Your personal toolkit: The importance of mindset

My last post presented a simple model for getting what you want by using the combination of mindsets, skills, approaches and actions to get results.

As we build on this framework, I want to introduce a new concept: your personal toolkit, which contains all of the mindsets, skills, and approaches you have available to you at the present moment.

Each of these three ingredients is critical to getting what you want out of life:

  • Mindset: A specific pattern of thoughts and feelings
  • Skill: The ability to do a specific action
  • Approach: A way to put together a series of actions (e.g. tactics and strategies) to accomplish a more complex task  

Skills and approaches are where people spend most of their time. Take the sport of tennis as an example. Learning to hit the ball is a skill. Deciding whether to hit the ball down the line or cross-court is a question of strategy (ie. approach).

And to be honest, if you just stuck with the two components of skill and approach, you can go quite far.

The most powerful of the three, however, is mindset. The right mindset is the key to open doors to new skills and approaches, expanding your toolkit in a virtuous cycle. The most important thing to know about mindsets is the following:

 You are not your mindset. Mindsets are tools.

Many people get this mixed up. If someone is feeling frustrated, they often think “I am frustrated” (or sad, or excited, or unmotivated), as in a state of being. 

Instead, think to yourself, “Hmm, I seem to be in a frustrated mindset”. Then you can ask questions such as “how did I get there”? And more importantly “is there a better mindset to be in the moment?”

Imagine if you had that last ability – to change your mindset anytime you wanted. You want to be excited, you become excited. You want to be relaxed, you are relaxed. You want to feel powerful, you are powerful.

The reality is you can. The trick is that this is one of the catch-22’s of life. It only works if you believe it, and it’s hard to believe if you can’t yet do it. This is one of those skills that takes time and effort to achieve, and it is an example of why I’m starting a training and coaching business to help people get there. There are only a few skills I believe will change your life. This is one of them.

The simpler way to look at this is to change the toolkit pieces into a set of questions you want to answer about anything you are attempting to do:

  1. What is the right mindset to succeed?
  2. What skills do I need?
  3. What is the most effective approach (strategies, tactics, and techniques)?

These are great questions to ask both yourself and others as you try to get from where you are now to where you want to go.

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