Mindset is a powerful feature of our brains. It is an inborn, automatic characteristic we all share, but with practice it is something we have control over. How we view ourselves in situations, and the thoughts we have are critical to gaining that control. Cultivating awareness of this process is how we move in the direction of who we want to become as human beings. Robert Sternberg, an intelligence researcher, writes that the major factor in whether people achieve expertise “is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement”.  

 

For athletes, having mindset  practices in place is the crucial factor in optimizing their training and competitive performance. In business, mindset plays a huge factor in being an effective leader of self as well as others. As human beings in any situation, mistakes can be embraced with the right mindset as part of the process to help you reach your goals and outcomes.  There are many ways to implement mindset practices, and you should explore different ones to discover what works best for you. Here are a few you might try:

 

  1.  GRATITUDE.  There are many benefits to bringing a gratitude practice into your day. It supports connection to the purpose of what you are training and reaching  for (your Why), elevates your mood, calms your physical body, brings joy, and supports positive relationships, to name a few.  Whether it is writing what you are grateful for in a journal or saying it out loud to start your day, implementing gratitude is a powerful tool to help you embrace your day and/or in the evening to support better sleep.

  2. VISUAL REMINDERS.  Set up visual reminders of what you are going for everywhere. We get what we focus on. If you are committed to enhancing your performance in sport or work, keep your targets in front of you with quotes that inspire you, pictures that remind you, etc.  When I was training for Gold for the 2004 World Sprints I had quotes everywhere, like WIT (“Whatever it Takes”) in my car to remind me that I was going for something that meant a lot to me, deep in my soul. It helped me drive towards practice instead of home where it was cozy and warm.  Is there a quote or saying that has always inspired you that you can put in a prominent place to keep pulling you forward?

  3. COUNT YOUR WINS.  As human beings it is important to count your wins and blessings. Try to take it a step further and feel it in your body. Embrace the winning moments as important steps on the road to what is important to you.  Perhaps begin with a practice of writing down 1-3 wins daily to complete your day.

  4. JOURNAL.  Writing in a journal is a great way to keep connected to where you are going and what you are experiencing along the journey.  There are many benefits of journaling, such as helping shift your mood, enhancing emotional intelligence, monitoring progress and helping you perceive any change in direction that might be needed. As mentioned above, journaling is also great for tracking your wins and holding a space for your gratitude practices.  

Put mindset practices like these, or your own, in place and it will up your game. Just remember to be consistent, take small steps and reap the rewards. In my experience, they are critical from elevating a good performance to a champion-level performance. Mindset is what makes the crucial difference, and can give you the edge to perform at your fullest potential, and to bring your true essence into your work, team, community, and the world.  

 

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