The Hidden Way We Block Our Happiness

September 16, 2021

Going with the flow is essential to our happiness. Flow refers to a mental state that’s linked to enjoyment, energy and engagement–stuff we all want more of. Unfortunately, many of us have made a habit of overpreparing and overthinking and that actually blocks the experience of flow in our lives.

How and why does this happen?

Our attention and focus are components required for a flow experience. Our mind can’t be wandering. We must become absorbed in an activity in a way where our attention feels fluid and we stop being aware of ourselves.

Yet so many of us have an automatic, underlying habit of constant self-scrutiny. Our inner critic has control over our internal state and our attention becomes rigid and tight because we’re worrying: am I doing this right?

This comes from a good place. When you care deeply about how you show up in the world it follows that you become hyper aware of how others see you. Then whether you are aware of it or not, you end up monitoring yourself for shortcomings and trying to dodge any potential for error or criticism.

Our need to overprepare is driven by a desire to be excellent but it often comes at the expense of authenticity and spontaneity. It’s not relaxed. Being overly fixated on details undermines our attention and focus. All that internal pressure blocks us from flow because the energy of our attention is distracted and wrapped up in self.

To have flow we need fluid attention and to have fluid attention we need self-trust. This is a real challenge for many of us because we have limited trust of ourselves. Applying a growth mindset helps here: when faced with a challenge we must see it as an opportunity to engage deeply and get better—it’s not about doing it perfectly. This is how we can get out of our own way so that we can experience more flow in all areas of our lives.

This Mindset Block Prevents Smart, Talented Women From Having The Career They Want

September 2, 2021

It’s No Big Deal

I’m Not As Good As People Think

If People Really Knew Me…

If you’ve ever felt like a fraud you could be stuck in an imposter mindset. As a result of this mindset you short change yourself and dismiss your accomplishments as not a big deal. Part of you knows you are doing well but those moments don’t last.

An imposter mindset is a common block that prevents smart, talented and hardworking women from having the career they want. Here’s how this happens:

1. When you have an imposter mindset you go through life with a negative impression of yourself and that makes you reluctant to claim credit for what you do. You might stall or avoid applying for next level jobs or promotions because you don’t feel qualified or ready yet. The cost of this belief system is high because your continued growth depends on you believing in and making a case for the value that you bring.

2. An imposter mindset undercuts your ability to rise because it compels you to overwork. Your overworking feeds into the feelings of being a fraud: I have to work harder than everyone else just to be here. Overworking also requires a lot of bandwidth. It’s hard to feel mentally prepared to take risks and push forward when you’re exhausted.

3. An imposter syndrome keeps you stuck in “this before that” thinking. We think, if I want to do this, I’d better get a PhD in it first. It’s exactly this belief system that convinces us we need more qualifications as a form of “permission” to do our work. It gets in the way of self-trust that we are capable of doing it even if we aren’t yet perfectly qualified.

We don’t intentionally bring an imposter mindset to life—but we do have a choice about whether to continue to buy into it. Awareness is half the battle. You can’t change what you don’t know is there. Then the way forward is by working on self-trust. Our ability to rise depends on knowing the value that we bring and trusting ourselves to show up and let it rip.

This Simple Mindset Shift Will Improve How You See Your Life

August 25, 2021

If you have ever felt like you are not where you are “supposed” to be in life…

You’ve bought into a mindset trap with assumptions that your life should unfold along a linear path to success.

While many of us were raised to lean in, the messaging about how to go after it was filtered via social media. We saw the highlight reel of promotions and upward job shifts and that backdrop perpetuates the myth of perfect linear success. If we expect success to unfold like a series of life chapters, it’s no wonder we’re thrown when it doesn’t happen that way.

We can all see that a model of life with one job, one relationship, one faith, one home and one identity from adolescence to old age feels very outdated. We can’t expect our career, health and relationships to unfold in a template of prescribed stages. Yet most of us are primed to expect a predictable path because that has been the norm for previous generations.

The downside of this mindset trap is that we must be in the right place with the right amount of success at the right time. That’s an ingrained assumption that many of us unconsciously use to define the ideal human life. As Bruce Feller writes in Life Is In The Transitions, these tidy life stages that we all expect are built more on wishful thinking than on empirical data. While life during the 20th century was defined sequentially with regimented stages of life like a conveyor belt from birth to death, that linear way of thinking about our lives no longer applies.

Feller describes the unpredictable nature of the world we now live in and how it’s becoming more nonlinear all the time. Based on his research, he estimates that the average person goes through a major life transition about every 12-18 months. These include personal setbacks like losing our job or collective disruptors like living through a global pandemic. If we are using a paradigm of perfect ascension as a marker for success in life, then we are comparing ourselves to an ideal that no longer exists.

