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How to Escape the Grip of a Negative Mindset

I have been thinking a lot about the mind and its power, lately.

I am fascinated by the ability to change my entire mood and outlook just by initiating a shift in my thinking pattern. Let me explain…

A couple of weeks ago I had a bad episode. I call it an episode because it didn’t last just one day but a few. And it can only be characterized as bad because the negative thoughts and ideas that kept coming to mind were almost paralyzing.

Let’s be honest…sometimes life is just like that.

For me, it mostly revolved around my business. I felt stuck. Every creative solution I came up with to deal with a challenge, did not pan out. I had to give up something that had become incredibly important to me. And I felt…like I failed in some way. That coupled with a few other hiccups sent me hurtling into that episode.

The general atmosphere swirling around me was that of hopelessness. Ever been there?

Anyone who knows me (even just a little bit) knows that I am a perpetual optimist. I almost always see the glass as half-full; I even imagine it overflowing. That’s just how I’m wired. I have a niece who has a similar disposition and she has been accused of being “too perky.” That’s me, at times, too.

For me to go several days in an ill mood was not like me.

I kept thinking…maybe I should just give up on this entrepreneur thing…maybe I should look for a job…maybe I should climb back into that box I escaped from three years ago…

I shared some of this with my husband, finally. The act of getting the rotten thinking out in the open initiated a mind shift for me. I followed up with an honest time with my journal. Finally, I recast my vision and developed a new action plan.

I was reminded: my mindset is potent. It can incite me to build or destroy the plans that I have.

And it is the same for you. We all have areas of our lives where we are taking risks, setting goals that are just beyond our current scope. It could be trying to lose weight. Part of the plan is to go to the gym three times each week but the mind rebels against that plan. “I just can’t fit it in today…I have so much to do.” Or “I’m just too tired to get up.” And for some reason, you don’t make it there…

This can happen with any goal set. Hence, the need for a practical process to get through these times.

When dealing with an episode like the one I described, tell someone you trust and who will not let you off the hook with living beneath your dreams. Share as much as you feel comfortable sharing. Consider telling your chosen few ahead of time that you would like them to “be there” for you during these episodes. (Your own personal Board of Directors. 😉) Be clear on what that means for you. Then explain what your “be there” looks like. That way when it comes up, they’re prepared.

For me, I need a listening ear. I don’t need to be told what to do. A born strategist, my mind is often swarming with solutions. I need a safe, non-judgmental space where I can externally process the options. I need encouragement and reminders of who I am, a multi-passionate creative who seeks to equip, encourage, support purposeful living through entrepreneurship.

Then take time to reflect on your time of sharing with your BOD. Ask yourself, what have I learned about myself and my limits? How can I increase my capacity? Do I need to take better care of myself so that I can handle the challenges my goals present better? Do I need to learn something new so that I can grow? Be still with yourself and take note of what you notice.

I do this work in my journal. I incorporate prayer and meditation with it. Much of my work is focused on helping the entrepreneur to connect the dots between their passion & gifting and their skills set. That requires introspective work…both for me and the entrepreneurial minded.

Finally, rehearse your ‘why’ and develop an option for ‘how’. I call this vision recasting. It is the vision of the goal accomplished that draws you to it. It encourages and disciplines. When you think about why you are pursuing a goal, motivation is generated. Strategies (how) can emerge in an atmosphere like that.

This step accesses the belief system. What do you believe about your goal? Do you believe that you can accomplish it?

Beliefs in concert with the thought life can render one either effective or ineffective. I choose. You have that power of choice, too. Sometimes we just need to be reminded to exercise it. 

Once I completed these steps, I couldn’t recall the various factors that contributed to my tailspin. I became fueled by determination and hope. I believe that what I am doing is of service to others, and I think accordingly. Suddenly, entrepreneurs in my network began to offer to support me on the “how” piece. There is nothing like community, y'all!

As we prepare to enter the final month of this quarter, take some time to check in with yourself. Determine where you are with your dreams and goals for this season of your life. Practice some, or all, of the steps outlined above. We all need a realignment from time to time.

Until next time…

XO,

R

Vision drives capacity-increasing Discipline!
— Regina L. Henry
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