Seven Mindsets That Kill Success

Seven Mindsets That Kill Success
January 28, 2018

“Martin Luther King famously proclaimed ‘I have a dream,’ not ‘I have an issue.’ “ – Van Jones

You’ve probably heard the saying “You are what you think.” In coaching, I pay attention to the way people think about things; their mindset. The challenge with mindset is that it’s driven by thoughts and sometimes our beliefs are true and other times they are imaginary stories we tell ourselves.

But how do we know if our mindset is getting in the way of our success?

When I meet a client who’s feeling stuck, overwhelmed, unsuccessful or just fed up with life, the mindsets below are ruling their existence. Do any of these ring true for you? Consider alternate ways to free yourself from these faulty ways of thinking.

  1. Futurecasting

You see a future where nothing will get better, leaving you feeling helpless and hopeless, telling yourself things will never change.

A way to tackle your adverse futurecasting habit is by taking a look at your past experiences and identifying times when things did change, when you completed what you set out to, or when you felt happier. Challenge your predictions and look for evidence to prove them wrong. Pay attention to those things you do well, even the small things count. Take a few minutes every day to write them down. I do a “what went well today” inventory almost every night. You will be surprised at all the things that are working well already — if you only noticed.

  1.     Mind reading

This is common when there are business partners or teams involved. I’ve done this mind-reading trick so many times in the past that it’s easy for me to recognize it.

You interpret other people’s motivations as negative or selfish on the basis of very little or no evidence: “My partner doesn’t really care how I feel,” “My teammates are upset and are trying to get back at me,” “My boss never gives me the cool assignments, he doesn’t like me.”

When you catch yourself mind reading, ask for clarification. Ask your partner what she meant or how she is feeling. Sometimes it’s beneficial to give the other the benefit of the doubt: “She may be rushed right now ” is a better interpretation than “She just doesn’t care about how I feel.”

  1.     Self-Descriptive Labels

You assume you can never change, especially the negative things: “I’m not good with technology,” “I’m not creative,” “I’m disorganized” followed by the resignation,”It’s who I am.” Ouch! That hurts. As an alternative, rather than use negative labels on yourself, look for “inconsistencies” in your behavior. That means look for when you are NOT like that. “I am organized when cooking, but it’s hard to keep my office that way .” This simple reframe will help you address the behavior you deem negative.

  1.     The Always/Never Approach

You describe your current situation as being completely negative without exploring the possibility that some experiences in your life are positive: “I’m never going to get that promotion,” “People always take advantage of me,” “My partner never shows affection,” “I always mess up.” Whenever you catch yourself using the words “always” and “never,” assume you are wrong. Test your biased negative thinking by looking at the real facts. I find that most of the time facts aren’t as terrible as we make them seem to be.

  1.     Shoulds

You have a list of “Rule and Expectations to Live By” and condemn yourself when you’re feeling sad or depressed, or others when you’re angry for not complying with your “Shoulds.” It’s exhausting, and typically there is no end to these irritating thoughts. “At my age, I should be at a different level in my career,” “I should not be the one that has to change,” “My spouse should accept who I am, just the way I am.”

Be honest. Are these “shoulds” helping or hurting you? Chances are that if you have a long list of “shoulds” you are not a happy camper.

Turn it around and rather than focusing on the way your life “should” be, consider if you can make things better. Substitute your shoulds with “how to, ” “what else,” and “let’s do it.” Rather than “At my age, I should have a higher paying job,” try using action statements such as “What else can I do to bring more money?” or “How can I make my relationships better?” You will not see much progress by “shoulding” yourself to death. Progress begins to happen by acting differently and taking action, even baby steps.

  1.     Perfectionism

You create a standard for yourself and others that is unrealistic and measure everybody by this standard. The problem with seeking perfection is that most of the time you are bound to disappoint yourself. Life is not perfect. No relationship is perfect — and neither needs to be perfect, that would be so boring! Recognizing how ridiculous and depressing striving for perfection can be will allow you to begin working constructively on your life. Release the need to be perfect and expecting others to follow suit. It will be a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.

  1.     Blaming

You believe that all of your problems are caused by external situations or others: “If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have these problems,” “My partner doesn’t understand me,” “My friends don’t support me, so I can’t get ahead.” Even if there is some truth, blaming others will only make you feel helpless and frustrated.

You can probably see a pattern here. A better way of approaching these behaviors is by relaxing and taking responsibility for changing things. With your friends or teammates, you can validate each other, share responsibility for the problems, actively catch yourself being good, focus on what’s working, write down the positive aspects of your life, and humble-0up and accept life is not perfect, but it sure can be fun. It’s far better than blaming and becoming a victim. The first question to ask is, “Is there a different way to think about this?”


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Posted in Mindset by Mari Pizarro | Tags: ,