What is a Mindset?
Good question, what is a mindset?
According to the dictionary, it is an established set of attitudes or beliefs. In coaching, we refer to it as beliefs. Too often it is the mindset or beliefs that get in the way of our growth, in the way of achieving our goals or in the way of us moving on.
How is that possible? Think about it. Let’s say you have the belief that you couldn’t possibly become an artist because you have never created anything resembling art and are over the age of 50, and you could be right. Holding on to that belief will keep you away from pursuing anything having to do with art.
But then a group of friends invite you to a paint and sip event in town and reluctantly you agree to go. While there you realize you love the smell of paint, and the feel of the canvas and the multitude of brushes and colors you can use to create that one image everyone is working on. In the end you feel in your bones that this was an exceptional experience and aren’t quite sure what to think of it. And then your friends gush over your piece – it’s so, well, awesome.
What do you do? Do you keep the idea, belief, that you’re not artist? You could. Or you could accept that this something you want to get more involved with, maybe go to the nearest Michaels and stock up on paints, brushes, canvases and possibly even an easel. Your mindset has changed. Maybe it’s no longer you can’t be an artist, maybe it’s more like “I can give this a go”. That’s all it’ll take to create a mindset or belief shift.
Or is it?
We all have something called “limiting beliefs” and the description above is just one example. Often it’s the limiting beliefs that create suffering or pain or get in the way of our happiness. Sometimes it’s as broad as “I’m not enough” or as specific as “I’m unlovable”. Both are fairly painful and incredibly limiting.
Both are also sometimes hard to change. We’ve heard those phrases so many times during our childhood and into adulthood from our parents, siblings, partners or friends that we bought into them. We believe them and don’t question them.
To change these beliefs we have to question them, we have to identify reasons why they aren’t true, we have to also understand that we’re also perpetuating those thoughts over and over again in our minds, that we’re the problem here.
In coaching we help clients identify the internal negative voice that our minds believe without question. Clients are asked to recognize that voice, and to realize it isn’t us, it’s something we developed over time that may have been helpful at some point in our lives, but isn’t anymore.
Once we identify that voice, the goal is to give it less weight. To understand it’s not going away, but that we don’t have to agree with it. I’ve had clients say repeatedly “I’m so stupid”. Oh, that gets me every time, because clearly they are not. But they believe it! I mean, it’s okay to say that to yourself when you make an honest mistake, but it’s not okay to say it over and over again for no reason other than to beat yourself up. The impact is harmful.
So, listen for that voice, become the observer of it, and take control. Tell it to quiet down, that you’ve got whatever situation is before you, and don’t buy into its lies.
Is that voice a mindset? Yes, in many ways it is, because it holds on to beliefs that no longer serve you. Can you change your mindset? Yes, it’ll take work to shift your beliefs or attitudes, but it is possible. Give it a shot. The only downside is that you keep your limiting beliefs. The upside, your world gets so much better. Give it a try.