We can all relate to feeling like at least one aspect of our lives is out of order or off schedule. That’s why this mindset trap is so dangerous: the foundations are false yet it powerfully influences how satisfied or dissatisfied we feel about ourselves and our lives. Shifting out of this mindset trap to embrace a life out of order means we can learn to be more forgiving of setbacks and open to many definitions of what makes a meaningful life.

You Can Proactively Navigate Fall Pandemic Uncertainty With This High Performance Strategy

August 17, 2021

September is just around the corner, the kids are going back to school and nobody really knows what will happen as cooler weather comes, the pandemic churns on and we start to move indoors. We’re already burned out and the idea of what’s to come, well, most of us can’t even go there. With the future so uncertain we need a strategy to double down on what is within our control.

Like many parents who worked from home while navigating kids and online school, it felt like feeding the family became another full-time job. The constant buying of groceries (and it all disappeared within hours!) along with a full roster of breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner was distracting and a constant drain on my energy. In hindsight I see that I ended up doing way more than I should have in this area because I failed to enforce a boundary with my kids about my availability during work hours.

That’s why I think that now is a very good time to refresh boundaries, which act as a container to reinforce our priorities and our physical and mental health. A lack of boundaries tends to show up because many of us are set up with a belief system that tells us that we need to do everything. It’s our autopilot to always take on more. Even though we might not be happy being the overly responsible one, we minimize and rationalize the impact it has on us. We tell ourselves that things will be better next week. This was just a bad week. If I don’t do it then nobody else will. It’s easier just to do it myself.

Control is also at play. When we have high standards we need to be the one that takes charge and make it all happen in line with our expectations. That might work during normal times when life unfolds more predictably but as soon as extra pressure and adversity hits, being the one that does everything at a high standard means we push ourselves harder and harder to control it all. That leads us straight into burnout.

If you can relate to feeling like you say yes to too much and take on too much and those choices negatively impact your health, relationships or work, now is the time to strategically use that information. We have to shift our mindset in the direction of sustainability as we continue to navigate so many unknown factors. The only way to keep ourselves on track to sustainably show up in our lives and be effective is by reinforcing boundaries that protect our physical and mental well-being. Boundaries are excellent self-care put into practice. The first step is to think about where you could set a boundary that will help you with sustainability. When you understand where your boundaries are needed it makes it more likely that you apply them.

Why Do We Stay Stuck and Unfulfilled?

August 11, 2021

We know that we short-change ourselves and our happiness when we stay stuck so why is it so hard to take those first steps forward?

For a long time I was in a place where I was unable to move forward. I knew I wanted to have more of an impact with my work but to progress I needed to “put myself out there” by selling, networking and speaking publicly and that felt hard, if not impossible for me. An introvert at heart, I wasn’t good at those things and I felt that lack of capability was somehow intrinsic to who I was. That kept me from even trying to step into a bigger league.

I’m not good at that.

I didn’t learn to do that.

I didn’t take the right program at school so I can’t.

I’ll just wait another year and get more experience first.

There’s too much competition.

I didn’t know that the real roadblock was a mindset that feeds and compounds self-doubt. This is where the real internal misery happened for me—and it happens to all of us who want more out of our lives but feel blocked from going after it. When you value living your potential but you can’t make choices that are alignment with those goals and values—it eats away at you.

That’s why I’m all in on helping people understand that mindset is the missing link. Mindset is about how we think and how we think is based on our belief system. We all have a belief system that is a road map into every aspect of our lives. Beliefs are the basis for what we can and can’t do. This is everything when it comes to any kind of high-performance result. I can do those things or I can’t.

Leveling up comes down to the quality of the choices we make for ourselves. As a perfectionist I had a belief that it was important to appear competent at all times otherwise it would be embarrassing. Because of that belief I could not make choices that took me out of my comfort zone because I was afraid of making mistakes and looking bad.

It’s hard to break new ground when all we can make are safe choices in areas we already know we can succeed in. We end up in a protective comfort zone, which is a deal breaker in today’s world where most of us are required to navigate many transitions personally and professionally over the course of our lives.

The real change for me happened when I learned how to skillfully manage my mindset and create an environment for myself that feels safe to fail. I see mistakes now as an opportunity to get better—not as a threat to looking bad. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about that but it does mean that I am more resilient in the face of it. Through mindset work, I was able to enhance the quality of how I relate to myself around difficult choices and that is everything.

Mindset is not about affirmations and positive thinking. This work is deep, broad and transformative. It’s about tapping into the beliefs we have about ourselves and asking is this really true, where does this belief really come from and does believing this take me where I want to go? This is how we gain the courage and the confidence to take risks and go after what we really want.

 

 

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