Positive thinking, overcoming insecurities, growth mindset

Personal growth enables us to become a better version of ourselves. It takes a lifetime to perfect it. However, personal development doesn’t need to be complicated!  

Let’s imagine that we are playing a tic-tac-toe game and give you two tools to build on and one factor that may block you and how you can overcome it. 

This article helps you to grasp the gist of how to make improvements to your life in a few simple steps. By implementing them into your daily routine, you can make instantaneous changes to your life, and little efforts soon will mount into something pretty amazing.  

To achieve quick positive changes putting these tiny efforts to good use, you need to know which lever to pull. Our article gives you a handle on the areas you need to focus on to make a real difference. 

 

Positive Thinking 

The number #1 element of personal development we mention in this article is positive thinking. Having a bright outlook on life is essential to moving forward in the right direction. When we apply positive thinking to a situation, our aim is to notice and focus on the good things. Now, I am not suggesting that you are looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses! However, the only person you can change is yourself and your attitude. Positive thinking can help you move on with what you can take away from a situation rather than be stuck on contemplating the negatives.  

This attitude to what’s happening around you will help you find solutions to the problems sooner or learn how to let them go faster. One thing you can do today to make a difference to your tomorrow is a quick Focus exercise.  

  

10-minute exercise to promote positive thinking in your everyday life 

  1. Choose a problem that you have been struggling to solve for a while 
  1. List three reasons why you need to solve this problem. What happens when you solve the problem? What will you achieve by solving the problem? Focus on the impact and positive outcomes. 
  1. Write down three skills/experiences that will make you successful in overcoming this problem. 
  1. List the top fear that is holding you back in solving the problem.  
    Find an example of a solution to the same or similar situation in your past, or learn from someone you trust and can learn from. 
  1. Envisage the best, a good and an acceptable outcome, and set a realistic way to measure your success, concentrating on what you can influence. 

 

Find a link to a simple template we give away for free.  

https://unleashr-mentoring.com/download/12234/ Use it as many times as you need it. 

 

Next time, when you come across a problem, go back to this exercise to focus on the positives and overcome the problem with the right attitude. 

Do not forget to be grateful for the opportunity to grow through solving the problem! 

Applying positive thinking to your days doesn’t mean devoiding your life of all reality. Of course, we need to be standing on the ground with two feet. The difference is that we are looking up rather than staring at the ground. Personal development has to have a good pinch of positivity. 

 

 

Do you want to know the difference between being overly enthusiastic and positive?  

Positive thinking is rooted in reality; you have a firm connection with it. Whereas if your thought has gone off the grid, then it’s not reality anymore but something that you have imagined or created in your mind. Naturally, not all imagination will take away your sense of reality. Creativity is an essential part of life and can result in amazing things such as pieces of art or technological invention. Staying grounded though helps you achieve results instead of longing for something unattainable.  

Let me illustrate the difference between positive thinking and being detached from reality with an example. 

 

A business entering the market with a new product may plan on achieving a $100K turnover in half a year, which can be a realistic expectation if he knows how to get started and increase sales fast. The better strategy and operational foundations the business has, the sooner they can put the product onto the market. With a robust strategy and business plan, they will be able to achieve results fast.  

 

However, if someone is planning on getting wealthy from hitting the jackpot on the lottery or partaking in “get-rich-easy”   schemes, they may find that the journey to the stars is a bit further than they hoped.  

 

How to do positive thinking correctly?  

Well, your thinking must be plugged into reality. Your mind has to be focused on the results and the outcomes. Additionally, you need to take into account what the chances are of these outcomes becoming a reality.  

Here is another example, 

 

We’ve all deliberated the pros and cons of a situation before making a decision. Going to a café versus going to a restaurant for lunch – well, the coffee is excellent at the café, and they have delicious cakes, but I am starving, and I can have a chilled sit-down meal at a restaurant!  

