Mindset is frequently used to depict ones ability to conquer their thoughts and control their day to day accomplishments, but what do we really mean when we talk about mindset? Do we, ourselves, determine our mindset, or must we draw from our surroundings, choose our circles carefully, and build a cloud of customized positivity in order to maintain it?
These are all key questions you should be asking yourself. Regardless of what you do or don’t do for a living, one thing is universally applicable to the ambitious women fueling up for success, it all starts and ends in the mind. So when we discuss mindset, we mean the personal experience that you curate on a daily basis. What affirmations do you present yourself with before getting out of bed in the morning? What are you reading during breakfast and allowing to penetrate your days psyche? Did you listen to that inspirational podcast this morning that pushed you to go on that run or did you succumb to that tragic romance audio book that reminded you once again that you haven’t found “the one”. What you feed your mind, your “non-nutritional” intake, will dictate not only your mood, but your physical capabilities.
Taking the time to reflect on the quality of your thoughts is crucial in building the strong mindset that will propel you in your personal and professional life. What do some of the most successful women do to strengthen their thoughts? I’m so glad you asked.
Break away from the “all or nothing” mentality: most people will agree that balance is important, yet so few of us have actually mastered the craft. It’s important to note that not everyones balance looks the same, i.e. if you don’t like yoga, don’t do yoga! Here are my three “buckets of balance” for building a strong mindset.
Health: take care of your body.
What are you doing to stay active, keep the blood flowing to your brain, and maintain a positive self image? Pilates? Meditation? Taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work? Its not so much about what you do, but that you consistently do it. Commit to yourself and uphold those commitments on a daily basis to provide structure and help strengthen other areas of your life.
Leisure: take care of your soul.
There’s no such thing as too much fun. I have adopted this as my life motto and it has made all the difference. We all may not be able to step away from work and close down shop for a mid-day nap, but we can work around our workplace limitations. It is easy to consider a 45-minute lunch as a moment to grab a quick bite and rush back to work. What if you set your mind to look at that 45 minutes differently? What if you took 15 minutes to eat your carefully crafted sandwich, and left the remaining 30 minutes for small talk with strangers at the cafe that brews not only your favorite coffee but your creative juices too?
How we perceive time is also a function of our mindset, and I don’t believe anyone who says they “don’t have time”. Leisure is a growth mechanism, not a cop-out from getting your work done. Your work requires your highest level of thought, and what better way to fuel this than by drawing on the influences around you? Those 60 seconds you spent chatting with the barista may have just inspired your next great startup idea. Don’t let your coffee get cold, sip it and move. Leisure waits for no woman!
Growth: take care of your future self.
Even the slowest growing plant needs to be re-planted in new soil eventually. You cannot remain seeded, no matter how comfortable and “set up for success” you think you are. The world we live in today is made to accommodate and even filters for flexibility. How well do you adapt? How quickly can you assimilate to a new environment, new people, new ways of thinking? The only way to find out is to environment swap.
This doesn’t mean you have to get on the next train out of state, but it does mean stepping outside your routine. Always take the metro into work? Rent a bike. Change the visual on your morning commute and change your thoughts that will dictate how you’ll tackle the day. We often underestimate the power of perception and the only way to change our perceptions is by changing our day-to-day stimuli. Visual cues are key in shaping mindset, so why not experiment with them?
It’s also important to constantly reevaluate our habits. Where do you get your news from? Maybe it’s the late night show, the morning paper, a digital journal? Switch it up! Gain a new perspective. It will help you connect with different folks whose habits are unlike your own. If we limit ourselves to just those things that we like, we will never be able to work successfully with those who think, act and succeed differently from us.
This doesn’t apply solely to where you get your political fix. Try a new workout regimen; crossfit anyone? Drink that matcha everyone has been buzzing about. Read that book that people are boasting to be the read of the century so you can start planning your defense as to why you disagree with 9/10 statements made by the author. The point is, you aren’t supposed to like everything you try, but you are supposed to grow from it.
Health, leisure, growth. Keep these buckets full by replenishing them daily. You’ll be sure to see a positive change in your mindset. Most importantly, remember, it’s all in your head, and that’s exactly where you want it to be.