I used to be a mindset junkie. Up early in the morning to scribble off the to-do list of meditation, affirmations, journaling and visualisation before I began work on my business.
I was deep breathing, relaxing, imaging, writing and chanting for all I was worth.
I didn’t get clients and I wasn’t growing my business. I assumed it wasn’t working because I wasn’t trying hard enough.
So I gritted my teeth and put in more effort.
And still I got nowhere.
Now if it mindset work has helped you in any aspect of your work or life, that’s brilliant. If it’s enabled you to reach dizzy success, keep doing what you’re doing.
But if it didn’t work (or even if it did and you’ve been struggling to keep up the momentum) read on.
Let’s look at some of the underlying assumptions in mindset work because everywhere you turn on social media, you’ll find guru coach after guru coach, all telling you this work is non-negotiable.
Assumption 1 – you need fixing.
You’re a wonderful person, you’ve got talent, skills but your past has broken you in some way. Somewhere along the line you picked up beliefs about who you are and what you’re capable of. And these beliefs, well they’ll keep on holding you back unless you can get them healed and changed.
As I discovered, searching for all of these negative beliefs can be like housework in our house. Make a room guest-ready, turn your attention away for a nano second and poof! Another pile of dirty clothes has mysteriously appeared in the corner!
It’s a never ending vicious circle and the faster you work, the quicker you’ll find more to work on.
And yet, you and I know there are plenty of times when we’ve succeeded or achieved despite the hot mess that’s going on inside our head.
When I started as a trainer in a large organisation in my early twenties, I had huge gaps in my faith in my ability to present to groups. It was scary and uncomfortable and the voice in my head, spent much of the time telling me how rubbish I was.
But I carried on anyway and eventually leading and facilitating groups became more comfortable, more familiar.
You’re not broken and you certainly don’t need fixing. Ignore the thoughts, laugh at the beliefs and do it anyway.
Assumption 2 - Without regular attention your mindset is going to go to collapse into a heap.
If we sit quietly with our thoughts for any length of time, it becomes obvious that our thoughts jump from one subject to the next without any conscious control on our part.
Some of those thoughts are uplifting and positive and make us feel happy and light. Others spiral our mood down fast and furiously.
We can’t control what pops into our heads, but if we sit long enough, another one will come trotting along. Forcing our thoughts to go in a certain direction takes up so much mental energy and why would we want to try and control our thoughts?
Once we understand thoughts don’t need to be taken as the truth, they don’t predict the future or necessarily tell us anything useful about who we are we just have to notice them coming into our head and out again and that’s as far as it goes.
So what’s the alternative?
For me, coming across an understanding about who we really are, provided the huge leap forward.
I realised I’m the watcher observing the thoughts, the quiet mind behind all the mental chatter.
I’ve got access to all the intuition and wisdom I could ever need, right now inside. It’s there, already hardwired into the system.
I don’t need to work for it. There’s no need for mental exercises and gymnastics. All I have to do is allow the thinking to slow down and wait for my glorious wisdom to show itself.
Because it’s there, innate and always to be relied upon.
It might only be a whisper but it’s there. And you know this too. This is the insight that comes to you when you’re relaxing on holiday, it’s the deep knowing that you have when you suddenly realise that a difficult situation is going to be ok.
There is nothing you need to do.
Relax and breathe and lean back into the arms of your wise self.
The one thing that brought me to success in business was taking action. Listening to any inspiration or creative thought that came to me and taking the next small step and the next. Ignoring all the overactive thoughts about why not and just taking it all lightly, joyously.
Oh that and giving up reading all the mindset books and clearing mental space for my own inspiration to shine through.
Simplicity. Ease. Peace.
Worked a treat!
If you’d like to discover more about changing your life without the mindset work and you know you want to do more with your midlife (and beyond) even if at the moment you haven’t the foggiest what that might look like, get on a free Flourish call with me.
Together we’ll explore what your version of a great midlife looks like and we’ll get you moving forward.
My guarantee: You will make progress during our conversation.
We'll also talk about whether 1:1 coaching with me is the right next step for you. For details of my current coaching package there is more info here.
I look forward to talking to you.