Tough call? Well, here is when the probability factor comes in: the café may not have enough sitting space for me to enjoy a short and quiet break… The chance of a favorable scenario coming true is slimmer, i.e., to be able to sit down to eat my meal. Therefore, all in all, the best call, in this case, must be to eat out at a restaurant. The fear of the café not having seating contributed to my choice falling on the restaurant.  

The issue with the fear factor is that we may fail to consider what could be done to promote the positive outcome to come to light. In our example, if we were really after cakes from a café, we could have gone to a place that has more of these eateries around to increase our chances of having a chilled coffee with a cake. 

In reality, you may not make an optimal decision because of the multiple factors that influence decision-making pairing up with the time pressure. In other words, not trusting an optimistic scenario, you compromise on a plan B. 

 

Overcoming insecurities 

The #2 component of personal development, which we cover in this article, is overcoming insecurities. These insecurities are, mostly subconsciously, holding us back from reaching our full potential. These self-doubting thoughts can come at us unexpectedly. It may be related to performance or being accepted, or it could be arising from questioning our own abilities.  

All these little worries are stemming from something that happened to us in our past. We may not have noticed them having an effect on us at the time, and we may not be able to pinpoint them onto one single event. A series of experiences can even cause insecurities 

One thing is for sure, it, consciously or more so subconsciously, caused us to change behaviors and the perceptions of events we partake in.  

We can see that to overcome insecurities as part of our personal development journey, we need to confront these skeletons in the closet. Behind every insecurity, there is a motive, a particular deep-rooted belief or desire that got bruised.  

Let me give you an example if you are feeling insecure because you don’t feel accepted, then at some point in your life, on a deeper level, your desire for being accepted by your parents, your partner, or your boss took a hit, and it left its mark on your mind. Many female professionals realize that their ambitions to move up the career ladder was deeply rooted in their early experiences of their mothers’ expectations related to perfection. 

Another example, you may have a deep-rooted motive connected to achievement, and you feel like falling short of hitting success repeatedly. This means that, at some point, you probably wanted something really badly, and you couldn’t quite get it. So, the next time your fear of not achieving it drove your actions.  

 

Here is my suggestion for getting past the doubts that may live in your mind – have a moment to yourself and think what may have happened to you that affected you? What is it that bruised you and left its mark?  
If you can identify it, or at least become conscious about this affecting your thinking, then you already took a step towards your personal development. Learning and reflection are such massive cornerstones of self-improvement and setting ourselves up on an upward journey.  

 

Just like that, we arrived at the #3 element of personal development. 

 

Growth mindset.  

Growth mindset is a state of mind based on the belief of being able to move forward and improve. It’s a belief in your own skillset and that you can develop further. Every tiny little thing that you learn propels you forward.  
You are always in motion. Just like sharks! Sharks need to keep moving to stay alive. We, humans, need to frequently change, improve, and adapt to new situations and circumstances. We need continuous improvement dynamic in our lives, just the same way sharks need to keep swimming 

 

Remember, incremental changes are all it takes to become a better version of yourself from one day to the other.  

 

To put this growth mindset into practice, list five things you learned over the past 2 days.  

Think of what you saw, where you’ve been in these past couple of days. You could have learned about a quirky trait of an animal in a documentary, saw a greener solution to an everyday item you use, learned 3 words in a foreign language… things like these are propelling you on from one day to the other, so keep them going! 

 

Apply some positive thinking in your everyday life, step over insecurities that may stop you from becoming the better version of yourself, and allowing your mind to absorb and grow with information that moves you closer to your goal. 

Is a glass-half-full way of thinking hardwired in us?

glass-half-full way of thinking article cover image

Have you ever wondered if you are a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person? Do you find positivity in things, or do you find yourself regularly worrying about what may go wrong? Read about the benefits of a positive attitude, examples of fake positivity, and how your mindset can determine outcomes.

Your mind is powerful, you see. What you fear may, in fact, come true. The good news is that what you desire can become your reality if you know how to master your mind.  

