What is our 'mindset'?

When I talk about mindset, I refer to the stuff that goes on in our heads. Literally! The stuff that informs everything we do. The way we respond to situations and the choices and decisions that we make. How we approach challenges, address problems and come up with solutions. The beliefs that we hold about our capabilities, worth, resourcefulness and our strengths. And how we see ourselves in relation to others and the world that we inhabit.

This is what the Cambridge Dictionary has to say:

Mindset : A thought or belief about something or someone.

Our mindset moves around with us and informs how we move forward, whether we move forward, what we move towards and what we move away from.

It moves around across the different areas of our lives.

It is like a fantastic state of the art, piece of machinery with a memory. But it will only work with the information that it has been fed and what it has consumed during its life cycle with us.

It determines how we view ourselves and others.

It is said that there are two types of mindset. A fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

The Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is one that assumes that everything about us is a given and cannot be changed. A fixed mindset may have us believe that our lives are pre-determined and that there is little that we can do to change our circumstance. We may hold ourselves back from trying new things or embracing challenges because we may feel that less than favourable results are preordained for those that choose to take risk. Our fixed mindset prefers that we stick with what we know and keep our reputation intact. We maintain success by only doing what we know to have a guaranteed outcome. Our fixed mindset may use language such as 'things like that don't happen to me' or 'that's not going to work' ......... You get the drift.

The Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is one that evolves. It sees challenges as opportunities for growth and failure as a lesson to learn from. We keep moving forward by adapting, learning and finding new ways. Someone with a growth mindset is more likely to show up with the belief that they can do whatever they put their mind to and will generally not look to past failures to inform their way forward. A person with a growth mindset will use more enabling language like 'let's give it a go' and 'this looks interesting'.

Veering between the two

It is also true to say that we may veer between these two mindsets at times of pressure or when we are pushed out of our comfort zone. There are times when we may switch to a more fixed mindset in order to keep ourselves safe when things start to hit a nerve and become painful. It is a natural response. This may happen if we cannot contemplate moving away from something that has become habitual.

The good news is that we are not stuck with any particular kind of behaviour or way of being. We can choose our mindset. Our response.

From when we are a very young our minds start to create memories. Memories of experiences and things that have brought us to where we are now. Generally, the good memories become like our back catalogue of accumulated experience. We can tap into these experiences when we are looking for solutions. This is our evidence of past successes and triumphs. They are useful enabling resources for determining our future steps.

Oftentimes however, we may find that we naturally tune in to our negative thoughts. We subconsciously seem to notice messages of fear, warning, and failure more readily. These are known as limiting beliefs. Sometimes these messages become like a constant noise. Like a voice. We may also refer to this voice as our inner critic.

Limiting Beliefs

Limiting thoughts and beliefs inform a lot of the stuff that we don’t do. The stuff that we put off. We tell ourselves stories about what we can and can’t do based on our past experiences.

Sometimes these stories carry a negative bias because much emphasis was placed on what didn't go well. Those present at the time may have introduced the concept of us not being enough. Foolish perhaps. Not good enough. Wrong. Always messing up. Failure. We start to carry these comments around as our labels. And throughout the course of our lives they are reinforced by the things that are said to us and we may find ourselves drawn towards negative outcomes because of this.

We may do a lot of stuff on repeat, day in and day out. It is this that gives rise to the feeling of living the same day or experience over and over. And we may ask ourselves ‘why do I keep coming back to this place?’ The place where we don’t want to be.

And it’s only when we start to address ‘the stuff’ that is within us, that we can truly move forward. Our mindset follows us around from place to place and situation to situation. This is why coaching looks at the whole person rather than a specific area. If we are experiencing difficultly in one area, it will likely rear its head in other areas of our lives too. Once we feel more empowered as a whole, we will notice a knock on effect in all areas of our life ........ our relationships, our career, our business ...................... and so on.

That's where the power of choice comes in. And why coaching is led by you, the client. It's your story. It's nothing to do with what you can be taught, you know enough already.

Coaching is all about tapping into what you may have forgotten along the way. All of the things that have got you to where you are today. The good stuff. The lessons and the strengths and resources that have always served you well.

It's easy to overlook them - but these are the things that will always stand by you.

If you found this post helpful, you may also enjoy - What is a limiting belief?

If this post has resonated with you and you feel that you are being held back by some of the thoughts, emotions or feelings that I discuss, I invite you to book a call with me to discuss whether coaching could help you to move forward.

My name is Nicky Kentisbeer and I am a Mindset & Confidence Coach. I support women to work on their mindset and develop the confidence that they need to move beyond the challenges that are keeping them stuck, towards a place that they would much rather be. I do this based on the belief that we have within us the most incredible resources and capabilities to find our own solutions - irrespective of our background or starting point. There is no barrier to entry.

Maybe you have a feeling of being stuck, going round in circles or living the same day over and over? Or, are you finding that the way you approach problems and challenges always gives you the same result? And it’s not the one that you want. The feeling of being stuck is incredibly disempowering because it brings about feelings of indecision, procrastination, overthinking and fear which in turn can affect our self-belief and confidence. And if you stop to think about it, you may find that you fear success as much as you do failure. Sometimes staying stuck may feel like a safer place to be when the alternative means change and stepping outside of your comfort zone? There is nothing unusual here as we do all have a tendency to stand in our own way at times. This may happen because you have lost sight of how resourceful you are. You may also allow old beliefs and stories to inform your response to what is going on for you currently. Yet, much of this narrative is historical and it is no longer relevant to your life now and the choices that you make. As your coach, I can support you to understand and address the things that may be holding you back from achieving your goals. Through 1-to-1 coaching sessions, we will explore what it is that you want and the steps that you need to take to get started. I will ask lots of questions! Questions that you may not have asked of yourself. It is through these questions that I invite you to look at things in different ways, from a different perspective and access your own solutions accordingly. I will invite you to look at old beliefs and the stories that you may be telling yourself about your abilities. I do not teach nor tell you how things should be done. And there is no judgement. If this resonates with you, I invite you to book a free 30-minute call with me to discuss whether coaching would be the right approach for you to start turning your ideas and aspirations into action.