A mindset is part of the belief system that we use that governs our behaviours. Mindsets can be beneficial or limiting. Often these mindsets are passed on to us via parents or adults that are responsible for us in early childhood.
An example of a mindset that is limiting is when someone tells you, as a child, not to be too boastful. It could be that it was relayed when growing up that ‘people like us’ do not get too ‘big for their boots’.
When a mindset is carried into adulthood, then it’s worth asking the question whether or not it serves us. In the example above, would this mindset mean that, at work, the you are being quiet when you should speak out more about your achievements? It is worth wondering whether, if you do challenge yourself on this mindset and make some changes, you may get more respect from you peers. This is turn may help you and progress further in your career.
Other examples of limiting mindsets are:
- The pessimist
- ‘It’s all my fault’
- ‘My past defines me’
- The perfectionist
There are three stages in changing limiting mindsets:
Stage 1: Identifying limiting mindsets
A coach may be able to help you identify your mindsets and this is the first stage in trying to overcome them. Self-awareness is a useful first step in changing your thinking. Once you have identified a mindset, it’s a good idea to write it down.
Stage 2: Unpacking the mindset
Do you have an automatic reaction in certain situations? Can you ask yourself to pause and think to decide whether you have some choice in your actions?
Reflecting on when, or in what situations you have this reaction is crucial to changing it. You may find that it is difficult to shift habits, so the first few attempts may not be too successful. You need to be patient with yourself and allow time to make the change. If you make an effort to wonder about triggers and feelings regarding the mindset – this will be helpful.
Stage 3: Reframing the mindset
As you step back from the mindset, what new prospects does this open for you? How willing are you to break your old patterns and to try something new?
Some mindsets are unconscious, i.e. you are not aware of them, they have arisen because of your history, personality and relationships. Feeling and culture, as well as behaviours and styles also influence them. Nancy Kline recommends a way to get rid of underlying limiting assumptions and I’ve written about this in my previous blog.
Also if you are interested in how you can change certain mindsets, you can have a look at my thinking traps handout on the my free resources page.
Changing a limiting mindset is very hard to do by yourself. If you are interested in exploring your mindsets and being coached to reframe them, please do contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07766018081