Stop settling for a mindset that is crippling you

Mindset determines pretty much everything, from the actions we take (or don't take) to the way that we feel about the things that happen around us. It's the one thing that shapes our experience of life - and our outcomes.


So, why do so many of us feel like we have to just simply accept the mindset that we have, even if it's crippling us?

What is mindset and why is it important?

If you want to be happier/wealthier/more fulfilled then it all comes down to this. 

Mindset is the lens through which we see the world. For most of us, it's going to be a mix of what we learned in childhood and the things that have been reinforced or altered since. Mindset can feel like a bag you carry around that other people have just dumped all of their stuff in.

Maybe your parents gave you a scarcity mindset or modelled anxiety as the best way to try to 'control' your outcomes. Perhaps you had an ex-partner who dumped their attachment issues in there or a boss at work who felt intimidated by your natural talent and so tipped in some, “You're too much, you should be smaller” shrinking powder.

What most of us don't realise is that you can take all this stuff out at any time and repack that bag with what you want to be in there. 

  • You can release the scarcity mindset and choose to be open to seeing opportunities instead. 
  • You can let go of what someone else (or society) thinks about what a relationship should be - and how you 'should' behave - and determine this for yourself. 
  • And you can control, cancel, and delete the insecurities of your ex-boss being any kind of barometer for how you show up in the professional world.

Do you see what I mean?

In my experience as a coach, I've seen most people making the same mistakes when it comes to mindset. They are mistakes I made myself. And I think they happen because we just don't realise how simple change really is. Not easy - because it's years of habitual thinking you're undoing - but simple. As in, straightforward steps.

3 mindset mistakes

These are the three mistakes that most of us make with mindset.

1. We believe what we hear

Is your inner narrative harsh, negative, or defeatist? It's not your only option, just the radio station that's playing the loudest right now. The inner narrative is like the audiobook of the mindset. It's how we hear what we think. In my coaching experience, I've come across so many clients whose inner narrative is absolutely crippling them. Examples include:

  • “I'll never succeed because I don't deserve it.”
  • “I'm unlovable and unwanted.”
  • “I'm not good enough.”
  • “I'm a fraud.”

Unless you change this kind of messaging, you're always going to self-sabotage at some point. This is because the mind will never prove itself wrong. If this is what you believe about yourself and the world then it's going to dictate what you do. 

One of the biggest mistakes is to believe what this audio version of your mindset is telling you. As if it's the truth. The reality is that it's just one of many narratives you could choose to believe. It's just the one that's been playing the loudest up until now. It's entirely possible to swap critical, harsh, and self-defeating narratives for something that actually gives you a chance to be happy, enjoy your life, and access a whole different range of opportunities that a previous version of you might have written off as not possible. 

2. We forget the negativity bias

This means we forget that we need to work hard every day to prove it wrong until it's no longer a habit. All humans have a negativity bias which means we are more likely to remember the negative experiences, comments etc. than the positive. At one point in evolution this was useful - remembering where the sabre tooth tiger was when it attacked yesterday was more useful to our ancestors than the feeling of the sun on our face in the morning. But we don't need to be so focused on this data now, as the sabre-tooth tiger is extinct.

If you feel like you have a negative mindset then this is partly just because you're human. But staying in that place - with that view of the world - is your choice. You can either continue to load your perspective with negatives every day. Or you can begin to balance this out with a more realistic approach that also includes the good stuff.

It's funny because I often hear being negative as being 'more realistic'. But it's not, it's just being negative. One of the simplest ways to start changing your mindset is to begin collecting evidence of the good stuff, the love, the success, and the positive feedback - so that you can put in the work of undoing the negativity bias. 

3. We don't realise we have a choice

Your mindset is a choice. Everything you've experienced with it up to now is up for change. Negativity, catastrophising, people pleasing, anxiety... none of these are your natural state or part of your personality. This is often why coaching is such a revelation for anyone who hasn't done it before - it reveals that you have so much influence over what your mindset is made up of. And, consequently, how you show up in the world - and what your inner world feels like. 

I recently heard catastrophising described as “part of my personality”. This couldn't be further from the truth. Yes, it's something that you might be doing right now and there's no point denying that. But you weren't born catastrophising. It's a learned behaviour that we use to try and keep ourselves safe. Usually, we keep using it long after the original reason for it has disappeared. So it's just an out-of-date behaviour that has become a crutch. But it's not permanent, it's just a habitual way of thinking. And you have a choice about whether you continue to think like this - or choose another way. 

So, choose another way

Start to see your mindset for what it is - that bag of collected experiences that maybe needs a clear out. Look at what you don't want in there anymore and then start picking what you do. The weight of a negative, restrictive mindset can feel so heavy you'll never get out from under it. But accepting that viewpoint is part of why you feel stuck. Sure, you can focus on, “What if it doesn't work?” But what if it's actually easier than you think?

If you're ready to start doing things differently with your mindset, I am running a six-week programme called The Time is Now, which is a combination of coaching, action sessions (on confidence, self-belief, self-doubt and clarity) and a six-week mindset plan, designed to give you what you need to make this kind of change. Feel free to visit my profile for more information

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Winchester, Hampshire, SO23
Written by Alex Pett
Winchester, Hampshire, SO23

Alex is an ICF trained and NLP cert coach focused on helping people to deepen their resources to adapt and bounce back - and go on to thrive. She works with resilience to help clients build confidence, recover from burnout, be assertive, set boundaries, find joy and move beyond limiting beliefs. Clients achieve tangible change in 6-9 sessions.

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