Much study in the last 25 years in the fields of neuroscience, positive psychology, cognitive psychology and performance science leads to similar conclusions — how you think and what you believe about yourself, plays a significant role in determining your outcomes and overall success in life. Often misunderstood, Mindset is not just about being positive, flexible and upbeat.  It is a much broader lens with which one looks at life and that perspective has tremendous power.  

Dr. Jacob Towery, adjunct clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Stanford University describes mindset as the assumptions and expectations you hold about yourself, your life and the situations around you. By understanding, adapting and shifting your mindset, you can improve your health, decrease your stress and become more resilient to life’s challenges.

Dr. Towery is one of many researchers in recent years who show that mindsets are not set in stone and, in fact, are highly changeable,  if a person is willing to learn how to change their mindset and put in the work to overcome distorted and defeating thoughts. Read more here. Stanford Report

We Can All Change

Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and the author of Mind Set: The Psychology of Success, has popularized the term, Growth Mindset.

Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning.

Dweck agrees it takes a considerable amount of focus and intentionality to make changes. However, positivity is a skill that you can build.

Friend or Enemy

Shirzad Chamine, author of Positive Intelligence, says your mind is your best friend, but it is also your worst enemy.  With that only 20% of people and teams achieve their true potential.  Happiness Is An Inside Job

Your Positive Intelligence Quotient, or “PQ”, is a measure of what percentage of time your mind is on your side. When it is you flourish, when it’s not, you struggle.  Identify what gets in the way of your performance and peace of mind by taking a free assessment.

Ideas To Change Your Mindset

1 – Choose one area to improve, such as  - a health habit, a relational skill, coaching your team, stress reduction, or speaking skills.

4 – Write down your thoughts about this topic.  Since thoughts determine feelings, write down the feelings associated with each thought. One method was developed by best-selling author Katie Byron. She calls it The Work.

Byron asks:

  • Are these negative thoughts true?
  • Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
  • How do I react when I think that thought?
  • Who would I be without that thought? Or how would I feel if I didn’t have that thought?
  • The Turnaround: What is an opposite thought?

There are many powerful techniques to modify distorted thoughts and self-defeating beliefs. Shirzad Chamine’s Positive Intelligence, David Burns’s Feeling Great, Patricia Adson’s A Princess and Her Garden and Katie Byron’s Loving What Is (The Work). In all of these books, make sure you do all of the writing sections.

In addition, working with a coach, a therapist and/or doing an intensive workshop gives you big ah-ha’s to start you on a new path. Check out:  Ultimate Leadership, Story Workshop, The Road Adventure, or Life Forward — they offer you a concentrated experience away from your daily pressures to make a deep shift. I’ve done them all and I can tell you they are powerful!

Bottom-line, it’s all about questioning self-defeating beliefs and creating new narratives that are more empowering.  If you develop a growth mindset, and play the long-game, challenges can become transformative opportunities to improve and feel better.

Elaine Morris
Executive coach and positive intelligence expert

Meet Elaine and get started.

Elaine Morris is a master-level emotional intelligence and executive coach who brings more than 30 years of experience to upper level executives and their teams.

Elaine Morris