Does what you believe about yourself have the ability to impact your success or failure? The short answer is yes. When we are able to fight the brain’s natural tendencies to focus on the negative, we are able to be happier and more successful in life. The good news? It’s much easier to change your mindset than you may think. Through identifying the common mindset traps we find ourselves in, we can illuminate and reach our full potential. This is is the magic of changing your mindset. 

What is a Mindset? 

Mindset is one of the hottest buzzwords in coaching right now, and there is a reason for that. Mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how we make sense of the world. Our mindset influences how we feel, how we think, and ultimately how we behave and respond to circumstances and situations.

The real test of our mindset is how we respond to and cope with life’s challenges. When I speak of challenges, I’m not talking about suffering, I’m talking about obstacles and setbacks that get in the way of us achieving our goals. This distinction is important because the last thing I as a coach ever want to do is diminish anyone’s experience. While it’s very easy to be positive when our lives are going as planned, the true test of our mindset is when things aren’t going as we expected they should. 

Are you going to be the person who gives up or are you going to choose to learn and grow from the setbacks life throws your way? 

Mindset traps and how to change them

As a leadership and life coach, I am a firm believer that success and happiness is rooted in mindset. We can not have one without the other. To achieve your goals, your mindset must align with your aspirations. The most successful clients I have are dreamers of big dreams who recognize the magic of mindset shifts in order to achieve transformation. The first step is recognizing which trap you commonly fall into. While there are a number of traps, I’m going to focus on a few key ones that show up consistently with my leadership, life, and career coaching clients. 

Fixed vs. Growth 

  • A Fixed Mindset is constrained with little room to expand. It’s an unwillingness to step out of your comfort zone. Anything you want to accomplish is framed by what you already know. 
  • A Growth Mindset is all about potential. You can always learn more, grow more, and be better.
  • Tip: Instead of setbacks being perceived roadblocks, reframe them to be something to learn from, grow from, and be better from. 

Thinking vs. Doing

  • A Thinking Mindset is considering all the steps we need to take to achieve our goals. While this can be helpful for some up front, it can cause many of us to feel paralyzed and sometimes result in us not taking any action at all. When your mind is in “thinking” mode, it can make it hard to figure out where to start. 
  • A Doing Mindset is about being clear on what you want, setting a goal, making a plan and going out and actually taking the first step. The distance between your goals and execution of those goals is action.
  • Tip: Pick the smallest action that will get you closer to your goal and do it. Once your mind is in “doing” mode, it inherently makes it easier to take the next step. The secret is starting. 

Scarcity vs. Abundance

  • A Scarcity Mindset refers to a feeling of lacking or not having enough. It can often be referred to in terms of scarcity of resources, specifically money. It’s the idea that there is not enough to go around. It can also be seen as a reluctance to share information.  
  • An Abundance Mindset is expansive. It’s an openness to share and collaborate. It’s about seeing money as a tool and not a finite resource.
  • Tip: focus on what you do have, create win-win opportunities for yourself, practice gratitude, and train your brain to recognize possibilities.

Can’t vs. Can

  • A Can’t mindset refers very simply to negative self-talk. Believing you can’t do something trains your brain to believe that as truth. It often results in you never taking action on your goals.
  • A Can mindset is a little cliche and corny, but there is a tremendous amount of truth here! Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.
  • Tip: the easiest way to shift this mindset trap is changing the way you talk to yourself. Start encouraging yourself instead of demeaning yourself. From there, you’ll be much more inspired to take action because you believe you can. 

Destination vs. Journey

  • A Destination mindset refers to the notion that we will be happy once we reach the destination. If you keep staring at the end goal, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep going and not give up. People who fall into this trap are generally unhappy because even if they reach the destination, they are constantly shifting the target. 
  • A Journey Mindset refers to enjoying the journey and celebrating your progress along the way. Having this mindset is essential in pursuing your goals.
  • Tip: Enjoy where you are, right here, right now, in this very moment. Celebrate yourself and take it all in. Enjoy the beauty in today and discover who you are today. 

How To Change Your Mindset

It’s like learning your ABCs! Shifting our mindset is similar to learning the ABCs in a different language. Firstly, it requires you to have the motivation to believe it’s possible. Secondly, you’ll learn the sounds of the letters. You’ll take time to practice. In a number of weeks, you’ll become fluent in the ABCs. Similarly, with changing your mindset, you’ll need to recognize first that shifting your mindset will help you reach your goals.

Secondly, it’s about learning the language of mindsets. From my experience, clients can recognize very quickly which trap they fall into. If not, hire a coach who can help. Finally, it’s all about practice and regular exercise. The science suggests that all it takes is 5-20 minutes per day and in a number of weeks you will rewire your brain. Think of this work as bicep curls for your brain, the more reps you do, the stronger you’ll become. At the very least, you’ll recognize that what you learn along the way is more important than the goal itself. After all, our goals are just one stop on our journey. At the very best, you’ll unlock the key to your happiness and full potential. You have one life to live that we know about, so how will you change your mindset today ? 

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Cait Swamy

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