This morning I woke a little later than usual. I was tired after arriving home late from a weekend away. I had planned out my Monday morning to do a few things around my office and write my blog. I knew I would be a bit slow but thought I had the day under control.
After a shower, I put some clothes in the washing machine, and began to cook some breakfast. Suddenly, the neighbour’s alarm went off and I noticed my kitchen light had gone out. Our stove is electric, so my half-cooked bacon just sat in the pan looking at me. No eggs, no espresso, no relaxed nutritious breakfast to fuel my day.
I rang the power company to report my problem. Half way through telling the call centre operator about the power outage in my area I remembered the text message I had received last week. It was a few days before my long weekend, informing me that the power would be out from 8:00am until 4:00pm on November 4th. I had noted the message but somehow in my mind thought it was next Friday, not today. Embarrassed, I apologised and hang up. All my plans for this day now need to change. I have several important business ventures needing attention this week and need to have a productive day. My slow start was in danger of turning into a disastrous day.
Mindset is the key to everything
I have learned that if I control my mindset, I control my life. A mindset is a pre-determined and deeply held belief; a belief that works for you, especially when things are not good around you. Such a mindset needs to help you get through the challenges of life. Over time and through all kinds of scenarios, these beliefs have become foundation stones I know I can rely on. Rather than reacting emotionally and going to pieces when things go wrong or someone does something hurtful, I have a pre-determined mindset that enables me to hold my course and stay strong. I can stay clear headed, regroup quickly and set an adjusted course of action. Your mindset is the key to resilience.
5 mindset hacks that serve me well
1. When things do not go to plan – “Everything works together for good”. E.g. with the scenario outlined above. This deeply held belief enables me to keep a positive attitude even on the darkest days. It also wards off anxiety. I step back and get an overview and adjust my plans. I have trained myself to ask myself the questions: How can this work for me? What do I need to do to make this work for me?
2. When people let me down – “Everybody is doing the best they can with the resources they have”. This is my forgiveness frame. It enables me to forgive people who let me down and stop judging others harshly. This keeps my heart free from bitterness and get other people out of my head. This lesson was learned through one of the toughest seasons of my life and has kept me sane. Someone who lets me down or hurts me will need to re-earn my trust, but I will always forgive.
3. When progress is slow, and everything feels hard – For this I have several beliefs that serve me well. “Every vision will be tested”; “Nothing good comes easy”; “There is always a way to make things happen if I focus, take action and persist”. This set of beliefs stops me from quitting. Most people give up too easily. Not me. Persistence has become one of my strengths.
4. When I feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do – “This is an adventure and I am ready to learn”; “Life is all about learning new things”. This keeps me with what Carolyn Dweck calls a ‘Growth Mindset.’ The opposite of this is to have a ‘Fixed Mindset’ that blocks learning and creates overwhelm or a sense of being too old or out of date. I am committed to life-long learning and am continually amazed at the adventure of life given me.
5. When I feel alone and all else fails – “Who do I know that I can ask about this?” This mindset enables me to dial a friend, regroup, be creative, and keep going until I find another way through my situation. This one is still hard for me. I am notoriously self-reliant and find it very hard to ask for help. I have invested in a few mentors over the past 10 years which has slowly helped me to build great and resourceful relationships.
My mindset saved my day
My day turned out well for me. I rearranged my day, did some errands, and then went to a café with my laptop and my mobile internet to write this blog. At the café I met a friend who invited me to use his air-conditioned boardroom for the day. I have been able to make calls, do some longer-term planning, and make great progress towards my business goals. In fact, it is possible that a whole lot more was done than if the power had not been turned off and I spent the day in my home office. Another reinforcement of my belief that “Everything works together for good”.