Remember last week when I said that to live the life that you want for yourself, your mindset has to line up with where you are trying to go and how this week I’d talk a little about what I believe is the number one way to make sure that is the case?
Well, I couldn’t decide on just one, so I’m going with three instead. Here they are:
I mean this in the very simplest and most literal way. In order to have a mindset that lines up with where you’re trying to go in your life, it’s pretty essential to decide just what sort of mindset that actually is.
For me, a few mindsets that I know I need to have to move in the direction I want to go in my life include curiosity, abundance, possibility, and capability.
Curiosity is huge for me. One of the essential ways it applies here is to remind me to stay curious about my own failures and shortcomings, the ways I think and behave that don’t always serve my life or my values. To stay curious about these things instead of harshly judging myself for them is ongoing work that has enormous impact on my ability to recover and move forward. It also keeps me out of a funk- I mean, it’s hard to hang out in pity-party land when I’m engaged learning about something fascinating. And being deeply curious about someone else’s work, experiences, etc almost automatically halts any inclination toward comparison or envy and reminds me just how unique each of us and what we offer the world truly is.
An abundance mindset means coming back over and over to the truth that there is plenty of room for all of our gifts, for all of our work, to be out in the world, that there is no need to compare or hold tightly to my “piece of the pie,” and that my creative well is refilled faster and more fully when I embrace the idea that there is plenty available for all of us. From this mindset stems generosity, collaboration, encouragement of others, etc- all things that bring energy and excitement and ideas to my work and my life.
A possibility mindset reminds me that pretty much anything is possible if I’m willing to do the work it requires (note: I’m NOT always willing to do the work some things require but I’m empowered to make that choice knowing that it is my choice). Like most people, I can be self-limiting without even realizing it. Actively choosing an approach to my life that states that anything is possible reminds me to stop erecting my own barriers and to use that energy to find my way around the ones that have been erected for me.
A capability mindset reminds me that I am a strong, intelligent, capable human and that I can figure out what needs to be done, even when I’m feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. As Marie Forleo says, “everything is figureoutable”…and it really, really is. Plus, c’mon- we have Google and You Tube and that’s half the battle right there!
Keep two things in mind here. First, I listed more than a single mindset. I need to pull on different things at different times to live and grow in the ways I want to. Second, these three mindsets do not make up an exhaustive list of all that I need. We can add and change and alter the set of attitudes we bring to our life whenever we need to. There are no set rules here.
2. Check In Regularly.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that certain things can start to happen when I haven’t checked in with where my head is at for a bit too long. I can stop feeling any creative juice at all. I can start to get jealous instead of excited about other people’s projects and experiences. The little voice in my head that knocks down my ideas or calls me a fraud or questions whether I’m enough can start getting louder. I can feel tired and demotivated and easily overwhelmed and like what I’m doing doesn’t matter or will never get done.
It’s important for me to have ways to monitor this, to have an early warning system in place so I don’t go too far down the rabbit hole and off course from where I want to be. Because we all do it- we all look up occasionally only to realize we’ve veered way away from the attitudes and approaches to our life and work that are important to us.
That’s okay. Really. It happens.
But the sooner we can recognize it and bump back over to where we want to be, the better we feel and the sooner we can get back to what we care about.
Journaling is a big one for me. Also meditation (this is where I start to notice my prickliness first, every single time). Over time, these things have let me notice my own patterns so that I can be on the lookout for them.
Whatever works for you, whether it’s your own journaling and meditation, conversations with certain friends, or some other practice that helps you (which I’d like to know about, so please tell me what you do!), having some way to check in regularly so that you can catch your mindset when it’s shifted out of whack and adjust it to where it once again serves your life well is key.
3. Manage It Daily.
There are a lot of ways to do this and some of them are personal to you and what routines and practices you’ve established in your life that make you feel grounded and connected to your goals and your life. But some of them come up over and over as nearly universal mindset management practices:
(a) Watch what you consume very carefully. We carry little devices in our pockets that allow us unlimited access to information and entertainment of every possible sort. You know what contributes to empowering your mindset and what contributes to throwing you off track. Guess which you should avoid and which you should seek more of? Whether it’s social media feeds, news, books/movies/tv, or even conversations with real life humans, taking real care with what you consume can have a huge impact over how easily you hang onto the mindsets that work for your life.
(b) Take care of your body. Seriously. This is so, so basic, but it’s critical. I’m not saying that you have to always get whatever is ideal for your body (though by all means, please aim for that!), but there are minimums for all of us, below which we cease functioning well. Adequate rest. Decent food. Some movement. Enough water. Life does not get easier when your body is wrecked. Nothing is more manageable when you are exhausted or riding a sugar roller coaster, including keeping the attitude with which you want to approach your life.
(c) Unplug. Have you ever had a great idea in the shower? This Business Insider article talks about the phenomenon and why it’s so common. In a nutshell, creative breakthroughs happen when we make time and space for solitude where we’re not tied to devices or distracted by people or entertainment…in other words, when we are free to daydream. That mental space and relaxation is also essential to keep the necessary energy to maintain our chosen mindsets. This can mean taking the time for a walk outside or doing the dishes or, of course, just taking a shower. Getting away from the bright light and inundation of information that is part of our plugged-in experience can simply allow some breathing room and make it that much easier to keep the attitudes and approaches that are important to us.
Leave a comment and tell me: What is one mindset that makes all the difference in your life and how do you hang onto it? For real- I want to know!