We all suffer from time to time. Life has a habit of blindsiding us, and our resilience. Yet in a world of chaos, one thing we are always in control of however, is our mindset.
Listen up, because this might be hard to hear / read: you can change. Yes, I know you have decades behind you (no offence). Years of wiring through experience has knitted together those pathways in your skull to give you lightning-like reflexes. In a fraction of a second, you make unconscious decisions like:
- What is good / what is bad
- Who you like / who you dislike
- Whether you can / whether you cannot
…and so on!
Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of helping people to switch off their internal auto-pilot. Rather than repeat myself, you can read all about auto-pilot here. Essentially, auto-pilot can be damaging in allowing us to repeat harmful cycles. It can eat away at our resilience by forcing us to stick our head in the sand. What I help people to do, is realise that there is a different – arguably better – way, by consciously harnessing the power of their mindset.
Coming up are some of my top mindset hacks. Really challenge yourself and ask how regularly you truly apply each of them and then, pick one or two to switch to manual and consciously begin to apply!
Mindset Hack #1 - Control the Controllables
Have you ever burned a huge amount of time and energy over something that you had little to no influence over? Yes, you have; we all have! Social media and 24-hour rolling news has a lot to answer for (and I would certainly recommend limiting your intake for the good of your overall wellbeing), yet due to our unique past, some of us are wired to worry.
Having a stronger, more resilient mindset is often about accepting that bad stuff happens. Then, it comes down to keeping the uncontrollables within our awareness rather than ignoring them, yet choosing – there’s that choice again – to focus on what can be controlled within your world.
Harnessing your energy and focus in this way will then help you to realise that whatever happens…
Mindset Hack #2 - “I’ll Handle It!”
…because, you’ve made it this far.
You have probably faced significant trauma in your life, both personally and professionally. Whether financially, physically or mentally, you’ve made it through (and if you haven’t, *spoiler alert* you will, because we all do at one time or another through life).
Having an “I’ll Handle It” outlook helps us to remember not only that we’ve made it this far, but whatever life throws at us, we’ll get through it stronger and more resilient as a result.
For me, this one links strongly to the power of positive affirmations, which can sometimes get a bad rep for themselves. Personally, I say “I’ll Handle It” to myself anytime I feel nervous about something – particularly work-related – or when I sense that good old imposter syndrome begin to kick in.
Mindset Hack #3 - Reframing
“I’ll Handle It” is a type of reframing, yet this one is such a powerful mindset hack that it totally deserves its own entry on the list.
Reframing is literally as it sounds. We’re using that conscious choice to reframe the picture and look at the world through a different lens. The idea being that if we change to a more positive lens, our experience will be more positive as a result.
Think about meetings you didn’t want to attend, family members you didn’t want to have that conversation with, presentations you would rather do anything else than deliver.
One of my favourite country singers, Naomi Judd, once uttered one of my all time favourite quotes, which was, and I’m going to shout this one so you hear it, “YOUR BODY HEARS EVERYTHING YOUR MIND SAYS”. Loud enough for you? Read that again: your body hears everything your mind says.
Isn’t that so true? If it’s also true that we get what we focus on, then isn’t it much more powerful to reframe the things that scare us, make us nervous or anxious, or that we’d simply rather not do, into *cheese alert* learning opportunities or a challenge that we can overcome, rather than something to be endured until it’s over?
Download my ten point plan to build your resilience now
Mindset Hack #4 - Keeping Perspective
It’s all too easy to allow our thinking to spiral when challenged. Responsibilities stack up, deadlines keep piling on, goalposts keep moving, until suddenly we have the weight of the world on our shoulders.
It’s at times like this when the light at the end of the tunnel can be at its most dim, and everything seems like a struggle which feels almost impossible to shake off.
It’s also at times like this, when what we need the most is some perspective. What I’m about to say is not intended to diminish the importance of whatever your world looks like, be it inside or outside of work…
…but are you saving lives?
You may be, in which case kudos to you and thank you for your service! Chances are, you aren’t. I remember reminding myself back in the day in my role as Learning & Development Manager: “We’re only selling insurance policies” – and no, it wasn’t life insurance – but it really helped me to manage the incoming stress and pressure I could feel stacking up.
Keeping perspective helps us to realise that:
- The world will still turn, no matter what
- Those emails will still be there, even if we dare to take a lunch break rather than have lunch al-desko!
- A bad day is just that: one bad day, and tomorrow will be different
Mindset Hack #5 - The Power of YET
With only a few hacks to go, this one links most closely to Growth Mindset. All those challenges that I’ve mentioned so far, could be much better framed (see how they link up?!), as a challenge, rather than a problem.
The power of this little three letter word can do wonders for our thinking in the moment, when we’re not sure if we have the resilience-reserves to make it through whatever the challenge might be.
It gives us some power back over the situation and reminds us that things might be tough, but we’ll get through it and we’ll learn as a result.
- I’m not good enough…YET!
- I haven’t got what it takes…YET!
- I can’t do this…YET!
Mindset Hack #6 - Practice Gratitude
Gratitude for me is less about simply being grateful for what we have. The real power lies in helping us to develop a much more optimistic outlook.
When things are particularly challenging, it can be hard to find even the slightest thing to be thankful for, yet I promise you, those things are there if you look hard enough.
A while back, I wrote about the importance of gratitude after losing our beloved dog Max. For me, practicing gratitude at that point was about remembering all of the happy years that we’d shared together, rather than the final few painful weeks.
Whether you choose to journal or keep a gratitude jar like I do, do something to build gratitude into your daily or at least weekly practice.
Mindset Hack #7 - Do SOMETHING
My final hack brings us full circle, back to that choice that we all have in the strength of our mindset and our ability to develop it.
Sure, we have to be giving ourselves and each other permission to feel the feelings, to experience the ebb and flow of life and the challenges that come along. Essentially, we all deserve a little wallow time.
There then comes a point when we all have that powerful choice to do SOMETHING for the good of our mindset and resilience. Whether that’s whatever wellbeing strategies you have in your armoury: take a walk for a mindset reset and get an intake of vitamin D to get the oxygen and blood circulating or listen to some music to change your state.
Refusing to do something is akin to handing over complete control of your thinking to that internal auto-pilot. The same patterns will emerge with the same, damaging outcomes as before.