Do You have a Mindset for Growth?
Your Two Choices
Cognitive neuroscientists have conducted many studies that have revealed that only 5% of our cognitive activities (decisions, emotions, actions, behaviour) is conscious whereas the remaining 95% is generated at an unconscious level.
For me, one of the most important truths about mindset is that by being awake and aware, we can intercept our unconscious processing in order to tweak and update the unhelpful stuff that may be holding us back
When it comes to your mindset, you have two choices in any given situation:
Whether to be a victim of your triggers, filters and stories OR whether to be a victor over them
The symptoms of Victim Mindset include:
- You find yourself procrastinating
- You find yourself getting stuck in rumination, not able to let things go
- Feeling overwhelmed by situations, life, others
- Sinking into depression
- Looking outwards and blame, judge, criticise, get defensive or take things personally
OR whether to be a victor over your triggers, filters and stories……
Signs that you have a Victor Mindset include:
- You remain calm and in control in the face of pressure and challenge
- You are able to gather facts and evidence through observation
- You keep yourself and others moving forward in discussions
- A positive enthusiasm and energy
- You notice the positive more often
Victim or Victor?
To help you decide where you tend to go, I’ve got a few questions for you:
Your first answer is your best answer.
Your answer to this question is probably determined by the kind of mindset you have cultivated.
Perhaps consider how people who know you well would answer this question on your behalf.
Irrespective of your answer, try not to judge yourself. Remember, because we are set for threat, it is a conscious decision and choice that we make to do the hard task of stepping up to the challenge of changing our mindset from threat to thrive.
Moving from Threat to Thriving: a Mindset for Growth
So, to begin the challenging task for changing our mindset from threat to thriving we will need to develop our self awareness.
“6 Ways To Give Your Mind A Break:1. Stop stressing2. Stop worrying3. Give rest to the problems weighing you down4. Lighten up5. Forgive yourself6. Forgive others” ― Germany Kent
A Personal Story
The model I have developed about Self-Awareness comes from my experience years ago of being made redundant…..
When the news first came through, we were told by our managers that “the company is considering downsizing due to operational requirements and not to worry too much because they didn’t believe any of us would be affected due to the work we were delivering to the business.”
Of the 70 or so of us in the department, I was one of the 15 or so who eventually were made redundant.
Initially I was ok but as the process went along and we were given false information which contradicted what was said from meeting to meeting, I started getting pretty angry and disappointed and wanted to hit out.
But, very quickly, I noticed how my “negative” attitudes were affecting my staff and realised that I had to keep my behaviour above the waterline so that staff morale stayed constant.
It was a very painful and difficult time in my life but when I finally left, I had:
- Worked through my negative feelings and learned to accept the situation and opportunity that presented itself
- Positioned my staff to take advantage of new opportunities of working for a new manager and expanding their scope of work
- Met with and gained insights and future work requests from several parts of the business
- Reached out and organised a worthwhile course that the company paid for, for myself and fellow-redundancies that helped me crystallise my future goals and where I wanted to go
- Established my business, Skill Junction.
That was July 2002. I have not looked back since.
I share this story because, if you can understand that we are set for threat, very often our first reaction to a situation will be governed by our “threat” response, unless we hit the reboot button.
Now, based on the story, let’s look at my model for Self Awareness:
Level One: Pain
It starts with 0% – low levels of self awareness and the impact this has on you and others which is indicated by the 5 symptoms….
As you can see, having a low level of self-awareness is NOT a good place to be for you OR others.
An Important Note:
All of us go into threat response when we are tired, stressed or worn down
What we need to do is to notice when this happens and take action. In this case, look out for symptoms that will come from:
- Your Brain: stinking thinking – blaming, judging others etc
- Your Emotions: victim mindset where you are in negative mode and taking things personally
- Your Body: irritability, sluggish thinking, exhaustion, sickness
Take some quick decisions on how to proactively deal with this state of mind. For some ideas, check out this article on “12 Questions Super Smart People Ask Themselves Daily“
Another Important Note:
You need to be aware that some of the people in your life are living permanently in low levels of self-awareness. Staying around them will pull you down, so be aware and look after yourself.
Once you realise that you are responsible for your life, you will find you automatically start finding opportunities to learn.
And, this is the second level of developing a mindset for growth…..
Level Two: Learning
Often, our learning opportunities present themselves like mine – in difficult situations that we did not create but affect us in some way.
My observation of working with people is that we do not value our life experiences and do not learn from them unless they in some way are painful, discomforting or awkward.
Think back on a learning experience that changed your life – I bet my bottom dollar that at the time it was hard for you.
But now that you look back on it, you value it because you had to work to overcome and achieve something positive from it. You are now a better person because of that experience.
The interesting thing about this level of self-awareness is that you have to be very conscious in your learning process and practice consistently and persistently in order to achieve and or overcome.
And, tell me if I am wrong or not but if you are persistently consistent, you achieved the next level of self-awareness….
Level Three: Growth Stage
Woohooo! What a great step up! Pain = Learning and Learning = Growth.
And so, to develop Self-Awareness, we need to understand that it’s a 3-level process.
You’ll notice I have indicated 0 – 100% from the low levels of self-awareness where we go when we are tired and certainly you do go up the continuum as you learn and experience greater stretch and challenge in your life.
I would suggest that once you have attained a certain level of self-awareness through a tough situation, your set-point for self-awareness is now at that new point – you tend to get higher and higher as you experience tougher experiences and, as you naturally mature.
You have to Keep Working
But, here is the kicker:
I notice that we are never ever consistent on our journey to increased self-awareness.
Why is this you may ask?
Well, life happens to us, so we tend to forget our lessons, and stop looking after ourselves. We start to find our self-awareness going up and down a little like a yo-yo.
- So, we have to keep learning.
- Keep coming back to the present.
- We have to keep working on our inside game!
3 Crucial Habits to create a Mindset for Growth
At this point, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that self-awareness means absolutely nothing if you are not prepared to open yourself to 3 important habits:
- Acceptance – you are going to mess up, its ok, its part of learning. No big deal. And the same with others: they too will mess up and you will have to learn to accept that this is just part of life.
- Humility – letting go of ego and being open and willing to learn when you are wrong
- Forgiveness – for those of you who tend to be really hard on yourself, you have learn to forgive yourself and let stuff go.
You have learn these 3 habits and apply them in your own life first otherwise you cannot accept others for who they are, forgive them and help them to become who they are meant to be.
- Self Awareness is a fundamental foundational skill that we continue learning for the rest of our lives.
- We all have choices in any given situation: to be a victim or to be a victor
- The choices you make will be based on the work you are doing on your “inside game” to develop mastery over your mindset and developing your self-awareness
- We all have moments when we fail – take heart that these are just micro-moments in time to help us prepare for who we are ultimately becoming: a better you
- Consistency, persistence and discipline are needed to apply the 3 habits successfully into your life
Questions to Consider
- What patterns do you notice regarding your mindset when “threat” hits?
- Where are your moments of greatest satisfaction – and how could you replicate these for the “everyday” occurrences you experience that may currently be hindering your growth?
- What three “things” could you do when you notice yourself at “Level One: Pain” in self awareness?
- How could you apply the 3 habits more consciously into your everyday?
And, if mindset mastery is something you are serious about, why not take our 10 Question Mindset Mastery Quiz below?
This quiz will help you identify your strengths and growth areas around your mindset. We also include an opportunity for you to get 43 different strategies to positively develop your mindset.
Until next time, I’ll
See you at the top,