Why Mind Mastery indeed?!

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Everywhere I turn I see friends, family, and clients plagued by thoughts that undermine them. Often they are unaware of these self-sabotaging thought patterns. And, if they are aware, they don’t know what to do about it. 

Their conversations with others and with themselves are filled with phrases such as “I have to . . .” or “I must . . .” (By the way, we spend most of our waking time talking to ourselves.)

I write to you to give you choices.

The unconscious message we give ourselves is that we are victims of circumstances: calendar, obligations, difficult people, etc. For example:

§  “I have to go now” rather than “I choose to go now to be on time for my next meeting.”

§  “I must exercise” rather than “I choose to exercise.”

§  “She made me angry” rather than “I became angry.”

Do you see the difference?

Additionally, we layer on our own idiosyncrasies, habits, and self-limiting beliefs that originally kept us safe and successful but are now holding us hostage. As a recovering perfectionist, my ingrained habits (avoiding making mistakes, getting the “right” answer, and painstaking due diligence) allowed me to excel at school and deliver reliable and valuable guidance to my clients. But worshipping at the altar of perfectionism trapped me in never-ending obeisance to a vicious god. That entrapment, for some time, deterred me from sitting down to write this message sharing what I know, so that you know you have choices.

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Symptoms

We all walk around with beliefs, attitudes, and expectations acquired from our families, teachers, friends, colleagues, and others. As children, we accept these thought patterns because we are impressionable and without defenses. As we navigate growing up and being in the world, we steadfastly hold on to these beliefs to help us survive and succeed. Few of us consciously reexamine them to test their validity and helpfulness today.

With time, the contradictions and inconsistencies compound. We become blind to them. Sometimes our children, especially our teenagers, fiercely spotlight our inconsistencies. We often treat them as unqualified, overly harsh critics rather than welcome them as teachers. 

According to behavioral research, only 10 to 20 percent of individuals and teams reach their potential. The balance

§  experience the drag of negative thought patterns

§  engage in conversations that miss the mark

§  are unhappy.

Today, I see at least nine conditions that are the consequences of our unexamined contradictions and inconsistencies. The result is a mind that is firing in all directions rather than harnessed to support you and your aspirations.

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The five conditions I see most often are

§  stress (head says one thing and heart another)

§  overwhelm (competing demands, unrelenting change, and no road map)

§  frustration (from not achieving aspirations)

§  time poverty (perceived scarcity makes Father Time the enemy)

§  self-doubt (a subtle, secret, and pervasive weight).

We are caught in a trap of unsupportive and self-sabotaging thought patterns.

Through research and study, I recognize nine categories of self-sabotaging thought-patterns. I share below the five I routinely see in my practice and the common consequences (in brief).

Real Life Consequences

My clients tend to be high-performance executives and entrepreneurs who know the roller-coaster realities of success and failure. They strive to achieve audacious goals—goals so big that they currently don’t know how to achieve them. Additionally, they need to reinvent themselves or their businesses every 12 to 24 months and they are committed to making a positive mark by playing for profit + people + planet. All of which demands that they innovative and internally aligned, i.e., not dragged down by negativity. Their success is because they have developed thought patterns motivated by positive intentions. But taken too far, or when out of balance, these same patterns sabotage my clients and their aspirations.

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Maybe you see yourself in some of the following patterns and blind spots?

The drive to achieve leads to unrelenting pressure to be efficient, but unconsciously you equate your self-worth with how much you produce. Any deviation from high performance threatens your self-concept. Letting others get too close can feel dangerous in case the discrepancy between your image and actual performance becomes clear. Hence, fulfillment and happiness are elusive.

The motivation to please others, have harmonious relationships, and belong results in overextending yourself. You neglect taking care of your emotional, physical, or financial needs. This weakens the effectiveness of your leadership since others develop dependence on you rather than learn to take care of themselves. Trust is threatened because others do not know where you stand. Unexamined, devotion to pleasing others leads to resentment and burnout; it is easy to feel obligated, guilty, or manipulated.

The drive to take charge means you know what you want: you can take charge, get results despite the odds, and communicate your position to others. But your need to be in control or “right” creates anxiety and paralysis in situations that are uncertain or ambiguous. Life is inherently uncontrollable. (Who had the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic in their January 2020 business plan?) Your unexamined drive to control diminishes trust, creativity, and innovation within your team.

The drive to think rationally and master complex issues gives you sharp analytical skills, knowledge, and insight; however, you have little access to your emotional intelligence. This unwittingly prevents you from building deep human relationships and effectively shuts out and intimidates others.

Your drive to create high-quality results and order results in beautiful products delivered on time, but the resulting success can never be enough. This leads to a taxing level of self-control which diminishes creativity, joy, and, eventually, effectiveness

To express the beautiful patterns described above without bringing on their excesses (and their resulting self-sabotage) requires that you master your mind. The motivations behind these patterns—to achieve great results, live in harmony with others, keep things safe and under control, think rationally, and create high-quality results—need to be bridled in a mind that supports you rather than hemmed in by a mind ruled by ungoverned thoughts.

