Mindset is a key driver to all key outcomes in our lives and businesses. To understand how our mindset influences the course of our lives and further, how to impact our mindset, then is to understand how to prompt more positive outcomes. This information is applicable personally if you wish to drive more positive results in your own life. Further, we can apply mindset modification to our employees to help them reach peak performance.
Before we can begin to understand how to change our mindset we should first understand what mindset is. The dictionary defines mindset as a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations. Or an inclination or a habit. The good news here, is that if we assume the secondary definition as a precursor to the first, we see that mindset is simply a habit. Thus, it can be changed and modified in whatever way we deem proper or more feasible for a desired outcome.
At its core mindset refers to a set of assumptions, methods or notions held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. Consider walking into a room where your friends are gathered. If they are laughing amongst themselves you will more than likely find yourself approaching them with a smile. Conversely, if you approach the same group of friends and they are standing with the arms crossed, head downcast, you are likely to enter the group with a somber attitude. Your mindset, and the physical outcome, or external properties of that mindset are fluid and changeable by circumstance and by choice.
In the chart below note that your life story and specific events, which could be as simple as described above, drive your mindset, which then drives your expectations and your personal brand, which in turn results in the decisions you make with the outcome being your life results. Any change to the inputs or your view of the inputs will drive results consistent.
For applicable purposes, in business we often talk about skill versus will. Let’s call that training versus motivation and briefly look at the key differences.
Training is how to do the job. The skill.
Motivation is the want to – desire to do the job. The will.
Training will only get us so far personally and professionally. To aptly apply skill-sets, we must be motivated. Emerson said it best, “My greatest need in life is someone who will make me do what I already know how to do.”
There are three types of motivation. While each has its proper place in application, reaching a state of self-motivation will result in the longest lasting change and most positive outcome.
Fear – Produces mediocre, inconsistent, and ephemeral performance.
Employees are provided a specific call flow to follow, failure to follow this call flow will result in disciplinary action up to termination. While you are listening to calls, the employee will follow the call flow and provide great customer service. However, the moment you stop listening, the employee will likely not follow the script.
Reward – Creates the danger of being conditioned to perform only when rewarded (externally driven).
Employees are given a commission plan which prompts them to perform specific actions-sales or customer service skills. While the commission structure remains, the employees will drive these results. Once removed or replaced, the employee will go to where the money is.
Self – This is the “will do” achievement -driven attitude that is lasting (internally driven).
An employee has a goal to earn a degree in nursing. Working in customer service offers them an opportunity to hone their skills in bed side manner and empathy. They work hard to meet every customer from a place that is meaningful. Here, the end goal of the employee is to become a nurse, it is self-serving, yet the return for you is exemplary customer service for your customers.
Recalling the second half of the definition of mindset, it is a habit. The first step to changing a habit is to understand it. Mindset is no different. There are seven component to your mindset, your view of the world.
Your personality is the outer expression of your inner attitudes.
Attitude is a habitual and enduring way of thinking that controls our overt actions.
We’re either the victims or beneficiary of our attitudes.
2. Abundance Mentality
An abundance mentality is characterized by looking at how things can be done rather than why they can’t
You look at possibilities and opportunities rather than obstacles and problems.
With an abundance mentality, you believe that when you win, others win.
The world does not withhold, only you do.
When love is given conditionally, a child knows they must win their love by good behavior.
They learn that there is nothing in them of true intrinsic worth.
They then develop their sense of worth and security from a comparison-based identity external to themselves.
This results in a scarcity mentality which makes it difficult for them to be genuinely happy for the success of others.
3. Personal Responsibility
The core belief that your feelings are your choice is at the heart of developing a winning attitude.
E. Roosevelt – “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Between stimulus and response is a space. In this space lies our freedom to choose our response.
In the most fundamental sense, Covey’s Habit 1 (Be Proactive) is the awareness of this space – between what has happened to us and our response to it.
Next to life itself, this self-awareness and our freedom to choose, to direct our lives, is our most precious gift & power.
Develop an appropriate sense of urgency in all matters of importance.
Develop a bias for action. “Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” – W. Clement Stone.
Make well thought out, timely, and definite decisions.
Winners have courage and are willing to take risks.
Mistakes are okay. That is how we learn!
5. Work Ethic
Start everyday with a TO DO List.
