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Mindset: How leadership success is an inside job

So often we think about leadership growth in terms of learning new skills, gaining more experience or expanding technical knowledge. While these are all critically important elements of leadership success, they will only get you so far.

The difference that makes the difference is working on our mindset. There always comes a time when we need to work on our inner game to maximise our outer performance and results.

Our mindset influences our productivity, our courage, our confidence, how we present ourselves, the language we use, the conversations we have, how we respond to the challenges we face, the opportunities we seize, whether we are intimidated or bold or whether we lean in or fade into the background.

Our mindset impacts everything we do everyday and in every part of our lives.

Mindset is….

Mindset is our habitual patterns of thinking combined with our beliefs and values…which determines our actions and ultimately our outcomes and results.

Have you ever wanted to achieve something but felt like you were holding yourself back? I see women getting in the way of their own success every day. We all do it. Me included.

It is a bit like having one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the break!

All that happens is that you end up going no where fast. It leaves you exhausted and frustrated and wondering what you are doing wrong. This chaos is created when what we think we want is not in alignment with our values and beliefs.

I recently worked with an extraordinary leader who was clear about the type of leadership role she wanted to move into but had been unsuccessful in the job hunt for more than 6 months. She was highly skilled, talented and experienced but had created an unconscious belief that she wasn’t worthy of a well paid role, that she wasn’t old enough and was fearing how her relationship with her partner might change if she was “successful.”

These unconscious beliefs were holding her back and sabotaging her performance during job interviews.

Through our work together she reframed some hurtful past experiences, eliminated her fears and changed the way she saw herself. She grew in confidence, developed a strong professional presence and to her delight, soon after, landed the perfect role she had been hoping for, for so long.

Our natural reaction when we hit a career plateau or road block is often to work harder, learn more, do more when really the place to focus in on our mindset.

When we start here and make a transformation in our mindset everything else follows.   The results we achieve on the outside are directly linked to everything we are within.

Here are my tips to get your mindset transformation started….

1.  Recognise Resistance. Resistance to change, growth or new things often relates to an internal struggle. Recognise it for what it is…. a sign alerting you to conflict between your conscious thoughts and your unconscious inner ‘stuff’ getting in your way and needing your attention before you move forward. Pay attention to the resistance and ask yourself; “What is this about?”

2.  Uncover and challenge limiting beliefs. Our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us generally guide our action, behaviours and outcomes. Identify the beliefs you have about yourself that are standing in your way (ie: I’m not good enough, I’m too old, fear of success, fear of failure etc) and question whether theirs beliefs are relevant, real or serving you.

Given that our beliefs are unconscious and usually remain hidden even to ourselves… the very act of identifying and question their validity is enough to transform our thinking, actions and behaviours.

3.  New Level, New Devil. Regardless of how much work you have done on your mindset in the past, there is always more. As one of my mentors once said to me… “New level, new devil!” And she was right. Every time we raise our expectations of ourselves and look to play a bigger game there is a new layer of “gunk” to work through.

So next time you hit a speed hump in your pursuit of career and leadership success… take some time to work on up levelling your mindset. It will not only pay dividends with your career but also in your personal life.

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