5 Mindset Shifts That Transformed My Life
It’s amazing how I used to think of mindset work as relatively unimportant or frivolous. “Right, a positive mindset is valuable. Great. Now, let’s move on with life and the mountain of crap on my to-do list.”
That was essentially the extent to which I considered the importance of my mindset. Eek.
It wasn’t until my journey towards healing and deepened awareness a handful of years ago that I realized and internalized the incredible importance of one’s mindset and the power of one’s thoughts.
In all reality, our mindset is the foundation that affects us consciously and subconsciously. It dictates how we experience and interact with life, how we think and feel about ourselves and others, and it has the power to influence whether or not we take action or sit back, grow or remain stagnant, feel the fear and do it anyway or feel the fear and run and hide.
Geez, Louise. When you think of it this way, it’s pretty damn important, no?
Over time, I was able to discern the mindsets that served as the foundation for my life. And my discoveries weren’t all that pretty. But that’s okay. And if you find that some or most of your mindsets aren’t all that pretty, too, know that it’s okay for you, as well.
Once we bring awareness to our habitual beliefs and ways of thinking - we hold the power to begin shifting them. And that’s precisely what I did.
Here are five of my biggest mindset shifts that totally transformed my life in the very best of ways. Do I live into each of these perfectly 24/7, 365 days of the year. That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg. Absolutely not because I’m not perfect.
However, I am able to live into them a good majority of my time. Whenever I start to fall back into negative habits or beliefs, because I took ownership and put in the effort to shift my beliefs into ones that actually serve and support me, I’m able to pull myself up and re-ground myself in these new positive mental foundations.
So without further ado, here are the five mindsets shifts that changed everything:
New Mindset #1: My strengths are what make me feel strong...not necessarily what I’m good at on paper or what others tell me I’m good at.
This new mindset totally shifted how I view and operate at work, and how I’ve gotten clarity on my career and my purpose. For a long time, I struggled with the fact that a number of activities that I excelled at (and that bosses, friends, and co-workers told me I was particularly talented with) completely and utterly drained me.
For example, in my last job, I was weirdly skilled at expense management and financial compliance, and I was lauded for it. But I hated it. That type of work sucked the life out of my soul, made me feel gray, and left me exhausted (and not in the “Wow, that was an awesome hike, and I’m super tired but feeling good!” kind of exhausted, but the mentally fatigued, time to numb out on the couch kind of exhausted).
Sure, I could receive a big fat “A” in expense management, but it made me feel like crap.
And this could be a tricky thing for high-achieving women.
So many smart, accomplished women that I know are insanely capable and good at doing a lot of different things and doing them well. And this can lend itself to both confusion and overwhelm.
We’re told to play to our strengths and that our strengths in the very traditional sense of the word are an integral part of our purpose, but what happens when our strengths are plentiful and many of them don’t make us feel how we desire to feel in our lives?
How do you know what projects you truly want to take on or promotions you want to go for when you’re great at doing a ton and still hold the one-dimensional definition of a “strength” as simply something you’re skilled at doing? Maybe it results in you taking on way too much; you’re good at a lot, so you say yes to a lot.
Hello, overwhelm, my old friend.
Maybe it manifests in you not going after opportunities that would make use of all the things that make you feel amazing but rather ones that you’ve been told you have a knack for.
When I was able to re-frame the concept of “strengths” as activities that I’m not only good at but that also make me feel energized and strong, I was able to narrow in on what I wanted my career trajectory to look like. Rather than trying to do everything I was technically skilled at, I started prioritizing activities, opportunities and projects that cultivated the feelings that I wanted in my daily life.
My new reality is rooted in the belief that just because I have the skill or ability to excel in an activity or area doesn’t mean I have to.
New Mindset #2: “Failure” is no longer defined as not reaching my ideal goal or outcome but as simply not trying.
I’m a recovering perfectionist. I make no bones about that.
Perfectionism used to run the show, leaking into nearly every aspect of my life, and it often showed up in this pervasive black and white thinking: “If I can’t execute something perfectly, then I’m not going to do it at all.” Sheesh. That’s rough, not to mention super limiting.
