Happy Spring! Although the first day of spring was several weeks ago, it’s just starting to feel like spring in our neck of the woods.
Spring always reminds me of the process of spring cleaning. When I was young, energetic, and newly married, I remember tearing out spring cleaning lists from magazines and saving them in my ideas notebooks. (No Pinterest in those days!) I always had good intentions of spring cleaning my home the way Martha Stewart and staff told me I should. Unfortunately, I rarely got everything on the list done but it became a good jumping off point for ideas on ways to get rid of dust mites and freshen the house after being cooped up all winter.
Now, as an experienced wife, mother and life coach, spring cleaning makes me think internally. So today, I’m going to share some things you can do to spring clean your mindset.
Believe it or not, our thought process (aka mindset) is what drives our daily activities. We FEEL. THINK. and DO.
Begin by asking: What thought patterns do I go through routinely that are holding me back from living with the vitality and life I long for? There are too many to list here, but to give you a jumping off point, consider the following ways we can sabotage our efforts to move forward.
Probably the biggest thing that holds people back is fear; and I’ve venture to say, most the time, we don’t even know what fear is driving us. Many of us hold back from going after a dream because we’re afraid we aren’t good enough to be successful. If that’s you, you’re in good company. Upwards of 70% of high-achievers report being afraid someone will figure out they aren’t smart enough or good enough to do what they’re tasked with. It’s so common there’s a name for it: the Imposter Syndrome (coined in the late 1970s by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes).
Being able to shift your mindset from “if I fail I’m a fraud,” to “learning and success only come from failure” can help you appreciate failure as a tool leading to growth. It literally becomes an asset instead of a liability. And when failure isn’t a negative, it no longer has the power to hold us back.
How many of us are perfectly happy with what we have or what we’re doing until we see an entire feed’s worth of women whose houses are nicer or clothes hang on them better? We begin judging ourselves based on someone else’s life? Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” for a reason.
Comparing ourselves to others not only makes us ungrateful for what we have, it also exhausts us. Instead of using others’ work and success to INSPIRE us, we fall into a never-ending rat race of ASPIRING to live up to the highlights reel of everyone else.
Aspiring is a type of striving – an “if we don’t live up to the latest fads and fashions, we’re worth less than those who are” mentality. It will drive us crazy. So just stop. Learn how to celebrate others’ abilities and successes knowing that God didn’t make a finite amount of talent or beauty. There is room for your talent and beauty, too.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “man, if only I had time to myself”, or “if my dad didn’t leave me as a kid,” or “if my boss respected me more,” then I could be successful.
All of these thoughts take the responsibility of living our best life off us and put it onto something or someone else. As soon as we do that, we become disempowered and stagnate. We eliminate our choice in the matter.
The reality is there are very few circumstances where we don’t have options. Asking ourselves some very important questions about what we really want and what our options are can empower us to change those things we can to live our best life now.
In his book, The Lies We Believe, Dr. Chris Thurman says, “External events don’t have the power to make us feel what we feel or act the way we act, period… you feel and act the way you do because you think the way you do.”
In this post on emotions I said feelings “are physiological responses to outward stimuli, a trigger of past trauma, or a chemical reaction of what your hormones may be doing on a given day (men included!). The important thing to understand about feelings is that the only real significance they hold is a to make us aware something is going on inside us.” Feelings are something to be explored.
In terms of the blame game, when we point fingers at someone else, we never address the root cause of our emotions. When we never address these causes, they continue to control our lives. Our goal should be recognizing the unhealthy thoughts and patterns so we can renew our minds and move forward.
Very similar to the blame game, the only if thinking limits our ability to thrive no matter our circumstances. Maybe it’s as simple as “as soon as I have a designer bag, or have a thriving affiliates program, or the kids get older, then I can live the life I really want. Everything has to be perfect for us to enjoy life.
News flash – life rarely turns out the way we want it to, not mention being perfect. I haven’t met anyone yet who never experienced disappointment. If you’re waiting for the “only if” you’ll be waiting a long time. There’s a popular saying that goes, “Happy people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything.”
Learn to be flexible. Learn the art of gratitude. And learn that happiness is not found in our circumstances, but in how we handle them.
This by no means covers all the mindsets that hold us back, but it’s a great way to get you thinking of how you might be in a pattern of negative thinking.
Perspective is everything. And when we get our perspective right, we can begin to grow into the person God created us to be. If you’re feeling frustrated or stuck, take some time to ask yourself what your internal dialog is like. Do you have things that run through your mind repeatedly? If so, write them down. Evaluate them. What thoughts are controlling your every day results? Are they healthy? Do they propel you forward or hold you back? Do you feel panicky or full of anxiety? It could be an indication you’re living with underlying fears that need addressed.
Self-reflection can be hard, but it’s worth the work. The reward is feeling more free than ever to live the life you were meant for. I wish you all the best!
If this article resonates with you, but you aren’t sure how to get started, let me help! I help busy women figure out what’s holding them back and then take actionable steps to start moving in the right direction again. Schedule a free consult here.