We had a team email conversation this week about some essential mindset principles that need to be understood when diving into our Steps to Everyday Productivity program (the one that helps you to build your full Command Central). We’ve worked with tens of thousands of students over the past decade, and we’ve noticed a common trend among those who start, but never finish:
They haven’t mentally prepared for the obstacles that will inevitably come into their lives.
In theory, we all know challenges are going to occur, but it is too common for life situations to halt our progress and cause us to “throw in the towel.”
Today’s post is meant to encourage you to keep going–because we know that a great “Before and After” photo is in your future.
Coach Jill shared this beautiful thought: “If we can connect their initial ambition and energy to the end goal and result (including the bumps along the way), I think we will see a greater success and long term implementation of STEP. If there isn’t a plan for these obstacles, it can completely derail a person from the progress they have made or want to make in STEP.”
She went on to share this wonderful process:
- Identify our excuses.
- Assess our excuses to help us foresee potential obstacles.
- Once we see the potential obstacles, ask, “What is an effective action to overcome this adverse thought/situation?”
- Identify “If/Then” statements for overcoming the obstacle. Example: “If I feel like I am overwhelmed and can’t learn this system, then I will take 3 deep breaths and pick just 1 of my daily STEP routines to check.”
- Identify “If/Then” statements focusing on the end result. Example: “If I take the time to implement STEP in my life, my spouse, my children, and I will be able to spend more quality time together.”
- Acknowledge how will it feel to overcome any obstacle. (Excited, Proud, Strong, Brave…)
This helpful perspective goes really well with a concept I read from Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently–published in the Harvard Business Review Guide to Getting The Right Work Done. She shared, “Grit is all about not giving up in the face of difficulty, even when you’re tired or discouraged. And the best predictor of not giving up is how we explain that difficulty in the first place. When you’re having a hard time, what do you blame?”
She goes on to echo what Carol Dweck shared in her book, Mindset. We can either lean toward having a fixed mindset–which says that if we’re not good at something, we never will be, or we can lean toward a growth mindset–which essentially says that if we don’t succeed at first, there are things within our control that we can adjust (like our effort, strategy, planning, etc.).
Halvorson adds, “The next time you find yourself thinking, ‘But I’m just not good at this,’ remember: You’re just not good at it yet.”
This concept has been helpful for me this past week because I went through some pretty low moments. (You know, one of those “perfect storm” weeks when it feels like everything is too hard and nothing is working out right? And yes, I realize that’s “all or nothing” thinking. I’m doing much better now…. I was just struggling with a week-long chest cold, some specific needs in our family, a couple of other random health issues, some disappointment regarding a project I was working on, and some tricky circumstances that were out of my control.)
But it’s in those moments when “throwing in the towel” sounds like the best option that we have to pay extra close attention to the story we’re telling ourselves.
Some thoughts that have been personally helpful to me this past week are as follows:
- Things feel hard right now, but this is a low point. I won’t always feel this way.
- These challenges help me to appreciate the good times.
- I’m grateful for (filled in the blank with lots of blessings).
- This will help me to have more empathy for others.
- I’m learning and growing from these challenges.
- I know God’s purposes can’t be thwarted by these setbacks.
- Once I’m feeling better, I’m going to be extra grateful for my energy and capacity.
Honestly, if you feel like giving up, please know that you’re not alone, but please also know that there’s another option.
I love the quote by Mary Anne Radmacher that says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Last night, I popped into our LearnDoBecome Community Facebook group and read this lovely comment by Anne:
I love picturing her building her STEP Command Central. I love the thought of her taking time to focus on her home and family–and creating a system that will help her to calm her mind and take care of herself and feel better equipped to meet the needs of those she loves. And while I don’t do this work because I need people to thank me, I’m grateful to know that my efforts mean something to someone.
I think that’s what we all want–to know that the energy we put into the world and the good we try to do actually makes a difference. And sometimes we don’t see it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of the time we don’t see it.
So today I just wanted to send a virtual hug–and remind all of us that obstacles are inevitable, but if we mentally prepare ourselves for them, maintain that growth mindset, and prepare ourselves to endure and overcome the challenges we face, we’ll eventually see the benefits of our efforts and know that all that “trying” really was worth it.
Book Recommendation: Mindset by Carol Dweck (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Book Recommendation: HBR Guide to Getting The Right Work Done (Amazon Affiliate Link–This one is currently only available in a package of similar books)