Step into any leadership seminar, speak to any career coach, or lay on the couch of any psychologist, and you will be told that mind-set matters. Maybe it won’t be said in that exact way, but the general premise behind the phrase is one of the keys to great leadership and overall life success. A good friend recently gifted me a book called “Taking People with You” by YUM! Brands Chairman and CEO, David Novak. David shares wisdom from the author John O’Keefe in BusinessBeyondtheBox.com. O’Keefe’s defines mind-set as a “prejudice, a bias, a fixed way of looking at things. We all have them, some good and powerful and some bad and limiting.” We hear prejudice and bias, and negative connotations typically come to mind as they have been ingrained in us. We are told that we should swiftly run in the opposite direction from being labeled biased or prejudiced. However, in terms of business and making your way up your career ladder, mind-set prejudices and biases are items you should strive to understand and stay in constant awareness.
Throughout my career, my mind-set has changed and matured to be framed by the good and powerful thoughts and not by the bad and limiting thoughts. I have been fortunate to work with many great minds who are willing to mentor and develop up and coming industry talent. O’Keefe says “The key, when applying this tool to your own way of thinking as a leader, is to remember that a mind-set is something you choose, not something that you leave up to chance.”
Below are a few points on how to use the tool:
- Start by silently recognizing the limiting mind-sets you see in others (colleagues, family, friends). Notice how often people have mind-sets that weaken their results (e.g., I can’t do that, I always mess this up, you cannot do x in a recession, etc.). These mind-sets are beliefs that people hold to be true. However, you know they cannot be universally true, because you don’t hold them, or not all the time.
- Next, realize you are no different. You also have a set of limiting mind-sets that you hardly realize are there, though others are likely to see them in you.
- Admit that your mind-set is a choice because if what you believe were really true, there would be no need to believe it.
- Now, make an effort to choose mind-sets that will help you, not limit you.
How you view the world around you and the tasks immediately at hand will have an impact on the reactions you have and actions you take in life and on your career path. Think positively and while every day will not be a guaranteed success; you will be on the right path to overall career success. The positive mind-set is a terrible thing to waste!