• Mindset Check-ins: Free Your Mind From Thoughts That Don’t Serve You

  • Mindset check-ins

    When I think about freedom on a professional level, I think of how crucial it is to be free from thoughts that prevent us from reaching our goals.

    You know the ones, thoughts like:

    • I’m not ready for this promotion or project or next step.

    • What if I fail? I’ll be embarrassed or humiliated in front of my peers/team/company.

    • Maybe I shouldn’t try. It’s a long shot anyways.

    • The odds are stacked against me.

    Those words are rough to read. They seem sad and defeated. And yet, I’ve had ALL of those thoughts at one time or another. Frankly, many, many times.

    Maybe you’ve said unhelpful thoughts to yourself, too?

    The thoughts and words we tell ourselves are extremely powerful. They have the ability to create feelings and actions that can either bring us down or inspire us to extraordinary heights.

    If you’re tired of being stuck or second guessing yourself, I challenge you to do the following: 

    Practice Daily Mindset Check-ins 

    For most of my life, I didn’t stop to check in with myself during the work day to notice how I was feeling or what I was thinking to myself. I was too busy racing from meeting to meeting, answering emails and focused on getting things done. It never occurred to me that the internal dialogue I was having with myself could be jeopardizing my success or influencing my ability to think more strategically.

    According to the National Science Foundation, the average person thinks 2,100 thoughts an hour and 95% of those thoughts are repetitive. 

    If our brains are going to naturally repeat thoughts, then it’s time to choose thoughts that are most helpful.

    Notice that I didn’t say to choose thoughts that are most positive. Depending upon the situation and your personality, you may react better with a positive thought or a negative thought. For example, “I only have 45 minutes to get this task done” make evoke fear for some and excitement and energy for others.

    Always choose thoughts that generate the appropriate feelings and actions to reach your goals.

    I recommend setting an alarm once or twice a day for a mindset check-in. It’s been helpful for me to do check-ins in the morning and afternoon, because I’ve noticed a feeling pattern that doesn’t serve me. I usually feel relaxed and clear-headed in the mornings and then may spiral into worry or stress by 3 PM. 

    What is your experience? Find out by doing this exercise. You may surprise yourself.

    Questions to Ask During Mindset Check-ins

    Below are a series of questions that will help you determine if your thoughts are propelling you towards the actions and results you want to take. Ask these questions each time you do a mindset check-in:

    1. What am I feeling right now? Do I feel calm, worried, content, happy, stressed, etc?

    2. Is this feeling serving me at the moment? Is it helpful? If it is, great! If not, then proceed to the next question.

    3. What is the thought I’m telling myself that is generating the unhelpful feeling? Notice the first phrase or phrases you tell yourself and write them down. Some of my clients journal their thoughts and others say them out loud. Do what is easiest for you. 

    4. How do I want to feel in this moment? Would it be helpful to feel calm, energized, etc?

    5. How can I reframe or turn the thought around to create the motivation and feeling that is most helpful to me?

    How to Reframe Your Thoughts

    Investigating your thoughts will allow you to choose a thought that serves you most. Sometimes the helpful thought may be a matter of thinking the opposite or choosing a more inspiring thought.

    Here’s an example of how to reframe an unhelpful thought: 

    Original thought: “I can’t believe my boss is requesting such a tight deadline. Doesn’t he know that I’m swamped with other tasks?!”

    Check-in: 

    – What am I feeling right now? “Stress. Fear. Anger.”

    – Is this feeling serving me? After you’ve honored your feelings, you may say, “No, being stuck in stress, fear or anger isn’t serving me. I can’t think straight. My mind is racing.”

    – What feeling will serve me most in this moment? “Calm. Confidence.”

    – What do I need to think to generate calm and confidence? “I can do hard things. I do them all of the time. I’ll take a deep breath, stretch and then request a quick chat with my boss. I’ll ask for clarity regarding priorities and will share the consequences of the change. If he still wants me to take on this task, then I will. I’ve got this!”

    You may have noticed that the reframe example referenced a previous time when this person was able to complete a difficult – “I can do hard things. I do them all of the time.” That was on purpose.

    When you find evidence that the helpful thought could be true, then you’re more likely to believe the new thought. 

    If you’re having difficulty believing your new thought, then find three examples of evidence that can prove your new thought. 

    Continuing with the previous example, this may look like:

    1. “I worked under a tight deadline last month and I got everything done.
    2. When this role was new, everything was hard. I’ve come a long way since then.
    3. I have rearranged my priorities before. There were some bumps in the road, but I managed it really well.”

    Fake it Until You Make it. Is That Ok?

    You may be asking yourself, “Is it ok to fool myself into believing something that doesn’t seem true in the moment?”

    The short answer: Yes.

    The more involved answer: Finding three pieces of evidence to prove your more helpful thoughts will help release you from a limiting mindset that prevents you from the results you want to achieve. 

    Chances are you’ve told yourself helpful thoughts almost every time you’ve reached the next level. When you were learning how to ride a bike, your bike-riding guide likely said, “You can do it! You can do it! You are doing it!” until you began to tell yourself, “I can do it! I’m doing it!”

    Thoughts that serve you build momentum. This momentum in turn builds confidence and self-belief to take even greater steps.

    “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

    Will you accept the challenge to do a daily mindset check-in this week? 

    These check-ins have been instrumental for me. In a previous role, my boss challenged me to double my results from the previous year. I was up for the challenge, but scared I would fail. After a period of time, I realized that I was telling myself, “I don’t think I can do this” over and over. Once I examined my thoughts and fear, I was able to find the evidence that I can achieve great things. Soon my negative, fearful thoughts were replaced with thoughts of confidence and trust in myself. My mantra became, “Of course I can do this!” And I did. I blew the stretch goal out of the water.

    You will, too.

    The more you practice mindset check-ins, the more you’ll experience success, joy and so much freedom.

    Cheers!

    Jennifer

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