Many times, this old mindset stopped me from trying something new and putting myself out there. I simply didn’t want to “fail” or, worse, be seen as a “failure,” according to my old definition of what it means to fail.
But when I got real with my limiting beliefs, brought awareness to where this perfectionistic thinking originated, and internalized the fact that my desire to grow, experience life, and reach goals was bigger than my fear of not doing something absolutely perfectly, I was able to shift.
This new mindset has given me the freedom and motivation to try, even when I’m unsure and even when I might not reach this idealized outcome I have in my head.
And with this freedom and motivation, coupled with action, I’ve seen the most incredible things unfold in my life that I 100% would have never experienced had I refused to release my old fear-based failure mindset.
New Mindset #3: Self-care is the very opposite of selfishness
Take care of everyone else first. Be the martyr. It’s the honorable and selfless thing to do, and you’ll look like a good and worthy person for doing so. This is how I used to think, until I called bullshit on myself.
Listen, the Cancerian in me is naturally nurturing. I love taking care of people, whether it’s at a party I’m hosting, if I have weekend guests at my house, or at work events. But I’m a person, too, right? And so are you. You deserve to care for yourself as much as you care for other people. That’s the reality.
Maybe you saw your wonderful mom always put herself last, and as a little kid, developed the belief that this is how you should operate.
Maybe your work culture celebrates running yourself into the ground and gives a symbolic badge of honor to those who put themselves last.
Maybe someone made you feel badly for setting a boundary and putting yourself first, and it just always stuck with you. For me, it was a combination of all of the above.
During various events in my life, I came to realize that taking care of myself was the kindest thing to do for both my person and for those I loved. When I care for myself, I’m able to present my best self to the world - my family, friends, clients. I’m more empathetic, far more rested (and way less snippy!), more energetic and creative.
To be of the greatest service, I know that I need to be filled up rather than utterly depleted, and self-care is the utterly un-selfish ticket to being able to do just that. .
New Mindset #4: The presence of fear does not mean I should not do something.
I used to be really afraid of fear, which sounds bizarre, but it’s true. I used to believe that if I was feeling fear that something bad was happening or that I was about to get myself into a negative situation.
The feeling of fear was intimately linked, in my mind, to something negative that I should avoid. And then I had an epiphany that:
There is a difference between real, honest-to-goodness survival fear, i.e. fear of walking alone in a dark alley with some creepy dude you don’t know and ego-based fear, i.e. psychological in nature, spurs anxious overthinking, stems from a whole load of subconscious programming and
Ego-based fear is, often times, simply trying to protect me from the unknown and is rooted in a story that I’ve lived my life by. It wants me to stay small, not risk being humiliated, and keep up the status quo.
Once I realized the difference between the types of fear, I was able to see that feeling ego-based fear, for me personally, often meant that I was on the brink of something new and stretching, that I was pushing past my comfort zone, and/or that whatever was triggering the ego fear was tremendously important to me.
New Mindset #5: Feeling and expressing emotions is not a weakness.
“Stop being so emotional.” “Ugh, you’re too sensitive.” Or my favorite: “calm down.” 🙄
We live is a masculine paradigm that craps all over emotions - having them, showing them, expressing them. Big girls don’t cry, right?
Newsflash, you’re human. I’m human. The guy who made your sandwich at the cafe yesterday is human, and being human means that you are an emotional being.
And we’re betraying our authentic selves whenever we pretend that this is not the case.
There is incredible strength in expressing yourself and standing in the truth of whatever it is you’re feeling - whether it’s disappointment, total happiness, or deep sadness. It doesn’t matter.
Not bottling up my emotions has paved the way to a whole new level of realness with myself, my husband, family and co-workers. I don’t allow emotions to sit, stew, build up and explode.
By acknowledging, expressing and tending to them as they come up, I’m able to process them far more easily, tune into my intuition and body’s innate wisdom, all while experiencing the fullness of life in the moment.
Again, do I stumble away from these new, healthy mindsets now and again? For sure. But am I able to pull myself back and return to my power and these truths? Yes! And you possess that same power.