12 Sep Monday Mindset Mastery: Controlling Your Own Destiny
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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone say “Well, it’s not my fault….” no matter what the ‘it’ is?
Before you answer allow me to share a quick story …
Twenty years ago I worked in a really busy intensive care unit in Baltimore City, Maryland. I had two coworkers that I’ll just call Jane and Jessie for privacy sake. During our shift breaks we’d often sit in the staff lunchroom and commiserate about the stress of our jobs while also projecting into the future about what we wanted to do “one day.”
We said things like:
“I’m thinking about going back to school. I would love to open a clinic one day.”
“I’m thinking about doing travel nursing. I would love to live in Costa Rica one day.”
Among us, Jessie was a natural leader and a great nurse. She had really big dreams of moving to Europe and had a sincere passion for language and literacy. Jane was also a great nurse but unlike Jessie, she didn’t see a way out of the stress of the intensive care unit. Instead, she often said that if it hadn’t been for her mother pushing her into nursing she would have chosen a different career.
On top of that, if it hadn’t been for her husband in the National Guard, she would have taken classes to get into clinical research. And then there were her kids, too: she admitted she needed to exercise but if it wasn’t for the fact that they had so many activities, she could think about joining the gym. Whenever Jane arrived late for her shift, she’d often say, “What am I supposed to do? If it hadn’t been for the traffic I could have made it on time.”
I was not surprised when just last month I received a LinkedIn message from Jessie. She’s living in Germany now, working as executive director in her dream job: a refugee literacy project sponsored by the German government. Jessie shared that she’d spent three years searching for a scholarship to pay for her graduate degree, took on a part time job to cover what the scholarship didn’t pay for and even volunteered with grade school children at a local refugee center in Baltimore to get some experience.
And that wasn’t it. Despite being overlooked several times for promotion two years into the job, she kept developing her skills and slowly worked her way up to director. Jessie is living the life of her dreams! When I asked Jessie if she’d heard from Jane, she told me what came as no surprise: Jane was still working night shifts and very miserable in her career.
Do you see the fundamental difference between Jessie and Jane?
Here’s a clue: mindset.
A passive mindset is defined by an attitude or assumption that life is happening to you, that you have no control over your destiny and no responsibility for what happens in your life.
People with a passive mindset use language similar to Jane’s like:
“It’s not my fault that I can’t get there on time. The traffic is always so bad.”
“It’s not my fault I missed my flight. I had to send those emails before I left.”
“Well, with my luck, I won’t get promoted anyway because they didn’t train me.”
Over time, a passive mindset will slowly convince you that nothing is your responsibility and since it’s not your responsibility, you don’t have to take action. You don’t have to change. You don’t have to look inside yourself for the solutions.
An active mindset means taking ownership and responsibility. You own your goals, your successes and your failures. You take full responsibility for your choices and actions. More importantly, an active mindset means you take control over the things you can control in your life.
People with an active mindset will often say things like:
“Traffic gets really heavy at 6am. I’ll lay out my clothes and pack my lunch before I go to bed so I can get on the road early.”
“I didn’t plan well for getting to the airport on time. Next time, I’m going to make sure I get everything squared away earlier.”
“I’m going to register for the training so that I can be fully qualified for the next promotion.”
Here’s a simple shift you can make today to avoid the trap of a passive mindset.
The next time you hear yourself saying “If it wasn’t for ____” or “I can’t….” change your language to “I choose not to because…” and see what happens.
“I choose not to exercise today because …”
“I choose not to prepare my lunch ahead of time because …”
“I choose not to start my morning with meditation because…”
A passive mindset can happen to the best of us — including me! — but making this shift myself taught me something really important: it’s rarely that we can’t…it’s that unless we’ve literally done everything within our control we’re actually making the choice not to.
Owning your choices, accepting responsibility and taking control is key to unlocking your true potential.
It’s the key to having a winning mindset that will help make your dream of “one day” become your reality today.
If you need support developing an active mindset, be sure to check out the Fit & Functional for Life community. We work on mindset shifts and so much more every single week because we know that that we are responsible for our destiny.
You can join the community right now with a FREE trial to see if it’s a good fit your you.
Be well and have an awesome week!
P.S.: Do you enjoy getting clarity on your goals & dreams? Do these mindset shifts help you close the gap between knowing and doing? Join us in the Fit & Functional For Life community! There’s a whole lot more, just like this, inside.
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