How’s your mindset lately? Are you stressed? Do you catch yourself reciting negative self-talk? Are you feeling overly critical of others? Or worse, has someone called your attention to your recent negativity?
It’s entirely normal to fall into these traps, in both your business life and your personal life sometimes. What’s not normal, however, is staying in those toxic mindsets for any length of time. THAT’S when the negativity can take over and start shifting other aspects of your life and relationships.
The good news is that positive mindsets work the same way. And all you really need to do is recognize the negative when you experience it and take steps to shift your mindset back to a more positive framing. And after practicing the more positive approach, you’ll begin to see shifts to a more successful perspective in business and life.
The point is – mindset matters. Additionally, your mindset will impact every corner and aspect of your life, no matter who you are, where you live, what you like and dislike, or what you do for a living. And these are the tips and suggestions to help you effect change in how you think, thus manifesting a more positive and successful outcome.
1. Get Honest About What You Need to Improve
Like Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you first don’t acknowledge. So, if you really hope to make changes in your mindset, you’re going to need to get honest with yourself about just how much work needs to be done. Be intentional and mindful of how you interact with others at work and at home. But also, be mindful of your internal dialogue and the mental statements you make to yourself.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your intentions to change with those around you, either. Having a support system for accountability can be a great foundation to help you shift your thinking. Let your spouse or work colleague call you out when they notice you’re engaging in over-negative perspectives. You can also keep a log or a journal to document when you feel you have a negative mindset. Seeing the frequency with which you carry a negative attitude or response on paper might surprise you. The better you get at identifying where your mind goes astray, the better you’ll get at correcting it.
2. Harnessing the Power of Suggestion
There is an environmental component to mindset, too. You are what you eat, right? You’re also impacted by those around you, your settings, your home life, and your work life. Take stock in each of those environments and evaluate whether they’re contributing to a more negative outlook or a more positive one.
Need an example? Consider the workplace water cooler or wherever it is you gather with coworkers for brief stints throughout the day. What is your water cooler talk like? Is it fun, lighthearted, and full of “guess what I did this weekend” kind of talk? Or is it negative and toxic gossip, full of “I can’t believe the boss said that” and “did you see what so-and-so wore to work today?” The former is a healthier environment. The latter is only going to perpetuate a negative mindset.
You can leverage the power of suggestion in your favor by being selective about what types of environments you allow yourself to be in and operate. Sure, there are some scenarios that aren’t favorable that you just can’t avoid. But when you control those situations that you DO have a say in controlling, you can CHOOSE more positive surroundings and reinforcements. Let the power of suggestion, through the positivity, and healthy dialogue of others, inspire change in your own mindset.
3. The Baader-Meinhof Phenom
Have you heard of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon? When you bought your first new car, do you remember how all of a sudden you started noticing all of the other people driving that same car? That phenomenon, noticing something you didn’t know before until it was important to you, is the Baader-Meinhof example. Your mindset is subject to this concept, too.
It’s sometimes called Frequency Illusion or Frequency Bias. But your brain is wired in such a way that it recognizes what you tell it is important. So, if you’re driving your first Jeep, you’re going to pay closer attention to all the other Jeeps on the road. And if you’re focused on a positive mindset and experiences, you’ll start spotting all the others around you with the same focus.
This phenomenon works both ways, though. And you probably know a few people in your circles of friends or acquaintances who are routinely negative and tend to flock to others who are equally negative. If you’re not mindful, you might not even realize that you’re participating in those negative talk circles, too. But when you focus on mindset improvement, much like buying your first car, you’ll start recognizing the mindsets around you, allowing you to make conscious decisions about improving your surroundings.
Keep this Frequency Illusion concept in mind as you look to make more positive shifts in your mindset. Prioritize your positivity in a way that allows you to spot others who share positive influence. You can then align yourself with those with whom you can find support in maintaining positive experiences. And you’ll be able to avoid spending too much time with those who linger in the negative mindset circles.
4. Demystifying Procrastination, According to Mel Robbins
One of the primary contributors to a negative mindset, and the one thing that can derail a positive mindset in a hurry, is procrastination. But procrastination can be remedied easily if you recognize what it actually is – it’s a response to stress and risk-taking.
World-renowned motivational speaker and New York Times Best-Selling Author Mel Robbins talks a lot about what procrastination really is. And she suggests that people put things off because they want or need “proof” that the act or task will be successful before doing it. It’s that need for reassurance that causes an internal stress, forcing people to sometimes “freeze” instead of taking action.