I read an article a couple of years ago about research findings of biological evidence to prove there are negative and positive people worldwide. It sounded interesting.  At least I found it interesting because I have always believed that I have a choice, even in following a positive or a negative mindset. Learn how the glass-half-full way of thinking can help you. 

A study was performed at Michigan State University, involving 71 women. It is not an extensive research study, I admit. However, it did inspire me to think about how positive mindset can help us unleash our potential. And as you know, I am big fan of discovering, expressing, and unleashing the talent and resources we hid in ourselves.

Some survey participants struggled to put a positive spin on difficult situations that they had to observe. The study participants looked at various photos and provided their opinion about the potential outcome of a situation they saw in the picture. 

found the results interesting and like to think that I have a choice. Even though some people might find it more difficult to view certain situations in a favorable light, adopting a positive attitude is possible.  

Let me give you an example.  

No matter if you are an employee or a business owner, during the COVID19 pandemic, most of us experienced a certain level of uncertainty due to the decreased level of business activity. The restrictions brought on by the virus outbreak negatively affected many employers and businesses.  

On the other hand, this slower pace of business may provide the perfect opportunity to develop ourselves and think through if we are in the right place at a good time. We may use it to determine which areas we want to develop and what we can do to prepare for being hit even harder or rapidly adapt to the accelerating phase.  
Having reviewed our skills and knowledge, we can determine what skills we need to acquire to be able to keep up with the changing demand.  

It’s not all merry

Of course, I am not saying we should convince ourselves that whatever happens in our lives is positive and beneficial to us. Especially if we get into a situation when its tough to see the end of the tunnel, others suggesting a positive meaning to an otherwise negative or neutral event or circumstance can, in fact, result in a controversial interpretation.  

For example, during the lockdown, suggesting that Saturday night is going to be super-fun may make us realize what we may miss out on… 

But I give you another example. COVID19 forced us to think differently about business, and many companies found themselves accommodating for remote work. That resulted in decisions such as reducing homeoffice employees (people who work from home) salaries. We all know that changes to compensation negatively impact motivation and work efficiency. Telling employees can work from home will not cheer them up when you reduce their pay, as working from home comes with its own challenges. Challenges not many were or are ready to tackle just yet.  

Getting back to the positive thinking topic. I believe that being a glass-half-full person is, in fact, rewarding. Let me share with you a couple of reasons why the glass-half-full way of thinking is helpful. 

#1: Expecting a positive outcome and good things to come will lead you to take action 

Taking action or a series of steps results in progress, and more often than not, in positive outcomes unless your positivity is somewhat anaivety or irresponsible behavior.  

Let me share Lizzys story. Lizzy had a performance conversation with her boss about the potential to participate in an overseas project within a year as a developmental opportunity. Lizzy was quite excited and quickly deep-dived into learning the French language. Lizzy was excited about the opportunity so much that she wanted to prove to herself and the line manager she did her best to prepare for the upcoming project. 

Would Lizzy had been less optimistic and trusting, she could have just laid back and waited to find out whether the opportunity was to come or not. Because she started to learn the language and build connections with her French colleagues, it was easier for her to be part of the project team. By the time the project team member selection came, she was supported not only by her line manager but also by the French project manager. 

#2: Expecting negative results or bad things to come your way will slow you down 

Or, even worse will keep you from taking action, and you will deny yourself of the steps that might have helped you prevent or reduce the adverse outcome you feared. This is what you may also call a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

I give you an example from my personal circle of friends and acquaintances. Years ago, a talented architect was thinking about starting his own construction company and envisaged to starts small, mainly with refurbishments. Even though he had the knowledge, the skills, the experience, and connections, he didn’t believe he could be successful in his own business and sell such services. No one could convince him otherwise. 

That thought, that belief, basically paralyzed him and held him back from starting the business overall. Until this day, he hasn’t started this business and still works as an architect for a company.  