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Why is Mind Mastery Relevant?

As the CEO of your business and your life, you are similar to an elite athlete: the greater the demands, the greater the imperative for mental fitness, agility, and perseverance. Unlike elite athletes, CEOs do not get months off each year to train and recover. Your mental fitness needs to withstand year-round demands.

To be high functioning, you need to consistently nurture and enroll ever-widening networks of leaders and partners, create aligned action, and navigate uncertainty. Your level of Mind Mastery will be tested in many spheres.

To nurture expansive networks to support your aspirations, you need to develop the skills to deliberately create trust. Trust is important because it reduces friction in business and relationships; it is the lubricant that makes the wheels turn.

If you are committed to growth, you have challenges, especially around trust:

§  The imperative to build trust when your very presence often ushers in change means you inevitably face suspicion from employees and vendors who experience the uncomfortable emotions of uncertainty and unpredictability resulting from change.

§  The desire to create a high-performance culture to achieve results meets roadblocks. Employees and vendors unskilled in navigating change and with low mind-mastery watch warily; the resistance is another blow to trust.

§  You know there is much that is unknown, yet you want to put on a brave face, if for no other reason than so others feel safe. But your self-trust is taxed and possibly eroded as you face the mounting realization of how much you don’t know.

Uncertainties compound (employee retention, market fluctuations, supply chain hiccups, and the like), and demanding financial constraints are ever present. Without high Mind Mastery, the pressure to perform is stressful. Stress and the subtle questioning of oneself inherently erodes performance

To navigate uncertainty, you have to deal with your own insecurities and blind spots. Unexamined, your primal motivations to be safe and successful are draining. They diminish qualities of character needed for high performance and happiness such as empathy, curiosity, innovation, navigating the unknown, and taking aligned action. 

It is not as though you are taught at business school to recognize and replace the thought patterns that once kept you safe and even successful but now

§  hinder high performance

§  limit personal and company growth

§  leave you anxious, stressed, exhausted, and perhaps unhappy.

Overt Benefits of Increasing Mind Mastery

Developing Mind Mastery increases personal impact, creates better leaders, and elevates wellbeing and joy.

Increase Your Impact

By rewiring your brain to boost performance and effectiveness, you

§  think more clearly and calmly

§  weaken repetitive, negative thought-patterns that sabotage your potential

§  become more adaptable and resilient.

Become a Better Leader

As you master your mind, you

§  improve the reliability and wisdom of your decisions

§  become a role model. (Have you noticed that leading self is more difficult than leading others? Your ability to lead yourself elevates your ability to lead others)

§  create powerful relationships as you strengthen team collaboration and trust. As team members develop Mind Mastery, you create a shared language, understanding, and empathy for self-limiting beliefs in others, creating safety and trust to innovate, make mistakes, recover, and grow quickly.

Increase Joy and Well-being

As your mind becomes calmer, despite the turbulence of life you

§  handle life’s challenges with less stress and more flow and grace

§  experience a more fulfilled life

§  increase energy and resilience

§  grow self-confidence and diminish impostor syndrome

§  improve your health and longevity.

Large-scale research shows that higher Mind Mastery results in greater effectiveness and health outcomes, for instance

§  higher salaries, sales, and success

§  more effective negotiations

§  more accurate medical diagnoses

§  more effective decision making

§  better health and longevity (including a more robust immune system and fewer sick days)

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I write this long article because I know Mind Mastery is a gateway to creating significant positive impact and joy at the same time.

How Does Mind Mastery Help?

Performance is proportional to the combination of potential (of the individual or team) and Mind Mastery. Generally, increasing potential (that is, skills or knowledge) takes months or years or is expensive (requiring capital or assets). By contrast, developing Mind Mastery can weaken self-sabotaging thought patterns and strengthen positive thought patterns that increase wisdom, accuracy, and reliability of decision-making, creativity, wellbeing, empathy, etc.—in a matter of weeks. 

How many times have you wanted to develop a new habit, achieve a massive goal, or create change in your workplace, only to have it all fizzle out?

Have you calculated what it costs you in performance, relationships, personal well-being, and delayed dreams to continue working harder while getting the same unsatisfying results?

Do you know your blind spots (the things about yourself that you can’t see but others can)? The self-sabotaging thought patterns that limit change are mostly invisible to the unmastered self.

Have you discovered the thought patterns and beliefs that at one point made you successful but now are now sabotaging you? Do you know how to replace them with thought patterns that support you and immediately increase your performance and joy?

Here is the thing, success and joy are not binary choices

It is a fallacy to believe that you need to choose success or wellbeing.

Taking aligned action while minimizing distress leads to greater effectiveness and less friction.

As you develop your Mind Mastery, you increase your peace of mind.

Are you curious to identify your blind spots? If yes, book a 30-minute conversation with me (no pushy sales!) to shed light on your particular blind spots

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