5 Questions That Help You Break Bad Mindset Habits
By Rachael Taylor
It seems like every time I set out to work on a new project, promote my business, follow up with a lead or grow my business (in general) a thousand little thoughts fly into my mind.
I'll suddenly notice that my hands are dry and I need to immediately get up and put lotion on them. I panic that I've missed an important email and open up that window to check, only to find there's nothing there.
I remember something that I wanted to tweak on my website, a color or a phrase, and jump over to edit mode to get it done right now.
My brain wanders to, “Did I pay that bill? I should check.” *Checks all credit cards, even though it was done yesterday*
“I think my phone just buzzed I should answer that. Oh look a text! Where’s a gif for feeling productive? I want to send that, it’ll be funny…” and so on and so forth until 30 minutes to 2 hours goes by and I’ve not accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
Essentially, my mind throws a massive list of things I "suddenly must do, with haste and decisiveness" and remind me that it's "absolutely more important than that project, networking, follow up, etc. Sound familiar in your business? If it does, don’t stress and don’t beat yourself up about it.
It’s not your fault that procrastination and resistance are in your way, it’s your mindset block jumping in the driver’s seat and trying to take over to save you from any possible harm.
This is called a mindset block - any thoughts or feelings that quite literally "block" your progress. It usually shows up as procrastination and sabotage - finding something else more important to do, right then and there and happens because our mind believes that what we are doing will cause change and change is inherently scary.
I'm not talking about regular life interruptions like your kid asks for your help with their homework or you need to use the restroom, I'm talking about you intentionally sitting down with a task and clear goal in mind and then everything pushes it down to the bottom of your list.
Have you ever experienced that? Are you reading this article right now in order to learn how to stop those bad habits? If so, good - because not only am I going to walk you through why that's happening, but how you can teach yourself to recognize those blocks faster and get back on track.
You may have heard this before, especially if you regularly read my writing, but our mindset blocks come from our subconscious fears around money, success and our own capabilities/self-worth.
These fears stem from what we've been taught to believe about money, success and our self-esteem, as well as the experiences we've had throughout our life. What we are taught and what we have lived through shape us as people and make up our beliefs around what's possible for our lives and in our business.
For instance, I was raised watching and listening my parents and other adults I respected, talk about how money comes from very hard work you don’t enjoy, that taxes cripple us before we have a chance to get ahead and that there's never enough money to feel comfortable or safe.
I listened to the women in my life complain about their figures, saying that it was genetic certainty to be unhealthy, hate your thighs and refuse to wear bathing suits or shorts even when it’s 100+ degrees in Southern California in August.
I watched many of my mentors work so incredibly hard and then stop short right before reaching their dreams because they were scared of the possible rejection of their invention.
All of these experiences (and many more) compiled themselves into beliefs within my mind, reminding me of possible risks, negative outcomes and fears whenever I set out to do something new or seek to make a healthier change in my relationships, business, finances, health and lifestyle habits.
It boils down to this - any time you want to make a change, reach a new goal or grow your limits, your fear will quietly ask you "Hey, are you sure? Because here's a super long list of all these reasons I have for why it may not be a good idea…"
Sometimes your fear has a point, but more often than not it’s just loudly complaining, freaking out and causing distractions that are pulling you from your purpose.
Now, it's not that having fear is a bad thing. In fact, fear is vital part of our existence that helps keep us alive and safe. It reminds you to not put your hand on a hot stove because of the fear of pain, scarring, damaging your body, etc.
Fear is healthy, fear is natural, but fear is also a massive pain in the butt when you're a creative entrepreneur (or any entrepreneur). You may feel like this whole solo-preneur business is hard enough as it is without needing to add battling your inner fears to your list - and you'd be right.
Unfortunately, until you identify your mindset blocks around money, success and your self-worth, you will continue to have an inner mental battle of fear v. growth for your entire career (and life). Thank goodness there's a way to find them AND grow beyond their control!
You first need to find your blocks so you'll know why resistance keeps happening - as with all personal development, awareness is the first step.
Simply get out a piece of paper and something to write with. You may be tempted to type up your answers, but I encourage you to trust me when I say that hand writing it out is really important. You have better access to your subconscious when you physically write something out, and that's where we're trying to go.
Ready with your paper and pen? write down your answers to the following:
How much money do you want to make this month? Now double that and write it down.
When you think about making that doubled amount of money, what's the first thought that popped into your mind? Does it feel achievable? Impossible? Overwhelming? Exciting?
Think big picture, what will your business ultimately look like? Examples: Are you in charge of day to day? Behind the scenes? Do you have a staff? Are you the brand or figurehead and someone else is behind the scenes?
When you think about reaching that goal of your ideal business model, how long do you think it will take to reach that? Think about that number, does it feel achievable? Impossible? Overwhelming? Exciting? Too far away? Too close to your current date?
How would you act and require people to treat you when you're not struggling to make ends meet, and have reached every single one of your big financial and business goals?
You don't have to write an essay, you could even create a bullet point list - whatever adventure style that works best for you is the one to go with. You don't have to be a creative writer to access your subconscious around these questions and identify where your mindset is currently blocking your business (and bringing cash in the bank).
When I first did this exercise, I was floored by how little confidence I had in myself and the success of my business. I really thought I had it all going on, but it turns out I was living in a constant state of being defeated before I even got started.
You see, my fears were telling my mind that it wasn't going to be possible, so every time I sat down to get anything done in my business it threw up a ton of red flags and I fell away to doing all the little tasks that weren't what I needed to do.
Even today, as I was writing this for you, it took me about two hours to pull myself away from procrastinating of putting lotion on my hands, picking on my website, checking email and feeling uninspired (where else do you think I got those examples?)
The only way I know how to push through mindset blocks is to learn how to master your mindset and remove the power that your fears have over you. You many never completely remove a fear, but you can take away it's power and starve it out until it runs out of energy to block you.
It's actually really simple.
Remind yourself why you're working on your business in the first place. Look at the results you'll have from sticking it out and showing up, instead of what could go wrong.
Create affirmations that remind you of your goals and have them everywhere - on your phone, your computer background, the password for your laptop, sticky notes on a mirror; basically anywhere and everywhere to snap your mind out of focusing on the fear and centered on the task at hand.
Find what works for you to keep your eye on the prize and do it every single day. Stay on alert, because as you go through business and you continue to grow into your role as a fabulous, successful business owner your fears will continue to try and make their way into the driver's seat. It's up to you to keep both of your hands on the wheel and keep fear buckled up in the backseat where it belongs.
Remember, being an entrepreneur is a big adventure with limitless possibilities and potential but it requires you to grow, be bold and pull on courage to stand up to what’s in your way. Growing to a new level may not be comfortable, but it’s always worth it.
You have this dream for a reason and it’s the perfect time for you to chase it! Enjoy the journey and trust the process.
From one entrepreneur to another…