Shift your mindset. Change your life.
How to create sustainable success at work and home.
Fernanda Lind, February 08, 2023
What if you could let go of all the self-limiting thoughts that prevent you from achieving sustainable success in both your career and home life?
What if you could stop listening to the naysayers and the negative self-talk and start living the kind of life you’ve always dreamed of? What if it turns out the naysayers are all in your head?
The hard truth is that if you can’t recognize your thoughts for what they are—just thoughts—you can’t live to your true potential.
As Jon Kabat-Zinn wonderfully said, “wherever you go, there you are.” These words are not only a good reminder to be more mindful, but they also serve as a warning about the dangers of being mindless and remaining stagnant.
So how can you silence your inner critic to make room for a life well lived?
SYSTEMIC CHANGE IS REQUIRED
In order to create a life that is sustainable in both your professional and personal lives; you must get to the root of the problem. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work. But as a fellow high-achiever, I know that you are no stranger to that concept.
In fact, your drive is what created the well-worn paths that your brain is currently very comfortable using. The fight, flight, or freeze response kicks in whenever you face a perceived threat, and your go-to reaction is there because, after so much time reinforcing this habit, you’ve made it easy for your brain to take the path of least resistance.
Tara Swart, a senior lecturer at MIT, says, “our brain is “inherently lazy” and will always “choose the most energy-efficient path” if we let it.”
The critical thing to remember is that you always have a choice. You don’t have to let your brain continue to operate at the status quo—you can rewire it.
By recognizing our existing thought patterns and actively deciding to create new ones, you can change your “gut reaction.” Over time and through practice, this new, preferred response will get stronger with each use.
DO YOU THINK LIKE A DOG OR A LION?
I love the metaphor of the dog mind vs. lion mind. I first heard about it through the Mind Body Awareness Project (an incredible organization that teaches delinquent teens how to live more mindfully).
No matter how often you hear this concept, there is always a new opportunity for it to resonate with you, depending on what is happening in your life. For those of you who are not familiar with it, watch our masterclass here, but in a nutshell, The dog mind is easily distracted (Squirrel!) and tethered to a fixed point, walking in circles, content to go where it knows. It’s fixed on the latest problem. The lion mind lets you see the bigger picture. It ignores distractions and focuses on the ultimate outcome and what will truly satisfy you.
When you redirect your attention with intention and action (aka use your lion mind), you can restructure your brain’s neuro patterns, change your performance, and ultimately your results.
The science of neuroplasticity centers around the brain’s ability to transform itself into whatever shape it desires.
But first, we must learn how to get out of our own way.
START BY DEVELOPING A GROWTH MINDSET
Trying to balance it all while being hijacked by intrusive thoughts is complicated at best. And if you throw in working from a fixed mindset instead of a growth mindset, you are really setting yourself up for disappointment or, worse, stagnation.
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them,” explains Stanford University Professor of Psychology, Carol Dweck.
Dweck goes on to say that a growth mindset “creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” and promotes the idea that failure can become an opportunity to learn if you choose to approach it that way.
Are you ready to choose a different way of thinking?
Changing your beliefs can help you begin to see the world in a new and sustainable way. When you embrace your inner lion and a growth mindset, you can separate your identity from your mistakes and put yourself on a stronger path to advance and succeed.
With the right mindset—failure is no longer something to fear, but instead, feedback on how you can grow and improve—and that can be life-changing.
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