Your mindset is the sum of your knowledge and your thoughts and beliefs about the world and how you fit in it. It is your filter for information you get in and put out. When faced with challenges, our mind reverts to a ‘negative default’ in most cases due to our fear and resistance of the unknown – What if I fail? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I don’t know the answer or I’m not up to the task?
It takes time to develop the mindset to tackle the negative tapes that play in your head, the things we have told ourselves for years ‘I’m not clever enough’, ‘I’m not fit’, ‘I’m not good with money’. The more we say these things, the more we believe them. Growth mindset mentality can help put things in place to help you overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. Changing your mindset doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by choice, and we have to consciously make that choice, especially if we are starting an important transition such as moving from the office space into an entrepreneurial arena. A growth mindset is a key element for budding start ups and freelancers as the road ahead is long and rocky (but better than the boring office job!). To start changing your current mindset into a more positive one, try some of the following:
1. Examine your current beliefs
Think about the things that you tell yourself on a daily basis about your abilities, your environment, your current situation. Are these supportive beliefs? Do they help your get to the next level of your life? Or are they self limiting – are they beliefs that are blocking your progress? You need to identify these negative or limiting beliefs because they are working in your subconscious mind and not progressing you forward in your life. Ask the right questions about your current situation – instead of ‘Why is this happening to me’ ask ‘How can I change my current situation, or how do I get fit, or get a new job, or find a new partner? 'How' questions are action based, and make you think about solving a problem rather than an accusing 'why' question which will only make you wallow in self-pity and not take responsibility for your situation.
2. Shape your mindset with vision and goals
A good way to create a positive mindset and build your confidence is to set clear goals, and to see and visualise your ideal scenario. Visualising the end result of your goal, such as a fitter and healthier body, working in your own business, learning a new skill etc., will make it more realistic and achievable. At that stage, break the vision into smaller goals and this will help shape a positive mindset for you to work in tandem with your vision. Forward thinking will move your focus away from where you don’t want it to be to where it could be, Be mindful to check in on how the goals are being measured and managed because we only grow when we take action. Don’t worry if you don’t know every step of the plan yet, one step at a time will be enough if you keep the vision of your goal in mind.
3. Get the best information
Try to find the very best information in your field on the area you are focusing on. There is a myriad of information out there, and it can be hard to find the right help when you need it. Do a bit of research, find testimonials for courses you want to do, or books you want to read, or services you want to buy before taking them on at face value. Avoid the rest of the information that doesn’t serve you in your quest. Read great books and blogs, however do not get sucked in to information overload (analysis paralysis) and do nothing in the end, start developing the skills you need to succeed in your goals and start taking action in the right direction.
4. Model yourself on the best people
Read up on your role models past and their struggles and learn from their successes, listen to their stories about making mistakes so you can avoid them!. Adopt their mindset and way of thinking. We all have good and bad days, as do our role models, if they can do it, we can do it too. Read biographies of people who inspire you and learn from their successes. For example if you are setting up your side business, looking at entrepreneurs like Marie Forleo, Tony Robbins, Stephen Covey, and Richard Branson will inspire you to keep progressing, all of them came from humble backgrounds and started from scratch - you can do it too!
5. Protect your mindset
Unfortunately we will live and work with people who will want to put our ideas and goals down at every turn. Marianne Cantwell calls these people the ‘beige army’, those people that have no ambition to improve their lot in life, but don’t want you to have any ambition either. You need to protect your mindset from the naysayers who want to drag you back into your comfort zone. It takes a lot of energy to start a project from scratch, so developing a positive growth mindset is vital to allow their comments to wash off you - just keep reminding yourself of the bigger picture, they won't be in your life for long!
6. Find positive, like minded people
Another way to protect your positive mindset is to find like minded people with similar goals to you. Brainstorm with people who want to start a business in a local Meetup group or online, go to a local gym or bootcamp group, find an online personal development group where you can all support each other through tough days, or join a course where you can learn new skills and develop your network. At this time you may need to evaluate some friendships or relationships that are persistently draining and unhealthy and see if they need some readjusting. It can take a bit of time to find your tribe, but a positive mindset can overcome many obstacles.
7. Challenge your negative thoughts
When the negative tapes in your head start playing, ask them for evidence of what they’re saying. We hold on to many old beliefs about ourselves that may have been true once, but are not anymore. ‘I’m not good at Maths’, ‘I’m rubbish at meeting new people’, ‘I’ll never be able to run my own successful business’. Stop and say ‘What evidence do I have that this statement is true? I met new people at a Meetup last week, and have been getting on well with people in my online group’ or ‘I’m getting started on ideas for a side business, it will take time, but I’m learning a lot on my new marketing course for entrepreneurs’. Don’t let the negativity get in, and it will try to get in every day, it is a daily battle with the gremlins in your head, but by challenging the truth of the negative tapes, the positive growth mindset can evolve.
