I was with a client’s team this week, and part of our conversation focused on mindset. As Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” Our minds hold a massive amount of power, and our mindset dictates many of our successes, failures, and experiences in life. So if our mindset is so important, how can we approach our own “mind-setting” actively, not leaving it to be an afterthought? Let’s dive in…

Let me start with this. I’m no neuroscientist or psychologist. What I am is someone who spends his days with amazing entrepreneurs and leaders, helping them address their marketing challenges and build their organizations. I’ve become a student of people, and as Tony Robbins has shared many times, success leaves clues. Based on all the evidence I’ve seen over the past twenty years meeting so many successful individuals, I’ve come to one conclusion. 

Success comes to those who expect it.

Life Time Fitness founder and CEO Bahram Akradi shared his perspective on this in a recent Experience Life essay. He shared, “Let’s trust in our potential – and believe, that with the right resources and knowledge, we’re capable of achieving everything and everything we set our minds to.”

That’s mindset.

Think back to that Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” I’ve been blessed to work beside many “Henry Fords” – people who believe they can. They expect success, and have become magnetic to it. That’s not to say these individuals don’t face fears or challenges. They do, but they’ve also learned to be brave in the face of their fears and to approach every problem expecting great results. 

Fear is one of your mindset’s greatest enemies. When challenges appear, fear sees an open door and immediately floods you with thoughts of failure, defeat, and collapse. It floods your mind with “what-if’s” and all the reasons you’re inadequate and not enough. When we give in, drop out, and quit – fear wins. For some of us, this is where we stop. We’ve let ourselves think we couldn’t or can’t, and as Ford said, we were right. 

Those negative thoughts are normal. As humans, we experience what is called negative bias. Simply put, we remember traumatic experiences and respond to them more strongly than positive ones, and we recall insults and negative things more than praise and positive inputs. We’re hard-wired to be on high alert and to protect ourselves from danger, and so our minds put additional energy toward negativity. That negative tilt may be our natural state, but that doesn’t mean we need to settle for this mindset or lifestyle.

To battle this, “Mind-setting” has become my weapon of choice.

The more we stretch ourselves, and the more risks we take, the more challenges we naturally create for ourselves. We find ourselves with two options. Either we quit taking risks and stretching, or we develop a new headspace for embracing our challenges and the feelings that come with them. Over the past handful of years, navigating divorce, starting a new business, and having to become a more confident leader, mind-setting has made all the difference in the world. 

Here are five things I’ve used to mind-set my mindset…

  1. Consume Healthy – What we feed ourselves matters. The same as the food we eat impacts our physical health, the media we take in impacts out mental health. The news we digest, the social media we consume, the podcasts and videos we binge on… every bit of content we soak in impacts our mindset. If your mental menu is filled with negativity, it will drag your mindset down. Fill your mental plate with positive content, and your mindset is strengthened.
  2. Celebrate Your Wins – A second element of mind-setting involves celebrating your successes. It’s far too easy to experience a success in life and immediately move on to the next task or achievement you’re chasing. By making it a priority to slow down and enjoy your wins, you’re doing a few things. First, you’re focusing your mind on how it feels to win and reinforcing the behaviors that got you there. You’re marking your process along the way toward a goal, and you’re beginning to change the conversations you’re having with yourself. And about those conversations…
  3. Talk to Yourself – We each have an inner voice that is always talking to us, and many times it’s a liar. Fear creeps in with a whisper or a loud voice, bombarding us with all the reasons we’re going to fail. Lack chimes in and tells us that when it comes to resources, there’s not enough. Insecurity joins the conversation and tells us that we’re not enough. Words like “can’t” and “never” hammer us over and over like waves crashing on the shore until we drown. Recognizing this is happening, and being intentional to change the conversations we’re having with ourselves, is a mind-setting must. 
  4. Strengthen Your Circle – One of the most valuable resources we have in mind-setting is the people we surround ourselves with. Let me say first, these must be the right people – the positive ones, the honest ones, the uplifting ones, and the ones that will help pull you out of the muck when you slide backward. They’re the ones that will celebrate your wins with you and will be there to help make sure you’re talking to yourself with the right voice. Keep in mind, when it comes to your circle, this is a quality over quantity endeavor. I want three people besides me that I can call up at three in the morning, not ten or twenty that won’t have my back when things get tough.
  5. Get Grateful – In my blogs, I keep coming back to gratitude and its importance in our lives. When it comes to mind-setting, a thankful heart is a must-have, not optional. I have yet to meet anyone with a great mindset, who is successful in life, that is not continually grateful. This is why I’m so firm that when things become challenging, gratitude is my go-to. Gratitude is the mind’s reset button, and I use it often. Daily, hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute… It changes everything and is essential for mind-setting.

Mind-setting requires us to be highly intentional about what we’re consuming, the things we’re celebrating, how we’re talking to ourselves, who we’re spending time with, and continually being grateful. Like putting fuel in a rocket, mind-setting primes us to launch great things in our lives. It’s how we prepare for our challenges and strengthen our mindset for everyday living.

Let me include one final source to tap into for mind-setting – faith. Skip this if you like, but for me my faith has been integral in helping me develop a mindset that has carried me through some of the most significant challenges life can offer. As I shared, I’ve walked through a divorce, I live the life of a founder and an entrepreneur, and am the proud dad of two teenagers – challenges abound. Remembering who I am in Christ has invigorated my mindset, encouraged me to envision bigger things for my life and family, and helped me stay positive through the valleys I’ve walked in. Your faith may be different than my own, but I would encourage you to incorporate whatever faith-perspective you embrace into your mind-setting. 

The Takeaway

The act of intentional mind-setting requires some effort and work. Spend some time focusing on the five areas above and you’ll be on your way to creating the mindset you need to navigate all the highs and lows on the road ahead.

Click here to subscribe to Depth Not Width and make sure you don’t miss next week’s blog where we’ll dive into the statement, “You do not have because you do not ask.” We’ll dig into the simple power of asking and explore five things you should get comfortable asking for…