Mindset for Success, “Battling the Enemy Within”
By Greg A. Pestinger
Last month, we talked about “time”, our most precious resource, and pointed out that there is never enough time to do it all, that successful people focus only on what is important to achieve their most important goal. Our ability to manage time, quite frankly our ability to realize success of any kind, lies squarely in our ability to get past all the noise in our head and “believe we can.” Multiple studies over the past millennium confirm that our “mindset” is by far the most important factor in achieving success. Once mastered, “mindset” ensures that we can have, be, do whatever we set our mind to and positions us for achievements like never before.
Ask yourself, when you really focused your mind on achieving a goal and did the work, did you achieve it? For me, “mindset” has proven to work over and over again in the corporate world and as a business owner. It has been “mindset” that got me past those who doubted me or thought I was overly optimistic about an outcome. It was often “mindset” that took limited resources, found innovative ways to approach a problem and returned record results. Today, it is “mindset” that ensures that I focus on my purpose every day in order to help my clients achieve their full potential.
A full 85% of what keeps us from reaching our full potential is inside each of us, is within our control and is the difference between success and average. Learning to overcome these self-imposed barriers allows us to reach our goals quicker than we ever thought possible. So how exactly do we take control of our thoughts and focus them on achieving success?
1. Understand How Our Brains Work – First we have to understand that our brain’s role first and foremost is to protect our lives from those things that could do us harm. While that proved beneficial early on when “fight or flight” helped keep us from being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, today it gets in the way of us taking the risk necessary to grow and prosper. It’s also important to note that our brains, while an amazing organ that can store all of the experiences of our lives, can only process one thought at a time and the default is always a cautious one, again to protect us. If we can replace that negative thought with a positive one, then we are well on our way to achieving the attitude needed for success.
2. Live Your Purpose – Mark Twain once said that “The two most important days in your life are the day that you were born and the day you found out why”. Knowing why we exist, what drives our very existence and how we use it to bring value to other people creates a sense that everything is natural and as it should be, of “being in flow” or “in the zone.” When we are in the zone, we are happier, our self-image improves and everything else seems to fall into place.
3. Believe in Yourself – Remember that brain of ours that is always trying to protect us? Well, it learned from an early age, often through people trying to protect us, that it should approach life with caution through words like; “no”, “don’t”, “can’t,” “average” and other words that keep us from venturing outside our comfort zone. As adults, these words come back to us as “self-limiting beliefs”, especially under pressure, and in turn, can create self-doubt and a feeling that we are not in control of our own lives. Psychologist call this an “external locus of control” and at its extreme, it can lead to low self-esteem, anger, frustration and even depression. I know you know people like this; they are negative, are often blaming others for their problems or making excuses for why they can’t do something. They often talk about what they want to avoid vs. focusing on what they want. People who feel that they have no control over their own destiny can become victims of the very life they lead.
The great news is that if we can learn self-limiting beliefs then we can also unlearn them. A great way to do this is through a simple self-talk exercise, or as athletes often do, psyching ourselves up before that big presentation or any other time you are required to operate outside your comfort zone. By simply saying to yourself something like “I am proud of myself”, “I can do this “and “I am responsible for my own success” over and over, our mind begins to reprogram the negative thoughts with positive ones. Eventually, our attitude changes from “can’t” to “can”, we muster the courage to take action which more times than not results in success or at the very least learning. Success breeds success and confidence improves. This seems so simple but ask yourself, do high performing athletes approach a big game with a formidable opponent with words like “we are going to lose this one”? I think not. Try it, you will be amazed at how powerful this tip can be.
4. Take Responsibility for Your Own Success – When we take full responsibility for ourselves, our actions and our results, we take back control of our life from the situation or people impacting us. When you have control of your life you have what psychologist call an “internal locus of control”. When we are in control of our life our self-esteem and self-confidence improves. When we have control of our life we are happier and operate at a heightened level of awareness which in turn results in higher levels of performance. So, take responsibility for yourself, for your results and take back control of life.
5. Be Grateful, Forgive and Forget – Be grateful for where you are, who is in your life and what you have achieved. Be grateful for the difficult times that you faced and survived, learned from, recharged and started again. Gratitude naturally creates the positive thoughts required to make the next move toward our full potential. You will be surprised how being grateful for where you are today leads to even greater things tomorrow.
Now for the hard part. To be grateful is going to require that we let go of the past and focus on the present with an eye to the future. What’s in the past is in the past and there is not a thing we can do about it. We all have those that we believe did us wrong, hurt us or in some way kept us from the life that we deserve. So, make the decision to take back your life and keep them from hurting you over and over again in your own mind, keeping you from the life you deserve. It’s time to forgive those who did you wrong, not for them but for you.
The most important person to forgive is yourself. We have all made mistakes that we regret that continue to hold us hostage in our own minds. It’s time to stop beating ourselves up for a mistake we made years ago. Mistakes, no matter how severe, are in the past and only we can make them a life sentence. So, forgive those who have done you wrong, especially forgive yourself and free your mind to focus on the really great things that are in your future.
Creating a winning “mindset” requires that we get past the demons in our own head. It requires that we replace the “what if it doesn’t work?” with the “what if it does?” Once we get control over our thoughts we gain control over our lives and are well on our way to reaching our full potential.
Let us know how we can help by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by setting up a time to talk at https://calendly.com/gpestinger