Oftentimes my clients tell me that they are willing to do whatever it takes to make a shift in their business. But, many times they hate it when they discover that they may be part of the problem in why the business is not functioning at the desired level.
They needn't feel bad because they are not alone. We ALL suffer from this stuff. I could easily say that 99 percent of everyone I have ever coached had some mindset or thinking problem (toxic thought patterns) that was causing some kooky stuff in their business. Mindset can absolutely make or break our success. In this post, I want to share a concept called cognitive distortions that has been around for a long time. Basically, that means 'stinking thinking!
In 1989, psychiatrist David Burns wrote a book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. His target audience was people suffering from anxiety and depression and wanted a non-drug alternative to learn how to manage their minds and moods better. He shared a list of "cognitive distortions" which showed where the thinking was causing pain, confusion, concern, and taught a process for how we could shift that. Many people now use 'cognitive therapy' with great results due to his ground breaking work.
But how does this relate to your business? Well, as I said before: If you have a business and a pulse, you are likely making some of the distortions listed below. I will point out what it is and a suggested way out of it. I often have to shift to mindset coaching because the first place that most business owners look when they are not receiving the desired business results is outside themselves. People spend thousands of dollars on web design, marketing, coaching, etc. and NEVER get where they want to be. Not that all of those things are not crucial in business…they are. But they were not looking in the right place.
Want to learn if you are guilty of any of the thinking patterns that are keeping you stuck, small and/or/broke? We will start at mindset.
The following list is taken from Dr. Burns' book and I will put the business spin on it. Dr Burns' words are bolded and my are in italics.
All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you may see yourself as a failure.
That means that if you lose a client, you ONLY focus on the negative. A new client recently told me about four clients who left her practice. She had assigned a very negative meaning to that. I asked her to look at the perfection in it. She finally saw that those people were not really ideal for her, she was taking on their negative 'stuff' and that by releasing them and getting CLEAR about who she would only be willing to work with, she quickly shifted her thinking.
Over-generalization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
Let's say you call a prospect and they say 'no' to you. This distortion sounds like, "I can never sell a thing! No one will ever buy…." The way out is to isolate the incident as just that–ONE incident. Watch out for any future-based thinking projections of how things will never turn out right.
Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
I had a client who always compared herself to the seven-figure gurus and then felt helpless, not good enough, and like she would never be able to make it. The way out? Again, notice that you are stuck in this mental trap and ask "is it true?" Focus on what you are doing well, what is working, and where you rock. And then call someone who can also point out your genius.
Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count" for some reason or other. You maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
This is how this one shows up: You get a new client or two. Instead of celebrating and allowing yourself to be excited, the first thought is "it is not enough…I need more….what if they leave?" See the spin to darkness with this one? You MUST take in the positive. And often if it is a habit not to, having a supportive coach in your life can serve to really break the pattern. In fact, I ALWAYS start all my group calls by asking the clients to share their wins and victories. Why? It forces them to be in the positive and begin to acknowledge their successes.
Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.
Who hasn't done this one! You want to raise your rates because you know you are worth it. But you start hearing in your head, "They cannot afford this…its too much money….it is a bad economy" . STOP this one in its tracks because you do not know that for sure. So in spite of your stinking thinking here, do move forward.
Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else's achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow's imperfections). This is also called the "binocular trick."
I might even call it "Guru Envy." The trend looks like seeing all they do and only looking at their brilliance and your lesser results and NOT seeing all the magic you bring! You can shift this by staying in the truth of the great work you do. This is where those client "love notes" or testimonials come in handy.
These are just a few of the tricks your mind is playing on you. The good news is that you can totally shift your thinking. Know that you are the captain of your ship in terms of thinking or mindset. So if you are in a funk, or just are not feeling how you want to feel in any given moment, there are plenty of things you can do to shift that. Knowing this can empower you, so this week make it a point to really notice your mind and the thoughts running through it. Make a better choice. You have that power
Paulo Coelho said:
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.