My book, LIES That Limit, makes it clear that mindset – what we believe, how we think – is everything. Mindset is the composite of our beliefs and assumptions – our theory about life, other people, even ourselves. We feel safe when we make choices consistent with our story about the way things are. But in order to make positive changes in our lives, it’s important to understand that following the dictates of our conditioned thinking is limiting. It cuts us off from even considering options that might serve us better. It provides excuses that prevent us from taking action and moving in a different direction. Mindset can keep us stuck, mired in inertia.
To create more freedom and expand mindset, I coach my clients to try small experiments. Experiments allow them to explore options. They become self-researchers, testing new ideas, gathering data, assessing the effectiveness of the new approach, learning and developing new theories about what’s possible for them.
For example, if you consider yourself a poor networker, here’s an action-oriented experiment: Set a goal to attend a networking event. Stay for one hour and meet at least two new people. Have a response ready for the question, “What do you do?” Practice your answer out loud, by yourself, before the event. Practicing will enable the words to roll off your tongue easily. Have a similar question ready to ask others, such as, “Which organization are you with? What’s your role?”
Here’s a reflective, introspective idea that fosters self-awareness. Let’s say you’ve received feedback that you tend to sound bossy, pushy or critical of others – kind of like a condescending parent talking to a child. Notice the frequency with which you use words like “should” or “ought to”. Literally count the number of times the words are used in any given conversation. And, notice how others react when you say those words. Notice if the use of these words has the impact of opening up dialogue or stifling it.
What experiments might you try to change your unwanted patterns of behavior or that can move you out of your comfort zone? It doesn’t have to be a grand overhaul. Small adjustments can make a BIG difference.
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