Manage your time. Don’t agonize, organize.
Engage in consistent daily activity that will propel you toward the achievement of your goals.
John Ruskin – “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.”
6. Handling Adversity (Triggers)
No one has ever accomplished anything truly meaningful in their lives without having failed many times.
Develop an attitude that everything happens for a reason. You may be knocked down, yet when you are in possession of your inner self, there is no such thing as a knockout blow.
Avoid all negative mental influences and especially avoid that shadow of mournful regret which can keep all the sunshine out of your life.
7. Goal Orientation
Success starts with goal setting, and when it comes to goal setting, “what you set is what you get.”
The goals that we set for ourselves become powerful mental images that, combined with a strong work ethic, become self-fulfilling prophecies.
In short, we will act like and perform like the sort of person we conceive ourselves to be.
Understanding goal orientation can make a significant difference in whether you are able to modify your behaviors to match the results you are trying to achieve.
First, the basics. Your goals must me SMART otherwise you will likely not obtain what you think you want to. A typical goal I hear often is, I would like to own my own house. Well, fantastic. In the back of my car I have a doll house, it used to belong to my daughter. It is now yours. Have you obtained your goal? Yes. In fact, you have. Is it what you set out to obtain, likely not.
A better version of this would be to write out: I purchase a $250,000 house with 10% down, own a yellow house at the end of a tree lined street by December 20, 2020. This goal, simple as it is, meets the SMART qualifications. (we’ll discuss visualizing this goal later)
Strategic – Keep your eye on the ball – does this set you up for success
Measurable – How to we determine success
Attainable – are these goals realistic?
Results – Oriented
One important note is that while setting goals is an important aspect of changing your mindset, we must do so in a holistic manner. Below follows the six sections of our lives, which when in balance, will represent the apex of who you are as an individual. This is not to say that we will never focus on one over the other at various times in our lives, but having goals for each will allow you to approach life from a more balanced perspective.
Physical-Health and wellness
Social-your circle of friends and influencers
Mental-your knowledge base and ongoing learning
Spiritual-understanding your place in the universe as you see fit
Financial-living comfortably and knowing how you define that
Home and Family-surrounding yourself with meaningful relationships
Be holistic in your approach. In other words, be a Total Person – don’t restrict your goals simply to one or two areas.
In the final analysis, goal setting is the most powerful force in motivating people
If you don’t plan to succeed, you’re planning to fail.
Anticipate roadblocks and obstacles and have contingency plans for them.
Remember that planning is the ability to bring future events into the present, so that something can be done about them now.
Part of planning is the ability to defer gratification.
Shakespeare beautifully captured the effects of “giving in” to the pleasure of the moment rather than subordinating it to the real joy of contribution and growth in the following passage: “What win I, if I gain the thing I seek? A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy. Who buys a minute’s mirth to wail a week?”
As a further take away and actionable item, I propose that actively visualizing and affirming your goals, or your desired mindset will be of great benefit. And it is fun.
These techniques reinforce your belief system through the use of positive “self-talk” and powerful mental picturing.
Just like Olympic athletes, we must envision the race and see ourselves breaking through the tape over and over until we have fully internalized the idea that the attainment of our goals and objectives is a foregone conclusion.
Using these techniques, you MAGNETIZE the conditions you seek.
Consider the last time you were purchasing a car. You may have picked a specific car, let’s say a Ford Mustang. Prior to considering that vehicle you did not see it often. However, once you’ve chosen this as your goal, your brain will do all it can to drive you to the desired end. You will begin to see the car everywhere, perhaps in the exact color you want. The brain is an amazing thing. It will always drive us toward that which we focus on.
Let’s revisit the goal of owning the house. When I move into the visualization phase of the goal it looks like this. The driveway of the house will be gavel. The house itself is set back to the left of the driveway. There is a beautiful white wrap around porch with a swing and two rocking chairs. The door of the house is a large over-sized oak door. Walking in to the house there is a marble floor. To my right my children are playing in the great room. I am in the kitchen standing in front of the brick oven cooking a pizza for family movie night. My wife is sitting on the floor reading a book to our youngest.
Regardless of where we are now, we all possess the power to control our lives through the development of a positive mindset.
Understanding and applying these tools will help us drive better results personally and professionally. Applying these steps to our employees, we can help them achieve better results, and those results will last.