Mastering your Mindset

July 24, 2020

Earlier this week, I was fortunate to be asked to participate in a small business October seminar event up here on the Central Coast of NSW.

My topic was to share some key points on how to manage your Mindset in the midst of growing your business. With virtually 100% of my clients in 90% of our conversations be it about their staff, their business performance or in a Board role, we inevitably get into a conversation that relates relates directly or indirectly to their Mindset, or the Mindset of the people around them and how that impacts on their behaviours and approach. 

Just to clarify, I'm not talking about sitting on a mountain top meditating although that is how some people choose to successfully manage their Mindset, I'm talking about my definition of Mindset which is: your internal dialogue and thoughts about yourself, others and your situation, what you make that mean and how you end up approaching and managing everything.

In planning for my talk which was limited to 20 minutes, I ended up focusing in on 4 key points; • whole self care • knowing yourself • finding your tribe and • planning to be agile.

As there is so much to share, I will do a series of articles with a focus on these 4 areas for a start, leading into others as time goes on. Let's take a look at the first focus area as a starting point.

Whole self care - the Mind Body connection: More and more research is showing that the way we feel and how we think has a direct chemical and physiological impact of how healthy we are.

Our body is programmed to survive, it is supported by our nervous system which generates stress hormones that help our body in the face of immediate danger and enables our basic fight, fright, or freeze response. 

A rush of adrenalin which is meant to be a short term response, gives us intense focus, sends blood to the muscles, enabling us to run fast or fight hard!! 

Another hormone cortisol is produced in response to stress that lasts more than just a few minutes. It also puts us into a state of high alert, putting up our blood pressure and sugar levels in the blood, focusing our attention whilst suppressing some body functions such as digestion suppressing the immune system and decreasing libido.

Again this hormone is good and useful for short periods of time, but when we are continually stressed, we experience adrenal fatigue (the adrenals make the cortisol) which can lead in the long term to significant and severe health problems. 

Also of note especially when in business: When in a state of fear or prolonged stress, the blood also leaves the prefrontal cortex of our brain which is the part that helps us make good decisions. Decision fatigue is a real thing. That means our ability to make good decisions is reduced as the day goes on as our brain becomes more fatigued by making too many decisions and that includes simple ones. My TIP: make big or important decisions in the morning when you are fresh and you have lots of decision making capacity left.

As mentioned above, stress can be helpful to get us motivated and keep us safe, however when continued for long periods, it has physiological impacts on our minds and body that can lead to poor health in the short, medium or longer term. Take a moment to reflect, how many of you have had the flu, have high blood pressure, have experienced injuries, feel run down, have put on or lost weight, felt more anxious or depressed or even made some bad decisions recently? 

The reality is, without our health we have little chance of doing well in our business as our energy, head space and focus is on how we are feeling which can easily drag down our Mindset. 

So what can we do to maintain a healthy and helpful Mindset? We need to make good or better decisions concerning our self care. We spend time and money on the resources needed to give our business a chance to grow, so why do we deny our bodies and brains the same consideration and make bad choices about how we treat ourselves physically?

To take care of our physical and mental health and therefore our Mindset in general, we need:

  • 7 – 8 hours of good quality sleep to relax, download our brain from the day, time for our body to detox, regenerate our energy and immune system at a cellular level, all enabling us to have a refreshed ability to work the next day. If you don't sleep well, ask for help or research ways to get a better quality of sleep, as it is a CRITICAL need for your Mind and your body to remain well.
  • Food intake – have regular small meals. Our brain needs glucose to operate, so choose to support your body and brain by feeding it good healthy food often. Eating often is something I've resisted for years, but I've noticed how Hangry I get when I need to feed my brain let alone my body, so I've been eating smaller meals more regularly for the last few months which is certainly keeping me fresher at work and at home. Not making time to eat is not smart. The other choices you need to make are finding the foods that are best for you. There is SO MUCH info out there, get some help from a nutritionist to find out what works for you and choose that eating style.
  • MOVE – get your body moving – exercise and effort creates dopamine which is a key feel good hormone, this helps counteract the stress hormones, improves our ability to cope and face challenges, it also helps pick up our mood, helps adjust our Mindset and tops up our Vit D when we are out in the sun. Just taking action or being in motion makes us feel better about so many things.... please don't delay any longer.... 
  • Make time to relax and reflect, rest and digest, and / or read, listen and learn. Research is showing more and more we need to have time out by creating a space to create, reflect and rejuvenate. This is key to keeping our belief in ourselves strong, our mind active and healthy, plus maintains our knowledge and expertise current. This is a common issue and concern for many as time passes with us focusing on working IN our businesses rather than ON it. Furthermore, when we relax, we produce serotonin another feel good hormone which is critical to both good health and good decision making and with less chance of making bad decisions, we are less likely to make ourselves bad, or wrong when our inner critic comes out to criticise us. 

There is SO MUCH more to say, but I think I'll leave this topic where it is for now. Please see yourself as a whole person and become more aware of how your mindset and body are SO integrally connected, and make better choices.

Give me a call if you want to discuss, or share how you look after your mind / body connection..