Why Mindset Matters

Our mind is a powerful thing: it’s what creates our thoughts and ideas and drives us to take action.  But it can also hold us back from taking the action that we need.

I often coach clients who during their session becomes both clear on the outcome that they want and the actions that they need to take to get there.  I also check how they feel about it – and usually the client says that they are happy to take the action forward; and that they know it will deliver the results.  However, at the beginning of the next session, it’s clear that they haven’t done what they’ve said they are going to.  When questioned, the biggest factor to this is that the client’s mindset has got in the way and more specifically, they don’t have the thoughts and beliefs that are aligned to their outcome.

Why is this important? Well, in the years I have been coaching, the main difference between people who are successful in what they do and those who do not succeed, is mindset.  Those who have beliefs that are aligned with their outcomes can more readily generate the thoughts, feelings and therefore, actions which drive them towards that very goal.

But the good news is that if your mindset is not in the right place, it is possible to change it.  By understanding the beliefs and mindset that is holding the person back, it is possible to challenge those beliefs and thoughts by introducing opposing positive beliefs which will support the client in achieving their outcome.  Therefore, if a person has a belief that they ‘are no good with money’, then a positive belief might be that they, ‘can manage money well and always have more than they need’.  These beliefs can be strengthened by using affirmations, so the person will tell themselves positive statements associated with money daily to retrain the brain those thoughts that are going to be more aligned with their goals and outcomes.  Consequently, in this case an affirmation might be, “Money comes to me easily and I always have more than I need.”.

Affirmations are important; they help create the right mindset to create the right action and it’s that which creates success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learning to unplug

I was brought up to believe that I could achieve anything I wanted if I worked hard enough.  It was a belief I strongly held and yes, I have achieved lots in my life: good exam results, great career…but that did come at a cost – I did have to work really hard at it.

Not only that, when my career involved being an employed Director (employed by someone else, not my own business), it seemed that everyone was conditioned to work really hard: putting in as many hours as they could, skipping lunch, and running round the building like headless chickens whilst they demonstrated just how busy and important they were.  And yes, everyone was important, they were doing a great job – but the stress was so visible and a number of colleagues burnt out, including myself.

For me it was a wake-up call.  My burn out manifested itself in lots of illness that wouldn’t go away – my body was literally telling me to stop.  I knew that if I continued at the pace I was, my body might stop for good.  As a mother of two young children, it scared the hell out of me.

It taught me a lot – about the power of stress (and how at it’s worst it reduced me to feeling useless and helpless) but most importantly, about resilience.  I thought I was highly resilient – and I was.  That meant that I was seen as a good worker who delivered, which meant more and more work landed on my desk.  But what I learnt about resilience is that it’s all a balancing act – if our stressors exceed our resilience, then we will break (and everybody has a breaking point, no matter how resilient you think you are).

In order to become more resilient, we need self-care: we need to do things that top up our cup and make us feel good and happy. It really made me evaluate just how much I did for myself: very little.  I thought about all the things I love doing such as running, walking, reading, spending quality time with my boys, spending time with friends, taking a long soak in the bath and actually, I got to do those things infrequently.

Since then I have changed my life enormously.  I now have my own business which I have grown over the past four years – I spend my days coaching and training others in how to develop their business and make it successful.  One of the biggest messages I give, is that in order for us to be successful we cannot work at a hundred miles per hour all the time – if we try to operate like a machine, we will burn out (and actually who leaves their machines and gadgets on 24 hours a day? We all know they will burn out and go up in smoke!).  If we are to be successful we need to be clear on our strategy, focus on the important and we need to make time for ourselves; we need to unplug from the daily treadmill and do things that make us happy.  It is then we have the energy and focus to live enriched lives, to deliver what’s important and to be truly successful.

Celebrating Women Everywhere

As it’s International Women’s Day, I thought it was a good opportunity to reflect on the success of women everywhere.  Times have changed and now women are brought up believing  and expecting that we can ‘have it all’ – but that does in itself bring challenges.

I know I have said this before, but my own story is that I spent many years working in the NHS at a very senior level; whilst juggling two very small children.  I felt an obligation to work, to be a good role  model, to make use of my degree, to use my brain (I also had a financial obligation to work).  I also had a strong need to do a good job and deliver the best I could.  However, that was in direct conflict with my need to be a good mother to my boys and to not miss out on their sports days and nativities.  This resulted in a lot of guilt: guilt that I couldn’t do my job well enough and guilt that wasn’t the mother I wanted to be.

I was lucky; this was my impetus to change and I retrained as a Coach (in hindsight I am not sure how I managed this alongside working full-time and looking after the children!), and eventually I set up my own business.  I haven’t looked back – I love my job and I now have the opportunity to agree my own hours; being able to go to the important school events, help the children with their homework and have a rewarding career.  There are still juggles along the way and I don’t always get it right but I know that I am doing the best I can for both my job and for my family life; and I believe that I am finally a good role model for my children and other women who want to ‘have it all’.

Of course, I appreciate that I was lucky as I was clear about what I wanted to achieve.  It isn’t always that easy – and I coach a lot of women who feel as stuck as I was in a corporate job: wanting to find a way out, but not knowing how.  I also coach a lot of women who feel guilty about not being able to cope, or they feel they should be better in some way.  But in all the time I have been coaching, I have never met someone who isn’t genuinely doing their best, given the situation they are in (and that situation is often combining working, being the main care-giver and looking after the home).  For that, we should be proud – we should be proud of what we are achieving and most of all, we should be celebrating the success of women everywhere.

 

How to create a Vision Board!

I talk about vision a lot – it really helps you get focus in all areas of your life and a vision board is a great way to see that vision on a daily basis so you know what you are continually striving for.  A vision board is usually a poster board where you stick (or collage) images or words that you find inspirational and reflect your vision that you have for yourself or business. It should encapsulate both what you want from life and why (what does that get you – your motivation!).

So how do you create a vision board?

There’s no real right or wrong when it comes to vision boards – a vision board is for you and should reflect what you feel.  As a guide however, this is what you might do:

  1. Think about your vision:
    • What are you doing?
    • How much do you earn?
    • Who are you working with?
    • Where are you?
    • What are you working hours?
    • What do you do in your spare time?
    • Where do you live?
    • Who do you live with?
    • Where do you go on holiday?
    • What car are you driving?
    • How do you feel?

These are just some questions – let your imagination do the work.

  1. Find magazine images or print images from the internet which mean something to you in terms of your vision. These can be photo’s, images or words – anything that you find inspirational.  Pile them up!
  1. Lay the images on the board and organise them in whatever way seems right for you – use your intuition, there is no right or wrong. Some people like to organise them into areas such as home, holidays and work and others like to spread the images out in no particular order.  Go with your gut.
  1. Glue the images to the poster when you are happy with how the vision board looks.
  1. Now for the most important bit – hang up your vision board in a prominent place. The board should remind you about what you want from life and that your actions need to be moving you towards this vision.

Have fun!