#3: With a positive mindset, you find more opportunities! 

Does it mean there are more opportunities for the optimists? Not at all. I often say here a pessimist sees a problem, I find an opportunity.  

Have you seen anyone solving a problem by complaining about it? I havent. Just to link back to the previous example, finding a business partner with strengths in selling the construction services would have been an excellent kick-start for this architect on his entrepreneur journey.  

#4: Expecting positive things to happen is also helpful in closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be 

Even if you struggle to see the way forward or where your desired destination is, with positive mindset, you take the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something you found challenging before. It is undeniably an excellent way to stretch yourself because it builds self-confidence in a specific field and improves your overall self-esteem.  

Problem-solving is a creative process, so a positive attitude is essential 

How would you even start solving a problem if you do not believe you can end up with a solution.  

Yes, problem-solving requires us to think about the problem itself. It also includes an analysis of the problem, which then leads to solution options through multiple steps. 

Some would argue that willingness to solve a particular problem also depends on the level of dissatisfaction and discomfort with the situation we are trying to solve, and I somewhat agree with that opinion.  

Lets look at a situation that happens quite often in corporate companies. These organizations have structured but sometimes more rigid policies and processes than small businesses. This includes the need to use systems that align with well laid-out internal processes.  
Such systems are built without giving much flexibility to users, which benefits the business and can make the users’ lives somewhat miserable. As long as the user can work with a system without extensive additional work, they will not take active steps to find workarounds. Once their dissatisfaction reaches a certain level, they will, for sure, find a way to avoid using the system.  

Many companies use SAP or ORACLE as their enterprise resource planning system. Both systems require discipline and following the internal rules of how to operate these solutions. Once users are requested to provide ad hoc reports, they might not find a way to satisfy the demand using these solutions. Until the additional work needed to meet the ad hoc demands does not reach an intolerable amount, the users will not complain about the solution itself.  

In another example, thinking about business owners who use email marketing on a daily basis, an email marketing tool can support their needs up to a level. As long as they can perform most of the impactful tasks with the tool, they will not think about changing or replacing it.  

Reframing a situation is a double-edged sword, depending on what mindset you adopt 

Beyond the willingness, reframing the situation and viewing it from a different angle is also important from a problem-solving point of view.  

Lets see a way to get to a solution for our architect, whose example I shared before. Remember? He didnt believe he could sell his services, and therefore he hasnt even started his business. That said, we can hypothetically create a trigger thought, which is I dont believe I can successfully sell my services.’ Reframing requires a shift from the passive zone 

We more extensively talk about the characteristics of the passive zone in the Kickstarter Program™, which is a 4-week online course aimed at female professionals who work in corporate environments to help them accelerate their career progression. If you are interested to learn more about the program, just visit our website (unleashr-mentoring.com) or send us an email at questions@unleashr.co.uk. 

We designed, made available, and affordable The Kickstarter Program to most professionals working at even the lower levels of their organization because I believe the knowledge that moves you forward in most cases is not that far. Still, direction and guidance are crucial in finding the most impactful ways to move a career forward without exhausting yourself in the process. The Kickstarter Program™ is focused on those aspects of repeated success that enable you to accelerate your career growth. 

Reframing in action

So, getting back to reframing and the passive zone. The first step of reframing is to create an action to define a first step, however small it is, to move you out of the passive state that you may be in.  
Appropriate questions for the architect in the example, therefore, could be  

  • What should I do to be able to sell my services?  
  • What do I need to do to sell my services if I have the expertise, skills, and connections to provide satisfying results for my client?. 
  • What am I missing? 

In other words, what is the first step that I can take to make myself or my business to be able to sell?  

If you change the way you look at your situation and the challenges in it, not only your view will change but your ability to solve the problem as well. Your mind will suddenly shed light on a rich array of opportunities to discover inner resources and the ways to grow.  

Cover photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash