One of the reasons I love mindset work so much, and why I’ve incorporated it as a foundational part of my personal development business, is that I completely overlooked its value at first.
When I started in business, I thought I had to learn what I needed to DO.
Marketing, running a website and all the legal, technical and financial aspects of entrepreneurship were high on my list of learning priorities.
And it was true. I did need to learn about these important aspects of running a business, some of them from scratch, in order to be able to DO what I wanted to DO, which was be self-employed.
So that’s where I placed my energy and focus.
I quickly came across more experienced business owners talking about mindset, and doing mindset work, but in my naivety, I believed ‘mindset’ was simply about positive thinking.
And how could I be other than positive because I was DOING what I’d always wanted to DO. I was starting a business and proactively getting out of a situation that I wasn’t happy in, my 9-5.
I believed that once I knew what to DO, the ‘mindset piece’ would be automatically in place, because why would it not be?
Does this resonate with you?
The point I had completely missed was that I was only changing the external issues that I’d considered problems. I wasn’t managing the change internally.
And change can be hard, even when it’s good for us and what we want, so we need to manage it and its effects proactively.
It came as a surprise to me when I realised that the feelings I blamed on being in the wrong job (feeling frustrated, unsuccessful and generally bad about myself) still existed when I had my own business and, on top of these feelings, I was also becoming mired in self-doubt, self-sabotage, fear and overwhelm.
Talk about ugh.
Looking back, and after a lot of journaling for personal development (when I didn’t actually realise that that was what I was doing), I discovered that there were two main ways I was tripping myself up, repeatedly, that wouldn’t be improved by learning what I was DOING.
I discovered that I needed to:
- Get to know myself better and
- Proactively manage my mindset
Getting to know yourself
I reckon this might sound a bit funny at first because we all think we know ourselves. If I asked you ‘Who are you?’ you would doubtless reel off a lot of information that would give me some insight. Your name, where you live, what you do for a living and perhaps your family situation might be what I’d learn about you.
I’d nod and smile, probably reciprocate and I’d leave you thinking, ‘Well, aren’t they nice.’
Then the next time someone spoke about you I’d say,
‘Julia? I know her. She’s the accountant who lives around the corner from the gym. She’s Sophie and Jack’s mum. Yes, the tall, blond woman who needs to catch the 6.50am if she wants to get to work before town is chock-a.’
‘Oh, yes, I know who you mean.’
And so on.
This is what you think of when someone asks, ‘Who are you?’ but it doesn’t say much about who you really are, inside, what makes you tick, what makes you unique.
And if that’s not something you’ve spent time thinking about, it’s time to pick up your journal.
The benefits of journaling to get to know yourself
Spending time getting to know yourself in your journal is not a self-indulgent activity.
I believe that it’s a fundamental to step towards identifying how you can make the best of your life and in turn make a better contribution to the lives of those around you and the wider world.
Getting to know yourself, learning how you act and react to situations, what you do and don’t want, what interests you and what doesn’t is crucial to be able to shift the balance of your life towards what matters to you most.
It helps you identify patterns in your behaviour where you might be tripping yourself up, for example perfectionism, self-sabotage, your self-image being at odds with the actions you’re taking to supposedly move towards what you want.
It provides a wealth of information that, I believe, will help make what you want to DO so much easier than if you focus on that first to the detriment of the internal work.
And I get it. You’re raring to go. You want to change your circumstances, find personal success and fulfilment, perhaps you even know how you want to DO it.
And that’s great. It’s exciting. But you need to take yourself with you on your adventure.
Why you need to manage your mindset
Getting to know yourself is very closely linked to mindset. Our mindsets are the characteristic ways in which we interpret and respond to situations. For example, at a really basic level, our mindset will determine whether we are more inclined to see something as a problem that worries us, or a challenge we know we can solve.
Our mindsets are created by many variables: our personalities, our circumstances, our social, political, cultural and economic environment. But the good news is that our mindsets aren’t fixed, or they don’t need to be.
We can work on our mindset so that it supports what we want from our lives and helps us attain it.
It’s simple, but not always easy and like all personal development activities, that doesn’t mean it’s something we can bring about by twitching our nose. It’s something that would benefit us to mainstream into our lives rather than something to see as an addition to our list to do.
Start getting to know yourself and managing your mindset
My work and business is all about harnessing the power of journaling as a tool for personal development. Developing an intentional journaling practice has helped me shift from feeling the way I described above (in summary, Ugh) to building my life round what matters to me most and feeling as though I’m now on my life’s right path (and DOING what I’m meant to be DOING).
Is everything perfect? Do I manage my mindset flawlessly, always make the right moves and generally skip through my days smelling of a sweet sunny meadow?
No, absolutely not. (In fact, at the moment I smell of damp cat).
But I do know I have a tool to work with that I call my lifelong companion for clarity, creativity, support and success and I’d love you to find out that it works for you too.
- Spend some time journaling to get to know yourself. What do you want (and not want) from life? What interests you? What makes you unique?
- Journal on my assertion that DOING what you want to DO differently with your life will be easier if you work on your self-knowledge and your mindset first and on an ongoing basis.
- Join the waiting list for Your Personal Success Story, an online course to help you get the ‘something more’ you want from life, using Success Journaling to support your personal development. It covers getting to know yourself, working on your mindset and so. much. more.
And you won't have long to wait as I'll be talking more about Your Personal Success Story later this week!
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