8. Immerse yourself in positive media
Watching the news can drain your mindset and outlook on a regular basis, so it’s best to find inspiring stories online or in the media of people how have overcome the odds to do amazing things. Reading about how people improve their minds, their lives and their circumstances will help change the language in your subconscious mind from negative to positive.
9. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
A healthy body will support a healthy mind. Look at the structure of your daily life and assess how you sleep, what you eat, how you exercise, how you feel at the end and beginning of the day – anything that is sapping your energy will also affect your mindset, so take steps to improve your daily routine with good food, regular exercise and a good night's sleep.
10. Identify your counter-mindsets (Top Dog)
Mindsets are formed from your prior experiences and emotional milestones, and the mindsets that aren’t giving you the results you want are called counter-mindsets. Examples include self-doubt, self-limiting beliefs, and those negative tapes in your mind saying the same negative thing repeatedly. Around 65,000 thoughts go through our mind every day, and unfortunately for most people, most of them are negative. These ‘Automatic Negative Thoughts’ or ‘Top Dog’ thoughts occur so often that we aren’t even aware of them most of the time – the little voice that says things like ‘I’m not smart enough’ ‘I’ll never make anything of myself’, ‘I’m so fat’, ‘I’m not qualified for that job’ etc.
Top Dog always starts barking when you want to make changes in your life, he wants you to stay in your comfort zone so you don’t take any risks and you stay safe. Best to appease him by saying things like ‘I’m just going to work out for 20 minutes’ instead of ‘I’m going to run a marathon’ ‘I’m just going to write this blog and see how it goes’ instead of ‘I’m going to run my own successful online coaching business’. The bigger the goal, the more he barks, and the more resistance will kick in as a result. Monitoring and appeasing the negative thoughts in your mind will help keep Top Dog in his kennel and you can still stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone.
11. Understand your why
Changing your mindset takes work and commitment. Previously formed habits aren’t easy to break as many of our most harmful habits and mindsets were created in childhood, and have continued into adulthood. Take a fresh look at your situation, and create a ‘why’ around a goal you would really like to achieve. This goal should create a transformational change for you – losing weight, getting a new job, starting a business, improving relationships with friends and family, something that will make a huge impact on your life. When you identify why this goal is important, write it down somewhere you will see it every day in your own handwriting. This will keep you motivated to succeed and focused on your goal.
12. Realise that motivation and willpower are not enough
It’s important to remember that motivation and willpower will only get you started on your goal, you will start with a full tank of willpower and motivation, but it will deplete over time, especially when there are obstacles and blocks in our way. Recognise that your goal will take time and be realistic about what you can achieve in one day. You need to create new habits and rituals in your daily life to continue with your focus and determination to get things done. It takes hard work to get to your end goal, and that means taking action consistently and regularly and not having any excuses to do otherwise. Keeping sight of your ‘why’ will make the journey easier.
13. Start small so you can finish big
One of the best ways to strengthen the growth mindset is to set small achievable goals in your day. You want to exercise, start with one push up and one squat. You want to write a blog, start with one sentence, You want to reduce stress and anxiety in your life, mediate for one minute. Decide this goal is your minimum daily goal, and if you feel up to it, do 9 more push ups and squats, write a paragraph, mediate for 5 minutes. Most of the time you’ll do more and feel like an overachiever as a result. Some days you’ll do the minimum and still have achieved your goal. Most people don’t try this strategy because it seems futile to start so small, but that’s not the way to think about it. Massive changes require small steps, and consistently hitting small goals will form new mindset habits which is great progress towards recharging your thinking to reach greater goals.
14. Get comfortable with the ‘F’ word
When you understand that achieving your goals will be hard work, you can get more comfortable and accepting of the F word Failure. When you hit a wall the first thing you want to do is to make excuses or give up trying, but high achievers know they will encounter obstacles and will fail sometimes along the way, it’s part and parcel of the journey. Giving yourself permission to fail takes the pressure off being perfect in your goal trajectory, and means you will be ready to learn from mistakes and make the necessary adjustments to keep going when obstacles appear. Brainstorming, problem solving, trouble shooting and talking things through with like minded people will give you the support and help you need to keep moving forward. Prepare to fail, it’s all part of the learning and growing process of the fledgling entrepreneur!
Let me know in the comments below what 3 tips in this blog helped you the most, and what effect did they have on your mindset?