior, it’ll affect the outcomes you experience as a result, in both work and life. Without trying to sound too much like Yoda: Fear leads to Anger Mindset leads to Behaviors. Behaviors lead to Outcomes.

 So, when you’re seeking a particular outcome, a different outcome perhaps to the one you usually experience, you can see how focusing on the mindset behind that outcome could be transformational. By surfacing that unconscious ‘autopilot’ behind a given set of behaviors –  by making it conscious – you can begin to influence it. You’re now able to see and make a choice about how to respond. That’s the work you need to do if you’re going to change the outcome.

It’s hard work, but it’s also the most transformational work you will ever do.

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