If you’re constantly putting things off, it’s going to negatively impact your mindset since you’ll constantly feel like you’re not getting things done. Recognize what it is that’s causing your inability to follow through. Address the risk-taking and need for reassurance in the moment. Start deliberately executing each task, and you’ll soon build momentum as you feel more accomplished. And the more accomplished you feel, the more positive you’ll be.
5. Discovering and Focusing on Priorities
If you want to make immediate changes to your mindset, like right now, start by sitting down with a list of priorities. A lot of what makes us unhappy in life and business involves expectations and focusing on things that don’t provide value. We get mad at long trains in the morning, and for some, it can be day-ruining. But focusing on the train isn’t going to provide any value to your life. You can choose to recognize the delay as a hiccup.
Get intentional by writing down the most important things in your life. These could be family members and friends. They could be goals you hope to achieve relating to career success. Or they could be experiences like traveling to destination dream spots or parenting success with seeing your kid get into college. The point of the exercise, however, is to visualize those things in your life that matter most. Whenever you do encounter setbacks in life, like those train delays on your way to work, you can recognize that a late train isn’t going to help or hurt any of the priorities on your list. And it’s out of your control. So, why let it ruin your mindset in the moment or for the day?
When people say, “don’t sweat the small stuff,” they mean don’t derail your mindset over things that don’t really have value in your life. And those who dwell on the negative for too long have lost sight of their life, career, and experience priorities.
6. Understanding the Categories of Mindset Shifts in Leadership and Life
There are categories of mindset to help you identify and separate various traits. In leadership initiatives, you can decide which of the four traits applies to you. These concepts are great for identifying not only your own mindset pulse but also helping you to demonstrate positive mindsets to those who report to you or rely on you as a leader.
- People-Centrism: Encourages appreciation, inclusiveness, empathy, and positive interactions with people.
- Purpose-Centrism: Encourages focus on purpose and intention, driven by big-picture missions and visions.
- Learning-Centrism: Encourages growth in continued learning and trying new things to experiment for improved results.
- Versatility: Encourages the adoption of new approaches to challenges, leadership, demands, and innovation.
Each leadership type requires a unique approach to mindset preservation. Once you know which category best fits your personality and character, you can begin to apply specific shifts in mindset that produce a result in how you think and feel about situations, business, and life.
Psychology Today says there are other ways to compartmentalize your mindset, to help you address “smaller parts” of your mindset in manageable bites. Everyone experiences and learns differently. These types of mindsets can make it easier for you to recognize how to make improvements.
- Growth Mindset: The belief that abilities and experiences can be improved with hard work, trying harder, learning more, and applying yourself.
- Positive Mindset: The belief that intentional gratitude, reappraisal, and savoring of moments improves optimism.
- Entrepreneurial Mindset: The belief that innovation, changing, and adapting eases coping and improves mindset.
- Challenge Mindset: The belief that positivity thrives when there’s an opportunity to overcome and tackle demands.
7. Other Intentional Mindset Shifts You Can Make
There are other best practices you can be following to effect positive changes in your mindset and attitude. Again, the key is recognizing where you need improvement. And being aware of where you fall short will help you focus with pinpoint precision. These three mindset shifts tend to be the most popular first steps to making a change.
Stop second-guessing. A positive mindset is only achieved when you’re able to trust your own ideas, your own experiences, and your own strengths. Even in the face of adversity or the unknown, you have to trust in your own abilities to allow yourself to succeed. And yes, failures come. But not trusting yourself will only hold you back and prevent you from taking action. (Remember, procrastination will tank your mindset.)
Know Your Worth
Assign value where value is due. Be realistic about giving yourself credit and assigning worth. If you’re constantly selling yourself short or throwing yourself under the bus, you’ll never achieve a positive mindset. Recognize your strengths just as much, if not more, than you do your weaknesses. Place value on what matters, like with the aforementioned priorities list.
Stop Being a Loner
Another mindset tanking action is trying to do it all on your own. You can begin to see immediate changes in your mindset when you realize you can’t do everything alone. You need the assistance of others. You need collaboration and shared responsibility. The alternative is burnout, increased procrastination, and constant struggle. So, liberate yourself and your mindset by getting comfortable asking for help when you need it.
Preserving your mindset matters, especially if you want to live a positive and healthy life. In your career and personal life, negativity will always creep in, and it’s ok to feel and respond. But don’t linger in those negative mindset instances for too long. Tap into these insights and tips to help you break free and start shifting how you think, feel, and react to work, life, and situations. Preserving your mindset will allow you to live your best life, no matter what the universe throws at you!
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