a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations.
Let’s break this down: if it’s a habit, it’s probably become a habit over time, very likely without you noticing it. This is why when you’re asked what your beliefs are, it’s often a good idea to do some kind of exercise that unearths them, as you’ll be so used to them you won’t even realise they are a belief! For instance, I only last year discovered while doing an affirmations exercise that I had an old belief lurking around that ‘it is the man’s job to be the breadwinner’. Given that this has not been the situation in my household for some time now, it was easy to see how this could be limiting me! (Actually, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit that, but there you go, it’s true and perhaps you will resonate with it).
Habits define your attitude, which is how you look at life, and how you look at life determines what you see in front of you. This is why two people reporting exactly the same incident will likely give quite different accounts – they viewed what they saw in front of them differently.
In business, this is important because if you have an attitude that says ‘I’m no good at making money’, that’s something that started off as an idea, quite likely your parents’, was then probably repeated unconsciously, and only later became a habitual belief. But it now shows up as an attitude you bring to your business. You can imagine it would be difficult to have a successful business with that attitude lurking in the background, which is why so much attention is given to encouraging people to change their attitudes.
It’s also why I often ask people to complete a ‘Money Autobiography’ if they are working with me on a one on one basis – because the very act of writing their story from a financial point of view highlights all kinds of attitudes, ideas and beliefs that haven’t been noticed before. An ex-therapist of mine used to say “When you shine the light on the gremlins, they shrivel up and die” and it’s true, or often true. Bringing the light of consciousness to anything exposes it – it can no longer hide and cause problems from it’s hiding place.
Mindset, in my opinion, includes a couple of other aspects. One is feeling-set (how you feel about the beliefs and attitudes you have). When you only deal with your mind in the form of thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, you miss out the form these take in your body, ie your feelings. This is why energy medicine techniques such as EFT, constellation work, Gestalt work and other energy medicine exercises work so well. Not only are you addressing issues at an intellectual level, but also at an emotional level. For instance, I was working with someone last year who had an important financial decision to make. She was full of strategies about how to cope with this, but I heard in between her words an incredible amount of anxiety and I stopped her in her tracks.
‘What’ s really going on underneath?’ I asked her.
Tears caused her to pause. ‘I’m so scared that I will lose my house, and I don’t know what I’ll do if that happens.’
I invited her to honour that fear. To welcome it into the room, instead of trying to keep it shut out. To stop and breathe, relaxing the tension inside. Allowing this, within the space of just a few minutes, she realised that the path she was about to take would not serve her, and she was able to see another route that would bring her the result she wanted in a much easier way.
But then we also have your spiritual-set. How does this play out in your business? In our Western society, there are many instances of people being hugely financially successful but drowning in spiritual poverty – living lives devoid of any meaning and fulfillment. Is this then real success? I think not. A few years ago, while walking across a park at home, I asked myself the question ‘What do I really want?’ and I was taken aback at the answer: Peace of Mind. I was surprised because over the years I’d wanted a committed relationship, a beautiful house, more money and so on. But in this moment of truth I admitted to myself that even if I had all these things, they would mean nothing without peace of mind. This was a turning point for me and has led to RichThinkers becoming much more spiritually based and allowed me to ‘out’ myself as The Spiritual Business Coach.
So ask yourself what you really want. Play with it – imagine if you already had all the material wealth you wish for, how would that feel. Is there something from the spiritual realm of life that you would need? Or would you indeed feel truly satisfied. What is it that you really, really want?
Your mindset comprises your mind, body and spirit. When the word ‘mindset’ is bandied around, think of it as comprising your mind, your emotions and your spirit. They all influence your business in varying ways, supporting you or hindering you. I heard recently a quote from Dan Kennedy, a famous marketer and businessman in America. He was asked what he would do differently if he had his time over again, and he said, ‘I would apply what I’ve learnt about the power my mind had over my business much earlier than I did’. This from a man who is known only for his successful marketing techniques and business savvy.
So when you next consider what your mindset is about any particular issue or aspect of your business, make sure you include not just the mental considerations, but also the emotional and spiritual too. That way you really will be giving yourself the best chance of success from the inside out.