Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, 55% of adults report that they experience the holiday blues. Additionally, 64% of adults who already suffer from mental illness report that their conditions get worse around the holidays. Unlike any other health concern such as Covid, Flu, or even cancer, mental illness is oftentimes overlooked or not treated in the way that it should.
Just a couple weeks ago, we heard about the untimely passing of Stephen tWitch Boss who died by suicide, and many would agree they did not see that coming at all. He appeared happy, filled with joy, full of love and light and what we saw on social media or in the news was his incredible skill in dancing. If you watched any video of him dancing, you could not help but smile and then get out of your own seat and try the same dance move. Just admit it, you know you did! 🙂
In all seriousness, it’s extremely important as we go into 2023, we begin to examine our minds, if we are capable of doing so, and find someone who can help you navigate those highs and those lows of life. I add highs here, because we have seen people at the top of their games still succumb to mental/mindset challenges, oftentimes due to the overwhelm of keeping up.
Last year, I worked with a woman of color who was in between jobs and trying to figure things out. One of the things that was very clear to me early on, was that you she had all the skills, knowledge and experience to be the type of leader that she wanted to be. However, the thing that got in her way, was her own mindset. Now, I am in no way trying to compare the type of mental illness that impacts a person’s behavior in the extreme way such as depression and suicide. But, what I am saying is that the lack of focus on your mind can impact the way that you feel about yourself, your life and your goals. This ultimately impacts success. Without the tools to work through these things, you are bound to stay stagnant and stuck in the same place for much longer than you intend.
Before I dive into some of the ways to strengthen your mindset, let’s discuss the biggest mindset trap of all – Underlying Beliefs.
Disclaimer: if you are suffering a true mental breakdown or feeling mentally crisis, please get the help of a friend, family member, doctor or call 911.
When I talk about underlying beliefs, I like to begin by describing it using the Iceberg metaphor. When we see an Iceberg, we focus on the ice on top of the waterline. It’s the place that we tend to watch out for and steer clear. But, if you saw the Titanic, you know that what they missed, was the ice underneath the waterline that ultimately caused the ship to sink. Just like this ice under the waterline, our beliefs are there as well. When they are blind to us, or go unexamined, they will cause everything that we are working hard towards, to sink and it becomes difficult to realize our full potential for success. These underlying beliefs contribute to our mindset strength and is important to strengthen, just like we would if we working our bodies in the gym. Some examples of underlying beliefs that are limiting include:
- Not good enough
- Not enough time
- Not smart enough
- Not enough experience
- Not enough money
- Not talented enough
- I’ll never be successful
- I’ll never be one of the best
- I’ll never be a great leader
- “I’m too”
- Too old
- Too young
- Too fat
- Too skinny
Fortunately, there are exercises and ways that you can start to overcome some of these mindset traps and not just quiet them, but really understand how to navigate and work through them.
Again, I must make the disclaimer: if you are suffering a true mental crisis or feeling mentally incapacitated, please get the help of a friend, family member, doctor or call 911.
- Meet your Thoughts The attachment to your thoughts is what can keep you stuck. Sometimes we are so attached that we think we are what our thoughts say about us. The next time you get a thought that is incongruent to the actions you are taking, or is making you feel in a way that alters your mood in a negative way, meet that thought. Examine it. Figure out what it is trying to protect you from. Ask yourself if the thought is true? If not, tell it thank you and tell that thought the truth of who you are.
- Be Aware of the Stories that you are telling yourself Stories are powerful and in our life when someone tells you a story with a good plot twist and an intriguing story line, we are likely to believe it’s true. The same is for the stories that we tell ourselves. However, the stories that we tell ourselves come with theories and conspiracies and we go looking for signs to confirm these stories. Getting caught up in this effort to prove our story true, will have you in a hamster wheel of nonsense and mucky.
- Mind Your Own Business Oftentimes, we are so caught up in other people’s business that is not yours to mind. We can cause ourselves so much stress that we literally go into controlling, complying or protecting ourselves and this will have us spiraling into a reactive state of mind that cuts off the ability to live in our own creativity and ability to succeed.
The goal is to become aware of what is happening with your mindset and not try to sweep your thoughts under the rug, but to examine why they are there – maybe it’s the alarm clock that is going off to tell you that you need to slow down, take a pause, or smell the roses while you can; examine what it is trying to tell you or teach you; and lastly, whether or not the thought is helpful or harmful – if it is fundamentally trying to protect you, do something. If it is not and is a limiting belief, tell it to go back to where it came from.