Q43: Why Does Having the Right Mindset Feel Like a Bit of a Game?

“The sense that ‘having the right mindset’ is a bit of a game, and somehow I keep missing the ball because I’ve become distracted by any number of reasons.”

Let’s start with the word mindset. I don’t like it, do you? It feels a bit jargony, a bit corporate. Yuk. I do remember where I was working as an accountant when I first heard it used daily and that was at a London recruitment agency where helping job applicants with their mindset was part of their brief. It always jarred with me, like fingernails down a blackboard.

I don’t really feel I have a mindset, or that mine is the same or even similar to anyone else’s. But to the extent that I understand what is meant by this word, I don’t think of it as a game either. Although it must be said that I don’t really like to think in terms of games or play. If you do, fill your boots although it doesn’t sound from your question as though this is very helpful for you either?

Worst of all, for me, is the sense that a mindset can be wrong or right.

It is rare that I get up in the morning or ever, even way back at the start of my self-employment and consider what mindset to put on, as it were. I’m either in the mood for work, or I’m not. I’m either motivated, or I’m not.

If I have a mindset at all it is that I take myself reasonably seriously as a self-employed person who is out to support herself through her endeavour and enterprise. And also, over the years, I’ve learned to take that lightly too as I’ve come to understand that I’m not the only one in charge around these parts. So, sometimes, despite my best intentions it doesn’t turn out as I plan, so I laugh because the only other alternative might be crying, and for sure there have been plenty of those days too.

But there’s something in your question which freaks me a tad. The thing about mindset being a bit of a game. It isn’t for me. But I can very much see how it would be possible to miss the ball and keep missing it due to the distractions that keep coming up.

And I think that is the sense in which we train ourselves to be good at working alone at home unsupervised. This morning is the last day of my summer holiday and my diary today says “Book” i.e. write some more. I’m getting close to the end now and I had wanted to finish it in August but took the last ten days off instead, much needed. So I am keen to get on with the book and had a big chunk of time in my diary for it today.

Lying in bed earlier and contemplating my day, and in view of a bad back, I remembered that writing my book is not improved by doing a long day, rather it is better done in 3-hour chunks so here I am at 09.35 and I’ve done my fannying and faffing about with emails and Facebook and I’ve shut them both now, intending to take myself seriously as a writer until lunchtime.

Is that a mindset? If so, that’s not a game to me. I take myself seriously as a woman who supports herself through her delicious self-employment where, remember, I only do one thing. And who took August off from that, mostly to write a book. So I do not allow myself to become distracted all that much either.

I think this is probably a continuum and we each find our own place on it with time and training. That training is done by you. It is done by experimenting with what brings results. And if you can’t do it all by yourself then you do it with an accountability buddy. You both agree you will do heads down uninterrupted work all morning without distractions of any description and, by such training and disciplines, more and better results are achieved and good working habits ingrained.

Sorry, I went all serious on you there for a bit.

In summary:

  • Choose a friendlier word than mindset
  • Find something sufficiently motivating, exciting or interesting to do that you cannot wait to get at it each day
  • Take your work seriously especially if it is the source of your income, or even if it’s not now that I come to think about it; you are an artist and, to the extent that I am a writer, let us both take ourselves seriously in those areas.
  • Train yourself into good working habits so that distractions just fall away and catch yourself on quickly when you notice yourself doing the distraction thing
  • Stop with the bonkersness, which you might do with a buddy or a coach

My client also shared “the sense that I know this is all nonsense, but still find myself acting as though I believe it” And I find myself wondering what would be a better and more empowering thought to take up.


What beliefs about your lovely biz your way would support not undermine you?

Your Biz Your Way

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