Start With a Strong Mindset
Hit it off right from the beginning.
Do you wonder why some days are easy, and others are difficult?
“I do not know.”
Everyone sometimes struggles. You doubt your work, your relationships, or your ideas. You ask yourself: “Is this right for me?”
So, you reflect and consider your options. Where do you stand now? Put down how you feel. When you understand your feelings, you are likely to understand your mindset.
You have got this. You can achieve anything you want. All you need to do is decide.
Yet, decisions are what we are often afraid of.
Sort out your expectations and chaos
The #1 problem is expectations. Expectations influence your mindset a great deal. They make you insecure and dissatisfied. Frustration has many faces:
You should have been rewarded for going the extra mile.
You should have gotten a promotion by now.
Your business should have grown more.
You should have already been engaged.
You thought you would learn faster.
The salary increase was not enough.
Expectations create chaos. They mess with your head and demotivate you.
Catch yourself whenever you say: “I should have.” These are moments that target yound mindset’s weaknesses.
You cannot change the past. You can only be better today or in the future.
Do not mourn past decisions too much. 2022 ends soon. That is a good time to kill your expectations and clean up your chaos.
Be realistic. You do not have to make it sound better than it is. You are the only judge of yourself. Note down what you achieved vs. not and why. Circle three things that were truly important to you.
Priorities emerge. Keep them as they will drive you further.
Lazy mindset vs. strong mindset
Look at a procrastination explanation from Barbara Oakley. She is an authority in neuroscience and social behavior.
Do you relate?
A lazy mindset means you have a habit of procrastination. It works like this:
You have a difficult task or decision in front of you. It almost hurts how unhappy you feel. Your brain is cooking. You do not know. Stress is rising. You can’t sleep or focus.
Then you turn your attention to a more pleasant task. Like browsing social media, doing easy tasks, or postponing an important meeting.
Your brain is relieved. You feel happy again. Yet, not for long as you circle back to the actual task or decision.
A lazy mindset is annoying as it prevents you from being efficient. It stops your drive. It makes you insecure. Leaders with a lazy mindset are not trustworthy. They make promises but do not fulfill them.
A strong mindset is a different story.
It helps you focus and act with intention. You might doubt yourself. Yet, you accept doubts and struggles are impermanent. They do not derail future success.
Imagine your mindset as an octopus that helps you. It picks the correct memories, arguments, and procedures to make decisions and complete your tasks. It is right there in your brain.
Source: Barbara Oakley
Do you see it now? You have an inner friend who can help you stay on track. She will not let you procrastinate. You will not succumb to negative thoughts when expectations are not fulfilled.
You are capable of so much. What makes you a successful leader is your ability to stay focused and to control your emotions and doubts.
If you struggle with it, imagine your octopus friend. It is with you in the most difficult times. It will help you focus.
Mindset and drive
Mindset keeps you motivated. That is nothing new under the sun. Here is a short exercise for you. Answer:
If you had nothing to worry about, what would you like to do?
Where do you want to be on this day next year?
What don’t you like to do?
What do you like to do?
What drives you?
You do not have to have a title to be a leader. Leadership is a way of working and living. But what is it?
It is something that gives you joy.
I have picked one book to start with. Daniel Pink published his research on motivation in 2009.
He identified three components s of motivation — autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I would also add the fourth one based on working in teams for more than 10 years. Relationships play a significant role too.
Is it important for you to feel accountable, but also have the freedom to work in your own way? Autonomy is not about working alone but the feeling that you control what you do and how you do it.
You often procrastinate when someone else gives you a task and a solution. It does not motivate you. When you control your schedule and tasks, you can sort them as it is convenient for you.
Autonomy makes you engaged and supports the development of a strong mindset.
If you are into continuous improvement of your skills and yourself, mastery keeps you on the path. Achieving mastery is a pain. There are ups and downs.
Yet, mastery is an important component of a strong mindset since it helps you go forward step by step. Progress is tangible, and you have a strong sense of growth.
Sooner or later, you start to wonder why you do what you do. The older you get, the more you want to work towards something worthwhile.
Money? Email signature? Corporate ladder?
Many of my friends have moved away from “do this to check off the box” to “do it because it’s the right thing to do”.
“One cannot lead a life that is truly excellent without feeling that one belongs to something greater and more permanent than oneself.” - MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI
Once again, purpose helps you stay focused and improves your mindset.
Although the small octopus is a loyal friend, having others around can motivate you too.
When goals are shared, they are more enjoyable. Work towards something together, and you will have a lot of fun.
You support each other. Keep yourself up when things get difficult, and have a laugh when everything works out.
Relationships can keep you in an otherwise boring job. Relationships give you a sense of belonging and working for others.
Do not underestimate the power of relationships in what drives you.
Build a strong mindset
Some of you might lack energy. If you are lucky, you can extend your holiday and recharge. If you have to jump back into your everyday routine, you need a breath of fresh air.
Old emotional wounds might keep hurting. Stress. Anxiety. Disappointment. Do not throw them away. Acknowledge them before you decide to move on.
The most effective way to regain energy is to make a plan.
1. Set priorities
Go back to your list of expectations and see what you circled. Do you want to continue working on them in 2023? Or you can choose something completely different. Check what drivers you mentioned previously.
Which three make you excited? Go for them.
2. Focus on what matters
Plan big and keep your head up. Yet, do not get bogged down in details, as what matters is the direction. Not every turn you will have to make.
Having a strong mindset helps you stay focused and not micromanage. Small steps forward count as much as big successes. Set your mindset to dream big and celebrate small.
3. Communicate your plan
Do not be shy. Say out loud what you want to achieve. Speak about it. It will help you not to slip out of the way. As others will remind you and hold you accountable.
You must keep your mind away from laziness by focusing on the power of relationships.
4. Be open to new opportunities
New doors open when your mind is strong. Some tasks need mastery. Others require consistency. These traits do not go unnoticed. You will see that if you shift from being negative to being positive and easy to work with, new things happen.
Isn’t it worth starting the New Year on an optimistic note?
Hit it off right from the beginning
Do not wait for a sign. No need to make a resolution. You can start building a strong mindset now. Why not?
All you need to do is decide if you can do it.
Understand yourself and what hasn’t been working so far to make the first step in the right direction. In time, you will become a better leader. A leader people want to follow.
Happy New Year!
That’s it for this year.
Thank you for all your support. I want you to have an even better experience next year. I will boost this newsletter by adding new features and a leadership community.
We are better together.
For the price of two coffees, you get a big cup of leadership skills and a mindset. You will be able to access:
Exclusive live workshops and QAs
Case studies based on real examples
I will see you next year! :) Ivona
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